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VERIFY: Is it impossible to legally dispose of fence posts in Sacramento County?

California changed how homeowners can dispose of their old fence posts and other treated wood.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After a few storms blew through Sacramento in February and March, many homeowners had fences that went with the wind and were in need replacing. 

However, on Jan. 1, 2021, the rules on how to dispose of treated wood, including fence posts and railroad ties, changed.

Question: Is it impossible to legally dispose of fence posts in Sacramento County?

Answer: After recent changes, it is completely possible to dispose of fence posts and other treated waste wood legally.


The Process:

Users on Reddit discussed the difficulties they were facing to dispose of fence posts.

Treated wood has been considered hazardous for years under California law. Still, until Jan. 1, 2021, people could dispose of it in their garbage bins or any method of their choosing without thinking about it.

This all changed when Gov. Gavin Newsom did not sign Senate Bill 68 into law in November 2020. This bill would have continued the previous standards from 2004 that made disposal of treated wood simple.

But Treated Wood Waste program manager Ryan Batty explained the wood treated by chemicals is hazardous. It shouldn't go to the regular landfills and needs special treatment when disposing of it.

"Treated wood is considered a hazardous waste, so it shouldn't be placed into a residential type garbage can," Batty said

Batty explained some examples of treated wood can include but aren't limited to fence posts, patio posts, and railroad ties. Treated wood is any wood that uses a chemical treatment to prevent pests, water damaging and rotting.

"Usually, [chemical treatments are] used in situations where the wood is in contact with the ground," Batty said.

At first, the Sacramento residents had no options to dispose of their treated wood, but on April 1, that changed for people in Sacramento city. People can now throw out their treated wood waste with the city's household junk program, Sacramento city spokesperson Jesa David confirmed. People can also take the treated wood to landfills within the city.

As of April 16, people who receive waste removal services from Sacramento County cannot get their treated wood picked up at their homes as city residents can. However, county residents now have the option to take their treated wood to Kiefer Landfill in Sloughhouse as of April 5.

This treated wood rule applies to everyone across California. And the Department of Toxic Substances Control keeps a list on its website of all the handlers, landfills, and transporters who can help people get rid of their treated wood waste.

Batty added that another easy option is to hire a contractor who can handle treated wood and let them deal with the disposal of the hazardous wood.

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