By Nathalie Hardy • Columnist • 

Landfill, DEQ to discuss landfill seepage

DEQ Permit Engineer Bob Schwarz said the investigation is now nearing completion, and he is expecting it to result in some form of enforcement action against Waste Management. 

Though test samples taken on two separate occasions show only short-term impacts, involving contamination levels "not exceeding ecological or human health standards," the DEQ never takes any leachate spill lightly, he said. "The fact that there was discharge to a surface water body, a creek, means we will be taking enforcement action.

"This is serious regardless of concentrations. The extent of the penalty we don't know, but there will be some kind of enforcement."

The leakage was discovered on the snowy morning of Monday, Feb. 10. There is no way to tell whether the leakage continued for only a few minutes or stretched out over several hours, but a check conducted 12.5 hours earlier showed nothing amiss, officials said.

Schwarz said three samples were collected upstream of the seepage and three downstream. He said new samples were later collected at the downstream sites and they showed the contamination had dissipated.

Though elevated, the original concentrations found at the downstream sites remained "below safe levels for both humans and animals, even based on long-term exposure," he said.

Waste Management spokeswoman Jackie Lang said the company would take questions from interested members of the public at the community meeting. She said it would also provide an update on construction activity at the site.

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