Old Landfill under Former Boise Cascade Saw Mill site is being Studied

Old Landfill under Former Boise Cascade Saw Mill site is being Studied »Play Video
YAKIMA -- Geologists have been studying the former Boise Cascade site and say the same landfill that may have been leaking methane gas, may also be behind chemicals in the water.

Tons of logs, equipment, and an old landfill; those are all things found at the former Boise Cascade Saw Mill site.

"I started thinking about all the chemicals and stuff that were around back there," Peggy Noel told Action News.

She watched the large log fire weeks ago from her nearby house and started thinking about the old landfill. She called us wondering how safe her area and water was.

"They didn't have restrictions on things like they have now," she reasoned.

We made the calls, and sure enough; geologists are mid-study on the landfill underneath the south side of the property. Principal geologists, Mike Staton tells us they know the old dump collected waste through the early 70s. That's before there were many of the restrictions we have now on chemicals. He said it isn't lined and there are low levels of chemicals in the groundwater. There is also methane, which can be volitile under the right conditions.

The city ordered the study before the fire happened.

"It’s to explore the development potential for the future. It’s one of the important steps that we have to go through, as with any major development is and environmental review," Yakima city community relations manager Randy Beehler explained.

The firm is now in the process of its study where it determines if the landfill or if old logs are creating the methane. The study is also trying to find out what chemicals are in the water, if there are health risks, and if the groundwater is flowing into rivers and other areas.

"I'm glad they’re doing a study to find out what's down there," Noel said. Results should be announced in the spring.

We also asked the city who would foot the bill if the old landfill was found unsafe and would need to be excavated. The community relations manager said it's too preliminary in the study to say.