JULY 2011

Landfill fire on Pine Ridge Reservation contained

The EPA has contained and smothered a landfill fire on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota.

When EPA responders arrived on site on June 12, the fire had burned approximately 80 percent, or 5 acres, of the landfill. EPA observed evidence of household hazardous waste, including pesticide containers, paint cans and small drums, throughout the burn zone. Responders also witnessed a noxious plume of smoke drifting across the nearby highway. Initial air monitor measurements taken indicated elevated levels of particulates, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. Due to the unconsolidated nature of the waste in the landfill and the intensity of the fire, EPA determined the fire would likely burn for months if not addressed.

A borrow pit was established south of the current landfill in an area designated for future expansion. Solid waste in the existing cell was excavated, placed and compacted in appropriate lifts within the cell, and covered with soil to smother the fire. EPA is now working on bolstering the cover over the landfill and making sure there are no hot spots that could reignite.