The Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Los Angeles County has been facing a series of issues, including toxic chemical reactions, increased complaints, and regulatory scrutiny. The landfill has experienced pressure buildup and leachate seepage due to scorching temperatures, leading to concerns from nearby residents and regulatory agencies. The landfill operator, Waste Connections, has been working to address the issues by removing excess gases and liquid, drilling new gas wells, and installing flares to burn off flammable gases. Despite these efforts, the problems are expected to persist for some time. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has issued notices of violation to the landfill, and additional regulations are being considered. The community surrounding the landfill has been actively involved in raising objections and discussing the growing concerns. The situation at the landfill has prompted regulatory action and community engagement to address the ongoing challenges.
Odors and Emissions:
- New flare and vacuum wells approved: In October, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) approved the installation of a third 60-foot flare and additional vacuum wells to capture and destroy landfill gases responsible for the strong odors plaguing nearby communities. Construction is underway, but it’s unclear how long it will take to become fully operational.
- Smoldering event: A smoldering event deep within the landfill, reaching temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, is contributing to the odor issue and damaging the gas extraction system. Authorities are working to address this issue, but it may take time.
- Utility relief program: The Chiquita Canyon Landfill Utility Relief Grant Program is providing financial assistance to residents of Val Verde, Castaic, and surrounding communities to help offset their increased electricity costs incurred due to the need to run air purifiers and other appliances to combat the odors. The program runs through October 31, 2023.
Regulations and Monitoring:
- State report on fixes: A report from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) in October identified 15 corrective actions needed at the landfill to address various issues, including odor control, gas extraction system improvements, and groundwater monitoring. The landfill operator is working on a plan to implement these fixes.
- Increased monitoring: Regulatory agencies have increased their monitoring of the landfill’s operations and emissions to ensure compliance with regulations and track progress in addressing the odor concerns.
- Chiquita Canyon Landfill website: The landfill’s website (chiquitacanyon.com) provides news updates, landfill reports, and information about the utility relief program.
- Daily News articles: The Los Angeles Daily News has covered the Chiquita Canyon Landfill odor issue extensively, with recent articles on the new flare approval (October 6, 2023) and CalRecycle’s report (October 18, 2023).
Overall, the focus remains on controlling the odor issue and ensuring the landfill operates safely and in compliance with environmental regulations. While progress is being made, it’s likely to take time before residents see significant improvements in air quality.