Department of Toxic Substances Control Department of Toxic Substances Control

Kettleman Hills Facility Corrective Action

DTSC provides cleanup oversight of the identified groundwater contamination found beneath the facility and also for any spills that occur at the facility.

Beginning in 1984, Waste Management discovered groundwater contamination underneath two formerly unlined ponds P-12 and P-09.  Groundwater contamination began in each area as a result of water seeping into the ground from these unlined ponds.  To prevent further contamination of groundwater the following actions were taken by Waste Management and overseen by DTSC:

  • Pond P-09 was lined in 1985 to prevent further seepage and groundwater cleanup beneath the pond was begun in 1988; and
  • Pond P-12 stopped receiving waste in 1985, was capped and closed in 1997 and groundwater cleanup beneath the former pond was begun in 1986

In 1986, Waste Management started pumping and treating groundwater to prevent contaminants from moving anywhere. In 1988, Waste Management expanded that effort to the Pond P-09 area. Also, Waste Management began groundwater monitoring from wells within and surrounding the impacted areas.   As of December 2012, Waste Management now has 48 Monitoring wells.

Groundwater extraction was suspended beneath Pond P-9 and former Pond P-12 in 2005 with DTSC and Regional Water Quality Control Board agreement because of a concern that pumping may contribute to plume migration. Monitoring in the area has shown rising water levels and contaminant concentrations in 2011. However, monitoring results since 2011 show that contamination in the area remains stable (between 300 and 500 feet below ground surface) and has not moved into new areas beneath the landfill.

In October 2010, DTSC ordered the Kettleman Hills Facility to clean up spills of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) around the PCB storage building at the landfill. Sampling showed PCBs within 60 feet of the building.

From October 2010 to December 2010, Waste Management cleaned up the PCB contaminated soil. After inspections and review, DTSC required additional sampling to confirm the removal of PCBs to meet health protective levels. After reviewing the facility’s reports, DTSC decided that the cleaned up soil outside the storage building does not pose a threat to human health and the environment. In February 2012, DTSC announced that this soil removal was completed and no further action was necessary.