The city of Los Angeles has dropped a controversial plan to send a small portion of its household waste to the San Gabriel Valley.
The plan, which raised the ire of federal, county and West Covina politicians who claim that the San Gabriel Valley has become Los Angeles' waste haven, would have temporarily sent about 4,000 tons of trash per year to the BKK Landfill in West Covina.
Rep. Esteban Torres (D-La Puente), along with county Supervisor Pete Schabarum and the West Covina City Council, had vehemently opposed the proposal and had asked the Los Angeles City Council to abandon it.
"I think that our influence prevailed," said Torres, who received a letter this week from Deputy Mayor Tom Houston saying that Los Angeles was no longer considering the plan. "I would like to feel that those of us who asked them to do otherwise had some effect," Torres added.
Torres, Schabarum and West Covina Mayor Forrest Tennant had charged that Los Angeles, faced with the closure of one of its two municipal dumps, was trying to circumvent the problem by sending its trash to neighboring cities.
But the politicians' charges had little to do with Los Angeles' decision, city officials said. The plan was dropped because BKK Corp. withdrew its bid last week for the proposed contract and the city was not interested in pursuing negotiations, Los Angeles officials said.
"BKK had insisted on a minimum (contract) amount," Houston said this week. "The city engineer in the Bureau of Sanitation sent a letter back saying that they weren't interested."
BKK President Kenneth Kazarian said he was amused by Torres' contention that the politicians had influenced Los Angeles officials. "I guess he's going to take credit for it now," Kazarian said. "Everyone's been so hot to chase the issue, we've been hearing all kinds of things."
Kazarian said that after reconsidering his company's bid, he decided to rescind it because the price quoted, $5.50 per ton, was too low. "We don't know what the situation is," he said. "We kept hearing that they might want to increase the amount (of trash to be dumped). Our price was OK for a small amount, but we don't want to be locked into bad costs over a long period of time."
The BKK Landfill has been involved in several controversies over the past year and a half. In July, 1984, 21 families were evacuated from their homes near the landfill because of escaping explosive and toxic gases. The last of the families returned home in January. BKK, which had been the only hazardous-waste landfill in Southern California, stopped receiving toxic substances late last year. It still accepts household garbage.
Los Angeles was considering dumping at BKK because one of its two municipal landfills, Toyon 1 in Griffith Park, is scheduled to close by the end of this month. BKK was to be used temporarily for only a small portion of the garbage normally destined for Toyon 1. The bulk was to be trucked to other locations that have not yet been determined.