Around Town | February 11, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 11, 2011

Around Town

FOR THE BIRDS ... When Palo Alto's landfill finally reaches its garbage capacity this summer, there will be plenty of witnesses to mark the occasion — most of them with long wings and tiny legs. That's because seagulls love garbage, and in the past few months, there's been trash galore flowing into the landfill at Byxbee Park. The City Council recently approved the "fast fill" option for the landfill in hopes of getting the facility filled by the middle of the year and capped next year. Once that happens, the site would revert to parkland as planned. The option entails tossing more residential trash into the local landfill rather than hauling it to the SMaRT Station in Sunnyvale — the city's traditional method of disposal. Palo Alto has also recently resumed acceptance of commercial waste at the landfill (a practice it temporarily suspended last year) to make the "fast fill" even faster. Mike Sartor, the city's acting public-works director, said the influx of residential garbage is the main reasons seagulls are flying to the landfill in such great numbers. So far, their presence has not caused any problems, he said. They are too far from the more pristine sections of the Palo Alto Baylands to threaten or disturb any of the city's endangered species. And while these birds like to hang out at the landfill, they haven't hindered the work of landfill staff in any way. Sartor said he doesn't expect these visitors to stay at the landfill for too much longer. "Once we're done filling, hopefully by the end of the summer, they'll presumably go away," he said.

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