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State tells landfill to close by July 2009

New DEQ permit requires monitoring for years at Howard Grabhorn's rural Washington County site

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality has told the Lakeside Reclamation Landfill near Cooper Mountain that it must close by July 1, 2009, three years earlier than the landfill's owner wanted to end operations.

DEQ officials issued a new solid waste permit for the landfill March 27, requiring it to close next year and continue environmental monitoring for several years after the closure.

Lakeside Reclamation Landfill accepts construction and demolition material at 14930 S.W. Vandermost Road, southwest of Beaverton and west of Bull Mountain.

Larry D. Harvey of Pac/West Communications in Wilsonville, the landfill's representative, said Lakeside owner Howard Grabhorn submitted a permit application to DEQ requesting that the landfill stay open until 2012.

DEQ's 2009 closure date was not based on science, Harvey said, but on an economic analysis pointing to the landfill's eventual loss of business because of Metro's new solid waste disposal rules. The regional agency's Enhanced Dry Waste Recovery Program, adopted in August, would end the use of 'limited-purposed landfills' for most dry waste generated in the area.

Lakeside Reclamation Landfill collects 80,000 tons of dry waste each year in the Portland area. Metro's new rules require limited-purpose landfills like Lakeside to meet several environmental standards before it can accept more waste. Because Lakeside does not meet some of the standards, it will no longer be able to accept most waste after next year.

Harvey said that Grabhorn disagreed with parts of the new DEQ permit, but was not shocked that the agency decided to push the closure date up by three years.

'That date did not surprise us,' he said.

Grabhorn is weighing options to respond to the DEQ permit, Harvey said, which could include an appeal. In a statement released Tuesday, the landfill's owner said he wanted to 'make absolutely sure this landfill is environmentally secure for the future. That is why we want to keep our options open at this time.'

'We've not taken anything off the table at this point,' Harvey said. 'Officially, we may consider an appeal. But we don't know that yet. We haven't made that decision.'

Last week, DEQ officials warned Grabhorn about runoff from ponds on the property that could contaminate the Tualatin River. A March 19 pre-enforcement letter said Grabhorn had to immediately file a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit and tell DEQ by April 21 about any other stormwater discharge from his property.

Grabhorn, however, told DEQ in mid-February that he had complied with all the agency's requirements and did not need a discharge permit.

Grabhorn has operated Lakeside Reclamation Landfill since 1953 on 33 acres of the 126.2 acres owned by his family.

DEQ's new permit limits the type of waste allowed for disposal at this facility. It also requires more extensive landfill gas monitoring, other environmental monitoring, detailed waste acceptance procedures, post-closure monitoring for at least 30 years to detect future environmental contamination and other measures intended to protect the environment.

DEQ accepted public comments on a draft solid waste permit at a Jan. 8 hearing. The public comment period ended Jan. 15.

DEQ is requiring Lakeside Landfill to complete a feasibility study to determine the appropriate clean up to protect the nearby Tualatin River and groundwater because of possible contamination from the site.