Supervisor Kathy Long discusses the sludge issue with the audience at a recent Good Morning Santa Paula.

Sludge drying at Toland Road Landfill addressed by Supervisor Long

June 22, 2007
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesAlthough it has been proceeding with a whimper the proposed use of Toland Road Landfill for a controversial sludge drying operation is starting to turn into a bang those attending Good Morning Santa Paula! learned from Supervisor Kathy Long, who said that she disagreed with the proposed project not undergoing more rigorous study and permitting.The June GMSP! - sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce - was hosted at The Grove by Jim McCoy/McCoy’s Automotive.“I’m not sure if this has hit the radar with the residents of Santa Paula although I know some of the Council are very aware” of the proposed Toland Road Landfill bio-solids drying facility Long said.The county Planning Department approved the Ventura Regional Sanitation District’s project as a minor modification to the existing Toland Landfill Conditional Use Permit, a move appealed by several area growers and Santa Clara School.“A group of residents in the valley - teachers, our wonderful Little Red Schoolhouse, farmers, parents - who were very active” when the VRSD received permission to expand the tonnage accepted by landfill more than ten-fold have “been reactivated on this issue,” said Long.According to the project’s DEIR up to 7,000 tons a month of 80 percent water/20 percent solids sludge will be taken to the Toland Landfill, located mid-way between Santa Paula and Fillmore.Long said that the appeal that will be heard by the Ventura County Planning Commission on June 28 at 8:30 a.m. at Supervisors’ Hearing Chambers in Ventura.“What occurred is this region, particularly Oxnard, used to truck sludge to Kern County...the citizens said they didn’t want it” and a successful voter initiative kicked “us out of Kern County...”The VRSD is also proposing the use of 15 micro-turbines to fuel the sludge drying units that will run 24-7.
“Project issues? There a few,” noted Long who wryly listed treatment of wastewater, truck traffic and other possible negative impacts.“When I read the CUP it was vague in some respects to how it will be monitored” and just who is responsible for same and “of course, the school has great concerns.”Some of the concerns of opponents “go back to that a minor modification (to the existing landfill CUP) is not appropriate...I agree with them” and it must be determined if the proposed project should be reviewed through a “major or full EIR.”The permit modification does specify the origin of sewage sludge so the Toland facility could accept “Los Angeles’ sludge, somebody else’s sludge...that’s a concern. There’s no mitigation for” additional traffic, “at this time a significant concern. Then a question was raised if this is in fact a wastewater treatment plant and should be licensed” as same by the state.The project “indicates sludge drying 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but nothing” about staffing requirements, and although the noise of the drying units will “not be audible outside the landfill” during normal operating hours, “what about after?” asked Long.The sludge end product will be pellets, which the VRSD is proposing be used as landfill cover and not included on its daily tonnage limit.“How will the district keep it from being blown in the wind?” and Long also questioned what affects would rain and water runoff have on the waste byproduct.“The permitting agencies have to be aware of the size and nature” of the proposed facility, “a significant project,” noted Long. “If the VRSD is going to do this there needs to be a thorough analysis.”

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