Cleanup ideas dumped on council

The committee contemplating the toxic-laden Humboldt Road Burn Dump isn’t sure exactly what it wants the city to do about the land, but it definitely doesn’t like the consultant-recommended “Alternative 3” idea of consolidating and capping the lead-contaminated dirt.

The six-member majority of the committee voted June 19 to suggest several, unranked options to the City Council that appointed it.

The committee was formed in December after neighbors worried that the plan identified in a consultant’s feasibility study would stir up dangerous, lead-tinged dust from the area that, from the late 1800s through 1965, was used as a burn dump that generated various toxins.

The thrust of the message, summarized member Jim Morgan, is, “Alternative 3 doesn’t win.”

The majority also set up a subcommittee to put the recommendations in writing, deciding not to rank the possibilities. One is to have the city deal with its six acres alone. Another is to take a phased approach, testing and then cleaning slough water, fencing the property to keep people out and adding deed restrictions. The third involved putting the dirt in several piles with individual caps, which the city’s consultant has indicated even if “tweaked” would cost twice as much as Alternative 3.

The “minority opinion,” held by members Tom Fogarty, Ginger Drake and Rene Vercruyssen, will also be presented to the council. It is to proceed with Alternative 3, but with mitigation measures including: having an independent air quality expert on-site, water trucks to keep dust down and making trucks decontaminate their wheels before proceeding on public roads.

On June 3, the Regional Water Quality Control Board sent the city a cleanup-and-abatement order with an Aug. 4 deadline to submit a remedial-action plan to the state.

The City Council decided June 17 in closed session to see if it could get the RWQCB to loosen up on its deadlines. The council will hold a special meeting on the dump on July 14, a Monday.