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SIMI VALLEY : Firm Under Cleanup Order Gets Honor

As Ventura County environmental officials are forcing its closure, The Worm Concern near Simi Valley has been named to a list of top environmental companies in the county.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board included the Tierra Rejada Road recycling firm on a list of 16 local businesses honored for “outstanding leadership in reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.”

County lawyers will meet with the firm’s officials next week to discuss cleanup orders for the site, said William Moritz, an attorney handling the case for the county. Hearing of the award Thursday, Moritz laughed.

“I guess (the state waste board) ignored the fact that they never bothered to get a permit,” Moritz said.

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A spokeswoman for the state board was at a loss to explain the award, which is The Worm Concern’s second in as many years.

“You really caught me speechless here,” Liza Smith said. But after consulting with her bosses, she said the board may strike the worm company from its list of honorees.

Before a county order stopped it from accepting green waste, The Worm Concern used worms to recycle more than 100 tons of yard trimmings every day into fertilizer.

The company had operated for more than 18 months without a permit, and neighbors had repeatedly complained about the smell and possible health effects from the facility, which they described as a dump.

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The Worm Concern continues to sell worms, worm bins and worm castings used as fertilizer, but it is no longer allowed to accept green waste, said Jeannie Satel, acting manager at the site.


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