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Eagle Rock residents raise a stink over Glendale's landfill plans

Eagle Rock residents protest expanding, extending life of Glendale's Scholl Canyon Landfill

Eagle Rock residents and local officials gathered at the base of the Scholl Canyon Landfill in Glendale on Wednesday to protest potential plans to expand and extend the life of the site.

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents Eagle Rock, said the community has had to deal with problems created by a landfill it doesn't even use.

"Eagle Rock has gotten a very raw deal with this landfill," he said. "Our streets on Figueroa and Colorado are constantly being damaged by the sheer weight and volume of the trucks heading to the landfill."

Eagle Rock hasn't dumped its trash at the landfill, which opened in 1961, since 1987. Instead, the facility is used primarily by Glendale and a few other cities, such as Pasadena, which rents space at the site.

The 535-acre landfill is poised to reach capacity by 2021 if it takes in 1,400 tons of trash a day, though the current daily average is about 700 tons. Glendale officials are mulling two options that would extend the facility's life 13 to 19 years and increase the height of the landfill by about 12% to 1,705 feet above sea level.

A draft environmental impact report on the landfill expansion project was published in the spring. A number of Eagle Rock residents complained that they weren't made aware of the comment period, so it was extended to Aug. 29, the Glendale News-Press reported.

Luis Lopez, who lives in Eagle Rock, said he's not satisfied with the options being entertained so far.

"These are old ways of doing things. … I want to encourage recycling and other ways of waste disposal that are not going to impact our local community," Lopez said.

But Glendale officials point out that they are working on a few green projects in an effort to divert more trash from the landfill. And city spokesman Tom Lorenz said there are no plans on the table to pull permits for an expansion in the near future.

"Glendale has no immediate plans to proceed with any expansion and possibly may not for quite some time, if ever, depending on the success of the city's aggressive waste-management alternatives," he said in a statement.

City officials are working on a Zero Waste Policy, with a goal of keeping 75% of waste from heading to the landfill by 2020.

A new technology being analyzed for potential use is anaerobic digestion — a process that involves placing trash in a vessel designed to speed up decomposition.

But David Greene, an Eagle Rock resident and president of the community's neighborhood council, said he believes Glendale is pursuing the so-called eco-measures not to cut down on environmental impacts but to extend a financial enterprise.

The landfill generates roughly $7.5 million a year for the city of Glendale.

"This project is not about the environment or garbage, it's about extending the life of the Scholl Canyon Landfill and extending the stream of revenue to which Glendale is addicted," Greene said.

Arin Mikailian is a staff writer for Times Community News.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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