Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I don’t want the dump, but I know my trash has to go somewhere. What are the alternatives?
Answer: Granada Hills has done its share. The old City dump was here, in one form or another, for thirty-five years and the City promised “valuable recreational land” on the site when it closed in 1991. In reality, there is plenty of disposal capacity in Southern California, including rail-haul, and many viable alternative technologies.
Question: Wouldn’t these alternatives be very expensive?
Answer: Not really. Many operators have come forward with very competitive bids for projects much further from residential communities. When you consider the costs, in terms of health care to those affected by the pollutants, the other alternatives are a bargain indeed.
Question: What about the trash crisis?
Answer: Los Angeles County has a financial interest in promoting landfills. The County gets substantial tipping fees and the landfill owners make millions. They have sold the “crisis” theory to make money. The County has made false and misleading predictions for the last decade, none of which have come true. In reality, there is plenty of disposal capacity and many alternative technologies.
Question: BFI seems to be making an effort to work with the community. Why shouldn’t we be cooperative?
Answer: Sadly, BFI’s motivation is money. BFI stands to make billions with this huge proposed expansion of the landfill right over our heads. The North Valley will be taking in more garbage than the entire waste stream of the City of Los Angeles. BFI doesn’t want the community to fight the new expansion, and they are ever so nicely leading us to the slaughter.
Question: What will this expansion mean to us?
Answer: To put this in perspective, the City closed Lopez Canyon due to intolerable odors, dust etc., while they were taking in just 4000 tons per day. BFI with its 12,100 tons per day, and with 115,000,000 that will eventually be in place (90,000,000 City/County expansion + 25,000,000 closed City landfill will MAKE SUNSHINE CANYON THE LARGEST DUMP IN THE UNITED STATES.
Question: BFI is giving one million dollars to the community for improvements. Shouldn’t we be grateful?
Answer: The one million was not a gift. It was demanded, by the City, as part of a law suit settlement, as a mitigation for granting BFI a variance to use the access road. That grant, will in time, bring us the pollution from thousands of diesel trucks daily.
Question: I’ve lived in the community for a number of years. How come I’ve never noticed any problems?
Answer: The City dump was closed in 1991. The dump was operating at a reduced level before that, due to findings by the Zoning Administration that the dump was causing problems that were “materially detrimental” to the residents of this community. The County expansion which opened in 1996 was further away from the community. With the City expansion opening in 2005 and the combining of the City and County sides in 2009 the bulk of the operations are now much nearer to us.
Question: I understand the dump has been open again since August of 1995 and I haven’t seen much change. Why is that?
Answer: The dump is operating in the lowest part of a very deep canyon, a mile away from the entrance. Impacts will increase as operations move higher and when more gas is generated by the waste pile. Also, the landfill is currently taking in much less than its permitted inflow. Be assured however, this amount will grow once the approvals for the expansion are in place.
Question: I thought BFI had room to expand farther away from us in the County. Why can’t they use that area?
Answer: BFI can expand back into the County and accommodate 70 million tons. The Coalition opposed the expansion, but at least the County expansion would be over one mile further away from the community. In addition, BFI has estimated their current capacity on the County side to be far less than it really is. BFI has tried to use their under-estimation to justify their claim that expansion is a necessity. Also keep in mind that it will take another thirty-five to forty years before the area they currently have is full.
Question: Will it really save money to expand Sunshine Canyon Landfill, as BFI states?
Answer: In five years their current contract with the City and County will expire. In five years all other landfills will be closed and with no other competition, BFI will hold the City and County hostage. If the City Council doesn’t like any increased rates, they won’t be able to do anything about it.
Question: Is there another way we can solve the waste problem?
Answer: A. We could locate more than one landfill in canyon or desert areas where the pollution caused by their operation and the truck emissions would not enter the Los Angeles and neighboring communities’ atmosphere. So much of California is uninhabitable. Putting a landfill outside of Los Angeles surely couldn’t cost more than the MTA’s subway, and the Federal Government would contribute generously to it in the name of good environmental policy.
B. Each district could come up with a plan for disposing of its own waste. The landfills would be smaller than one great huge landfill as BFI is proposing, and the pollution would be more manageable. And we wouldn’t be endangering the aqueduct and water supply.
Question: What will it be like when BFI increases collection from its present 3,500 tons daily now to 11,000 – 14,000 tons if the Los Angeles City Council approves the expansion?
Answer: The applicant, (BFI) readily proclaims that Particulate (PM10), Nitrogen Oxide, and Carbon Monoxide emissions, would produce adverse and significant air quality impacts both during construction and operation. (Subsequent Environmental Impact Report.)
Question: Does the City and the County get funds for Granada Hills use?
Answer: The County gets tipping fees to use in the Unincorporated areas of the County. The City also gets tipping fees which are put into the Sunshine Canyon Amenities Fund for use in the Granada Hills area. As of November 2009 these funds amounted to almost $5,000,000. So far about $200,000 has been spent on us.