Residents demand action to clear trash in East Bay reservoir

Community members in Alameda County are outraged by the huge amount of trash blown into the Bethany Reservoir in Alameda County.

They believed it was coming from a nearby landfill and were demanding action.

"To me, it looked like a third-world country, to be honest," said Brody Light of Mountain House.

Residents of nearby Mountain House came with cameras to document it. They believed high winds carried trash from the Altamont Landfill.

Because the reservoir was mostly closed for dam reconstruction, they said no one knew to complain sooner. "The landfill that sits up on the hill was supposed to have containment fencing for debris. They're missing a huge section of their fencing and it's been out for the last three, four months," said Michael Jacob, another Mountain House resident.

Community members tried reaching out to California State Parks and to Waste Management that runs the landfill but did not have much luck.

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"Kinda getting the brush off was frustrating. So we took it to the streets, we took it to the people who use that water," said Jacob.

They began organizing a community cleanup effort until they realized there was simply too much trash for them to handle. Light said, "The scale that this is at is beyond a community clean-up. It needs a professional clean up and it needs to be maintained after that."

It appeared that the community members will get their wish.

Late Thursday Paul T. Rosynsky, the spokesperson for Waste Management Northern California-Nevada, released a statement saying, "Waste Management was first made aware of this specific incident late last night. While it remains uncertain where all the debris has come from, Waste Management will assist in cleaning it up.

Keeping our landfills and surrounding areas free of windblown debris is a priority.

We have procedures and equipment to ensure debris does not leave the site. We also have crews working in and around the landfill cleaning up litter during high wind events at the Altamont Landfill. We also encourage residents to contact the landfill if they witness any windblown litter so we can be sure to collect it."