begins $7 million cleanup of former landfill
A settlement with El Dorado County, California,
will ensure the beginning of the cleanup of the Meyers Landfill
site, located outside of the city of South Lake Tahoe, California,
according to the Justice Department and United States Department
of Agriculture, Forest Service. The estimated cost of the clean
up will be $7 million.
The agreement, lodged in United States District Court in Sacramento,
resolves certain federal claims against El Dorado County for
cleanup of the Meyers Landfill site. In addition, the agreement
resolves certain counter-claims made by the county against the
United States for cleanup of the site.
Under the settlement, El Dorado County will be responsible for
consolidating the waste mass at the site and placing it under
an impervious cap. The cap and associated drainage features around
the cap will prevent the infiltration of precipitation and snowmelt
into the landfill waste mass, thus eliminating or significantly
reducing additional groundwater contamination. A landfill gas
venting and monitoring system will also be installed.
The United States Forest Service is continuing to investigate
groundwater contamination related to the site. Several years
of study will be required after the landfill cap is constructed
to determine the effect on the groundwater, and what remedy may
be required to address any remaining groundwater contamination.
The Meyers Landfill site is a former municipal waste dump and
is located wholly on National Forest System lands administered
by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the United States
The site was operated as a landfill from about 1946 through 1971
under a series of Forest Service special use permits that were
issued to private parties and since 1955 to El Dorado County.
Between 1991 and 1994, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), likely
produced by degradation of organic material within the landfill
waste mass, were detected in the groundwater beneath the former
landfill disposal area. In August 1996, VOCs, including vinyl
chloride, were detected down gradient of the site, including
in Saxon Creek, a tributary of Lake Tahoe. The Forest Service
initiated a response action under the Superfund law or the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to determine
the extent and impacts of the VOC contamination, and in 2001
it filed litigation against El Dorado County and the city of
South Lake Tahoe.