- The Chiquita Canyon Landfill in Santa Clarita, CA has gone over its permitted 23 million-ton capacity and residents say it should be closed for good. A previous permit issued in 1997 stipulated that the site must close once it reached Nov. 2019 or 23 million tons.
- Waste Connections has proposed an expansion which would increase the site's footprint to 400 acres and double its daily intake from 6,000 to 12,000 tons through 2037.
- The expansion application is currently in the environmental impact phase. A hearing with Los Angeles County's planning commission is planned for early next year. The landfill has received a waiver to continue operations until a final decision is made.
The landfill has been open for 40 years and residents have been eagerly awaiting its closure as promised in 1997. Activists are calling for the site's immediate closure and recently protested in front of the county supervisor's office. According to Lynne Plambeck, president of Santa Clarita Organization for Protecting the Environment, the county receives 10% of tipping fees which amount to about $8 million per year.
"This is like the fox guarding the henhouse, with the county making money on the dump," she said.
A public works deputy for the county said the supervisor doesn't want Chiquita Canyon to become a regional landfill, but is waiting to see whether the expansion is approved. The concern is that increased intake capacity would likely bring waste from the city of Los Angeles and beyond since the site is already serving outside municipalities.
Last year, activists also submitted a civil rights complaint to the county supervisor over claims that local residents weren't fully informed of expansion plans. Activists say that reports and notices should have been provided in Spanish because at least 60% percent of the 2,400 residents in Santa Clarita are Latino. Similar questions of environmental justice have recently been raised around a landfill expansion in Memphis and other parts of the country.