Barger calls for Chiquita to quell the smell 

A bulldozer pushes exposed trash at Chiquita Canyon Landfill in this Signal file photo by Dan Watson.
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 In response to dozens of complaints lodged by Castaic and Val Verde residents and a series of violations that triggered a report from Chiquita Canyon Landfill, L.A. County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger created a 30-day timeline for action in hopes it’ll help tamp down turned-up noses in northern L.A. County — starting with an official determination of the cause. 

Tuesday’s read-in motion by Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, calls on the landfill, in the next 30 days, to: clearly identify the underlying causes of its emanating odors by working with state agencies; prepare a review for county officials of an odor-mitigation plan to address repeated violations and a list of resources deployed to help residents; and from county officials, a list of the independent actions taken to ensure appropriate oversight.  

“These odors are creating quite a problem and have been identified as coming from Chiquita Canyon Landfill,” Barger said Tuesday from the dais while introducing her motion. “South Coast Air Quality Management District is the lead agency in air quality and has issued 33 violations to the landfill since May. This is extremely concerning.” 

Officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District have yet to respond to multiple requests for comments regarding the status of the agency’s conversations with both the landfill and county officials regarding efforts to mitigate the air-quality issues. 

“Chiquita shares the supervisor’s sense of urgency in addressing this odor issue and the underlying causes and addressing the local community’s concerns,” according to a statement sent via email Tuesday from Steve Cassulo, district manager for Chiquita Canyon Landfill. “We are working cooperatively with the landfill’s oversight and regulatory agencies including the County of Los Angeles and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.” 

A statement on Waste Connections’ website, which officials referred to previously in response to Barger’s call for a task force, stopped short of taking full account for the smell; but it acknowledged recent operations that create a stinky byproduct landfill gas known as dimethyl sulfide that is being discussed as the main factor. It also notes several remediation efforts already undertaken that to date have failed to stop the smell. 

“Chiquita understands that its neighbors have been submitting complaints of odors to the South Coast AQMD,” the company states at “If the Chiquita Canyon Landfill is the source of these alleged odors, then Chiquita believes that they are most likely due to an increase in the production of LFG at the landfill.” 

The company said that it’s working with the AQMD for permission to operate an LFG flare expected to help with the landfill’s mitigation efforts. The AQMD was not available Tuesday for comment.  

Barger’s motion Tuesday notes the terms of the landfill’s conditional use permit call for operators to generate a report “within 30 days after the fourth (notice of violation), explain the NOV and the steps taken to address it.” A copy of the report was not immediately available Tuesday evening. 

The landfill is six years into a 30-year extension it received on operations in April 2017. 

County officials said after the task force was formed that Chiquita would be taking point on community outreach for the incident.  

A spokesman for the company reminded residents that a webinar on the situation was being planned for 6 p.m. Aug. 10 and the link where residents can watch via Zoom is  

“Earlier today, Chiquita launched a Local Resident Air Filter Program, offering nearby residents experiencing odors a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Certified air filtration device for use in their home,” Cassulo added. “Local residents interested in receiving an air-filtration device can request one using an online form located on the odor mitigation page of our website,” 

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