City to Spend Up to $5 Million to Fix Methane Leak at Course

Times Staff Writer

The Glendale City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to spend as much as $5 million to control potentially explosive emissions of methane at the Scholl Canyon Golf and Tennis Complex.

City officials ordered the facility closed on Sept. 29 after tests found gas leaking from the inactive landfill under the site. A system to collect the gas was not working properly, officials said.

Mandeville and Associates, a firm specializing in control of landfill emissions, recommended that the city install new gas collection lines and gas wells. The firm also said the landfill’s clay cover must be replaced.

“The system needs to be literally rebuilt,” Richard Mandeville told the council Tuesday.


Ruptures and Blockages

Mandeville said his firm’s study had found that gradual settling of waste in the landfill--which is more than 245 feet deep in some areas--has caused ruptures and blockages in the gas collection system. He recommended that the city replace the rigid plastic pipes currently used with more flexible polyethylene pipes.

Construction and repairs at the site may begin as soon as March, 1989, and may be completed in August, said Kerry Morford, assistant public works director. No date has been set for reopening the complex, he said.

Director of Public Works George Miller said the plan will cost between $2.3 million and $5 million, not including the cost of rebuilding the golf course.


On Nov. 2, the city submitted a plan required by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to monitor gas emissions at the site.

The plan calls for the city to check gas levels five days a week, said district spokesman Bill Kelly. The city also agreed to post signs on the property warning of the danger of leaking gas and to construct a fence along Glenoaks Boulevard to block automobile and pedestrian access to the facility.

Site Monitoring Begins

Regular monitoring of emissions at the site began Friday, Miller said. Gas emissions are limited to the area of the golf course, tennis courts and clubhouse and do not threaten neighboring homes or nearby baseball diamonds, he said.

A gas collection and recovery system was originally installed in Scholl Canyon at a cost of about $350,000 in 1983, according to city officials. When asked by city officials who was to blame for the failure of the system, Mandeville said that when installed, the system met the standards then employed.

A $3-million power plant at the base of the landfill once converted the gas into electricity capable of serving about 2,500 homes.

But the Air Quality Management District closed the power plant more than a year ago because toxic and smog-producing emissions from the internal combustion engines at the plant exceeded standards adopted by the district in 1985. A flare system was then installed to burn off the gas, officials said.

Under the new plan the old flares will be replaced by cleaner, more efficient flares, Morford said.


City Manager David Ramsay said the city also will make significant improvements to the golf course and may eventually attempt to restart the power generator. “We’re viewing this as an opportunity to succeed,” Ramsay said.

Morford said, however, that no official decision has been made to rebuild the golf course after work on the gas collection system is completed. There is no estimate of the cost of rebuilding the golf course, he said.