EPA orders immediate action at Chiquita Canyon Landfill to protect health and environment

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday ordered the Chiquita Canyon Landfill to “take immediate steps to protect human health and the environment” at the solid waste Castaic site.

Last year, residents of the communities surrounding the 639-acre Chiquita Canyon Landfill filed nearly 7,000 complaints with the South Coast Air Quality Monitoring District about noxious odors and health impacts from toxic runoff.

Complaints included eye irritation, respiratory symptoms, and skin problems.

SCAQMD consistently traced the odor to the landfill and reaction area, determined the source of the contaminant, and ordered monitoring to be carried out. There is no mention of pollutant removal or air and soil purification.

Thursday’s EPA order requires landfill operators to reduce impacts to off-site communities and to contain and mitigate smoldering and reaction events that occur at the landfill.

“This order reflects EPA’s commitment to ensuring that landfills comply with federal laws to reduce hazardous odors and prevent public exposure to hazardous waste.” EPA Pacific said Southwest Regional Director Martha Guzman.

“Today’s order is the result of local, state and federal collaboration to better protect the health of our neighbors and the surrounding environment.”

The agency further stated that the cause of the complaints is a smoldering or temperature-warming reaction underground at the landfill, which began in May 2022 and is increasing in size and impact.

As of January 17, 2024, the reaction area was approximately 300 feet from the nearest occupant.

The EPA said leachate seeping from the reaction area contains high concentrations of benzene, a hazardous substance that can become airborne and contaminate water. The agency said subsurface reactions increased the production of leachate, which the landfill operator failed to properly manage as hazardous waste and was not properly treated, stored, or disposed of.

November 30, 2023 Local, state, and federal agencies form a multi-agency critical action team to address human health and environmental impacts caused by deteriorating conditions at the Chiquita Canyon Landfill. Did.

The order, issued by EPA in conjunction with a multi-agency team, requires Chiquita Canyon LLC to take steps to comply with the law, properly manage the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, and reduce odors emanating from the landfill. I am asking you to take the necessary steps.

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