Garbage has become a fighting word between the Davis County director of environmental health and Bountiful's city manager.
Last week Richard Harvey, Davis environmental health director, told the Davis health board that federal and state environmental regulations will force closure of Bountiful's garbage dump, formerly called Bay Area Refuse Disposal landfill.Bountiful City Manager Tom Hardy said Tuesday that Harvey hasn't studied the facts, and the city believes it is stacking garbage at an "ideal" site and intends to use the landfill for the next 30 years.
"There seems to be a basic difference in interpretation of the facts. We believe it is as a close to an ideal site as you can get," Hardy said, referring to a recent landfill engineering study the city paid to have done. "It has clay liners, it has positive artesian water pressure, it is not a public hazard and it is in an isolated location."
Hardy said that Harvey must not have objectively read the study, which indicates that contaminants found leaching from the landfill into the Great Salt Lake could be kept on-site by building a slurry wall and lining a nearby creek. Groundwater analyzed from test wells in and around the landfill show levels of lead selenium, benzene and vinyl chloride are above federal drinking water standards.
"With proper corrective action we believe it will be an ideal site for many years to come," Hardy said.
Hardy also faulted Harvey's office for not taking independent water quality samples and becoming more acquainted with landfill problems. Whenever water quality samples were taken for the study, the county health department was invited to take samples also, but never showed up, Hardy said.
"We are certainly not trying to hide anything. BARD ought to stand on its record good or bad. We are willing to work together jointly with the county," Hardy said.
Harvey just returned from a national conference on solid waste in California and said information he received there leads him to believe the landfill, now operated solely by Bountiful, will be forced to close.
"I don't see the state or the feds allowing BARD to operate very far into the future," Harvey told the board.
Hardy said the city's consulting engineers and geologists, who are also familiar with new federal landfill regulations, don't see it the same way. State landfill regulators are still studying the landfill and expect to determine by next year whether it qualifies to be placed on the state's Superfund cleanup list.
Hardy said Harvey was motivated to make the statements because he is still upset at the fact that Bountiful refused to join with other Davis cities to burn their garbage at a controversial garbage-to-energy plant in Layton. He said Harvey's "half-cocked" statement is also muddying the water of a lawsuit pending over the landfill.
"My feeling is that Rich still resents the fact that Bountiful didn't join in the burn plant," Hardy said.
Bountiful is trying to negotiate an end to the lawsuit filed by the former owners of the landfill, who include five south Davis cities and Davis County. A settlement, which Hardy predicts will be reached within a month, will release $1.6 million to fund landfill cleanup operations.