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Hazards of reopening closed landfill

Original post made by Lennie Roberts, Portola Valley: Ladera, on Oct 18, 2006

Blithe assertions regarding the feasibility of playing fields at Bayfront Park fail to recognize the costly realities of reopening the closed landfill.
The Marsh Road landfill was not operated under today's strict standards. The South County Garbage and Refuse District allowed many hazardous materials <0x2014> household hazardous waste, industrial waste, municipal waste, old appliances, sewage sludge, even dead animals <0x2014> to be buried there.
Terracing Bayfront's hillsides to create level ball fields will trigger new regulatory agency requirements to control methane gas, storm water runoff, and toxic leachate (liquid landfill waste), and to monitor pollution of the Bay and the underground aquifer.
Each year, the city must extract over 6 million gallons of leachate that collects in an underground lake where the ball fields are proposed. The leachate is then pumped several miles to the sewage treatment plant in Redwood Shores.
After the El Nino storms of 1997-98, there was a major release of leachate in the vicinity of the proposed sports fields. Regulatory agencies will almost certainly require the city to increase the leachate pumping in order to protect players using the sports fields.
The city's estimates of $17 million for 17 acres of a sports complex would be just a down payment.
Voters should reject Measure J. Bayfront's modern-day Pandora's Box should not be re-opened.
(Lennie Roberts is the legislative advocate for the
Committee for Green Foothills.)

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