There was an interesting piece in the San Francisco Chronicle about soil disposal in Atherton. The city council established a fee of $22 per cubic yard to dispose of soil to offset the cost of wear and tear on roads from large trucks hauling soil. After a voracious outcry from residents they removed the fee. For large basement projects the fees could add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
One would assume that this fee was on top of the cost imposed by the disposal service or dump. Here in Marin disposal fees can run $35-50 per yard for soil debris bins delivered to a project site. At the local dumps the fees are less, $15-30 per yard, assuming the material being disposed is clean fill soil. Using Marin’s prices as a guide, the Atherton fees would have amounted to a 50-100% additional cost. An average residential landscaping project can generate anywhere from 10-200 cubic yards of soil material if large retaining walls or terraces are involved that require extensive excavation.