The City of Santa Barbara recently submitted the Report of Waste Discharge (ROWD) that is required to enroll Elings Park Landfill in the General Order of reporting for the California EPA — local water quality. Once the California EPA reviewed the report, it immediately required the installation of a gas venting and monitoring system, costing the city $1.3 million.

This elaborate system is to remove volatile organic compounds, or VOC, that the report indicates are detectable above allowable levels in the local groundwater within the area. An additional concern indicated in the report is that soil was mixed with sewer sludge in the formation and grading of the park. Sewer sludge contains some interesting components of its own and can certainly dust up and run off some nasty things down to the local creek, inlet, and beach.

Unbelievably, the city has just submitted for approval and more than likely has approved a new $300,000 water pumping system to provide Elings with reclaimed water to sprinkle atop this mess. The water will most likely leach down through the sewer sludge, further into the solid waste landfill, and probably leach greater quantities and higher concentrations of pollutants out of this reportedly unlined solid waste landfill and into the ground and surface water along Las Positas Valley and into the Arroyo Burro.

The main reason the City installed the very expensive gas venting system was to clean the water. This project makes no sense and could be harmful to the local air and water quality. Please contact the City of Santa Barbara Planning Department and let them know that an environmental study should be required prior to the use of this irrigation system and to propose a more passive and less toxic use for this retired dump.


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