For 61 years, Glendale has operated a dump at Scholl Canyon, overlooking Eagle Rock, and is now attempting to build a methane plant at the site. | Photo by LA Times

Sponsored Content: Glendale Dump Buildup Still Endangers Eagle Rock

2022 Business Editions Environment More News September


Anxiety is growing in Eagle Rock as Glendale City Council prepares to vote Tuesday, September 20 on buying machinery for a permanent methane plant. The site is Scholl Canyon dump, at the north end of Figueroa Street. 

Residents of L.A., joined by Glendale neighbors and backed up by several local elected officials, have repeatedly labeled such a plant a serious safety threat. Some cite the massive wildfire in August 2019, triggered by arson, that engulfed the 134 Freeway and prompted evacuations. But unless three members of Glendale City Council act to stop it, the biogas plant at the site of Glendale’s 61-year-old urban dump could proceed. 

The hills above the 134 Freeway in Eagle Rock have suffered numerous wildfires in the past decade

“We all know this hillside is a dangerous area to industrialize,” says Eileen Hatrick, a former principal at Dahlia Heights Elementary in Eagle Rock and longtime advocate for the environment. “It is located in a high fire hazard zone. It is close to an earthquake fault. And parks, schools, and residential neighborhoods are nearby.” 

Glendale voters shook up the status quo in the June 7 election. Opposition to the biogas plant played a significant role. Democrat and incumbent Council member Dan Brotman and newcomer Elen Asatryan, a respected progressive with strong ties to small business and environmental advocates, were top vote-getters. 

Ousted from Council amid false claims of voting irregularities was Vrej Agajanian. In November 2021, Agajanian defied a tide of critical public comment and unanimous opposition by Glendale’s Planning Commission to provide a pivotal third vote to approve a biogas plant at the dump site. 

Brotman argued then that such a plant was not the least harmful option for handling methane emitted by the rotting garbage in the dump and that better alternatives remained to be explored. Since methane levels at the dump site will gradually subside after 2030, building a biogas plant there also raises questions of sunk cost and inefficiency. 

But at the Aug. 23 meeting of Glendale City Council, it was Mayor Ardy Kassakhian, not Brotman, who seconded a motion by Councilmember Asatryan to reconsider the Nov. 2021 approval of the biogas plant. That seconded motion has yet to be placed on a future Council agenda for official action.

In 2019, a crescendo of protests over pollution from the dump by Eagle Rock, Glendale, and Pasadena residents forced Glendale to take off the table a dump-expansion plan announced in 2014. 

Solution #1 is closing the dump | Photo T. A. Hendrickson / Boulevard Sentinel

“Solution number one is closing the dump,” adds Hatrick in Eagle Rock. “Glendale should return the canyon to recreational uses by our communities that have endured this dump for too long. Solution number two is something Glendale has not seriously considered, and that’s piping the methane generated by the dump to the city’s current industrial gas plant at Grayson to be processed. The pipeline from Scholl to Grayson already exists and was used in the past for this purpose. Instead of industrializing the dump past the point of no return, that option appears far safer, eliminates flaring, creates energy, and seems more cost-effective.”

Take a moment to tell the 5 City Council members your concern about building a methane plant at Scholl Dump:

6 thoughts on “Sponsored Content: Glendale Dump Buildup Still Endangers Eagle Rock

  1. Thanks for this update. It’s insane to consider developing the site when a functioning pipeline already exists. The fire risks are just too high, and it’s a total waste of Glendale taxpayer’s money. I’ve emailed the mayor and city council members on your recommendation. Let’s hope they listen and do the right thing on September 13th.
    Many thanks to all the folks who’ve stayed on top of this and have continually protested this very bad idea.

    1. Truly grateful to Elen Asatryan for bringing up for reconsideration the Scholl Landfill Gas plant! And thanks to Ardy
      Kassakhian for seconding the motion.
      They have given us another chance to do the right thing environmentally and financially for the City of Glendale and neighboring cities.
      For power plant at landfill: net power will be lower than 12 megawatts claimed by GWP due to the power needed to clean up the gas and maintenance downtime, as well as the decreasing methane flow rate from the landfill over time. The Landfill is expected to reach capacity in about 4-5 years, after which point methane production will continue to drop. Per GWP Mechanical Engineer, by 2032, there won’t be enough methane to operate all 4 engines, so 1 will have to be taken offline, then each engine will shut down as methane decreases. Expected end-of-life of Power Plant: 2040 (Planning Commission meeting video 1:36:58 min mark).

  2. Many thanks to the East Area Progressive Democrat leadership for being sure we as voters are aware of this crucial issue. This safety threat should be a nonpartisan issue, and everyone who cares about our community and the health of all residents should be against this methane plant.

  3. With thanks to East Area Progressive Democrats, we know this ill-conceived biogas project is still being considered by Glendale officials. It is baffling given that as recently as June 24, there was yet another fire right along Scholl Canyon. See the video below. We all know this is a huge, dangerous health and fire risk, near homes, kids recreation park and now, those who live in the Tiny Homes facility right down the street. We call on the members of Glendale City Council to please put a stop to this madness.

  4. What are they thinking? Aside from all the comments above, this is so ecologically unsound. The dump sits on a fault, and is in a high fire risk area. Why continue expanding the use of fossil fuels when we know how negatively impacts climate change!?

  5. As an Eagle Rock resident I am very concerned about this project that – as far asI know – has always been controversial and has met with strong resistance from residents every step of the way. The site is very close to a densely populated residential area with schools, parks and playgrounds. Furthermore it sits on a fault line and is in an area with a high risk for wild fires. The proposal is dangerous and also outdated as we have long discovered safer alternative sources of energy. Please keep our community safe and protect our environment!

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