SAN FRANCISCO -- Republic Services of Southern Nevada has begun large-scale construction work under oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at Sunrise Landfill, a 440-acre closed municipal solid waste landfill, located three miles outside of Las Vegas city limits in Clark County.
The $25 million construction project, expected to last through 2012, was awarded to Las Vegas Paving Company and will employ 40 local construction workers. The project stems from a 2008 Consent Decree requiring Republic, the landfill operator, to install extensive stormwater controls, an armored cover, and landfill gas monitoring system; complete and monitor a groundwater monitoring system; and develop a long-term operation and maintenance strategy.
“EPA is requiring this work to protect a vital drinking water source for communities from Las Vegas to Phoenix,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This will prevent the release of over 17 million pounds of contaminants each year.”
Under the settlement, Republic is utilizing clean diesel technology to place 1 million cubic yards of soil and rock within the site. These efforts are especially important because diesel exhaust is linked to reduced lung capacity and asthma, and is a likely human carcinogen.
The EPA-approved remedy ensures effective control of the landfill with a durable and cost-effective landfill cover and stormwater system that address the unique geographic and climatic characteristics of Nevada’s arid desert landscape. Since 2008, five new groundwater monitoring wells have been drilled and 41 wells completed for quarterly sampling, as well as 30 landfill gas monitoring probes installed around the perimeter of the landfill.
An inadequate cover and stormwater system coupled with a storm in September 1998 resulted in a discharge of waste into the Las Vegas Wash and, ultimately, Lake Mead -- a primary drinking water resource for southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas metro area, as well as the Phoenix metro area and southern California.
Sunrise Mountain Landfill is unlined and contains more than 18 million tons of waste, including municipal solid waste, medical waste, sewage sludge, hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, asbestos, and construction waste.
The landfill was operated on behalf of the County by entities related to Republic Services of Southern Nevada from the 1950s through 1993. Following the landfill cover failure in 1998, EPA cited Republic Dumpco and the Clark County Public Works Department for violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. At that time, EPA ordered the company to implement a stormwater control plan; repair the existing drainage system; upgrade the landfill cap to federal standards; control and monitor methane and groundwater; and submit a plan to maintain and monitor the site.
For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/sunrise and http://www.epa.gov/region9/waste/features/sunrise-landfill