Archive for Saturday, September 17, 2005

Report: Landfill study was flawed

September 17, 2005

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— A study that helped a company obtain a permit to build a landfill in northeast Harper County did not consider the worst-case scenario for groundwater pollution, a report says.

The study for the permit application, approved Sept. 2, by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, was prepared for Waste Connections of Kansas Inc. by the Colorado consulting firm Golder Associates Inc.

The Plumb Creek Landfill, also to be designed by Golder Associates, is expected to open in 2006. Waste Connections says it will be able to handle Wichita's trash, now being trucked to Meno, Okla., for at least 50 years.

But the latest report, issued this week by Burns and McDonnell of Kansas City, Mo., said Golder Associates' study did not fully consider how pollutants could get out of the landfill and into the groundwater.

"Therefore, it is our opinion that the model does not provide a 'worst-case' scenario," Burnes and McDonnell's report read in part.

Both companies agreed that groundwater in the area generally flows northwest to southeast. But Burns and McDonnell's report notes that there are numerous fractures, both horizontal and vertical, in the bedrock under the landfill site.

The Kansas City firm was hired by the Harper County Commission to review Golder's study.

Commissioners met but took no action after receiving the report, which recommended "working toward a mutual understanding of the hydrogeologic model" of the landfill site. Eventually, Burns and McDonnell suggested, that model should be incorporated into the plan for monitoring groundwater near the landfill.

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