Chiquita reports it accepted 129k tons of trash over annual limit in 2023 

A truck leaves Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Castaic on Tuesday. Dan Watson/ The Signal
A truck leaves Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Castaic on Tuesday. Dan Watson/ The Signal

Chiquita Canyon Landfill issued a statement Friday acknowledging the facility accepted 129,000 tons more waste than its annual limit in 2023. 

The figures were self-reported in an annual report that was given to L.A. County in March, according to an email sent by John Musella, spokesman for the landfill.  

The landfill has been drawing an average of about 2,000 complaints per month due to a settlement issue causing it to sink up to one foot a month and creating a subsurface reaction at temperatures of around 250 degrees, according to officials. The problems have created an overwhelming stench that’s regularly cited as a public nuisance by inspectors for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.  

Chiquita Canyon Landfill officials have so far avoided any county impacts to current operations by arguing that its stench problems are being caused by an older section of the landfill and that closing the landfill or reducing operations would not address the odor.  

The landfill’s statement indicated the overage equaled about 5% of the facility’s annual 2.8-million-ton capacity.  

In September, L.A. County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she was asking the landfill to reduce its waste intake by about one-third as one of many mitigation measures in the initial response to the crisis.  

When The Signal asked whether the reduction had taken place, the response attributed to Chiquita Canyon Landfill was shared by Dusan Pavlovic of L.A. County Counsel Office:  

“Chiquita appreciates the county’s close collaboration on this matter as we urgently work to address the unusual events at the landfill and mitigate the odor. However, as explained in detail below, no reduction in waste intake will lessen the current odors, which emanate from deep inside the landfill at a different location than where incoming waste is deposited.”    

Pavlovic was in court June 5 as county counsel representing L.A. County as a co-defendant, along with Waste Connections, in a lawsuit brought by residents seeking to shut down the landfill. That lawsuit was continued to September.  

In addition to these two different annual tonnage limits, Chiquita is also required to follow three other tonnage limits in the form of daily averages and daily and monthly maximums, and did not exceed any of those limits, according to the statement.  

Chiquita officials also said moving forward they were implementing “new internal procedures to ensure that none of these limits are exceeded in the future.” 

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