WEST COVINA — Officials of BKK Corp. kept their landfill open as usual Wednesday while awaiting a ruling from regulatory agencies on a request to exceed a height limit on trash disposal.
Kenneth Kazarian, BKK president, said last week that he might drastically restrict the dump's intake of trash because it is approaching a limit that prohibits putting trash at a height exceeding 900 feet above sea level.
But Kazarian said Wednesday that the company has been advised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expect a ruling soon on a request to raise the limit to 940 feet and will await that decision before taking action.
"There's no reason to turn things upside down now," Kazarian said. The BKK landfill takes in about 6,000 tons of trash a day, a significant part of the estimated 42,000 tons of trash generated daily countywide.
Officials of the county Sanitation Districts said restrictions on disposal at BKK would exacerbate a dump space shortage that is already causing the Puente Hills landfill to reach its intake limit early each day and threatens to tax the capacity of the Spadra landfill in nearby Pomona as well.
The BKK landfill was one of the nation's largest toxic-waste dumps before environmental problems forced it to stop taking toxic materials in November, 1984. Since then, it has continued to take ordinary household and commercial trash, burying it on top of the toxic waste.
BKK Corp. has submitted a plan to the EPA to close the toxic-waste portion of the dump by adding a final 40-foot layer of waste topped by dirt and including an elaborate system to collect landfill gas. BKK engineers argue that the plan will safeguard the environment by making it more difficult for gas to rise to the surface, but critics worry that the added weight will force leachate--liquid that accumulates from decaying refuse--to seep out the sides or bottom of the dump and move toward ground water.
EPA officials had been planning to consider the increased height limit as part of the closure plan for the toxic-waste area, which is tentatively scheduled for hearings in November, but BKK is seeking an early ruling because it is running out of space in which to bury trash.
BKK also is seeking permission to put trash in a part of the dump that is separate from the toxic waste area, but approval is not expected until next spring. Meanwhile, EPA and other regulatory agencies must decide how much additional trash to permit in the current disposal area.