Fire: Incident at Chiquita Canyon Landfill leaves 1 injured  

A dozer pushes exposed trash at Chiquita Canyon Landfill. Dan Watson/ The Signal
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A chemical release at Chiquita Canyon Landfill left one person injured and others being evaluated at the Castaic facility after the Sheriff’s Department responded to an employee’s report of an explosion Friday night, according to fire and sheriff’s officials.  

Despite the initial report, there was no evidence found of an explosion after Sheriff’s Department officials arrived on scene shortly after 7 p.m. Friday. As of about 8:30 p.m. a Hazardous Materials unit from the L.A. County Fire Department was on the scene investigating the incident.  

“The employee initially stated it was a chemical explosion with hydrogen peroxide at the facility,” said Deputy Michael Chen of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau, adding that one person was confirmed as being taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, but the person wasn’t transported by the Fire Department. 

Craig Little, public information officer with the L.A. County Fire Department, attributed the release to the mechanical failure of a hose at the landfill.

There was no information available as of press time regarding the status of the patient or the nature of the injuries. 

L.A. County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley, issued a statement late Friday evening in response to the incident. 

“The continued incidents at the Chiquita Canyon Landfill clearly signal that a major change in management and leadership is needed immediately,” she wrote in an email shared by spokeswoman Helen Chavez. “I have lost faith that the ongoing issues with the landfill will ever be resolved unless those long overdue changes are made.” 

Both the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and Fire Department responded as a result of the initial 911 call from the landfill, which initially was routed to the Sheriff’s Department, Chen said.  

“Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a powerful oxidant that oxidizes hydrogen sulfide (H2S), with byproducts of sulfur, water and oxygen,” according to information from Webster Environmental Associates, an engineering firm that provides odor-control engineering services for wastewater facilities. 

The levels of hydrogen sulfide at the landfill have been overwhelming the facility’s containment systems for about a year, according to a preliminary root-cause analysis Chiquita Canyon Landfill conducted in February 2023. “Hydrogen peroxide is commonly injected into a wastewater stream (force main, gravity sewer) to control H2S and other odorous compounds associated with wastewater collection and treatment. It may also supplement dissolved oxygen levels in the wastewater to prevent additional formation of hydrogen sulfide.” 

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