AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Forming the group, scheduled to meet Dec. 8, is a significant step. Many believe the dump is the source of a foul odor affecting parts of the town and are trying to build a case for the county review. Landfill officials believe the odor could come from septic tanks or area farming. “Our purpose here is to actually obtain a threshold level of understanding for input into this preliminary environmental impact report,” Stephens said. “(It’s) to see if we can pinpoint areas of concern in the environmental impact report, and to utilize that to see what is the actual potential danger and threat to the community. “I think it would be to the landfill’s advantage to work with us on this, to clarify any misrepresentations that may be occurring.” The landfill’s owner, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Republic Services Inc., is ready to talk. “The landfill is embarking on an environmental process by which public review and public input is mandated,” said Josh Gertler, a Chiquita Canyon spokesman. “As the process unfolds, the landfill will most certainly be engaging their neighbors in the community in a dialogue.” When the dump expanded in 1996 from 96 acres to its current size, the civic association dropped the battle in exchange for a benefit funding district under which landfill owners provided $250,000 a year, with 2 percent increases per year until the dump closes – then projected for 2019. The district controlled more than $1.2 million at the end of 2004, Stephens said. The money, which can’t be spent on advocacy against the landfill, has financed parks, tutoring programs and bus passes for seniors. A group of 11, including seven locally elected representatives, oversee the funds. But the new permit pursued with the county Department of Regional Planning seems too much: It would add 33 million tons of trash capacity to the landfill on top of the current limit of 23 million tons, and would allow treated sewage on the site. RALE is against both, Stephens said. Others worry the expansion could worsen any existing odor problem. A provision in the plan allows trash to pile up to 1,430 feet – residents say a bordering ridgeline only rises to 1,230 feet. “I want to be optimistic and it would be excellent if we could unite as a community, as all citizens affected, against this landfill,” said Natalie Tate, a resident who has complained to government regulators about odors. “The ultimate outcome is to have absolutely no odors – basically to live our lives without any sense that the landfill is there.” The South Coast Air Quality Management District has hit the landfill with two nuisance odor violations over the past two years. It also began an investigation in September that could lead to a third odor citation. Landfill officials have said those were isolated incidents. “The landfill has been for a long time a responsible and very generous neighbor to the community of Val Verde, and we fully intend to continue our responsible stewardship for the landfill to minimize impacts to the community,” Gertler said. Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VAL VERDE – A new committee formed to battle expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill’s expansion plans is documenting odors and other possible environmental concerns connected to the dump. The Val Verde Civic Association recently spun off Residents Against Landfill Expansion – RALE – as a subcommittee to monitor the issue. A proposal under county environmental review would more than double the volume of the landfill southeast of this unincorporated rural community of 1,500 by extending the 257-acre working area to a total 355 acres. The review process could take several years. “It’s easier for a small group – a subcommittee – to go out to work on those problems,” said Jim Stephens, the association’s president.