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

Feb. 13, 2000
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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