The sordid story of Meyers dump |

The sordid story of Meyers dump

Sarah Gonser

Meyers landfill, a site being considered for a recreation center with four playing fields, needs a lot of work before it becomes safe for people.

South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado County residents began dumping their trash there in 1952. The site was used for 19 years until, as a result of a water quality act, it was closed in 1972.

“It was only covered with 2 to 3 feet of compacted topsoil at the time,” said Jon Morgan, acting director for the El Dorado County Solid Waste and Hazardous Materials department. “It does not meet today’s standards for waste facility closure by any means.”

Current closure standards include a tight clay cap, several feet of top soil, and elimination of the noxious fumes and side effects of the mostly decomposed trash.

“The most volatile issue right now is the significant cleanup of the water under that area,” Morgan said. “We have at least 40 monitoring wells in that area – vinyl chloride (a chemical byproduct of decomposition) has been found in a number of them.”

Morgan also said small amounts of methane can be detected around the dump. Should ball fields and a recreation facility be built at the site, methane collection wells would be required to eliminate the fumes.

After the Meyers dump closed down, Morgan said South Shore trash was deposited in Minden. Water contamination was soon detected at that site as well and it had to be closed off. Currently, 10 to 15 trucks, hauling 24 tons of trash each, drive daily to a dump near Sparks to deposit South Shore garbage.

The city of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County and the U.S. Forest Service are in the planning stages of capping the Meyers dump.

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