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Home / Environmental Protection Agency

EPA orders Chiquita Canyon Landfill to address imminent dangers

An order from the Environmental Protection Agency says the operators of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill endangers nearby communities and the operators need to take immediate steps to protect human and environmental health, and area politicians are responding to the order Friday.

The EPA issued in a news release Thursday that it has found the Chiquita Canyon Landfill presents imminent and substantial endangerment to nearby communities. The order calls for the operators to mitigate off-site community impacts of noxious odors and hazardous waste and to contain and reduce the smoldering or reaction event occurring at the landfill.

An attorney for nearby residents impacted by the landfill filed a petition Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court asking for the landfill to be closed. A group of residents gathered in Hasley Canyon Park in Castaic on Thursday to call for the closing of the landfill.

It was the second time this week the landfill has been cited by government agencies.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control alerted the landfill operators on Tuesday of five Class-I violations. The violations are the highest listed on the DTSC website and are “a significant threat to human health or safety or the environment.”

The landfill operators were found by the DTSC to be illegally disposing hazardous waste, in the case of Chiquita Canyon, leachate that contains toxic levels of benzene, a carcinogen, at a facility that is not permitted to treat hazardous waste.

The DTSC is preparing a more complete report of the violations that is expected to be completed in April. A summary of the violations indicates the landfill operators failed to label a 4,600-gallon load of leachate pumped from Chiquita Canyon as hazardous waste and transported it to a nonhazardous waste facility.

The EPA is part of a multi-agency task force formed in November to address the health and environmental impacts of the landfill.

“This order reflects EPA’s commitment to ensuring landfill operators mitigate noxious odors and comply with federal law to prevent public exposure to hazardous wastes,” EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman said in the release. “Today’s order is the result of local, state, and federal collaboration to better protect the health of nearby residents as well as the surrounding environment.”

State Assemblymember Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, said in a statement issued Thursday, this is an urgent crisis demanding immediate solutions.

In a letter sent to representatives of DTSC, South Coast AQMD and the state Water Resources Control Board, she calls for “an urgent meeting to discuss the current state of oversight and accountability imposed upon Chiquita Canyon Landfill, the steps that DTSC will be taking to expand monitoring and mitigation, and how the DTSC, the Water Board, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District will be coordinating with local, state and federal entities to ensure rapid resolution to this crisis.”

The letter was signed by four other Assembly members.

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