I've just been handed a document titled The Failure of Plastic Liners in landfills.
Anyone reading the Santa Maria Times or the Santa Maria SUN will remember the voluminous articles that have been printed praising the transfer of (what we now know as toxic) Guadalupe soil into the SM landfill.
City Manager Tim Ness -- with the full approval of the city council members (one would presume) -- was adamant about the complete safety of the plastic liner in the landfill -- a high density polyethylene (HDPE) liner.
In other words, the assertion has been made by the city that even if something were to be transferred into the landfill that wasn't environmentally safe. the HDPE liner they're using is so strong that it will never leak into the water basin for the entire Santa Maria Valley which sits below the SM landfill.
The document I've been handed states:
"Plastic liners, whether the state of the art HDPE liners (emphasis added) or the inferior liners, are manufactured in a manner that ensures they are never totally impermeable. The manufacturing process for plastics always creates 'defect points' . . . . As time passes, the plastic molecules begin to spontaneously decompose . . . . All plastics age in this way: they become brittle, weak and break up.
"This process can begin within only a few years and will almost certainly be underway within a decade."
Swell. Should we call Tim Ness and tell him the news?
The document also emphasizes:
"Besides the inherent defect points, researchers have found that 'pinholes' often develop during manufacturing and that seams created through joining sheets (by welding or gluing) regularly leak. According to a study by the U. S. firm Geoservices, 'an average of one leak per 1,000 feet of seam can be expected with reasonably good installation, adequate quality assurance, and repair of noted defects.
"Geoservices calculate that . . . a 10-acre landfill will have a leakage rate of up to 3,650 gallons of toxic fluid per year, seriously threatening ground water quality." (emphasis added)
"Seriously threatening ground water quality." Isn't that what we're all concerned about with the transfer of the diluent-contaminated Guadalupe soil to our landfill -- which sits over our water basin?
Perhaps we should let our current city council in on this news also.
Remember to vote on November 7th for the candidate you feel will best represent the interests of the residents of Santa Maria.