Environment & Science

Some LA County leaders don't like the smell of a potential Glendale landfill expansion

An aerial shot showing the Scholl Canyon dump in Glendale near the 134 Freeway on June 25, 2013.
An aerial shot showing the Scholl Canyon dump in Glendale near the 134 Freeway on June 25, 2013.
Doc Searls/Flickr Creative Commons

Some Los Angeles County leaders voiced concerns Tuesday over an apparent expansion of a landfill in Glendale, though Glendale spokesman Tom Lorenz said the city isn't expanding the landfill.

The Scholl Canyon landfill spans more than 500 acres. For the past five decades, it has served Glendale and surrounding communities in L.A., except for Eagle Rock.

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents Eagle Rock, said an expansion would be hazardous to residents and the environment. He said that Tuesday's press conference was to remind Glendale "there are many of us that are apposed to their plans to expand the Scholl Canyon dump."

"You know the noise, the litter, the diesel pollution, the impacts on local schools, and parks and residences, it would significantly impact the local neighbors," Huizar told KPCC.

While Lorenz said that the city isn't expanding the landfill and said that he was "disappointment in the misinformation that is out there," he said that what's got everyone riled up is an environmental impact report (EIR) draft that the state requires in order to address possible changes or improvements.

"Those options would include an expansion, whether you go vertically or laterally," Lorenz said. "But you can look on our website and we talk about several things that are important to us, and that is looking at waste-to-energy technology, maybe anaerobic digestion technology, to increasing the diversion of recyclables out of the landfill, and controlling who dumps at the site."

Lorenz said that those technologies make Scholl Canyon a "clean, safe and proven landfill." He added that many didn't know the landfill was there because "you don't smell it. It's a clean operation."

Lorenz also said that, if the landfill wasn't there, both Glendale and other cities would have to take their trash to another landfill that's farther away. Huizar said that other cities are working to reduce their dependency on landfills, while Glendale is doing the opposite.

"What we're asking the city of Glendale to do is to not expand it, to stop its analysis and their environmental impact report ... and to find alternative forms of disposal," Huizar said.

Lorenz said Glendale has been working on that EIR for a decade — the report was last circulated in 2014 — and even if efforts to expand the landfill were to get off the ground, it would take years before anything happens. He also said that, even if nothing is done, the landfill would still be there for another 20 years. Huizar said that the L.A. City Council has been told that Glendale is bringing their environmental impact report back to the Glendale City Council by this summer, but that the EIR isn't studying alternatives to the landfill.

You can read more information from the city of Glendale about the landfill at SchollCanyonLandfill.org.