THE DUMP AND THE WATER SUPPLY FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

  

·        The expansion of Sunshine Canyon Landfill above the cities of Granada Hills and Sylmar in the northeast San Fernando Valley is far from a local issue. What will happen if the highly contaminated leachate, produced by the landfill, finds its way into the water supply for a large part of Southern California?

 

·        It is a disturbing fact that the proposed expansion puts one of the largest landfills in the country next to the largest water treatment facility in the United States.

 

·        BFI contends that the liner will keep leachate from reaching the water table. The EPA states categorically that all liners leak.

 

·        The old city dump is unlined. The city expansion will depend on a liner placed over an unstable mass, subject to settlement.

 

·        The County landfill liner, which was presented to the community as long-term protection has already been breached and is now leaking hydrogen sulfide into the subdrain.

 

·        Standing on the ridge of the old landfill, you look out over MWD's treatment plant that wholesales water for 18,000,000 customers in the surrounding counties, and the DWP's huge uncovered Los Angeles Reservoir that holds the already-treated water for most of L.A.

 

·        The water arriving from north, via the California Aqueduct is delivered to MWD through the Balboa Inlet Tunnel. This 14 ft, tunnel was severely fractured during the last two earthquakes (San Fernando 1971, Northridge 1994). The southern boundary of the proposed expansion is only 500 ft. upstream from the tunnel. The State Water Resources Board wrote ominously:

“The top of the tunnel at its shallowest point lies approximately 25 feet below the surface.  The depth to groundwater at the same location is on the order of 10 feet, or less. Dependent upon flow rate, the hydrostatic pressure-head in the tunnel is approximately 3 to 19 feet lower than the ground-water level. Under these conditions, groundwater may seep into the tunnel."

 

·        Well contamination has been found at the site.

 

·        In the late 70's, the City dropped a proposal to purchase the dumpsite, when the geologist pointed out that there was a connection through the alluvium between the dumpsite and the waters of the San Fernando Valley. In the environmental documents, BFI denied that any connection existed. This was done in spite of disclaimers issued by the geologists they had quoted.

 

·        Chemical and human-waste contaminate the hundreds of birds such as seagulls that forage through the dump, looking for food.  After eating they go to the open reservoir to drink and float in the City's treated-water supply.

 

·        Over 20 % of the “non toxic” municipal landfills are now Super-fund sites.

 

·        A report prepared by the California State Assembly Office of Research and the California State Assembly Natural     Resources Committee (April 1988) states, in reference to Sunshine Canyon: "Prior to 1986, incoming loads were not regularly inspected for hazardous or inappropriate wastes and regulatory files indicate that chemical and petroleum products were disposed of at the, facility.”

 

·        Before the old city dump was closed, it took in 22,000 tons of digester cleanings, grit, and scum blanket from the city sewer treatment plants. Much of this was less than 50% solid and illegal for an unlined Class III dump.  These untreated sewer products also contained heavy metals and pathogens.

 

·        The County dump also accepted 12,365 tons of these sewer products (grit and digester screenings), until it was discovered that they were too liquid to meet State Water standards.

 

·        Using the figures in the CITY SEIR, this dump, which accepts industrial waste and household hazardous waste, will put up to 154,000 pounds of toxic, or hazardous waste into the dump -- each and every day. Increasing amounts of electronic waste now pose new hazards.

 

·        The landfill has accepted untreated medical waste, and buried in violation of the regulations.

 

If the City of Los Angeles continues on this collision course with disaster, its only source of clean water may one day be the tears of its weeping angels.  Mary Edwards, NVC Spokesperson