County Completes Odor Pile Clean-Up on Schedule
LA QUINTA – Riverside County’s expedited operation to remove the foulest-smelling material from a recycling facility in Vista Santa Rosa, west of Thermal, has been completed on schedule, to the relief of Trilogy residents in nearby south La Quinta.
Riverside County began hauling the foul-smelling piles of waste from the recycling plant two months ago as part of its effort to reduce odors in the area. The operator, California Bio-Mass, now has 90 days to remove all remaining material and cease all operations on site.
“I am hearing sincere appreciation from the Trilogy community that these food grease-filled piles, which created the noxious odors that affected residents for the last 18 months, have been hauled away in such a short timeframe,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “The county’s innovative and practical solution worked and saved us from costly, time-consuming clean-up and litigation.”& amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; amp; lt; /p>
Cal Bio-Mass is a composting operation that has operated at Jackson and Avenue 62 since 1996, providing a service to the agricultural industry and restaurants in the region. In November 2011, the county started receiving complaints from Trilogy residents about odor problems. After extensive fieldwork, on-site inspections and consultations, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and Riverside County Department of Environmental Health connected the foul odors to liquid food grease waste accepted at the site.
Cal Bio-Mass ceased taking in all food grease and odorous grease water by October 2012. Supervisor Benoit worked closely with county staff to find a solution to remove the odiferous materials, clean up the site and prepare a detailed shutdown plan during 2013 ahead of December 2014 when its conditional use permit was set to expire.
In April, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan Supervisor Benoit brought forth to remove 54,000 tons of material containing liquid grease trap waste. Due to the high density of the material, the original estimate increased to 64,767 tons as work began April 29 to haul the piles.
Crews from the Riverside County Waste Management Department, with the assistance of Cal Bio-Mass and Burrtec Waste Industries, worked 12-hour days to mix, load and deliver the material to the county’s Oasis landfill. The process was expected to continue for a maximum of 56 days and, despite the increased workload, finished on that timetable.
The county will carefully monitor the wind-down of the site to ensure compliance with the clean-up agreement, which requires complete clean-up and closure of Cal Bio-Mass after 90 days, expected September 19. During the 90-day wind down, the Riverside County Departments of Building and Safety, Code Enforcement, Environmental Health and Waste Management will visit the site to assess compliance with the agreement during the final clean-up. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will continue monitoring the site and response to dust complaints and other issues within their purview.
Supervisor Benoit advises residents that there may be some residual odors originating from the site while the operator removes all the remaining material in the next 90 days.
“I ask for the community’s patience as we look forward to the site’s permanent closure in three months,” Benoit said.