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No Evidence of Faults Under Toland Landfill, Water Board Says

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A state agency has concluded there is no active earthquake fault at the Toland Road Landfill, dealing another blow to opponents’ efforts to stop the dump’s expansion.

After reviewing $250,000 worth of geologic studies, the Regional Water Quality Control Board said there is “no compelling evidence” a fault exists. Consequently, the board has rescinded a required 200-foot setback for the disposal of municipal waste at the Santa Clara Valley landfill off California 126 midway between Fillmore and Santa Paula.

Opponents had hoped the existence of a fault would either stop the landfill’s expansion or reduce its size.

The dump has accepted most of the west county’s waste since the August closure of Oxnard’s Bailard Landfill.

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“I’m disappointed that they didn’t have a public hearing on it,” said Fillmore City Atty. Roger Myers. “I think it’s inappropriate that they allowed an administrative decision to be made without further public input.”

However, opponents are determined to continue their fight, he said.

The cities of Fillmore and Santa Paula and the tiny Santa Clara School District, as well as farmers and local residents, have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the dump’s expansion. The lawsuit contends the environmental document that paved the way for the expansion is inadequate.

Officials with the Ventura Regional Sanitation District, which operates the landfill, said the latest findings are consistent with fieldwork conducted at the site over the last five years.

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But opponents were surprised at the board’s action.

“We don’t know what they’re talking about or what they’re basing it on,” said grower Anita Nelson. “It’s certainly contrary to all the information that was coming to us.”

The studies did indicate the possibility that an earthquake fault may lie north of the landfill, but the sanitation district does not need to spend more money and time to confirm that, water board officials said. However, the sanitation district is required to suspend grading operations for the expansion if evidence of an active earthquake fault is uncovered.

The landfill receives about 1,200 tons of trash a day compared with an average of 135 tons daily before Bailard’s closure.

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Landfill opponents believe that increased dust and traffic from the industrial operation are not compatible with the rural region and will harm agriculture.


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