From: Kerry Cavanaugh, Daily News, Los Angeles
Published January 13, 2005 12:00 AM

Neighbors to Los Angeles Landfills Seek Stricter Controls

Jan. 13—Granada Hills residents pushed on Wednesday for cleaner trash trucks, traffic relief and a host of other improvements before county officials approve plans to join the two Sunshine Canyon Landfill sites into one 415-acre megadump.

Browning Ferris Industries has two landfills tucked into a canyon north of the Valley housing tracts — one existing dump in county jurisdiction and a new dump now under construction in city jurisdiction. The two are currently separate.

The company is seeking a new land-use permit from Los Angeles County in order to join the two dumps across jurisdictions and operate them as one. The city of Los Angeles has already approved the joint landfill.

Some 150 residents attended the public hearing at Granada Hills High School on Wednesday night.

With little hope of immediately closing the dumps, North Valley activists pushed for tough new environmental conditions, including a firm date when the landfill will close and become open space.

"We think we deserve protections," said Wayde Hunter, president of the North Valley Coalition. "The people here are very concerned ... that (permit) conditions are in no way, shape or form weakened."

BFI managers said the permit change will make the dump more efficient.

"It's definitely more environmentally beneficial, There's one working face, one set of equipment instead of duplicate equipment and duplicate operations," said Dave Edwards, BFI project manager.

This permit is one of the last approvals BFI needs to join the two dumps. Environmental documents dating back to the early 1990s anticipated that the two landfills would eventually be one.

As part of the new permit, the county wants BFI to install a costly double-liner system beneath new sections of the landfill. BFI is already required to build a double liner under the city dump — at an extra estimated cost of $23 million.

The county also wants BFI to pay up to $3.7 million a year for parkland and natural habitat around the landfill and up to $3.7 million a year for community improvements near the dump. BFI would also contribute $3 million to a county fund dedicated to finding alternatives to landfills.

The Los Angeles County Planning Commission is expected to vote on the permit at its next meeting.

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