ALARCON DUMPS EXPANSION OF BRADLEY INTO HAHN'S LAP.
State Sen. Richard Alarcon made an 11th-hour pitch Monday to block state approval of the expansion of Bradley Landfill in Sun Valley by urging Mayor James Hahn to withdraw the permit application.
Hahn and city environmental affairs officials were noncommittal about Alarcon's request, which came just two days before the state Integrated Waste Management Board is scheduled to vote on the permit.
In a letter to Hahn, the Van Nuys Democrat said he wants the city to enact tougher standards for the Bradley Landfill and to work with landfill operators on creating a $1 million fund to offset the environmental impacts of the dump on the neighborhood.
``My intent would be that the city of Los Angeles, in fact, impose stricter standards on low-level radioactive waste and be a leader in the state,'' Alarcon said in an interview.
The mayor stopped short of agreeing to pull the application in advance of Wednesday's meeting of the state board.
But Hahn shares Alarcon's concerns about Bradley, and ``joins him in urging the Waste Management Board to look closely at the radioactive waste and groundwater contamination before giving out the permit,'' according to a representative of the Mayor's Office.
Residents of the area have strongly opposed expansion of the landfill, but the city already has approved an application by Waste Management Inc. - which operates the facility - to increase its capacity, raise its height 10 feet and prolong its operating life.
Waste Management has said the proposed permit change would fix clerical errors and update the permit to reflect a 1998 reconfiguration of the site approved by the city.
Alarcon repeated his concerns about radioactivity in a separate letter to the state board, urging members to deny the Bradley Landfill permit revision, and send it back to the city for reconsideration.
Alarcon, neighbors and Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez, D-Mission Hills, have raised concerns about the permit revision and operations at Bradley.
The state waste board originally was scheduled to vote on the permit revision in January, but postponed a decision until March. The board then delayed a vote at the request of Montanez, who wanted the radioactivity issue addressed.
A recent state study detected low levels of radioactivity in the leachate, the liquid accumulating in the bottom of the Bradley Landfill.
``The community, from what we can tell, is extremely worried about radioactive impacts,'' said Ellen Mackey of the East Valley Coalition, a community group that has opposed the permit revision. ``We don't know the impacts and we need to know.''
Waste Management officials have said the radioactivity found in the leachate occurs naturally and is not posing a risk to groundwater.
District Manager Doug Corcoran questioned whether the city could enact stricter regulations for Bradley because the dump isn't licensed now to accept radioactive materials.
``There's no radioactive waste allowed in Bradley anyway - zero,'' Corcoran said.
Alarcon's letter proposes the creation of a $1 million fund - paid by Waste Management and the city - that would pay for a full-time inspector at Bradley Landfill and at Sunshine Canyon Landfill, the controversial dump in Granada Hills. The fund would also pay to create parks, plant trees and make other environmental improvements.
Corcoran said Waste Management is willing to consider paying into an environmental fund, but noted that the company already put up $100,000 to fund a community advisory committee to address the dump's impacts.
``There's 35 landfills closed and operating in Sun Valley and we're only one,'' Corcoran said. ``We are one of the businesses in the area and we're going to do our part, absolutely.''