On August 28, 2012, Los Angeles County issued a Notice of Violation to Chiquita Canyon Landfill for sludge acceptance. Accepting sludge is in violation of their Conditional Use Permit.
The letter states: “It has been confirmed that the residual solids accepted by the Chiquita Canyon Landfill are considered sludge.”
Chiquita Canyon Landfill and the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee insist that the “solids” that they accepted are not sludge despite the Notice of Violation and the County’s official response that defines the material as sludge. Please read their FAQ, published on May 14, 2014.
“Q: Did the landfill accept ‘sludge’ from Santa Barbara?
A: For a period of time, Chiquita Canyon accepted “Inert Solids” from a drinking water treatment plant in Santa Barbara. The facility cleans natural materials from the mountain/lake water and turns it into drinking water for residents of Santa Barbara. The by-product from the drinking water treatment plant was accepted at the landfill.This material was not in any way sludge as people typically think of sludge,which is a bio-solid coming from a waste water treatment plant.”
The URL for this FAQ: http://www.valverdecac.com/pdf/VVCAC_FAQ_FINAL_05.14.2014.pdf
There were a high level of fire retardants and other pollutants in the water shed after the Zaca Fire and after rains, the runoff produced a large amount of sludge that the Cater Water Treatment Plant processed.
More information about the sludge issue and the Zaca Fire can be found on this article. The chemical profile of the runoff can be found on the article.
The Zaca Fire: Santa Barbara, July–October 2007
The City of Santa Barbara is located on the Central Coast of California, approximately 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. In July 2007 for nearly four months, a wildfire named Zaca burned approximately 120,000 acres in the watershed of the Santa Ynez river, which feeds the Gibraltar reservoir and Lake Cachuma, the drinking water sources for the City of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County.
While it burned over 60% of the district’s watershed, the fire wasn’t the primary trouble. It was the heavy rainy seasons from December through February—peaking in January 2008 and dropping 10.4 inches—that brought torrents of now hydrophobic organic material into the reservoirs, and from there into the city’s 28-million-gallon-per-day (MGD) treatment plant.
The Cater Water Treatment Plant is a conventional filtration plant utilizing coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, media filtration (granular activated carbon over silica sand), and chlorination. At that time, the plant was in the middle of ramping up processes to comply with the federally mandated Stage II Disinfection Byproduct Rule (DBP).
It was during this time, and after the fire, that Water Quality Treatment Solutions President Issam Najm, Ph.D., P.E., was brought in to monitor both regulatory and aesthetic efforts. In January he began taking samples.
The progress of the advancing runoff was observable. “It was like watching a slow cancer,” says Catherine Taylor, P.E., and Water System Manager. She recalls Najm saying, “I think we’re going to have a problem.”