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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Couch seeks answers to mysterious compost transfers

  • Trucks from Los Angles dropping composted material in Lebec area where it is picked up
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  • Kern County officials are investigating some mysterious transfers of materiel from Los Angeles at a site just inside Kern County and Fourth District Supervisor David Couch is asking for a full report to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.
    Couch and county staff have reportedly witnessed trucks carrying what appears to be composted material and leaving it at a site in the Lebec area.
    They were tipped off by residents of the Lebec-Frazier Park area.
    It was later picked up and transported to an unknown location.
    Couch said in a press release that he is concerned that Los Angles is dumping sewer sludge in this county that is not in conformity with existing rules and regulations.
    He wants answers.
    “This questionable activity leads to more questions. What is this material. Why is it being handled so secretly? How long has this been occurring? I don't have the answers but I intend to find out,” Couch said. “In light of the ongoing litigation with the City of Los Angeles regarding Measure E, a more open and cooperative approach would be far better.”
    It's a particularly touchy subject, especially in the light of the county's ongoing battle over the transportation of sludge from Los Angeles to this county, where it is used as fertilizer on some agricultural fields.
    Kern County voters overwhelmingly approved Measure E in 2006, which banned the application of sewer sludge in unincorporated Kern County.
    But that ballot measure was overturned when a federal court ruled it was unconstitutional, so the dumping of sludge on fields has continued. The case is still being appealed
    Couch said he wants a full report of the suspicious activity.
    Couch planned to ask publicly on Tuesday that the county code compliance department, planning department and public health department all prepare a full report on the situation for the Board of Supervisors.
    County staff is already in contact with the property owner and a trucking firm to find out what kind of material is being transferred, where it is coming from and where it is going.

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