The Idyllwild Grinding Facility which allows residents and other property owners to dispose of wood waste has been open to the public six days a week, but as of May 17 it will only be open on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the operating days modification April 7 on a 4-0 vote with John Tavaglione absent. The county’s Waste Management Department will be contacting the primary commercial accounts to inform them of the change and give them adequate time to make any necessary adjustments.
The Idyllwild Grinding Facility was created in 2003 to facilitate tree removal due to the bark beetle infestation. The County of Riverside worked with the U.S. Forest Service to begin contract operations. The Waste Management Department has managed the contract for the grinding operation, staffed the gate and managed the facility. The facility is closed during the December through April winter months but has otherwise been open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During the first full year of operation from May 24, 2004, to May 23, 2005, the Idyllwild Grinding Facility serviced a monthly average of 1,622 tons and 560 customers. Between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, the average was 69 tons and 105 customers. A survey of customers determined that if a reduction in days needed to be implemented Saturdays and Tuesdays were the preferred operating days.
The reduction to two days a week allows revenue to be better aligned with expenses while still providing the remaining commercial customers with the opportunity to dispose of their wood waste. Because expenses would not be fully covered if the facility remained open to the public six days a week, an increase in the gate rate would have been required. The reduction to two days a week allows the gate rate to remain unchanged. Idyllwild residents who pay parcel fees for trash service under Franchise Area 8 will still be able to use the Idyllwild Transfer Station at no charge.
Although a grinding contractor has been on-site, that agreement will not be renewed and the Waste Management Department will take over material removal and grinding operations. That will allow for greater flexibility in case tonnages increase or decrease further.