Hearing Ends on SOS Bid to Burn Waste

A hearing by the South Coast Air Quality Management District on a request by Space Ordnance Systems to burn about 50 tons of explosive waste in the Mojave Desert near Lancaster recessed Wednesday without a decision.

Wednesday was the third day of testimony in the hearing, which began early this month.

Jerry Downs, a researcher for the company, testified that burning the waste would have no significant effect on air quality.

The company, a subsidiary of TransTechnology Corp. of Sherman Oaks, has been under orders from state and county health and fire authorities for about a year to dispose of explosive material remaining from the manufacture of pyrotechnic devices, including decoy flares designed to be fired from fighter planes to mislead enemy heat-seeking missiles.

SOS is seeking permission to burn the material, now stored at the company's plants in Sand Canyon and Mint canyon in the Santa Clarita valley, over a period of 75 days at a site about 25 miles east of Lancaster. The company said the site is at least two miles from any structure.

Company representatives have said that SOS was unable to get help from the Department of Defense or find a commercial disposal firm that would accept the waste.

A fourth session was scheduled for April 9, when residents who live near the proposed disposal site and the head of the Air Pollution Control District in neighboring San Bernardino County are scheduled to appear.

On April 10 the company faces a hearing by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission, which is considering revocation of the company's zoning permit.

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