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Commentary by Steven Howse
| Friday, Jan 9, 2015
stevenhowse3

stevenhowseI was at the Chiquita Canyon Landfill the other, day taking a load of construction trash for a customer. Yes, I use the dump, and I would happily drive anywhere else to use a different landfill if Chiquita closed as promised.

I noticed a large pile of really black, wet dirt. What caught my eye was the plastic under the dirt.

In my construction experience, you put plastic in a dumpster before you put your waste in there, if it’s an environmental concern, for containment – which could be nothing, as we put plastic in dumpsters for concrete trucks to wash out. But this was really black, wet mud-dirt-dare I say the “s” word? (Sludge.) No, Chiquita Canyon Landfill doesn’t take that – right? Could it be “inert dirt” or this “stuff?”

I watched as a truck pulled up and dumped another load of the same material. I noticed it was an environmental cleaning company truck. The dumpsters had a steel top, and the inside was lined with plastic, which was dumped with the black stuff.

The truck driver had big rubber gloves and a mask while opening the container to dump. I also noticed the dozer left where the regular trash was being dumped and came right over and spread out the dirt-stuff quickly.

The worker told me they have been getting a lot of this black mud stuff, and according to him, it kind of smells. I did not notice a special smell where I was standing from 50 feet away, other than the regular trashy smell.

I searched the name on the truck; it was Patriot Environmental (http://patriotenvironmental.com), and they provide cleanup services of hazardous and non-hazardous materials, industrial cleaning, and a bunch of other stuff. Based on their website, they clean up a lot of things we wouldn’t want in a Class-III landfill.

Then I noticed a large pile of green waste, which they had me dump my trash next to. The dozer operator got out to tell me not to get the trash too close to the green waste because it has to stay separated. I wonder why? The landfill representatives said they don’t use green waste for covering trash; they say it is buried with the trash, and then it’s covered with dirt or sand at the end of the day.

I asked the ground worker why I had to keep away from the green waste pile. He said they usually save the green waste for the end. He wouldn’t say they covered the trash with it.

I was concerned about this, because a lot of the time we smell green waste odors in Val Verde. Green waste gives off H2S, a colorless toxic gas. It brings on nausea, eye irritation, respiratory ailments and headaches. In high enough concentration, it kills almost instantly. I have had most of those symptoms when I have smelled odors at my house. I have had numerous friends who have experienced the same thing when visiting and odors are present.

On Dec 22, the landfill received a Notice of Violation due to green waste odors. I had 17 family members at my parents’ house nearby who smelled the odors, and most experienced sore throats and headaches within 30 minutes of the odors starting.

Seeing both of these things made me curious. Could it be nothing? Yes. Or could it be something that’s not supposed to be there? Considering the times the landfill has taken in things it was not supposed to and done things it’s not supposed to do, it does make me pause and wonder.

 

Steven Howse has lived in Val Verde since 1998.

 

stevenhowse2stevenhowse1

Comment On This Story
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13 Comments

  1. Brandi Howse, your hubs made the news! Go Steve!

  2. John Gilbert says:

    Wonder what someone will make of it thousands of years from now.

  3. John Gilbert says:

    Wonder what someone will make of it thousands of years from now.

  4. JC says:

    No one cares about those “Val Verde” people. If you don’t live in Valencia, Westranch, or Sand Canyon, you are nothing to the legislators of this valley. Truth hurts. Your kids won’t develop the cancer from the toxic (Unchecked) waste dumped in the landfill until every elected official is out of office. Even if they still are in office they will say, “Prove it.” You are all wasting your time. Again, no one cares about you. (Period)….

  5. Where is our city council on this matter. Marsha had based her career on stopping the Ellesmere canyon landfill. Yet she is not saying a word about this issue. How is Newhall Land And Farming going to explain the smell to the people who purchase homes out there. Time to close it.

  6. Sara Sage says:

    The material in the pictures looks an awful lot like dewatered sludge. The fact that a plastic liner was used is concerning. Sludge haulers use liners to protect the inside of their trucks/containers like this one: http://tinyurl.com/ndf96zz

    The Chiquita Canyon landfill has a history of accepting non-permitted sludge and was issued a Notice of Violation from the county for accepting sludge from Santa Barbara: http://www.chiquitalandfill.net/822012-notice-violation-la-county-ccl-sludge-acceptance/

    There are other paper trails that suggest that CCL has been in the sludge disposal business more than once. http://tinyurl.com/q6qpaub

    In 2013, HerSchy Environmental took 111 tons of untreated excavated soil to CCL (2,300 tons)after a Castaic truck-fueling station spilled tons of fuel into Castaic Creek:http://tinyurl.com/o73oety

    In 2012, carcinogenic soil from Malibu High School and Middle School made its way to CCL: http://tinyurl.com/k6dbvmv

    In 2012/2013 tainted soil from the clean-up at Madrona Marsh was sent to CCL: http://tinyurl.com/ltz25p2

    The list goes on and on.

    Where is the VV Community Advisory Committee in all of this? This group is run by Supervisor Antonovich’s office; they are doing nothing to inform residents about issues like this.

    The landfill should be investigated by the County. Someone needs to report this for formal inquiry. Patriot Environmental was a government contractor for Gulf Oil Spill; they take care of cleaning, hauling and disposing of dangerous material. Whatever they dumped needs to be investigated.

  7. They aren’t closing it. There is a proposal to more than double it’s size!

  8. Thank you for sharing this and helping us all continue to raise awareness. I hope more and more individuals will take notice and become concerned. It is clear that this site expansion is not in the best interest of the Santa Clarita Valley — the entire valley, not just those of us in Val Verde.

  9. Greg Kimura says:

    A few months ago, a representative from Chiquita Canyon Landfill made a disturbing comment. Let me hit the details here:

    1. Sludge was being accepted at the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, which is against the contract with Val Verde and their permit with the county.
    2. The sludge was banned from another landfill in Ventura County.
    3. The reason the sludge was banned, was due to the test results – they showed that toxins were in the sludge.
    4. When this was brought up at a meeting, a representative from the landfill admitted that they had not investigated the reason why the sludge could not be taken to the old location.
    5. The representative from the landfill also stated that it wasn’t important to them to find out why it wasn’t allowed at the other landfill.
    6. The representative from the landfill would not look into the matter any further.

    For those who are concerned about the trash that the management of Chiquita Canyon Landfill deem acceptable, I understand your worries. It’s upsetting to find out that they have violated the terms of the contract with us and their permit with the county. The leaders of Val Verde asked the county for and were given an organization called the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee (VVCAC). The management of the landfill attends these meetings and they are required to disclose information such as this to the Board. Based on communications with the VVCAC Board, the management of the landfill has not done so. It’s easy to come to the conclusion that the management of the landfill made the choice and continues to bypass the VVCAC in the hopes that their activities would go unnoticed.

  10. Steven Lee says:

    Is there anything that they will not take?

  11. John Musella says:

    Steve… The solid waste material you have referenced are drill cuttings. This is a non-hazardous solid waste material that is allowed under Chiquita Canyon’s Waste Acceptance Plan. That plan was approved by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. Prior to determining if a waste is acceptable for disposal at Chiquita, a sample of the material is sent to a laboratory for testing. The drill cuttings were analyzed in a laboratory and that data met all the criteria specified in the Waste Acceptance Plan.

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