Washington State Department of Ecology - December 10, 2013

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State and local agencies monitor underground fire at Pasco Sanitary Landfill

SPOKANE – The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is working with several parties, including local emergency and fire officials, to monitor and suppress an underground fire at the Pasco Sanitary Landfill in Franklin County.

"There is no immediate threat to people living near the site, local businesses or site workers based on our current knowledge," said Mike Hibbler, Toxics Cleanup Program regional manager. "We immediately informed and are working closely with Pasco and Franklin County fire departments and Franklin County Emergency Management Division to monitor and suppress the fire."

Ecology investigated a small section of the landfill, about 25 feet in diameter, where the ground had sunk nearly two feet and wisps of smoke were observed coming from cracks in the soil. Contractors used carbon monoxide detecting equipment to confirm combustion is occurring.

Additional temperature information is being gathered to more accurately define the area of the fire. Contractors are covering the depression and cracks with soil to help smother and prevent oxygen from reaching the fire.

The Pasco Sanitary Landfill site has several areas with various wastes buried underground. The fire is currently localized in a portion of the landfill that contains baled municipal waste.

An adjacent section of the landfill containing drums of hazardous waste, known as Zone A, is currently being treated with technology that draws air through the soil to prevent pollution from reaching groundwater or building up in the soil.

As an immediate, preventative measure the operations of the treatment system in Zone A has been modified to help reduce oxygen flow through the area of the fire.

The site is closed to the public and posted with no trespassing signs. Pasco Sanitary Landfill no longer receives waste and is being cleaned up under the state’s Model Toxics Control Act.

Ecology will continue to provide updates to the local community and leaders as soon as information is received. All parties involved are working to solve this situation quickly.

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Media Contact:

Brook Beeler, @ecyspokane; 509-329-3478; brook.beeler@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:

Ecology’s Pasco Sanitary Landfill Site page: (https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/gsp/Sitepage.aspx?csid=1910)

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