EPA Adopts Long-Term Plan for BKK Landfill Contaminated Groundwater to Be Contained

In
order to halt the spread of contaminated groundwater, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has adopted a plan to contain liquid waste and control
polluted groundwater at the now closed hazardous waste disposal facility (BKK
Landfill in West Covina, California).

"This
plan is the best way to minimize the spread of contaminated groundwater from the
BKK Landfill," said Julie Anderson, EPA's waste management division
director. "We encourage BKK to carry out the plan as quickly as
possible."

The
plan calls for BKK to install at least 61 new wells over the next three years to
extract contaminated groundwater. Most of the wells will be installed on the
landfill property with the remainder in the residential area southeast of BKK.
The wells will draw out the contaminated groundwater and treat it on-site,
preventing contaminants from spreading off-site. The treated water will then be
used to irrigate vegetation on the property. The groundwater beneath BKK is not
currently used as drinking water.

BKK
will be required to monitor groundwater to determine whether or not the system
is effective. BKK will continue to evaluate water quality, track contaminant
migration, and identify new releases of contaminants, if any occur. The plan
also includes financial assurance requirements and contingency measures to
ensure the plan is carried out. In addition, BKK will perform a health risk
assessment of the site which EPA will use in selecting a method to minimize air
emissions from the landfill. The design, installation and operation of the new
measures should take about three years.

BKK
has already installed a cap on the hazardous waste landfill, and the facility
operates a gas collection system to reduce air emissions. The cap minimizes the
seepage of rainwater into the landfill, reducing the spread of contamination.

The
190-acre BKK landfill accepted hazardous waste from 1972 to 1984. During that
time, about 3.9 million tons of liquid and solid hazardous waste were disposed
of BKK also operated an adjacent municipal solid waste landfill from 1987 to
1996. This landfill stopped accepting waste in September 1996 and is undergoing
closure.

The
groundwater is polluted primarily with volatile organic compounds that are used
as coolants in refrigerators, as cleaning solutions for dry-cleaning and for
degreasing oily material. Over 200 monitoring wells have been installed at BKK
that have been used to determine the extent of groundwater contamination.

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