Fact Sheet on the Scholl Canyon Landfill

Prepared by the Glenoaks Canyon Homeowners Association (GOCHA)  

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Background The Scholl Canyon Landfill opened in 1961 and currently serves as a waste shed for the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, La Canada-Flintridge, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, and unincorporated communities of Altadena, La Crescenta, Montrose and East Pasadena. The Landfill consists of 535 acres of which 440 acres are designated for landfill operations. It will currently reach capacity in 2028. When the landfill closes, the land will be developed into a recreational area.  There will also be a need for waste management as methane will continue to be produced long after the landfill closes. In the early 1990s a pipeline was put in place between the landfill and the Grayson Power Plant so that landfill gases, particularly methane, could be processed there. 

Inherent Dangers When the landfill was developed, no lining was placed beneath it as is currently required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The bedrock beneath the landfill is highly fractured granite.  Because the landfill has no lining and the rock beneath it is fractured and porous, toxins can percolate beneath the landfill to the Los Angeles basin aquifer. In addition, the landfill is located near active earthquake faults, most notably the Verdugo Fault, which runs along the 134 freeway, approximately 1/2 mile from the landfill.  The Verdugo Fault could potentially cause a 6.7 earthquake. EPA standards no longer allow landfills to be built so close to earthquake faults. The residents of Glenoaks Canyon live approximately ½ mile to a mile from the landfill.  EPA standards no longer allow landfills to be built so close to residential neighborhoods.   Finally, the landfill is in a high fire zone. 

Proposed Development(s) In 2014 an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was developed with plans to expand the landfill. Neighborhood outcry caused this plan to be abandoned.  In 2017 an EIR was developed for the Grayson Repowering Project with plans to demolish and rebuild the Grayson Power Plant.  These plans called to decommission the pipeline from the Scholl Canyon Landfill to the Grayson Plant.  Because landfill gas would no longer be processed at Grayson, a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) was developed for a proposed Biogas Renewable Generation Project (power plant) at Scholl Canyon Landfill.  In other words, landfill gas is proposed to now be processed at the landfill.   

GOCHA’s position on proposed Biogas Project The Landfill is an unsuitable location for the Biogas Project because

  • it is in a high fire zone. The Biogas Project would produce methane, a highly flammable and explosive gas.

  • it is near an earthquake fault.

  • it is located near residences, hospitals, schools, would be at risk due to increased air pollution.

  • it would operate 24/7, creating incessant noise which would disturb the peace of those living, working and enjoying recreational activities nearby.

  • it would “industrialize the landfill” most likely leading to further expansion including an Anaerobic Digestion System and prolong the life of the landfill beyond 2028.

Current Ruling: On March 21st, the Planning Commission denied the MND on the project and requested that an EIR be prepared instead.  An EIR is a more extensive environmental study that would also include alternative projects. 

Glendale Water and Power has appealed the decision to City Council. GOCHA is fighting this appeal.