EIR Update For Landfill Expansion Reviewable
By Reporter Staff
A new version of environmental documents for the proposed expansion of the Potrero Hills Landfill is now available for public review and Solano County officials are looking for the public's feedback.
Because of the Solano County Superior Court's decision in February that ruled the original EIR, approved in 2005, was deficient when addressing air quality, water supply and alternatives, revised portions of the document have been released.
The landfill serves Fairfield, Suisun City, Rio Vista and accepts about 25 percent of Contra Costa County's garbage. The landfill sits near environmentally sensitive wetlands in Suisun Marsh and is expected to close in about five years unless it gets approval to expand.
The planned expansion would quadruple the size of the landfill to 580 acres, from the present 320 acres, and extend its life by about 35 years.
The newest document, produced by EDAW of Sacramento, only contains aspects of the original EIR that have been changed and now are providing the public a chance to comment on the revisions.
Previously, the courts found several issues with the final EIR. In regards to air quality, the courts challenged the claim that the level of reactive organic gasses could be mitigated. The courts decided the level of those ROG were under-reported and couldn't be prevented as easily as the applicants noted.
As for water supply, when dealing with a proposed new well, the original EIR suggested "the water levels might be lowered about one foot in the local area around the well and the long-term pumping of the new well would not affect the other ranch wells in the vicinity." The court ruled that a statement about the water levels in nearby areas would have to include some background or research to back it up, which was not provided at the time.
For alternatives to the project, the court ruled that although one alternate plan is acceptable for most projects, Potrero Hills was a special case.
Because of specific regulations on the surrounding Suisun Marsh and because the issue dealt with solid waste, the court concluded that numerous alternatives should be explored. Within those alternatives, the court ruled, there should be a discussion about possible sites for a landfill outside the marsh area, even those outside of Solano County.
The new study identifies no better option to expanding Potrero Hills Landfill at its existing site.
Those wanting to view the revised EIR should contact or visit Ronald Glas, senior planner with Solano County Department of Resource Management at 675 Texas Street, Suite 5500, Fairfield. He can be reached at 784-6765.
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