UPDATED: County takes Chiquita Canyon landfill permit to the state

Chiquita Canyon Landfill. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.
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Update: This story has been changed to include a statement from 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office and a clarification of the nature of the meeting.

Los Angeles County staff met with local community members Wednesday night to discuss the next step in permitting for the operations of Chiquita Canyon Landfill, drawing the ire of residents gathered there.

Standing at the front of a room in the Embassy Suites in Valencia, county staff gave a presentation regarding the landfill’s solid waste facility permit.

This would limit Chiquita’s tonnage from to 12,000 tons per day, said Dee Lugo, the county Public Health Department Solid Waste Management Program permitting supervisor. 

The original conditional use permit for the landfill’s 30-year extension was issued in July 2017 by the county and allowed for a daily average of 8,974 tons, according to documents from Barger’s office. 

The county was not considering any changes to the Chiquita Canyon Landfill Conditional Use Permit approved in 2017. This was a state regulatory meeting for the next step, representatives from Supervisor Barger’s office said.

“We remain committed to the strict regulations outlined in this agreement,” Barger said in an issued statement. “There is no new proposal, rather, it is the next step in the process.”

Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s operator, Waste Connections, is required to obtain a Solid Waste Facility Permit from the state agency, CalRecycle, as well as the county.

While the application for the Solid Waste Facility Permit on the state level requests up to 12,000 tons per day, the county CUP would limit the facility to not exceed an average of 8,974 tons per day.

“The Department of Public Health, as the Local Enforcement Agency, is required to host a community meeting before Waste Connections advances the application for a Solid Waste Facility Permit to the State,” Barger said in the statement.

The facility would be 639 acres and have a disposal footprint of 400 acres. The site entrance would also be relocated, with operating hours at 24 hours a day except 5 p.m. Saturday through 4 a.m. Monday.

It would have new components such as a landfill office, a household hazardous waste collection center and an enclosed compost facility, and permit 1,162 vehicles to come through per day, according to county documents.

Less than 10 Val Verde residents were at the meeting. During the public comment portion, resident Susie Evans said the homeowners did not receive notice, although county officials said they had mailed out notices to those living within a 1,000-foot radius of the landfill.

Evans, who said she lives 500 feet from the landfill, was displeased with the county’s actions.

“I received an email from (Val Verde resident) Steve (Lee) about this meeting,” she said. “I had to find out that way, and (resident) Lynne Plambeck was who notified everyone because she found out by accident. No one here knew about this except by accident.”

Val Verde Civic Association member Laurel Taylor said the fact that the county and Chiquita Canyon were embroiled in pending litigation concerned her.

“This is in the middle of a lawsuit that hasn’t been resolved, and won’t be resolved until June 2019,” she said. “Weren’t the (conditional use permit) conditions established a year ago? I think it’s inexcusable that all of Val Verde wasn’t notified of this. We all live under the shadow of this landfill.”

“We’re a neutral party in the lawsuit because we enforce regulations on county-owned facilities,” Lugo said in response.

No Chiquita Canyon landfill officials spoke at the meeting.

Residents who wanted to comment could call the county at 626-430-5540 or email [email protected], Lugo said.

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