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Oppose Lopez Canyon Expansion : Landfill Protesters Accost Bradley

Times Staff Writer

Lake View Terrace residents opposed to a city plan to extend the life of the Lopez Canyon Landfill confronted Mayor Tom Bradley outside a Granada Hills restaurant Wednesday and demanded to meet with him and city sanitation officials to air their complaints.

Bradley virtually ignored the picket-holding protesters, swiftly walking through the crowd of 20, saying only “Thank you” when a homeowner thrust a petition in his hand.

But Bradley’s chief San Fernando Valley aide, Doris (Dodo) Meyer, said afterward that a meeting is being arranged among homeowners, Deputy Mayor Michael Gage and city sanitation officials.

“We will be glad to meet with them and hear their concerns,” Meyer said, adding that Bradley has not decided whether to support the proposed expansion because the environmental impact report has not been completed.

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“But trash disposal is a major problem in this city,” Meyer said. “If Lopez Canyon closes, what will we do with the trash in this city?”

Protest leader Fred Bartels of the Lake View Terrace Improvement Assn. said details of the meeting have yet to be arranged.

His group used signs and a huge poster, which stated the site is in “gross violation” of state regulations, to attract Bradley’s attention to the issue, Bartels said.

Neighbors of the landfill in the northeast corner of the San Fernando Valley had been told by the city that the landfill would close by 1992. But they learned last month that it could remain open until 2001 if the City Council and the mayor approve a $16-million plan that would allow the use of additional canyon space for expansion.

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The plan calls for lopping off a ridge and removing 6 million cubic yards of dirt to provide for additional landfill space. The sanitation department is seeking approval to dispose up to 1,200 tons a day of sewage sludge at the site.

An environmental impact report on the expansion is expected to be released before the end of the year, said City Sanitation Director Delwin Biagi. The report must be approved by the City Council and mayor before work can begin.

Minor Violations Found

Lopez Canyon is the only city-owned and -operated landfill, and receives slightly more than half of the 6,000 tons a day of household trash the city generates. The remaining trash is hauled to expensive private landfills.

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Lake View Terrace residents and East Valley Councilman Ernani Bernardi vehemently oppose the plan. Residents fear increased truck traffic, noise, odors and dirt. Bernardi has said that the East Valley should not have to bear the burden of increased trash dumping near homes.

Homeowners were further angered when state waste management officials found five minor violations of state codes at the site.

“None of the violations are an immediate threat to the health and safety of residents or the environment,” said Chris Becker, spokesman for the Waste Management Board, which sets state standards for landfills.

The potentially most serious violation is a steeply graded slope that could allow rainwater to puddle. Over time, puddled water could seep into the ground and contaminate wells, Becker said. The state has not yet reported details of the violations to Los Angeles officials.

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Other violations include truck-scale problems and the lack of signs identifying entrances, Becker said.

Biagi called the violations minor and said the city could quickly solve any problems.


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