Garden Grove

Raising a stink may end base’s odor

LOS ALAMITOS JOINT FORCES TRAINING BASE (Wikipedia/D. Ramey Logan).

Residents of West Garden Grove, along with those of neighboring cities, have been holding their noses and exercising their voices for years complaining about odors from the nearby Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.

The base began its history in 1941 as a naval air station and is now a center for operations of several branches of the military including the 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard.

Agromin, which manufactures soil-enhancing products for agriculture, has been operating a mulching project on the sprawling grounds of the 1,315-acre base, which also includes one of the longest runways in California. Air Force One uses it on trips to the area.

Nearby residents have been raising a stink about smells from composting for over a decade. Now word comes that will, uh, clear the air about the issue.

In an e-mail sent on Wednesday to city managers of Garden Grove, Cypress, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos, the JFTB announced it was pulling the plug on the composting operations there.

The letter, sent by Col. Richard Lalor of the California State Guard, reads as follows:

“After careful deliberation and consultation with the state headquarters, including relevant agencies involved in management of the installation, Joint Forces Training Base is formally ending its decade-long relationship with Agromin. This decision is considered to be in the best interest of both the installation and the local communities moving forward.”

Lalor is the public affairs officer for the base. The State Guard is part of the California Military Department and works with and in support of the National Guard.

George Brietigam, Garden Grove City Councilmember for District 1 (West Grove), expressed gratitude for the decision.

“I am very happy that base commander Brig. Gen. Michael Leeney and his staff weighed the quality of life for the surrounding communities in their decision. This decision will go a long way to foster community support for the future of base operations,” he said in a statement.

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