WEST COVINA — The dumping of municipal refuse on top of toxic waste at the BKK landfill will end by July 1 of next year according to a partial closure plan tentatively approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA and the state Department of Health Services will hold a hearing on the plan at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the West Covina Library, 1601 West Covina Parkway.
Kenneth Kazarian, BKK president, said all of the major issues between BKK and the regulatory agencies have been resolved in a way that seems satisfactory to the company. Homeowners who have fought for closure of the dump are reviewing the latest revisions to the plan, but will not have their analysis ready until shortly before the hearing, according to Jean Arneson, one of the homeowners.
Kazarian said BKK Corp. will spend $12 million to $13 million to close the dump and safeguard the environment.
The plan will allow BKK to continue dumping in its toxic waste area until the lower deck of the dump is at 940 feet above sea level and the upper deck is at 1,040 feet. BKK stopped taking toxic waste in 1984, but is continuing to receive about 6,000 tons of ordinary household and commercial refuse a day and will fill this area by July.
The area to be closed covers 183 acres of the 583-acre dump. After closure, BKK will shift disposal operations to the remaining part of the landfill. The company has agreed to end all dumping by June, 1995, and find other uses for its remaining property.
The closure plan has been under development for two years. The EPA rejected BKK's first draft plan in December, 1984, as inadequate. BKK submitted a revised plan in 24 volumes in July, 1985, and the EPA ordered extensive revisions, which BKK submitted in 14 additional volumes this year. A major effect of the revisions was to advance the partial closure date from April, 1989, as originally proposed by BKK, to July of next year.
Karen Schwinn, EPA environmental protection specialist, said the agency has been concerned that adding more trash on top of toxic waste in the landfill would add to environmental problems, but BKK argued that it should be allowed to continue dumping for a short time to meet regional trash disposal needs and generate income to pay for environmental controls. The West Covina landfill is one of the county's largest, handling about one-seventh of the estimated 42,000 tons of trash generated countywide every day.
More than 3.4 million tons of hazardous waste were buried at the landfill from 1975 to 1984.
BKK will add a five-foot-thick layer of compacted soil on top of the disposal area. The plan requires BKK to maintain the site for 30 years with an elaborate system to control landfill gas and contaminated liquids.
EPA spokesman Terry Wilson said a copy of the full closure plan is available to the public at the West Covina Library. He said the EPA will accept written comments on the plan until Nov. 19 and then take oral testimony at the public hearing that night. Objections to the plan will be answered in a document called a "responsiveness summary," and then officials at the EPA regional office in San Francisco will decide whether to give final approval or order other changes.