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Councilmen voice concerns about how to treat hazards in old landfill site

By: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
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Landfill remediation Recommendations

The remedial effect on the site, limitations, cost and time to completion are summarized in the list below:

Remedial Method – Overex & Offsite Disposal

Remedial Effect on Site – Remove contamination source

Limitations – Does not treat contaminated groundwater

Estimated Cost - $4,800,000 to $14,034,000 (disposal cost uncertain)

Best Case Time to Completion Estimate – 8 years

 

Remedial Method – Cutoff Trenches with Pump & Treat

Remedial Effect on Site – Treat contaminated groundwater

Limitations – Does not remove contamination source

Estimated Cost - $5,842,000

Best Case Time to Completion Estimate – Indefinite

 

Remedial Method – Wells with Pump & Treat

Remedial Effect on Site – Treat contaminate groundwater

Limitations – Does not remove contamination source
Estimated Cost – $6,568,000

Best Case Time to Complete Estimate – Indefinite

 

Remedial Method – De-water Site to Below Trenches

Remedial Effect on Site – Minimize additional groundwater contamination

Limitations – Does not remove contamination source
Estimated Cost – $8,730,000

Best Case Time to Complete Estimate - Indefinite

 

 Remedial Method – Subsurface Barrier Soil Mixing

Remedial Effect on Site – Minimize contaminated groundwater from leaving Site

Limitations – Does not remove contamination source or treat groundwater
Estimated Cost – $3,096,000

Best Case Time to Complete Estimate – Indefinite

 

Remedial Method – Subsurface Barrier Steel Piles

Remedial Effect on Site – Minimize contaminated groundwater from leaving site

Limitations – Does not remove contamination source or treat groundwater
Estimated Cost – $5,462,000

Best Case Time to Complete Estimate - Indefinite

 

Remedial Method – Repair Landfill Cap and Continue Monitoring

Remedial Effect on Site – Reduces the concentration in groundwater leaving the Site

Limitations – Does not remove contamination source or treat groundwater

Estimated Cost – $611,000

Best Case Time to Complete Estimate – Indefinite

- The following information was provided in a City Council memorandum dated April 23, 2013 by Wes Heathcock, solid waste supervisor.

 

 

 

 

 

Time line for Virginiatown landfill site:

The site has been monitored for ground water quality concerns for 23 years, in response to requirements from the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), as summarized below:

1989; Two groundwater monitoring wells installed on the Site.

 

1990: The City verified the extend of impacted groundwater, provided a Verification Monitoring Program, submitted a Closure/Post Closure Maintenance Plan, and updated the Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) with a monitoring program.

 

1990: A Solid Waste Assessment Test Exemption was issued by William H. Crooks of the Regional Board on January 30, 1990 and reconfirmed in Order Number 91-059, dated February 22, 1991, for the  Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) for the Closure of the Lincoln Landfill, Placer County, Item 16. Closure activities of grading, compaction, clay cap, topsoil, and seeding were accomplished during the early 1990’s and the Site has been officially closed. Quarterly and semi-annual monitoring and periodic Site inspections have continued since 1991.

 

1990: Two boreholes for material sampling and four additional monitoring wells were installed (for a total of 6 monitoring wells).

 

2002: Applied Engineering and Geology, Inc. (AEG) was onsite to implement AEG’s Well Abandonment and Installation Work Plan.

 

2003: A Sensitive Receptor Survey was completed. Additional WDR were published in September.

 

2003. The Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) states, “The Discharger shall develop and implement a CAP and EFS for groundwater corrective action and monitoring which meets the requirements of Section 20430 of Title 27.” The WDR was published in September 2003. The initial timeline stated in the WDR for the CAP is shown below:

Install and sample additional wells, due by May 31, 2004

Complete CAP and EFS, due by July 15, 2004

Install corrective action facilities and implement further corrective action per CAP, due by July 15, 2005

 

2004: Geophysical and Geoprobe investigations were performed to determine waste material subsurface locations, a five-year report and biannual monitoring reports on water quality, and four additional monitoring wells were completed (for a total of 10).

 

2010: Four additional boreholes and three additional monitoring wells were completed (for a total of 9 monitoring wells)

 

2011: Three additional monitoring wells were completed (for a total of 12 monitoring wells).

 Due to the difficulties with getting offsite access (requiring easement from adjacent property owner), the additional monitoring wells were not installed until January 2011 and the investigation using the additional wells was not completed until the end of 2011.

 

2012: Since the Second Half 2004, AEG has been onsite quarterly to collect depth to water readings and twice annually to conduct semi-annual sampling events and 5-year event monitoring.

 

Regulatory Risk Assessment: During the process of acquiring offsite access in 2010 to 2011, the RWQCB approach toward the Site regulator changed from making preparations to taking enforcement actions to requesting only semi-annual status updates of the CAP. If the RWQCB decided to take enforcement actions, they have a pretty broad range of options that are largely at the discretion of the enforcement department (enforcement actions are not handled by the Site’s regulator). An example of an enforcement action is a $1,000 per day that continues until the RWQCB order (in our case the WDR) is no longer being violated. The Site has not met RWQCB WDR notice requiring CAP implementations since 2005.

 

2012, the RWQCB issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) on March 11, 2013 for the following items:
Maintenance Wells 1 & 18 reported detections of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) in samples collected during 2012 semi-annual report.

- This information was provided in a city council memorandum dated April 23, 2013 by Wes Heathcock, Solid Waste Supervisor.

 

 

A Lincoln City Council meeting Tuesday quickly turned eventful when Councilman Spencer Short asked that item 6.3 A on the consent agenda be removed for further discussion. The item referred to a corrective action plan and engineering study for a closed landfill in Lincoln.

The study found hazardous materials had migrated into ground water at the closed site on Virginiatown Road. Those materials include Freon, chloroform, Benzene, vinyl chloride and lead.

 “I have some serious concerns about this item. In its current form, I’m not going to vote for it,” Short said.

Short’s comments opened a discussion among councilmen, city officials and one resident that ended with a call for a separate closed session meeting to review options for remediation treatments at the landfill. The city’s deadline for submitting a report to the California Water Quality Control Board is May 15, according to city officials.

Although there was talk at Tuesday’s meeting about being fined, the city will not accrue fines beginning May 15, according to Wendy Wyels, environmental program manager for the Central Valley Regional Water Board.

“We do progressive enforcement. Penalties can be as much as $10,000 per day but I don’t see us being there yet. If they (the city) continue to work with us, we’ll be OK,” Wyels said.

 Earl Stephens of Applied Engineering and Geology, Inc., which prepared the corrective action plan and engineering feasibility study for the city, presented the study Tuesday to the council. The report offered seven options for remediation at the landfill. The options included:

·         No remediation/continue monitoring

·         Onsite chemical stabilization

·         Over-excavation and offsite disposal

·         Cut-off trenches with pump and treat system

·         Extraction wells with pump and treat system

·         De-water site to below the disposal trenches

·         Minimize groundwater movement with subsurface barriers

 See break out box No. 1 above for details about each solution.

The remediation options range in price from $611,000 to $14 million.

Mark Miller, Lincoln’s director of public services, said the city has recommended the “least expensive option that meets with the requirements of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.” With that option, repairs to the clay cap over the landfill would reduce the concentration in groundwater leaving the site, according to the study.

 “This report is the result of 10 years of continuous monitoring of the landfill on Virginiatown Road. We have two inches of data to support this report,” Miller added. “The city has been responsibly monitoring that landfill since 1991. Now we’re trying to wrap it up.”

When asked by City Council if he agreed with the city’s choice of remediation for the landfill, Stephens said the city’s option was “not my recommendation.”

“We’ve tried to evaluate the positives and negatives of each option. All the options except one (the most expensive one) have no sunset. We’d have to continue to monitor them forever,” he said.

The city’s first choice option — repairing the landfill cap and continuing monitoring the site —  would cost $611,000, according to Stephens. It would require on-going monitoring at $130,000 per year, Stephens said.

Another problem involved “a portion of the waste that would have to be treated as “hazardous,” Stephens said, “and that would be costly, between $4 to $15 million.”

Councilman Short said the city’s solution wouldn’t, in the long term, solve the problem.

“The clay cap doesn’t resolve the underlying issue. It keeps water from penetrating the site and allowing run-off,” Short said. “By itself, it’s not a solution.”

“Due to the fact we have contaminates which are migrating offsite, the most comprehensive solution is to over-excavate the site,” Short said. “Over-excavation protects the current and future citizens of Lincoln from significant financial consequences”.

Short said the city’s second choice solution, “pump and treating,” is an ongoing expense “with no end in sight.”

“The cap plus the pump out and treating of ground water would cost approximately $6.5 million, plus ongoing monitoring and other costs,” Short said.

After Stephens’ remarks Tuesday night, Mayor Stan Nader suggested that the council call a special session to discuss which remediation method to use to correct conditions at the Virginatown Road landfill site.

 

Councilman Peter Gilbert said that he “felt uncomfortable discussing or voting on the issue” in the public forum.

“We don’t want to wash our dirty linen in public,” Gilbert said.

 

When resident Byron Chapman suggested that a closed session might be a violation of the Brown Act, Lincoln city attorney Jon Hobbs told council, “You would not be violating the Brown Act.”

The News Messenger called Jim Ewert, an attorney for the California Newspaper Publishers Association, Wednesday to ask if the closed session would be in violation of the Brown Act.  

“On its face, the Brown Act does not allow the City Council to go into closed session to avoid airing its dirty laundry,” Ewert said.

The Ralph M. Brown Act, was passed by the California State Legislature in 1953 to guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies, according to thefirstamendment.org.

Following a full council vote Tuesday night, Councilman Gabriel Hydrick asked for approval for a special meeting this Monday to discuss options for the landfill remediation. The meeting will be closed to the public.

Asked by The News Messenger if the lead content in the old landfill was hazardous to the public, Wendy Wyels, environmental program manager for the Central Valley Regional Water Board, said that she was not qualified to answer that question. She added that the Virginiatown landfill has “very low levels of contaminants in the ground water under the landfill and they don’t extend very far.”