An update on Gregory Canyon landfill issues relevant to the San Diego County Water Authority was presented during the SDCWA’s Engineering and Operations Committee meeting December 18.
The discussion included not only protection for the CWA’s First Aqueduct but also the plan of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District to sell recycled water to Gregory Canyon Ltd. for use at the landfill.
“That’s, in my opinion, a pretty bad decision,” said Rua Petty, a Rainbow Municipal Water District board member and Rainbow’s representative to the CWA board.
The CWA’s First Aqueduct runs through the San Luis Rey Municipal Water District – which is not within the CWA boundaries – between the Rainbow Municipal Water District and the Valley Center Municipal Water District.
The proposed Gregory Canyon landfill is within the boundaries of the San Luis Rey Municipal Water District.
Although CWA staff handles most right-of-way issues without additional direction from the CWA board, special circumstances exist in the case of the proposed Gregory Canyon landfill.
The site was zoned for a landfill in 1994 when the county’s voters passed Proposition C, and one of the stipulations in that ballot measure was that the landfill project provide special protection for the CWA’s First Aqueduct.
The landfill’s Environmental Impact Report reiterated the special protection for the aqueduct.
Gregory Canyon Ltd. obtained a solid waste facilities permit (SWFP) from the state’s Integrated Waste Management Board in December 2004 which protects the aqueduct through two methods.
The SWFP conditions require an encroachment permit from the CWA, and the permit also states that prior to commencing any construction work Gregory Canyon Ltd. shall provide the County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health with a copy of the executed agreement between Gregory Canyon Ltd. and the CWA which covers the relocation and protection of aqueduct pipelines.
The CWA’s most recent meeting with Gregory Canyon Ltd. Was on May 8, 2008, and the CWA has not yet received detailed plans.
CWA staff believes that one possible encroachment threat would not take the form of a direct physical intrusion but rather would have the potential for damage to the aqueduct from activities originating outside of the CWA’s right-of-way such as blasting.
CWA staff also anticipates encroachment of aqueduct crossings for access to construction and operations sites, although the staff believes that the standard procedures of the CWA’s Administrative Code will ensure that the aqueduct pipelines are adequately protected from traffic crossings.
CWA staff will not recommend issuing an encroachment permit until other aqueduct issues involving the landfill are resolved.
The information requested by CWA staff at the May 8 meeting included a blasting analysis, load calculations for the road and equipment crossings, and more detailed plans which include project phasing.
Although the Environmental Impact Report for Gregory Canyon had been challenged in court, on November 20, 2008, the Superior Court dissolved the Preemptory Writ which concerned the EIR’s adequacy, thus ruling that the EIR was complete.
The court concluded that the County of San Diego, as the lead enforcement agency, had met its obligations under the California Environmental Quality Act.
That court clearance allows Gregory Canyon Ltd. to seek permits from regulatory agencies including the Integrated Waste Management Board, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Game, and any other regulatory agencies which would provide required permits.
The EIR and a July 2008 addendum analyzed the use of recycled water for construction, operation, and closure of the landfill.
Gregory Canyon Ltd. has an agreement with the Olivenhain Municipal Water District to deliver up to 230 acre-feet per year of recycled water.