Pending proposals for the Scholl Canyon landfill keep local residents wary

Several Glendale and Eagle Rock residents reminded City Council members and city staff recently of their ongoing concerns about tentative plans for the Scholl Canyon landfill.

Currently, the city is reviewing two proposals for the site. An environmental-impact report is still under review for the potential expansion of the 535-acre facility, and city officials have repeatedly stated that there are “no immediate plans to expand.”

City Council is also still examining the feasibility of implementing an anaerobic digester, a conversion technology that breaks down organic waste into methane.

According to previous statements made by Steve Zurn, general manager of Glendale Water & Power, the technology may reduce the amount of waste dumped at the site, reducing the time it would take to reach the facility’s peak waste capacity.

The Glendale-owned landfill opened in 1961 and is operated by Los Angeles County Sanitation District No. 2.

During the oral-communications portion of a City Council meeting on Sept. 5, about 15 speakers, mostly from the Glenoaks Canyon neighborhood, stated their concerns, several of which have been brought up during past meetings, regarding a bevy of environmental and safety issues they think are posed by the landfill, and in several comments, called for the landfill to be shut down in the next decade.

“Please, close by 2028, before it’s too late,” said Joanne Morris, a longtime Glenoaks Canyon resident, echoing the deadline stated by other residents.

Each of speaker’s concerns varied, some spoke of the potential for an environmental disaster due to its proximity to the Verdugo fault line, which could compromise the facility. Some worried that the proposed digester would create a negative impact on air quality in the area.

One speaker suggested the creation of an advisory council for the Scholl Canyon refill that would include residents and representatives from the affected areas.

Although City Council or staff do not usually respond to speakers during the oral-communications portion of meetings, city manager Scott Ochoa briefly tried to quell the concerns.

Ochoa covered again the city’s position on the landfill from last month, which states that impacts on the environment and customers are all worsened if Glendale closes Scholl Canyon because the city could no longer access the site to produce renewable energy and transported waste to other sites would pollute the region.

“The problem is that sustainability, especially on the front-end of various technologies that are available is… difficult to muster the political will to do,” Ochoa said. “[It] can be scary because it represents change [and] can be expensive.”

Ochoa added that review of the expansion’s environmental review and proposed green technology at the site will continue to “satisfy the requirements of [the California Environmental Protection Act].”

According to city spokesman Tom Lorenz, there is no definitive timeline for when the expansion review will return to council for consideration, but said city officials will notify the public about any updates.

jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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