An increase in complaints from residents of Sunshine Canyon, in Sylmar, Calif., and Chiquita Canyon, in Val Verde, Calif., is leading to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approving a Public Health Department review of operations of a local landfill.
The county has received more than 1,000 complaints from January 1 through August 1 from residents of both areas.
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The increase in dialogue led to county officials taking a closer look at Sunshine Canyon, which had taken in 895 complaints regarding the odor, and 20 notices of violations, which means an Air Quality official responded to the report, and was able to record a smell.
In comparison, Chiquita Canyon had 107 odor complaints, which means a resident phoned in a concern, from Jan. 1 through Aug. 1 of this year, and only one complaint verified by an air quality expert, dating back to 2006.
Chiquita officials stated they “welcome” the opportunity to work more closely with the county on any safety or odor considerations, noting the relative lack of concern regarding operations, in comparison to the nearby Sylmar facility. (The Lancaster facility, which is the only other landfill with county oversight, was bypassed for review because the county only recently granted its operating permit.)
“Chiquita Canyon welcomes the opportunity to work with the County of Los Angeles regarding this important issue as we take very seriously the safe operations of our landfill,” said Chiquita Canyon spokesman John Musella. “As such, there has been only one Notice of Violation issued to Chiquita Canyon by the South Coast AQMD in nearly 10 years. Compare that to the 180 Notices of Violation issued to Sunshine Canyon landfill in just the past eight years.
Both the county and Chiquita Canyon mentioned mitigation efforts by the local landfill, and noted Chiquita Canyon’s review had more to do with the fact it was currently operating on an expired permit, with a “clean hands” waiver, which means the landfill can continue to operate until a further review of its application for a conditional use permit can be completed.