May 14, 1997
Honorable Judge William L. Gordon
Presiding Judge, Santa Barbara County Superior Court
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93121
The purpose of this letter is to respond to the Grand Jury Report entitled Environmental Regulations of Tajiguas Landfill (Report). In her letter to me, dated March 17, 1997, Patricia Fillippini, Foreperson of the 1996-1997 Santa Barbara Grand Jury, requested that the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) respond, by May 19, 1997, to Finding and Recommendation 8 of the Report. It is the intent of this letter to serve as the response required by California Penal Code Sections 933c and 933.05.
Finding and Recommendation 8 of the report states:
Finding 8: No personnel are available after hours or on weekends to respond to complaints.
Recommendation 8: Devise a system to have personnel
on call to handle complaints.
In the last five years (Calendar Year 1991 - Calendar
Year 1996), the APCD has received eleven complaints regarding dust from
the Tajiguas Landfill. Nine of these complaints have been reported to the
APCD, via voice mail, after normal working hours or on weekends.
The APCD used to operate an after hours/weekend stand-by program to handle complaints and provide engineering and meteorological expertise to other agencies in emergency response situations. Several years ago we were forced to cancel this program due to fiscal constraints. A stand-by response program costs between $5,500 and $26,624 per year depending on the number of hours of stand-by time per day. The minimum program would provide stand-by service in the north and south parts of the County from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on weekends. The maximum program provides stand-by service in both the northern and southern parts of the County during all non-work hours. These cost estimates include only the cost of stand-by remuneration and do not include the over time costs we would incur should stand-by personnel respond to after hours and weekend complaints. Due to APCD resource constraints, initiating such a program is not currently feasible.
Each year the APCD receives between 350 and 400 complaints regarding air pollution nuisance. Of those complaints, the overwhelming majority are received during normal working hours. Consequently, we do not feel that the service of an after hours/weekend complaint response program is worth the cost of such a program.
We fully acknowledge that there has been a history of nuisance dust related problems attributable to the Tajiguas Landfill, especially during anomalous downslope "sundowner" wind events. We have worked with the operators of the landfill to develop measures to mitigate these excessive dust emission events. We will continue to work with the affected public and the Tajiguas Landfill operators to address this air pollution nuisance problem and to design solutions aimed at minimizing the migration of dust from the landfill property.
Thank you for this opportunity to respond to the Report. If you have any further questions regarding this issue, please call me at 961-8853.
Douglas W. Allard
Air Pollution Control Officer