I heard Lynn Melville on the Dave Congalton talk show last Wednesday, lambasting the city again for allowing diluent-contaminated Guadalupe soil into the Santa Maria landfill. She revealed information that should concern us all.
Listen to the interview yourself at www.920kvec.com -- Click on Programming, then Listen Live, then Listen to Podcasts. Scroll down to Wednesday, October 4 -- Lynn Melville on contaminated soil being dumped in Santa Maria.
Noting that the 1999 Coasal Commission report stated that PCBs were found in Guadalupe, with current estimates being about 10 percent PCB contamination there, Melville also detailed the toxic chemical 'ezenes and BTEXs contained in the soil.
Quoting a 2004 document from the Regional Water Quality Control Board, she stated that in 2002, the City of Santa Maria had been denied permission to accept the diluent-contaminated soil from Guadalupe into its landfill. High level testing criteria had been used, since the landfill sits over the water basin for the entire valley.
However, the city reapplied in 2004 (with, presumably, new Water Board members). The Water Board decided that the previous high level testing criteria had been too "conservative" and dropped the standards 50 percent, thus allowing the city to then accept the diluent-contaminated soil into its landfill.
Melville added a kicker that the Water Board was very clear in its warning to the City of Santa Maria that it held the city entirely responsible for any groundwater impacts as a result of the soil transfer program.
She also stated in the interview that the City of Santa Maria had signed a contract with Chevron for the soil transfer, with a clause that released Chevron from any future liability as to leakage into the water basin.
So diluent-contaminated Guadalupe soil is now officially being transferred to the Santa Maria landfill -- which sits over the water basin -- and the City of Santa Maria is entirely responsible for any future water basin contamination.
"City of Santa Maria" means its citizens -- we the citizens will have to pay for the clean-up.