STANISLAUS COUNTY — Stanislaus County supervisors are poised to spend an additional $3.54 million on environmental cleanup at the former Geer Road landfill.
Today, county staff members will ask the board to approve a three-year, $3,079,446 contract for Tetra Tech, BAS, Inc. to oversee systems that address groundwater pollution linked to the former landfill southeast of Modesto.
One system extracts and burns gases that are emitted by the buried garbage. In addition, wells at the 168-acre site remove groundwater and run it through filters to remove cancer-causing toxins.
Previous contracts for the environmental work expire at month's end.
To comply with an April 2011 state order for more aggressive treatment, the county could add about $500,000 in contract amendments with Tetra Tech, a worldwide consulting firm.
The county is facing a Dec. 31 deadline for sending a more concerted cleanup plan to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. That plan is supposed to specify additional measures for treating the toxic plume.
Jami Aggers, the county's interim environmental services director, said funding for the work will come from a landfill closure fund and a portion of the fees collected at the Fink Road landfill. About $2.5 million remains in the closure fund, which has been used to address problems since the county closed the Geer Road dump in early 1991. Each year, the fund receives about $720,000 in Fink Road landfill fee revenue.
The Geer landfill was not designed to present-day standards when in 1970 it was located near the Tuolumne River, a mile northeast of Hughson. Monitoring shows the contaminated groundwater has spread underneath the river, though the toxins are not detected in the Tuolumne, officials said.
Over the years, the county has spent $7.4 million on corrective actions. And it spent almost $2.2 million to settle lawsuits from neighbors whose wells were contaminated.
Some residents of Pinewood Meadows Mobile Home Park, across the street from the Geer dump, have said they don't dare drink their tap water.
Resident Lawrence Pena said his household goes through five to six gallons of bottled water per week. He said he believes he was sickened by contamination in his refrigerator ice maker earlier this year.
"About two days after I got sick, we got a notice saying there was bacteria in the water," Pena said, adding. "We cannot sell our mobile homes. They should pay us for our lost homes. Our water is corroded."
Aggers said tests have shown that contamination from the landfill has not spread to the mobile home park wells.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2321.
STANISLAUS COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WATCH
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. today in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, at 1010 10th St. It will consider the following items:
An agreement between the county and Modesto for construction of the Sutter Avenue "safe-route-to-schools" project
A three-year agricultural lease to JKB Development Inc. for county-owned property next to the Fink Road landfill, west of Crows Landing