Simi Approves $548k for Easy Fire Landfill Damages

By Gina Harden

SIMI VALLEY – The City Council unanimously approved $548k in funding and a supplemental budget request for emergency work at the closed 66-acre Tierra Rejada Landfill.  According to Public Works Director Ron Fuchiwaki’s report, the October 2019 Easy Fire consumed all vegetation, destroyed the ground surface gas collection system and the flare control mechanism.

The total cost of more than $2 million also includes remediation work to bring the site into compliance according to Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations.  Expenses will be equally shared among the four consortium patners including the County of Ventura, Ventura Regional Sanitation District (VRSD), Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District (RSRPD), and the City of Simi Valley.

The Tierra Rejada Consortium was established to maintain the closed landfill after receiving regulatory enforcement citation Order 91-063 May 31, 1991, when slope of the landfill failed.

Approximately 7000 feet of pipe has already been replaced. Additionally, work will be done to:

  1. Repair/replace gas extraction system and flare controls
  2. Optimize existing drainage system
  3. Grading to stabilize the steep slopes
  4. Ensure the required earthen cover is present

During the January 6, 2020 Steering Committee meeting, the Consortium agreed to:

  1. Restore the thickness of soil cover to two feet across the 26-acre waste footprint
  2. Repair benches that have settled and/or eroded and no longer drain effectively
  3. Develop grading plans and obtain grading permit from the City of Simi Valley to use the onsite soil for these repair efforts, if required
  4. Improve existing drainage conveyances to more effectively manage and control storm water runoff
  5. Hydroseed the site cover soil upon completion of cover repairs
  6. Maintain a program to watch and repair the site during forecasted rain events in order to prevent erosion until new improvements are constructed

The city previously relied on federal grants for continued monitoring, routine maintenance, and reporting. When the grants were exhausted in 2019, Simi Valley authorized $25k/year for the landfill. The additional expenses will be drawn from the Sanitation fund.

Councilmember Litster inquired if the city’s fire insurance would cover expenses, but was informed that this didn’t meet their deductible. The City Manager said they are looking at FEMA to recoup costs. Mayor Mashburn added that they will try to recover costs from the party found liable for the fire. Councilmember Luevanos expressed concerns about methane gas and respiratory issues and requested signage be put in place to help make firefighters aware of the property’s contents.

Further information available in our previous report.

City Council videos are available online.

Gina Harden resides in Ventura County. You can follow her @libertygrows on FBYoutube.


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