Department of Ecology News Release - Sept. 3, 2019

Plan proposed to finish Pasco Landfill cleanup

35,000 drums of industrial waste slated for excavation

An estimated 35,000 drums of hazardous waste in Zone A require a permanent solution to control unpredictable releases of hazardous materials to soil and groundwater.
PASCO – One of Washington’s most challenging contaminated sites could soon see the worst of the waste removed in a major cleanup operation.
A draft plan recommends excavating 35,000 drums of industrial waste from the Pasco Landfill while continuing to safely contain what stays put. The community is invited discuss the proposal at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 at Robinson Elementary in Pasco.
The Washington Department of Ecology and more than 30 parties responsible for cleanup have collaborated since late 2018 to bring a decades-long process to this final, pivotal step.

The industrial waste in Zone A (see map) requires a permanent solution to control ongoing releases of hazardous substances to air, soil and groundwater. Under the proposed plan, the drums would be excavated, characterized, segregated by waste type, and then safely transported offsite for appropriate treatment or disposal.

About 5,000 drums of herbicide-manufacturing waste from Zone B were dug up and sent offsite for incineration and disposal in 2002. Because of this source removal and 2013 engineering upgrades to the cover system, Zone B contaminants do not appear to intermix with contamination from other disposal areas. This July, Ecology granted a request from Bayer CropScience Inc., the company primarily responsible Zone B, to establish a distinct cleanup site. Separate Zone B cleanup documents will be presented later for public review.

Proposed plans across the landfill call for monitoring groundwater and maintaining or improving protective covers that keep people, animals and precipitation from contacting buried waste and associated contaminated soil.

Household and commercial waste buried at the landfill from 1958 until 1993 would be left in place. Gases from decomposing waste would continue to be collected and burned off by a flare.

Ecology seeks comment on the following draft documents through Oct. 3, 2019:
  • Cleanup Action Plan – explains cleanup standards and methods.
  • Legal agreements – require responsible parties to enact the cleanup plan. Any party that chooses not to sign the consent decree will receive an enforcement order.
  • State Environmental Policy Act documents – cleanup work won’t adversely affect people or the environment.
Where to review documents
  • Ecology's website
  • Pasco Mid-Columbia Library, 1320 W. Hopkins St., Pasco, WA 99301
  • Ecology Eastern Regional Office, 4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA 99205

Submit written comments
Comments can be submitted online, sent to, or mailed to: Charles Gruenenfelder, Department of Ecology, 4601 N. Monroe, Spokane, WA 99205.
Ecology will consider and respond to all the written comments received. Another comment period will be held if comments result in significant changes to the documents. Otherwise, the draft documents will become final, and Ecology will work with the responsible parties to enact the Cleanup Action Plan.

Contact information

Ryan Lancaster
509-329-3509 or 360-584-3271
Twitter: EcySpokane