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Eastside Residents Rally Against MRF

Posted: February 26, 2008 3:08 a.m.
Updated: April 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
Nearly 100 Canyon Country and Newhall residents packed the Canyon Country Moose Lodge on Monday night, laying out a battle plan to fight a proposed giant recycling center near their homes, saying it would bring an "unfathomable" number of trash trucks to their neighborhood streets.

"Are you ready to see your property values go down?" said Newhall resident Joe Thompson, who formed the Stop the Dump Committee within the last two weeks. "Vermin, flies, rodents - who knows what it's going to bring?"

Through its franchise agreement with Burrtec Waste Industries Inc., the city of Santa Clarita has required the commercial waste hauler to build a "materials recovery facility," or MRF, to recycle the 1,000 tons of commercial and residential waste the city produces each day.

Burrtec has purchased 72 acres between Sierra Highway and Highway 14 in Newhall to build its MRF.

Thompson rallied residents Monday night to begin a letter-writing campaign to not only city officials and City Council members, but to state and county leaders as well.

"We need to let everybody know how unhappy we are about this," he said. "The most important thing of all is we need to make our voices heard."

And the residents appeared eager to jump on board.

Alan Ferdman, the chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, said Monday he has "never seen this many people get this excited about anything this quickly in Canyon Country before."

"We're just at the beginning of the process," he said. "This is the time to nip it in the bud."

Canyon Country resident Bill Arens said that if Cemex Inc. is given the green light to begin mining sand and gravel in Soledad Canyon, Highway 14 will see hundreds more trucks added to Highway 14.

"On Highway 14, if they put those (cement) trucks on there and these (trash) trucks are on there, it's going to go from bad to worse," he said.

State law mandates that cities recycle 50 percent of their waste. Preliminary 2005 numbers show the city's diversion, or recycling, rate at 45 percent.

A consultant is working on drafting the environmental impact report for the 170,000-square-foot recycling center that would sit on a 72-acre property along a stretch of Sierra Highway between Placerita Canyon Road and Golden Valley Road.

The plant would initially process an average of 1,000 tons of trash per day and could peak to 1,500 tons. The MRF would have the potential to process 3,000 tons per day to meet the Santa Clarita Valley's future demands. The center will likely operate six days a week from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Travis Lange, the environmental services manager for the city, recently stressed that the MRF will be a recycling center - not a landfill - with all processing planned to take place inside an enclosed building.

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