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Council Orders Study at Bradley Landfill

Safety: Effect of radioactive waste dumped at Sun Valley site will be examined.

April 10, 2002|PATRICK McGREEVY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles City Council ordered a study Tuesday into whether low-level radioactive waste was dumped at the Bradley Landfill and whether it presents a health hazard, even as the dump operator downplayed the problem.

The council also separately agreed to launch a study of alternatives to expanding the Sunshine Canyon Landfill into Granada Hills.

The Bradley Landfill issue stems from a report last week by the state Integrated Waste Management Board that Rocketdyne's Santa Susana Field Laboratory disposed of low-level radioactive waste in the Sun Valley dump without the knowledge of state or local regulators or the landfill operator.

The material dumped at Bradley during the last decade was mostly concrete, dirt, asphalt and other demolition debris. It was checked separately for radiation by Rocketdyne, Oakridge Institute of Science and Education, the state Health Services Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, said Doug Corcoran, district manager for Waste Management Inc., which runs the landfill.

"Each one of those checks confirmed that the materials could be released for unrestricted use," Corcoran told the council.

City inspectors went to the landfill Monday and determined that measuring devices aimed at keeping radioactive waste out of the dump were working. "We found no violations of any permit requirements," said Gary Gero, assistant general manager of the city Department of Environmental Affairs.

The council also asked the city Sanitation Bureau to study expansion alternatives for Sunshine Canyon, including a plan to send the waste by rail to landfills in remote desert areas. The report is to be completed within 60 days.

Councilman Hal Bernson sought the study after the city rejected an incomplete application by Browning Ferris Industries for an operating permit at the expanded landfill.

"We are happy [the city is] doing this study, because it's going to show what previous studies have, that anything else is going to be extremely more expensive and not as environmentally sound," said Browning Ferris spokesman Arnie Berghoff.

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