California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: July 10, 2014
Release #2014-20
For more information contact:
Media Contact: Heather Jones

CalRecycle Cleans Up Smoldering Underground Fire At Dump Site In Stanislaus National Forest

SACRAMENTO – A former dump site with a smoldering underground fire has been cleaned up by the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service.

The site, known as the Buck Meadows Disposal Site, is near Groveland in the Stanislaus National Forest. It is thought to have been a hydraulic mine at one time and was later used for solid waste disposal.

Dump-site debris beneath the ground surface ignited during the 256,000-acre Rim Fire in the area last year. The U.S. Forest Service sought CalRecycle assistance due to concerns over worker safety because it is unknown what type of material was dumped at the site. CalRecycle staff inspected the site in January and saw a small column of smoke from the smoldering material and settlement of the soil covering the site.

“Our team of cleanup engineers is uniquely qualified to oversee this type of project,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “We were able to partner with the U.S. Forest Service to restore this site and protect public safety and the health of the environment.”

The site cleanup and remediation is expected to cost $145,000. CalRecycle paid for the site cleanup and remediation from its Solid Waste Disposal and Codisposal Site Cleanup Program fund. The U.S. Forest Service will reimburse CalRecycle $72,500 under a cooperative agreement that was previously established between the two agencies to address the quick cleanup of derelict sites on U.S. Forest Service lands.

The project included excavating and extinguishing the smoldering material. The material was then put back into the dump site, compacted, and covered with clean onsite soil. The area was also graded for drainage. The U.S. Forest Service provided an on-site fire truck and fire crew to assist during the operation.

CalRecycle’s Solid Waste Disposal and Codisposal Site Cleanup Program issues grants up to $750,000 to help public entities accelerate the pace of cleanup and site restoration and actively performs similar remediation using CalRecycle contractors. The program is funded through landfill tipping fees. There is no cost to the state’s General Fund. For more information see the CalRecycle program webpage.

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CalRecycle provides oversight of California solid waste handling and recycling programs to protect human health, develop sustainable solutions that conserve resources, and reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

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