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What Will Happen To All The Trash In The Nation's Largest Landfill?

(Photo by Heidi De Vries via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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The Puente Hills landfill is the largest one in the country, towering over the 60 Freeway at a staggering 40-stories. And today, the 630-acre landfill is closing after more than half a century of service.

Puente Hills has been the final resting place of 130 million tons of trash since 1957, some of it buried 500 feet deep, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The landfill's gates are closing because the permit for the site expires on Halloween.

But what's going to happen to all that trash?

Garbage from the county's 88 cities eventually will be put on trains to an abandoned gold mine more than 200 miles away, according to the Associated Press. But officials with the Sanitation Districts say the waste-by-rail operation won't leave the station for at least another five years, the Tribune reports.

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"…Trash will be separated from recyclables at two ramped-up Material Recovery Facilities run by the Sanitation Districts, one in Downey and the other situated at the base of the Puente Hills Landfill in unincorporated Industry appropriately named the Puente Hills Material Recovery Facility. Residual waste will be buried at out-of-county landfills."

In the meantime, trash will be buried in nearby counties. A combined 10,000 tons per day of trash will be deposited at both Material Recovery Facilities.