Department of Ecology News Release - October 23, 2012

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Interim cleanup work plan at Ephrata landfill available for public review

SPOKANE-The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is inviting the public to review and comment on documents that will guide more interim cleanup work at the Ephrata landfill in Grant County. The landfill is about three miles south of Ephrata, east of Highway 28.

Interim work is only a partial cleanup. Early next year the public will be able to review the more comprehensive Cleanup Action Plan before it is made final. 

The city and county have already accomplished major interim cleanup actions, but a more current work plan is now out for review on additional interim work that needs to be done before the final Cleanup Action Plan is developed.

Other documents ready for public review include the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist and a "determination of non-significance," which says the interim action work will not harm the environment. 

Comments on the Interim Remedial Action Plan and SEPA documents must be submitted by Nov. 22, 2012. Send comments to Cole Carter, Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA 99205; or by email to cole.carter@ecy.wa.gov.  

The city of Ephrata began operating the landfill around 1942 and owned and operated it until 1974. The landfill was operated as an open dump and burning dump prior to 1962 and was unlined until a new lined cell was opened in 2005. More than 2,300 drums of industrial waste were buried there in 1975. 

In 1994, the city deeded its landfill property to Grant County. Both the city and county are responsible for the cleanup under Washington's Model Toxics Control Act.

Groundwater monitoring began in 1988. Grant County drilled and sampled 27 wells at the site. Concentrations of several different contaminants were found in the aquifers beneath the landfill at levels that require cleanup. The chemicals include organic compounds, metals, petroleum products, pesticides, and more.

Contractors removed 2,300 buried industrial waste drums and capped the original landfill in 2008.  They extracted at least 200,000 gallons of contaminated water since that time.

The new Interim Remedial Action Plan focuses on removing contaminated soil that, if not removed, could delay construction of a new access road to the landfill. Contractors will remove and dispose the contaminated soil under the supervision of licensed engineers or geologists.

The next step in the cleanup process will be to develop a Cleanup Action Plan that will ultimately define how the final cleanup will be done.  It will contain the recommended cleanup method for the site.  The plan should be ready for review early next year.

Copies of the documents for review are at Ephrata City Library on Alder Street and at the Department of Ecology's office at 4601 N. Monroe St. in Spokane, or online at at Ecology's Grant County Ephrata Landfill 1 website.

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Media Contact

Jani Gilbert, Communications, 509-329-3495; cell, 509-990-9177; e-mail jani.gilbert@ecy.wa.gov.

For more information

Grant County Ephrata Landfill 1 website (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=1692.

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)