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Board Urges Denial of Azusa Dump Plan

March 27, 1988|MIKE WARD | Times Staff Writer

The board that monitors the use of ground water in the San Gabriel Valley has turned down a plan that would have put $400,000 a year into a trust fund to deal with any ground water problems that might occur as a result of expansion of an Azusa dump.

Instead, the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster board will urge the Regional Water Quality Control Board in Los Angeles Monday to reject a dump permit sought by the Azusa Land Reclamation Co.

Owners of the dump had offered to create the trust fund to overcome opposition to their plan. The company is seeking permission to shift operations to a new disposal area in the 302-acre landfill.

Robert Berlien, general manager of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, said the watermaster board and other water officials believe the dump proposal could lead to ground-water contamination.

"We're just opposed to any garbage dump there," he said.

Thomas Stetson, engineer for the watermaster board, said the board believes that the Azusa landfill is poorly located, lying over a ground-water basin and near an area where imported water is spread to seep into the ground.

But Ric Spencer, general manager of the landfill, which is situated in a sand and gravel quarry on Gladstone Street, said his company has exhaustively studied ground water in the area and believes its plan is environmentally safe. He said the proposal is not really an expansion because the property has been designated as a dump for years. But the company cannot begin burying trash in a new area of the dump until it gets a permit from the regional water board.

Spencer said the dump, which receives about 2,000 tons of trash a day, will fill its current 80-acre disposal area in about two years.

The regional water board staff has recommended approval of the permit on grounds that the proposal meets all landfill regulations. The plan calls for installation of a clay liner under the new disposal area.

The regional water board first heard conflicting arguments from dump owners and water agencies last November and delayed a decision on the permit to give both sides time to resolve their differences.

Spencer said his company met with the watermaster board and offered to create a trust fund that would generate $400,000 a year to pay for ground-water investigations and deal with any problems that might arise. The company also offered to install extra protection in the form of a plastic liner under the new disposal area.

Berlien said the watermaster board rejected the offer. If pollutants leak from the dump into ground water, he said, the damage would be so great and the cleanup cost so high that the trust fund would be inadequate.

Stetson said the board recognizes the need for dump sites in the area but believes dumps should be placed in canyons where there is no direct flow into ground water.

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