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City OKs Recycling at Landfill : Waste disposal: The $15-million plant at the Scholl Canyon dump could reduce trash volume at the facility by 20% and could be operational by 1997.


GLENDALE — Saying it has no alternative, the City Council has authorized development plans for a proposed $15-million recycling plant at the Scholl Canyon Landfill.

The plant, which is expected to be in operation by 1997, could reduce by almost 20% the amount of trash that is disposed of in the city's only landfill and prolong the life of the dump by three to five years, a team of consultants told the City Council Tuesday.

The city has been working for years to find alternatives to trash disposal because sites in Southern California, as well as throughout the nation, are rapidly filling up and new sites have not been found.

Scholl Canyon is estimated to have a remaining life of less than 20 years, and there is no other site in the city that could serve as a replacement, officials said.

The city hired the San Francisco consulting firm of Brown, Vence & Associates in May, 1992, to conduct a $200,000 study on how the city can best meet state-mandated rules to reduce disposal of trash in landfills.

Like all other cities and counties, Glendale must reduce the amount of trash dumped in its landfill by 25% within the next two years, and by 50% by 2000. Failure to comply could result in penalties of up to $10,000 per day.

The Scholl Canyon facility would help meet those goals in conjunction with other city recycling programs, such as curbside pickup of recyclable household waste, which the city has sponsored since 1988, officials said.

"What are our choices?" asked Councilwoman Eileen Givens. "We have none." She said she is "very uncomfortable" endorsing a program that could cost $15 million to build and from $2.3 million to $7.5 million a year to operate.

Nevertheless, council members unanimously adopted a final feasibility study for the plant and authorized planners to complete a development plan, expected to be presented in four months.

Plans call for construction of a 50,000-square-foot facility near the entrance to Scholl Canyon off Figueroa Street north of Eagle Rock.

The facility would provide a variety of ways to mechanically and manually separate reusable waste, such as rubber and glass, from other refuse dumped in the landfill. Recovered materials would be sold to recycling firms to help pay for operations, officials said.

The program could greatly accelerate the amount of trash now diverted from Scholl by all other city recycling programs, including curbside pickup of aluminum cans, glass and yard clippings, officials said.

Consultants proposed a series of other alternatives--ranging in cost from $4 million to $14 million to build, depending on the material-handling capabilities of a plant--but recommended the most ambitious because they said it would be the most cost-effective.

The Materials Recovery Facility approved by the council Tuesday (called a "merf" by technicians) would divert 128,000 tons of trash per year from Scholl.

The cost of recovery is estimated at $44.74 per ton. In comparison, the city's curbside recycling program costs $55.30 per ton, and recycling of yard clippings and other "green waste" is $89 per ton, said Michael Brown, president of the consulting firm.

A variety of sources are proposed for funding the project, ranging from an increase in fees charged to dump trash at the landfill to the sale of municipal bonds. Final details will require further approval by the council.

The action Tuesday allows consultants and city engineers to continue design plans and prepare for the beginning of construction by December, 1995.

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