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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Monday, Sep 29, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieI really can’t believe some of the tactics Waste Connections, operator of Chiquita Canyon Landfill, has used to get the expansion approved.

They spread money around to various charities and organizations like they were printing it themselves. Take a look at the irony of some of the donations.

The SCV Latino Chamber of Commerce recently had the landfill as an event sponsor. Did they know the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the expansion was not printed in Spanish as required by law and regulation? It’s odd, since more than half of the population of Val Verde is Hispanic. The company has called it an “oversight” but has yet to correct the problem.

Does anyone find it funny that the smells Val Verde residents report from the dump happen only when the wind is blowing from the dump into Val Verde? Isn’t it also odd that the dump now has had someone write about how septic systems are the problem and not the dump? Folks, I’ve seen and smelled bad septic systems in various homes I’ve owned over the years. What the odor is in Val Verde isn’t from septic tanks.

Blaming residents’ septic tanks is a classic way of shifting the focus of the problem from what the dump is doing to what they want you to think.

Did you know that within the Draft Environmental Impact Report, there is a section stating there will be an increased risk of cancer not only in Val Verde but in Hasley Hills and other neighborhoods near the dump?

Chiquita Canyon Landfill has also approached a school board (SCVi) to distribute information about the dump in hopes it would support the expansion. That board said “no,” since supporting a dump isn’t a function of the board.

Don’t you find it strange that John Musella has been nominated as one of the 51 most influential individuals in the SCV when his very job is to influence various boards, town councils, county offices and boards, plus the citizens of the community most affected by the dump? That is what a lobbyist does.

One of the most egregious examples is a flier printed and distributed by the dump – note: in the flyer, they called themselves a “dump” – which did not have any mention of the author, company or organization distributing the flier. It did have, in large letters at the bottom of the page, “Val Verde Civic Association.” VVCA had nothing to do with the flier but one would think so, looking at it. Muscella admitted the dump distributed it, not the VVCA.

The tactics the dump used with the Castaic Area Town Council were simply an offer of large sums of money in return for support and keeping quiet about the expansion and, if I read it right, anything else, for the life of the agreement. This agreement included just about anyone living or operating a business in the area the Town Council represents. That act was so divisive that the Town Council is now split along geographic lines and may become ineffective.

Chiquita seldom states how it is operating in an environmentally safe and efficient manner because, if one knows the truth, it has accepted waste that is clearly not permitted for this type of dump. Sewer sludge, chemicals and other substances have been dumped there, and it has been cited by various regulatory agencies.

Landfill reps have stated that if they cease operations, the entire SCV will not have as much funding for various charities, organizations and functions. For instance, the YMCA got $3,000 from the dump. Can that organization afford the loss?

The dump has funded the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee for many years at a rate of $20,000 annually. The VVCAC has more than $200,000 in the bank, unused. Isn’t that odd? Equally strange is how the members of the VVCAC are from outside of Val Verde and recently the head of that committee moved to the Antelope Valley from Val Verde. Will she remain on the board? We know the dump would love for her to remain in the position.

The SCV Chamber of Commerce, state Assemblyman Scott Wilk, the West Ranch Town Council and the SCV Economic Development Corp. are supporting the expansion, but they know nothing of what the dump has been doing in reality.

The dump is not a good neighbor. Folks in Val Verde don’t trust the operators of the dump, and many other organizations don’t either. Our own Santa Clarita City Council requested, by letter, that the county extend the comment period for the expansion by another 30 days. Why? The matter needs additional study by the city and SCV residents.

Don’t let the dump dupe you, folks. How much money it spends in the community does not make it environmentally safe and efficient. It just means it is buying influence. We don’t know what is getting into the water table and going down the Santa Clara River. We do know the liner ripped in the last earthquake. Just what is heading downstream?

The dump isn’t telling us, but from what we read on the test well reports, it isn’t pretty. All of it has been reported, but apparently none of the organizations the dump contributes to has heard of it. It took a lot of research by folks in Val Verde to find the information.

The biggest lie we keep hearing from the dump is that the SCV needs it to expand. Our future growth is dependent upon the dump getting bigger. Well, with a little over 80 percent of the stuff being dumped in Chiquita today coming from outside of the SCV, what would be wrong with stopping that and using it for the SCV only? Anaheim, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Victorville and many other cities will just have to dump on someplace else.

So there you have it folks. You decide. Take the money and keep quiet about the lies, or stop the expansion. Do we want our valley to be the dumping ground for the greater Los Angeles area? Do we want the Santa Susanna Test Lab’s toxic waste to be dumped in our valley? Don’t forget that in the Final Environmental Impact Report by NASA, the Chiquita Canyon Landfill is at the top of the list to get that material.

Can we say, Love Canal? By another method of reasoning, do we need another Bermite-style superfund site in our valley? You say no? That’s what Val Verde said.

Let’s stop it from getting bigger. It is up to us.

Oh – come to think of it, I can believe the tactics the dump is using. They want the expansion, so whatever means they use to get it approved is how they are going to operate. Just like when they took in sludge from Santa Barbara.

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  1. Shelly says:

    I wish Darryl would cite specific sources with links in his commentary. It would be much more informative and believable if people could fact check his discussions. In this day and age a lot of people dismiss these types of columns/opinion without the sources cited. Just my opinion.

  2. Bonnie Nikolai says:

    The dump does need to expand… to continue their business without interference from the Environmental Protection Agency. Landfills built prior to 1979 are not under the same rules as those built after 1979. Chiquita was built in 1972. Of course they want to expand, because closing as promised would get the EPA involved. The EPA oversees closures and monitors gases coming from the closed landfills. Currently Chiquita doesn’t have the EPA on their backs. There is also a very real chance there are chemicals and toxins, that were made illegal in 1976, are sitting in the part of the landfill without a proper liner. PCB’s, Asbestos, Lead paint and a slew of other toxins made illegal in 1976 are very likely seeping through to the aquifer. So yes, the dump needs to expand… to possibly keep all their dirty secrets buried.

  3. Susie Evans says:

    Shelly, what kind of documentation do you want? I have all of it. There are lawsuits from LA County against an auto shredder from Orange County who dumped his toxic waste at Chiquita(LA County won), there is nuclear waste from Rocketdyne, and then the wonderful sludge that Santa Barbara refused to take because it was full of arsenic.

  4. Natalie Tate says:

    Mr. Manzer,

    Many residents believed 2019 would be the closure of this local landfill, if I am not mistaken was agreed upon by very important people, the same people that are supposed to protect the communities.

    Some people are ill in our community as there are ill people in other communities, but one needs to be real, there is stink all over the SCV area and bad air quality too, for many reasons that no one seems to be able to honestly control, so many people are unaware of the history of the entire SCV, Castaic, Saugus, Canyon Country and beyond areas there is only so much many of us can to to help people know the history of these areas.

    I found this site of the articles written by the Los Angeles Times in regards to the past history of the prior expansion, so we will all have to see if history repeats itself…


    I hope you have a wonderful day, your articles are getting my attention.

  5. Greg Kimura says:

    I have some facts for the readers here:
    1. The landfill is banned from accepting sludge by their 1997 permit from LA County
    2. The landfill signed a contract with the community of Val Verde in 1997. In this contract, the landfill is banned from accepting sludge.
    3. The landfill has bid on more than one RFP for sludge and received the contract for at least one.
    4. The landfill accepted sludge for a year and if they hadn’t been caught by LA County, they were planning for another year.
    5. 3,600 tons of sludge were brought into the landfill during the year.
    6. The same sludge was banned from Toland landfill in Santa Paula.
    7. The landfill rep came to various community meetings claiming they did not take in sludge.
    8. When proof was provided, the story changed to admitting they took in a material which is a solid or semi solid from a water treatment plant, but they still denied it was sludge
    9. The landfill rep claimed that there are many definitions of sludge
    10. The EPA, Cal Code of Regulations and Waste Connections defines sludge in the same manner. It’s the waste from a water treatment plant. One definition of a material = sludge
    11. The landfill rep claimed that they had changed the words on the invoice, so it no longer read sludge – the implication is that changing the words means that the material is no longer sludge
    12. The definition of sludge still remains and the material the landfill took in fits the definition.
    13. The landfill received a Notice of Violation for accepting the sludge
    14. In the NOV, the landfill was warned that if they continued to take in this sludge, they would lose their permit.
    15. The NOV states that the material the landfill took in is sludge
    16. The landfill has not removed the sludge from their property. It is still improperly disposed of.
    17. At a public meeting, the landfill rep claimed that the sludge was tested and is safe.
    18. The community asked for the test results and the landfill at first denied they every said it was tested
    19. The landfill rep later admitted that they made the claim about testing the sludge, but refuses to provide the results.
    20. There is a worry in the community that this sludge contains Arsenic.
    21. At a public meeting, the landfill rep went as far as saying that the test results are proprietary and they will not share them.
    22. Here is the Merriam Webster definition of proprietary: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/proprietary One can wonder what is so secret about the test results?

    23. The landfill accepted radioactive waste from Rocketdyne, on at least one occasion, yet the landfill rep says they never did.

    24. The landfill rep told us that they received almost no violations or citations. This website shows otherwise. http://chiquitalandfill.net/elevated-gases/

    The bottom line is that the landfill has not been the “good neighbor” that they claim to be. It is very upsetting to hear the landfill push their propaganda on us, but when we do some research, we find out they were not being honest. So much for being a “good” neighbor.

  6. My good friend Darryl is finding out how the sausage gets made in the SCV. During spring, the city council votes to approve a Development Agreement with METRO and two days later Arthur Sohikian and Hunt Braly (allvision lobbyists to the city) co-host a fund raiser for Marsha McLean and Laurene Weste. Suddenly- allvision is a sponsor of an charity event for the Boys and Girls Club, that money does not show up on a campaign disclosure. They know all the tricks. It is not a pretty picture Darryl, and they will ignore your concerns. But they do sponsor SCVTV’s banner don’t they?

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