As complaints continue about the smell coming from the Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Sylmar and discussions with the owner have stalled, public health officials announced Tuesday that they have served the operator with a notice of violation.
The violation was issued Oct. 25, about three weeks after Supervisor Michael Antonovich recommended “aggressive action” against the landfill operator, arguing that the odors from garbage and landfill gas were getting worse.
The Department of Public Health determined that the landfill amounted to a “nuisance affecting the health and well-being of residents.”
Staff members from the Public Health, Regional Planning and Public Works departments told the board they planned to take a new tactic in trying to resolve the problem.
“Instead of prescribing specific mitigation measures, the departments will impose a performance requirement that the odor be abated,” DPH reported.
Republic Services Inc., which owns and operates the landfill and more than 300 others across the nation, has said it is in full compliance with its permits and has spent $27 million since 2009 on improvements to the landfill gas system.
The number of complaints from nearby residents have increased by more than 50 percent since 2013 to nearly 1,800 last year, according to data provided by Antonovich.
The operator countered that 70 percent of the complaints were coming from just 20 addresses and a “significant portion” of those residents are involved in a pending lawsuit against the landfill, suggesting a profit motive, a claim that has drawn outrage from residents.
The Department of Public Works supported the residents’ claims.
“The level of those complaints is unlike any of the other landfills that are regulated within the county,” Dan Lafferty, assistant deputy director of Public Works told the board.
Antonovich also asked staffers to review the conditional use permit for Chiquita Canyon landfill in Val Verde, citing increasing complaints at that site as well.
Supervisor Hilda Solis asked that planners also look at Scholl Canyon Landfill in Glendale.
—City News Service
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