Confronted by growing protests from residents, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors demanded on Monday that one of Southern California's only remaining hazardous waste dumps immediately place restrictions on accepting liquid toxic wastes.
The board, acting under the county's nuisance abatement authority, warned that if Casmalia Resources does not comply, a suit will be filed next week by the district attorney.
The action followed several weeks of unsuccessful attempts to reduce odors at the dump by spraying foam and oil on the liquid hazardous waste ponds.
"The people of Casmalia and Santa Maria are fed up. We have to take strong actions today to send a strong message to the state," Supervisor Toru Mioshi said.
The dump, one of two hazardous waste dumps used by Southern Californians, is about eight miles southwest of Santa Maria. During 1983, the dump received 120,000 tons of hazardous wastes. Last November, odors believed to have originated at the dump forced the closure of Casmalia Elementary School for 1 1/2 days.
The closure of other hazardous waste dumps in Southern California, such as the controversial BKK dump in West Covina last year, has forced increasing amounts of toxic waste to Casmalia Resources and another hazardous waste dump at Kettleman Hills in the western San Joaquin Valley.
It was unclear what effect the board's move will have on waste generators. No immediate comment was available from Casmalia Resources officials.
Specifically, the board demanded that the dump cease discharging liquid hazardous wastes into or out of five ponds among the roughly 40 at the site. The board's demand also covered any "other offending ponds" that were not identified.
Mioshi said the demand applied to oil field wastes, which are believed to cause the odors, but not to other toxic substances.
"I just hope the waste generators in Southern California don't get the idea that this dump (at Casmalia) is going to be available indefinitely," Mioshi said.
"It's my feeling that Southern California has to expedite the . . . siting of toxic wastes within their jurisdictions. The recent conditions at Casmalia and the odor that permeates the Santa Maria Valley clearly indicate that that dump is out of control."