- Republic Services, working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, has a plan to reduce odors at the Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Sylmar, CA that it hopes will appease regulators and residents. Rather than cut back on overall capacity or operating hours as was originally proposed, the company said it can solve the problem by diverting more organic waste, as reported by the Los Angeles Daily News.
- Under the agreement Republic would divert up to 350 tons of organic waste per day from the landfill. Gas would also be controlled through additional cover processes and morning hours for some trucks would be limited between October and March when odors have been a particular issue.
- The SCAQMD Hearing Board will be meeting on Dec. 15 for final discussion before voting on this stipulated order of abatement deal. If approved, the organics diversion plan would be in place by December 2018.
This could resolve a multiyear dispute that has resulted in thousands of complaint calls, $27 million in site upgrades and a recent notice of violation from Los Angeles County. Past proposals have called for reducing the site's 9,000 ton-per-day capacity by one-third or shutting it down entirely. This new plan would send organics to composting and digestion facilities many miles away from the area residents that have been driving this issue.
Critics of Republic's plan say that the company will still be bringing more waste to the site since winning a new franchise contract in Los Angeles and that they would need to divert organic waste to meet state guidelines anyway. California has set goals of reducing organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and cutting down overall methane emissions in the state.
Depending on the board's vote this could be the second resolution this month for Republic's ongoing landfill issues in California. The company recently received approval for a major expansion of its Newby Island landfill in San Jose after facing similar odor complaints that were a factor in losing a local collection contract. If odor complaints can be adequately addressed at both of these landfills other site operators will likely be curious to learn from Republic's success in turning around two tough situations.