Department of Ecology News Release - June 5, 2014

Work underway to extinguish underground fire
Ecology approved plan for Pasco Sanitary Landfill

SPOKANE – Work is underway to put out the underground fire at the Pasco Sanitary Landfill.

More aggressive measures to extinguish the fire are being taken to help ensure protection of human health and the environment. Initial phases of work outlined in a new plan began Monday, June 2.

The fire in a small section of the landfill was reported in November 2013. Previous attempts to smother the fire by covering the area above it with soil didn’t work. In April, Ecology issued an enforcement order to the parties responsible for cleaning up the landfill to expedite extinguishing the fire.

Contractors have installed a temporary engineered cover and an additional 12 inches of soil on the ground above the fire. The cover will further prevent oxygen from reaching the fire and will also help trap carbon dioxide, which will be injected underground as part of the plan. The carbon dioxide will help displace oxygen from the underground areas that are actively burning.

Additional monitoring networks will be added this week to measure the effectiveness of the temporary cover and carbon dioxide injection scheduled to begin June 23. It may take several weeks to completely extinguish the fire.

There is no immediate threat to people living near the site, local businesses or site workers.

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.



Brook Beeler, Washington Department of Ecology, 509-329-3478, and @ecyspokane