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Release Date: 7/13/1999
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

     (San Francisco) -- Work has begun on construction of the first permanent hazardous waste landfill cap at the Casmalia Disposal Site, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) announced today.  Construction of the impermeable cover for the site's Pesticides/Solvents Landfill is expected to be completed in October, before the start of the rainy season.

     "This is a great day for everyone concerned with the Casmalia Disposal Site," said Julie Anderson, director of EPA's western regional waste division.  "This landfill cap is the first major step towards permanent closure of the Pesticides/Solvents Landfill, which contains the nastiest collection of chemicals on the site."

     From 1979 to 1989, the Pesticides/Solvents Landfill received approximately 4.5 million barrels of hazardous waste.  The Landfill has previously been covered with earth, but that is not sufficient to prevent rainwater from percolating down through the buried hazardous waste.  For the last several years, rainwater moving through the buried waste has created a contaminated liquid that has been collected, pumped out, and removed for off-site treatment and disposal.

     The landfill cap's primary function is to prevent rainwater from reaching the chemicals.  This cover is designed to keep the waste in place, isolated from any contact with humans or animals.  The cap will consist of a two-foot-thick, low-permeability foundation layer, topped by an impermeable 60-mil-thick membrane, a synthetic drainage layer, and finally a two-foot thick layer of clean soil topped by vegetation.  The top layer of soil will have synthetic netting embedded in it to prevent burrowing animals from damaging the cover system.

     The work is being conducted and financed by the Casmalia Steering Committee, a group of 54 organizations which contributed the largest amounts of waste to the Casmalia Disposal Site.  EPA and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control both have on-site representatives overseeing the work.  A series of air monitoring stations have been established along the northern facility boundary and in the southern drainage areas between the Disposal Site and the town of Casmalia.  Air quality will be monitored during all phases of construction, and dust will be suppressed using water from the site's stormwater ponds.

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