Officials kick up dust over dump fees

Options limited as county crews excavate 1 million tons of debris from local basins.

February 25, 2010|By Veronica Rocha

GLENDALE — A push by Los Angeles County to free up access to landfills for mud excavated from foothill debris basins is not expected to impact the main site in Glendale, officials said.

As mud dumping sites reach capacity, county officials have been scrambling to find places to store large amounts of dirt, especially with more rain on the horizon. The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed officials to seek temporary fee waivers from state and city agencies to dump the dirt at landfills in an effort to minimize costs.

The board also voted to waive fees and daily tonnage limits at San Fernando’s Sunshine Canyon for 90 days.

Excavated debris from foothill area basins has filled early 100,000 truck loads, said Tony Bell, spokesman for Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Mike Antonovich. With that level of output, county officials need more locations to unload the material, he added.


“We have about 1-million cubic yards of mud and rocks and other debris that are clogging the debris basins that are so important to protect the foothill community neighborhoods,” Bell said.

Costs for dumping the dirt have also swelled to $30 million and will likely increase, he said.

Despite the county’s push for easier access, mud will not likely be taken to Glendale’s Scholl Canyon Landfill because it is operated by the city, which imposes tough dumping restrictions that would likely keep it off the list of destinations, officials said.

The City Council would have to pass a new ordinance waiving fees according the county proposal, “but that’s not what we are doing,” said Glendale Public Works Director Steve Zurn.

“There is no fee waiver and it is very specific on what they can bring,” he said. Still, Los Angeles County Public Works officials approached the Los Angeles County Sanitation District about taking some dirt loads to Scholl Canyon if the landfill needed additional dirt, he said.

Additional dirt contributes to landfill capacity, but it is required by law to cover trash, Zurn said. But loads must be trash-free and contain little to no rock, Zurn said. And to dump the dirt, the sanitation district charges $4 per ton.

The dirt also cannot exceed the maximum 50% moisture make up, he added

“Nobody gets a free ride on that,” Zurn said. “They only take as much dirt as they need and can handle and then they turn it away.”

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