Potential Community Recycling Closure Is Complex

State Says Environmental Concerns At Stake

Community Recycling may take longer to close than some expected. The embattled facility near Arvin was ordered to close, then was given a temporary reprieve by a judge.

Environmental concerns could keep the facility open even longer.

Right now, Community Recycling is still open because of a judge's order. But even after the next court hearing, the composting facility could stay open while the state figures out all environmental impacts of shutting it down.

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  • After two workers died at Community Recycling in October, the facility came under intense scrutiny. The county revoked their permit and the facility was ordered to close within 30 days, but the company went to court and got a judge to stop that order temporarily.

    The next court date in the case is just over ten days away.

    "Right now they are working under a court order and as soon as the court order is up they need, to leave," said the president of the Committee for a Better Arvin, Sal Partida.

    But 23ABC has learned it may be a little more complicated than that. Community Recycling takes in millions of gallons a day of raw sewage from Lamont. The sewage is used in composting process.

    Closing Community Recycling would throw both Lamont’s sewage system and the environment around the facility into crisis.

    State environmental officials said Community Recycling will have to submit a plan to clean up the property if they close.

    "I would encourage that they take a long time, because we want that very clean. We don’t want another superfund left over here," Partida said.

    Lamont’s sewage district will also have to submit their plan for disposing of the sewage it can no longer send to Community Recycling.

    An attorney for the district said a plan like that could take five years, but the Committee for a Better Arvin said it is not discouraged by bureaucratic red tape.

    "As long as the recycling center is here, we are going to be fighting. It doesn't matter how long it takes,” Partida said.

    State environmental officials emphasized that the power to close the facility still lies with the county and the judge in the case.

    Those officials said there is a scenario where Community Recycling could stop operating quickly, then take months to complete the required cleanup.

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