Republic ordered to ‘Get to Work’ on landfill
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered
landfill operator Republic Services of Southern Nevada, to immediately
begin remediation work at the Sunrise Mountain Landfill in Clark County,
Sunrise Landfill, a 440-acre closed municipal solid waste landfill, is
located approximately three miles outside of Las Vegas city limits. The
established landfill cover failed during a series of storms in September
1998, sending various wastes into the Las Vegas Wash. The landfill is
located two miles above the Las Vegas Wash, which discharges directly
into Lake Mead — a primary drinking water resource for much of southern
Nevada, including the Las Vegas metro area, as well as the Phoenix metro
area and southern California.
“This order directs Republic to initiate stabilization work at the landfill
to protect public health while steps are taken to finalize a comprehensive
agreement to implement the entire remedy,” said Jeff Scott, Waste Division
director in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.
The order requires Republic to immediately begin work and submit plans
to the EPA including: a final cover plan, a storm water control plan,
a groundwater monitoring plan, and other additional reporting and implementation
tasks to insure environmental compliance. The total cost of the work
required is approximately $7 million.
“The EPA has identified a comprehensive engineering remedy with long-term
integrity,” said Steve Wall, an environmental engineer in the EPA’s Pollution
Prevention and Solid Waste Office. “This durable and cost-effective landfill
cover and stormwater system will meet the specific geographic and climatic
needs of Nevada’s arid desert landscape.”
The landfill was operated on behalf of the County by entities related
to Republic Services of Southern Nevada from the 1950’s through 1993.
Following the landfill cover failure in 1998, the EPA cited Republic
Dumpco and the Clark County Public Works Department for violations of
the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. At
that time, the EPA ordered the company to implement a stormwater control
plan; repair the existing drainage system; upgrade the landfill cap to
federal standards; control and monitor methane and groundwater, and submit
a plan to maintain and monitor the site.
Although they have completed interim work, Republic has failed to implement
surface drainage controls that would minimize erosion during major storm
events; improve the cover to address threats of erosion and infiltration;
or install an adequate groundwater monitoring system.
Sunrise Mountain Landfill is unlined and contains more than 18-million
tons of waste including: municipal solid waste, medical waste, sewage
sludge, hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, asbestos, and construction waste.