Scholl Canyon Landfill

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The City of Glendale held a community meeting Thursday, July 31 in Eagle Rock in coordination with LA City Councilmember Huizar’s office to go over the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed expansion of Scholl Canyon Landfill. Glendale has no immediate plans to proceed with any expansion and possibly may not for quite some time, if ever, depending on the success of the City’s aggressive waste management alternatives.

During this meeting Glendale provided a history of the process, why the City of Glendale had initially undertaken this effort, an overview of the landfill, the Glendale City Council’s adopted Zero Waste Policy, Glendale’s ongoing diversion efforts, working towards an exclusive franchise process for private haulers, and Glendale’s active pursuit of alternatives for disposal. The meeting was held at the Eagle Rock Community Center just off Figueroa near the entrance to the landfill. Nearly 100 people including a handful of Glendale residents were present to discuss the DEIR and provide input.

The City of Glendale even captures the methane gas created from the Scholl Canyon Landfill and uses it in the steam boilers at the City’s Grayson Power Plant - one of the many proactive ways Glendale is reducing waste.

While the municipality of Los Angeles has been restricted from dumping, private trash hauler services for businesses in Los Angeles with dual hauling services in the waste shed area, do use the Scholl Canyon Landfill.

In 1987 the City of Glendale implemented a defined waste shed area that limited the surrounding cities which could utilize Scholl Canyon Landfill. The criteria was essentially to only provide access to those agencies who did not have a landfill within their own jurisdiction. As the City of Los Angeles had multiple options for utilizing landfills in their own City they were not included as part of the waste shed area. Since the opening of the landfill in 1961 and up to the waste shed area restriction in 1987, the City of Los Angeles was an active user of Scholl Canyon landfill and accounted for a significant amount of refuse that was deposited at the facility. Once the restriction was put into place, there was a 50% reduction in waste being deposited in the landfill.

Other key points:

  • Integrated waste management and resource recovery is a unified system, and it must be examines as one. And, realistically, at least for the foreseeable future landfills will play a role in that system, albeit a diminishing role as Glendale progress toward the goal of zero waste.
  • The expansion of Scholl Canyon Landfill is an environmental benefit to region, especially as the City of Glendale brings forward new conversion technology project next year, and as it meet the renewable energy goals set out by the State.
    • Glendale has capacity in the landfill and as the community continues to divert more waste, that capacity will stretch out ever longer. And, as Glendale progresses towards more CT efforts, the City envisions that the landfill will be a conversion facility with a landfill component, versus the other way around. Conversely, if Glendale were to close the landfill, then 1) the trash would have to be trucked across the region adding to air pollution and traffic congestion, and 2) Glendale would not be able to access the site to make use of the renewable energy.
  • LA City actually derives benefit from Scholl Canyon Landfill, and always has. Up until LA City was removed from the waste-shed, they were a major depositor of trash at the facility. Roughly half of the trash buried there is from LA City. Yet LA has been absolved from paying any portion of the tens of millions of dollars and/or environmental responsibility that goes along with landfill post-closure protocols. Further, LA trash is today making its way into Scholl Canyon – indeed any trash truck traffic that exists on Colorado Boulevard today is from commercial haulers servicing accounts in both Glendale and Eagle Rock. The City of Glendale could abate that problem by moving to an exclusive franchise system in Glendale, but that would hit Eagle Rock customers financially because their trash would have to be trucked to Chiquita or Sunshine Canyon.
  • People fear what they don’t understand. The EIR being considered is a foundational document that grants the time flexibility for the landfill to transition to conversion facility. Of all of the conversion technologies that folks want to move toward, only anaerobic digestion is proven and permitted in California – and Glendale is moving there now. The city may get to plasma or gasification in the next twenty years, but the community needs real-world and practical solutions that bridge where we are and where we want to be.