UPDATE: Landfill odor moans prompt review

A bulldozer pushes exposed trash at Chiquita Canyon Landfill in this Signal file photo by Dan Watson.

Editor’s Note: Update to include the decision from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to review Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s Conditional Use Permit.

Odors originating from the Chiquita Canyon Landfill will soon be under investigation by representatives from Los Angeles County.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors reviewed and approved a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich Tuesday to look into complaints about odors stemming from the landfill located in an unincorporated area of the county, primarily the Val Verde area.

Antonovich’s motion requested that the Director of Planning, in consultation with the County Counsel and the Director of Public Works, reviews the landfill’s Conditional Use Permit regarding odors and reports back to the board with their findings and recommendations in 30 days.

The request followed a similar report from the county’s investigation into Sunshine Canyon Landfill which began in early October.

“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 in a statement.  “As such, there has been only one Notice of Violation issued to Chiquita Canyon by the South Coast AQMD (Air Quality Management District) in nearly 10 years.”

This Notice of Violation was issued to the landfill in 2015.  However, SCAQMD reported that it received 107 complaints about the landfill in 2016 and 233 complaints in 2015.

The number is small in comparison to the Sylmar’s Sunshine landfill, which received 180 Notices of Violation during the past eight years and 1,795 complaints in 2015 alone.

Nonetheless, Antonovich’s motion stated that “the community continues to report landfill odors to this day” and wants the county to identify tools “to eliminate landfill odors migrating beyond the property boundary and impacting the community of Val Verde.”

Chiquita Canyon believes the landfill has been proactive in addressing odor concerns during the past 14 years and has adequately surveyed the landfill’s possible impact on the community.

Last year, Chiquita Canyon hired an independent firm specializing in odor analysis to conduct an independent Odor Survey at the landfill, according to Musella.

“That firm concluded Chiquita does not create significant odor impacts to the surrounding community,” he said.

Odor specialists from the firm collected 2,025 sampling data points during a 25-day period and found that only five, or 0.2 percent, of the data were potentially associated with landfill odors in Val Verde.

Musella also noted that the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee paid for its own third-party air quality testing and review and found that there were no issues related to air quality from the landfill.

Still, the Board of Supervisors will address and complete an additional review of the landfill’s Conditional Use Permit and examine Conditions of Approval in Val Verde and its surrounding communities.

The departments are expected to report back to the board in two weeks with their findings and recommendations.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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