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Proximity to Closed County Landfill

Landfill Background

The quarry site is located at 7601 Roblar Road, approximately five miles west of Cotati along the Roblar valley area.  The site is bounded on the north by Roblar Road and the County-owned closed Roblar Landfill; on the west by Roblar Road.; on the south by a tributary of Americano Creek and on the east by a private residence. 

There is no dispute that the proposed quarry is adjacent to a closed landfill operated from 1956-67 as an open burn pit and as a sanitary landfill between 1967 and 1971. The landfill was used by Santa Rosa from March to October 1972. During the era of little or no regulation by federal, state or county agencies regarding the safe disposal of hazardous waste, unkown quantities of materials were dumped at the site.  Neighbors reported at public hearings that pesticides, paint, mercury and lead products, batteries, oil, hormones used in chicken ranching (including DES a known carcinogen), gasoline products, medications and other toxic substances were among the debris routinely dumped into the landfill prior to the public's awareness about the danger of unregulated landfills to the safety of the land, people and animals. 

County Refuses to Test Landfill Contents

The landfill contains three 200' by 40 to 50' "bench cells" with a total volume of 12.5 million cubic feet of waste. No monitoring of contaminants was done by the County from October 1972 until 1991 when the County initiated a Solid Waste Assessment Test Report required by the Public Works Department.  Three exploratory borings were made at the site.  Groundwater was located in three geologically independent units under the landfill and it was unknown if those units were interconnected.  However, the report stated that it was likely that waste at the landfill site might be in direct contact with groundwater.  The report also stated there was potential for hazardous gas emissions or airborne particulates to escape from the landfill.

The average rainfall in the area of 20 to 35 inches causes water to drain across the landfill site and into the Americano Creek.  In 1995 severe erosion occurred after a heavy winter storm. A failed sedimentation pond allowed the discharge of large volumes of sediment into Americano Creek.  The Public Works Department then required the County to test wells on the perimeter of the site, but none are near or in the cells where the refuse is located.  As two of the test sites showed the presences of toxins, a leachate control system was put in place and the County does once-yearly tests of the surface water after the first rainstorms in fall.   Since the landfill has been closed, the County tests runoff but they have never done any actual testing within the benches to see if toxins are still present underground. The County collects surface water leachate off the landfill site and trucks it to the county wastewater treatment plant on Llano Road for processing. 

"We're Not Interested in Opening Up the Landfill..."

CARRQ has repeatedly asked the County to test the contents of the landfill benches to put to rest the question of toxins in the landfill.  The quarry developer also asked the County to test the landfill contents or to allow him to test it---the County has refused all requests for testing the landfill contents.  Why?  To quote County Counsel at the October 19, 2010 Board of Supervisor's hearing, "We're not really interested in opening up the landfill...You never know what you were going to get with that."

Residents Concered Blasting Could Damage Landfill

CARRQ fears blasting next to the landfill could create fissures in the base layer of the landfill where refuse sits allowing toxins and leachate to enter the water supply and the adjacent Americano Creek. The Americano Creek feeds into the Estero Americano, a federally protected waterway. Blasting could also allow leachate into local homeowners wells; there are no provisions for testing of local wells in the Environmental Impact Report  (EIR).  The possible impact to residential wells (people's only source of water) and nearby waterways are among the primary concerns people have who oppose the quarry.  And for good reason!  The Draft Environmental Impact Report openly acknowledged that the "Roblar Landfill represents a potential source of surface water pollutants due to its past use as a public landfill and burn area."   Despite the County's efforts to convince the public the landfill will not be compromised by blasting and their refusal to test the landfill contents, they have required the quarry developer to indemnify them against any damage to the landfill that the quarry operation will cause!  No one is protecting the people who live and work next to the quarry site. 

Proximity to Americano Creek

The project site is within an east-west trending valley and the meandering Americano Creek forms the low point of this valley, with rolling hills rising on either side.  Americano Creek is a fresh water creek that feeds the Estero Americano and is part of a marine sanctuary.  During winter rains, this lowpoint forms a natural wetland area that attracts species of birds.  The County's EIR does not adequately analyze impacts to Americano Creek that will be caused by quarry operations, and specifically, the road improvements that will be required to widen parts of Roblar Road to accommodate hundreds of gravel trucks every day.  We know that the County and the quarry developer tried to workaround the impacts that could damage Americano Creek by coming up with multiple plans to run the truck traffic (including the failed attempt to run them across land encumbered by a tax-paid conservation easement).

Proximity to a Seismic Fault

The potential gravel mine location is on a seismic fault, not currently active but also not a smart place to begin blasting. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) provides insufficient analysis of slope stability in the mining site and ignores the potential for earthquake and landslide instabilities to combine, causing slope failures. These failures can cause landslides affecting the landfill and the water supply.

Cumulative Impact in the Roblar Area

Our  community already  bears the  cumulative impacts of  the  Mecham Road landfill, the closed and unlined Roblar landfill, the Stony Point Quarry and the Llano Road Wastewater Treatment Plant all within a 3.5 mile radius.  This is more than enough for this rural area. The possibilities of traffic safety impacts, and air and water contaminants that this mining project poses are too big a burden to add to people who live, work and travel through the Roblar area.