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Leakage Threat Spurs Glendale Bid to Block L. A. Use of Scholl Dump

May 29, 1986|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Glendale officials say they plan to block the City of Los Angeles from dumping trash in the Scholl Canyon Landfill in Glendale because the nearby Toyon Canyon Landfill in Griffith Park threatens to pollute Glendale water wells.

The Toyon site had been Los Angeles' biggest landfill until it reach capacity last November and was closed.

Glendale Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg said Wednesday that Glendale and Los Angeles County officials have drawn up an agreement to prohibit any municipality that has its own dump from using Scholl Canyon, a county-operated landfill. Glendale shares jurisdiction over the dump with the county.

She said Los Angeles would be the only city affected by the agreement, which has yet to be formally adopted.

Chuck Carry, chief engineer of the county sanitation district, confirmed that an agreement is being made final but declined to discuss details. It was uncertain whether the county would want to stop Los Angeles from using Scholl altogether or merely limit the amount of trash it could dump there.

Officials of the Los Angeles city sanitation bureau declined to comment.

At a press conference Tuesday, Bremberg and state Assembly Minority Leader Pat Nolan (R-Glendale) criticized Los Angeles officials for failing to adequately protect Glendale and its neighbors from potential leaks at the Toyon dump. The landfill is just across the Los Angeles River from Glendale.

Bremberg said Los Angeles dumps about 12,000 tons of refuse a year in Scholl Canyon but proposes to increase that amount to 220,000 tons because of the closing of Toyon Canyon. The City of Los Angeles also operates a landfill in Lopez Canyon east of Pacoima and sends some of its refuse to the privately operated Sunshine Canyon Landfill north of Granada Hills, both within Los Angeles city boundaries.

"We feel very strongly that, if a city has a landfill, then it shouldn't send its trash to its neighbors," Bremberg said. "Why should we have to take somebody else's trash?"

Bremberg and Nolan said plans by Los Angeles officials to monitor the safety of the 54-acre Toyon dump are "totally inadequate."

They said contours of the dump have been changed so that runoff water, which normally would drain across public property toward the Mineral Wells area of Griffith Park, instead has been diverted across private property toward Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. Bremberg said that executives of Forest Lawn have complained about the move.

Bremberg charged that the steep slopes of the 290-foot-high landfill are improperly maintained and threaten to spill garbage into areas below. If that happens, polluted material could seep into Glendale's ground water.

In a report issued this month, the California Waste Management Board warned that leaks of toxic materials and methane gas at Toyon are a "potential threat to public safety and the environment." The board urged state water quality-control officials to require the City of Los Angeles to make a comprehensive study of surface water, ground water and geologic conditions at the site.

There has been no reaction from Los Angeles officials.

Bremberg is a member of the waste management board and was appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian. Both she and Nolan blamed problems from the dump on Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, who is opposing Deukmejian in the gubernatorial race.

Bremberg said her requests to discuss problems at Toyon have been ignored repeatedly by Los Angeles officials. She acknowledged that she has no proof that toxic materials are seeping from the dump site, but said: "I know there's leakage; I've watched it."

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