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No Reason to Expand Sunshine Canyon Dump

August 08, 1993

* In response to your article (July 27) on Sen. Barbara Boxer opposing the Elsmere Canyon Landfill, I ask what about the Sunshine Canyon Landfill located just a half-mile southwest of Elsmere in Granada Hills, adjacent to the Metropolitan Water District and the Department of Water and Power filtered drinking-water reservoirs supplying Los Angeles?

Reopening and expanding Sunshine Canyon (closed in 1991 because of repeated dumping violations by BFI, its operator) to receive non-hazardous and, in specific instances, bio-hazardous waste will result in the invasion of Sensitive Ecological Area No. 20 and destruction of more than 8,000 mature California live oaks.

Experts have testified to both the county Board of Supervisors and the city Planning Commission that:

* Water runoff from the landfill will contaminate the reservoir of L.A. drinking water via the hydro-geologic connection and seep into the ground water table.

* The canyon wind tunnel, reaching velocities of 100 m.p.h., will carry particulate matter and small garbage into the uncovered DWP reservoir. It is too large to cover even though required by law. All attempts by BFI to control the local spread of dust, during the time the landfill was open, failed.

* The landfill lies on the active Santa Susana fault. A sizable quake will allow a massive contamination of the drinking water.

* L.A. County has a glut of dump space expected to last at least 60 more years. Orange County is actively soliciting garbage for its underused landfills.

The county General Plan states: "Regional need (for a landfill) should outweigh the impact on the community. Potential hazards should be given greater consideration than the regional need." Not only has BFI failed to carry out the required impact studies, especially the mandated health survey, but they have failed to offer evidence the landfill is needed.

Why then is the Board of Supervisors allowing the landfill to proceed? Could it be the 10% tipping fees the county will collect? Or could it be the supervisors' need to make good on the political contributions received from BFI? What's your guess?

GERALD SIMMONS

Granada Hills

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