Water pipeline another landfill hurdle

It's getting close to crunch time for the long-proposed Gregory Canyon landfill

Gregory Mountain near Pala Gregory Mountain near Pala - Eduardo Contreras
PALA - Concerns about the integrity of two crucial water pipelines, as well as traffic along state Route 76, are among issues that will soon be aired as local, state and federal agencies near a decision on the long-proposed Gregory Canyon landfill.
At no time has the landfill been closer to being built - but that's not saying much, if the 20-year-history of the project is any indicator.
The status of the landfill was discussed at a recent San Diego County Water Authority meeting, where officials again questioned what might happen to two large water pipelines that run along a ridge just to the west the future dump site.
The Authority wants to know whether blasting that will be needed to build the landfill could damage the pipelines, which carry water from Northern California and the Colorado River to San Diego.
photoGregory Canyon will need an encroachment permit from the Water Authority before landfill construction can begin, though that permit would probably be one of the last ones issued for the project. The company also still needs a handful of permits from other agencies.
The landfill's biggest hurdle right now is a pending permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers which in 2010 decided it had jurisdiction because much of the drainage in the landfill area could flow into "waters of the United States" and are therefore subject to the federal Clean Water Act. The Corps issued a draft environmental study and is reviewing thousands of comments made after its release. When the Corps will make a decision is anyone's guess.
Still, County Supervisor Dave Roberts - who is a nonvoting alternate member of the Water Authority's board and an opponent of the dump - raised a red flag about the project during a July 25 meeting of the water agency.
"This pipeline in my estimation is the lifeline for our county water supply and anything that could damage this I think should cause us all to stop and think 'what the heck are we doing?'"
It is possible that the pipelines might have to be moved in order to build the dump, or that bridges would have to be built over them. Some of the details of what the developers would want to do won't be given until after the Corps permit has been issued,
Roberts said he thinks details need to be known far sooner.
"Anything we did to harm this pipeline would be a travesty to San Diego County," he said. "You all will have a very tough decision on your shoulders, probably next year."
Gregory Canyon Ltd. Spokeswoman Nancy Chase on Thursday said she does not see the pipeline issue as a deal breaker.
"We have a cooperative arrangement with (the Water Authority) and we will do whatever we need to do," she said. She said a meeting has been scheduled during which the developers will give an official presentation.
"They are fully aware that we will move the pipeline if that is required," Chase said.
  • Gregory Mountain near Pala Gregory Mountain near Pala - Eduardo Contreras
The landfill would cover 308 acres of a 1,770 acre piece of property located near Gregory Mountain about 3 miles east of Interstate 15 and just south of state route 76 and the San Luis Rey River.
Proponents say the North County needs a landfill and that it will be a state-of-the-art facility that will never leak pollutants into the ground.
Opponents - which include the neighboring Pala Band of Mission Indians, several environmental groups and some municipalities - say the dump is an environmental disaster waiting to happen and that it is foolish to think a landfill built near a river will never cause problems.
Meanwhile, another little publicized tack that opponents are taking is challenging the developers plans to straighten and widen Highway 76 for 1,700 feet in front of their land. Those opponents say that even with the widening, the hundreds of trash and water truck that will be pulling in and out of the dump will not have a proper line of sight and that accidents will ensue.
State Route 76, along with being a major highway for access to the county's northern backcountry, has seen a tremendous increase in traffic the past decade because of several casinos built along or near the road.



Found this little guy running around at 8th Street & Rice Canyon late yesterday afternoon, July 2. The resident of the only house in the area had noticed him running around all day. He has no collar and is not neutered. Most likely he was dumped, but just in case, thought maybe you could send this out in case someone knows him. Or, if anyone would be interested in giving him a permanent home, they can call us.
Ben & Debby