Protesters gather at Scholl Canyon landfill

Eagle Rock residents and local officials gathered at the base of the Scholl Canyon Landfill Wednesday to protest potential plans by Glendale to expand the site, which worries nearby residents who say an expansion could worsen what they call ongoing negative impacts, such as street damage by the heavy trucks that travel in and out of the location.

The 535-acre landfill is poised to reach capacity by 2021 if 1,400 tons of trash are hauled there every day, though the current average is about 700 tons daily.

Glendale officials are mulling two options that would expand the facility's life between 13 to 19 years and increase the height of the landfill by about 12% to 1,705 feet above sea level.

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

Since 1987, Eagle Rock hasn't dumped its trash at the landfill, which is utilized primarily by Glendale and a few other cities, such as Pasadena, which rents space at 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 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."

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

Luis Lopez, who lives in Eagle Rock, said he's not satisfied with the options being entertained, so far, in the report and that filling up a landfill is no longer a modern way of dealing with garbage. He plans on filing his comments with the Eagle Rock Assn.

"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 public works staffers in Glendale are working on a few green projects with the goal of diverting trash from the landfill. In fact, there are no plans on the table to pull permits for an expansion in the near future, said city spokesman Tom Lorenz.

"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, which includes several methods to keep 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.

In May, the city held a town hall meeting with Scholl Canyon residents, where Public Works Director Steve Zurn said the interest in expanding the landfill is more of a preparedness measure and any action on the project would be years down the road.

But David Greene, an Eagle Rock resident and president of the community's neighborhood council, said he believes the thinking process toward keeping the landfill alive is driven by money.

Glendale earns about $7.5 million a year in revenue by letting nearby cities such as La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena dump some of their trash at Scholl Canyon.

"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.

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