Archive for July, 2014

VVCAC to Meet Monday, July 28th

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The Val Verde Community Advisory Committee (VVCAC) is scheduled to meet on Monday, July 28, 2014 at 6 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel located at 28508 Westinghouse Pl. in Valencia.

The Val Verde Community Advisory Committee exists to serve as a liaison between the Chiquita Canyon Landfill and the local community as a means for the community to communicate with the Regional Planning Commission and other regulatory agencies on an ongoing basis regarding issues involved in the development and operation of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.

Chiquita Canyon representatives attend the quarterly meetings of the VVCAC to provide regular, and timely updates and reports regarding landfill operations as a means to maintain an open line of communications with local leaders and residents.  Meetings are open to the public.

KHTS – Chiquita Canyon Expansion Project Open For Public Comment

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Chiquita Canyon landfill officials released a required impact study regarding upgrades they’d like to make to their Castaic facility, and Santa Clarita Valley residents have until Aug. 24 to weigh in on the plan.

“There’s a demand for solid waste disposal in Los Angeles County and the current permit for Chiquita Canyon doesn’t allow it to fully use its facility,” said John Musella, spokesman for Chiquita Canyon.

Chiquita Canyon accepts all of the waste from the Santa Clarita Valley and, additionally, from Los Angeles County communities, he said.

While the capacity is expected to double, the ramp up is expected to happen gradually over several years, Musella said. However, Chiquita Canyon would like to get construction of the new entry facility under way as soon as possible, he said. 

The 639-acre landfill site, which is owned by Waste Connections and permitted for about 257 acres of waste, is looking to double its daily disposal limits, set aside of land for a potential conversion technology site, improve its entrance and support facilities and extend the life of the landfill, to name a few of the project’s goals.

The landfill is located outside city of Santa Clarita limits about three miles west of the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 126.

The proposed project will increase the permitted waste footprint within the existing property line by approximately 143 acres by extending it slightly south toward the existing landfill entrance and to the north and east.

The waste footprint will increase from the currently permitted acreage, approximately 257 acres, to approximately 400 acres. It would also increase the permitted height of the landfill by 133 feet to a maximum elevation of 1,573 feet.

The project also calls for a doubling of the daily and weekly disposal tonnage.

The permitted maximum daily disposal tonnage will increase from 6,000 to 12,000 tons. The permitted maximum weekly disposal tonnage will increase from 30,000 to 60,000 tons.

Depending on actual disposal rates under the project, the life of the landfill would be increased by 21 to 38 years, according to planning documents.

The landfill’s operations were first permitted by Los Angeles County under a conditional use permit issued in 1982, according to county documents, and the facility has a maximum daily permitted disposal of 6,000 tons per day.

There is expected to be a temporary significant impact at the intersection of Commerce Center Drive and Highway 126 based on county guidelines, during the two years of construction for the project.

Any efforts to lessen the traffic load, which could end up worse than the current “D” level of service during peak hours, could affect work construction taking place on those roads.

The level of service is expected to return to normal when the project is completed.

All comments received by the closing of the public review period Aug. 24 will be considered in the final environmental impact report.

The current permitted closure date is 2019, but based on the current tonnage limits, the projected closure date is between 2015 and 2019, according to the draft impact study.

Waste Connections, which owns the landfill, has applied for a new permit to implement the revisions.

A public hearing on the impact study, or environmental impact report, is scheduled before the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning HearingExaminer on July 31at 6 p.m. at the Castaic Sports ComplexGymnasium, located at 31320 North Castaic Road.

The Signal – SCV Landfill Eyes Expansion

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Santa Clarita Valley landfill eyes expansion


By Luke Money
Signal Staff Writer
July 21, 2014

The landfill that handles the bulk of the Santa Clarita Valley’s garbage is eyeing an expansion that would double the amount of trash it can take in a given day.

With the surrounding area continuing to grow, and a growing squeeze on trash capacity countywide, officials at Chiquita Canyon are moving forward with a master plan revision that includes doubling the permitted maximum daily disposal tonnage at the site from 6,000 to 12,000 tons, according to a draft Environmental Impact Report for the landfill’s Master Plan revision.

“A lot of people don’t like landfills, don’t think we need them,” said Mike Dean, division vice president for Waste Connections Inc., the parent company for Chiquita Canyon. “But they’re a fact of life and they’re going to be around for a while.”

Since 1972 the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, the largest and primary landfill in the Santa Clarita Valley, has occupied the same site off Highway 126.

Expanding the capacity at the landfill means expanding the landfill itself by some 143 acres — pushing its boundaries slightly south toward the existing entrance of the landfill and to the north and east.

This will bring the landfill up to 400 acres total, according to the draft EIR.

“We’re not expanding the property; we’re not acquiring any property; it’s within our current property boundaries,” Dean said.

The land owned by Chiquita Canyon is about 639 acres, and Dean said it’s under-utilized “because our current permit doesn’t let us maximize the amount of capacity of the site.”

He cited a lack of landfill space in Los Angeles County as one reason the expansion is needed. “A lot of the waste in L.A. County goes out of county,” he said.

The expansion proposal also calls for increasing the maximum allowable height of the landfill to 1,573 feet — an increase of 133 feet or so. But Chiquita Canyon officials say it will still be below the ridgeline that separates the landfill from nearby Val Verde.

At its ultimate height, though, the top of the landfill would be visible from the Hasley Hills neighborhood, which is located a few miles away in Castaic.

Depending on how fast the trash comes in, the proposed expansion would increase the life of the landfill by 21 to 38 years, according to the draft EIR.

Entrance change
Officials at Chiquita Canyon are also eyeing changes to the front entrance of the landfill.

There is currently no stoplight at the entrance to the landfill, meaning everyone wanting to go in or out needs to make a right turn or a left turn across traffic on Highway 126.

But the Master Plan revision would change that by reworking the front entrance so traffic instead makes use of the existing stoplight on Wolcott Way.

Additional landscaping will also be developed along the front to better shield the entrance to the landfill, according to landfill spokesman John Musella.

The Chiquita Canyon site is also home to a green energy operation where methane given off naturally while garbage decomposes in the landfill is harnessed to provide power.

Dean said that operation provides electricity to some 7,000 homes in the area, and that an expansion of the landfill could be accompanied by an expansion in that energy production.

Community fund
In 1997, an agreement was brokered with the nearby community of Val Verde to set up a community benefit fund.

That fund pays out a sum of money every year that is used for a variety of efforts, including to fund scholarships and senior assistance programs and to help fund the Sheriff’s Department Youth Activities League in Val Verde, according to Vanessa Brookman, president of the board for the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee.

“So the funds are really put to good use,” Brookman said.

Musella estimated this year’s allotment to be about $340,000.

“This time around we’re looking at doing a larger community benefits program,” he said. “But we’ll also include Castaic, so money will continue to flow into the Val Verde into their community benefits fund and there will be a community benefits fund set up in Castaic as well.”

Community thoughts
A petition placed online at urged the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Department to “stop the expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.”

“Please help us preserve the health, safety, environment and property values of our historic town and sign our petition,” the petition reads. “Tell Chiquita Canyon and the Los Angeles (County) Department of Regional Planning that expansion is not a desired solution to the residents of Hasley Hills and surrounding communities.”

The petition, which is currently closed and has 26 signatures, criticizes the fact that the top of the landfill will be visible from Hasley Hills and states some residents in that community claim they can smell the landfill from their homes.

“In this past year, since the announcement of the intent to expand, there has been an increase in calls and complaints to the (Community Advisory Committee) from a certain few Val Verde residents who seem to want the landfill to close and not to expand,” Brookman said. “They are a small percentage of residents, and I think that’s to be expected.”

Brookman has lived in Val Verde since 2005 and said she has personally not had any negative dealings with the landfill. Before she joined the Community Advisory Committee, Brookman said, she hardly ever heard complaints from others in the area about the landfill.

“Every once in a while someone would mention the dangers of the trash haulers pulling out onto the eastbound 126 without the benefit of a controlled intersection, but that is being addressed with the relocation of the entrance,” she said.

“For every complaint I hear about odor, there is a greater number of residents who will say they’ve never smelled the landfill.”

Both Brookman and Castaic resident Flo Lawrence praised Chiquita Canyon. Lawrence says he supports the expansion and called the landfill “an amazing neighbor.”

“L.A. County needs someplace to put its garbage — it’s unavoidable, period,” he said. “We might as well put it where they’re paying attention and doing it right.”