Orange County’s Busiest Landfill

Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County.

Immerse yourself in the complex world of sorting, covering and stacking the refuse of three million people by watching the video below, which takes you on a tour of Irvine’s Frank R. Bowerman landfill.

The county’s busiest, Bowerman landfill receives around 8,000 tons of trash per day, compared to about 7,000 tons at Olinda Alpha in Brea and 1,700 at Prima Deshecha in San Juan Capistrano.

Among the surprises on the tour below are Wendy, a hawk whose intimidating presence protects the landfill’s 725 acres from being inundated by pesky, defecation-prone seagulls. Another little-known feature at Bowerman is the energy generated on site by the facility’s trash — enough to power 25,000 Orange County homes.

If this look inside one of Orange County’s most crucial services leaves you wanting more, you can tour the landfill firsthand.

Correction: The tonnage received at the Prima Deshecha landfill was incorrect, but has now been corrected in the information above.

Contact Us: If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at