Odor Complaints and Public Nuisance Violations

Members of the public within South Coast AQMD's four-county jurisdiction (Orange County and urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties) are encouraged to report air quality problems they observe to 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664) or via South Coast AQMD's online complaint report form for investigation by South Coast AQMD inspectors.  As the following graph shows, since 2009 South Coast AQMD has received increased numbers of complaints against Sunshine Canyon Landfill (SCL) alleging the landfill as the source of nuisance odors.

Inspectors must confirm odors in the presence of sufficient numbers of public complainants, each at their own residence or workplace, then trace the odors to the operation of a unique source -- excluding other potential sources via upwind/downwind surveillance -- before enforcement action can be taken against the verified source of odors.  Based on this evidence, a  South Coast AQMD inspector may issue a Notice of Violation (NOV) against the source of nuisance odors for creating a public nuisance, in violation of South Coast AQMD Rule 402 (PDF) and California Health and Safety Code Section 41700.Link to external website.

SCL Complaints Graph
  • Summary of Complaints (PDF), from 2012 to present, alleging SCL as the source of nuisance odors, and of  Notices of Violation issued to SCL for creating a public nuisance (and other violations). 

  • Monthly report of complaints (PDF) alleging SCL as the source of nuisance odors.

South Coast AQMD retained two firms to evaluate and identify potential improvements in the design and operation of the SCL landfill gas collection system to reduce gas emissions and odors.

  • Yazdani Consulting (PDF) - "Evaluation of the Landfill Odor Problem at Sunshine Canyon Landfill" 

  • Hydro Geo Chem Inc. (PDF) - "Pneumatic Testing and Recommended Changes at Sunshine Canyon Landfill" 

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South Coast Air Quality Management District

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