Firm Seeks to Turn Sun Valley Gravel Pit Into Landfill

Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles company has renewed an effort to turn another gravel pit in Sun Valley into a garbage dump.

Los Angeles By-Products Co. proposes to dump 1,600 tons a day of trash at its Strathern Pit. The 160-foot-deep gravel pit is at Strathern Street and Tujunga Avenue, across the street from the Penrose Pit, another rock quarry owned by the company that was used as a landfill until 1985.

The company’s request for a city permit is under review by city planners, whose decision could be appealed to the City Council. A public hearing will be required, but no date has been set. The state Regional Water Quality Control Board must also grant permission.

The proposal already has drawn opposition from neighbors and their elected representatives, including Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sepulveda) and Councilman Ernani Bernardi.


“Sun Valley has had more than its share of dump sites,” Katz said in a letter to city planners.

No State Approval

Los Angeles By-Products proposes to use the pit as a repository for household refuse for about 6 years. No hazardous waste would be permitted. After it is filled, the site would be developed into a golf course.

The company was granted a city permit in 1972 to use the pit for trash disposal. But the company was never able to obtain the required state approval. The city permit expires early next year. Consequently, the company has applied for a new permit.


The application was filed last year, but it came to light last week when Bernardi vowed to oppose the disposal of household refuse in the pit. Bernardi made the statement during a debate on a city contract to dispose of such inert materials as asphalt and construction debris in the Cal Mat landfill at Glenoaks Boulevard and Sheldon Street. Bernardi supported the contract, which was approved unanimously by the council.

Bernardi said Friday that he supports the disposal of inert materials in the Strathern Pit because such materials do not seep into underground water supplies.

“The people across the street don’t want the rubbish there,” he said.

A letter to city planners signed by about a dozen residents near the gravel pit said: “We do not want to see the same problems develop that have plagued the local environment in connection with the Penrose Pit.” Neighbors have complained about foul odors from the closed Penrose landfill.

The company may also face a tough time winning approval from the state.

Similar Proposal Rejected

“It doesn’t look good for them,” Ray Delacourt, an engineer with the state Regional Water Quality Control Board, said Friday.

He said the board recently rejected a similar proposal to dump garbage in a gravel pit in Azusa for fear of ground-water contamination.


Despite Delacourt’s comments, a spokesman for Los Angeles By-Products said Friday that the company will press on. The company proposes to line the floor and sides of the landfill to prevent ground-water contamination, said Mike McAllister, company vice president.

McAllister said use of the Strathern Pit for trash disposal also would help to ease the city’s trash crisis. The city has been running out of places to dump its trash because of homeowner opposition to the opening of new dumps or expansion of existing ones.

According to sanitation officials, 6,000 tons a day of household trash are generated in the city of Los Angeles.