OMG…What’s That Smell?!
Some Kilcona dog owners are wondering out loud about the dirt that’s being trucked into the park. And some are complaining that is smells bad and wondering if it’s safe for dogs. So…here’s the scoop.
As we all know, Kilcona Park is a decommissioned landfill. When the landfill was closed (around 1986) a clay cap was placed over the hill in the off-leash area. A cap is an umbrella over a landfill to keep rainwater out. The purpose of the cap is to prevent any connection between landfill waste and the surrounding environment, particularly with groundwater. The cap is specially sloped to promote rainwater runoff.
So basically, a landfill is a bathtub in the ground. Bathtubs can leak two ways: out the bottom or over the top. But in Kilcona’s case, we’re not just talking about a bathtub leaking bathwater.
Over time garbage in the landfill decomposes. One of the products is leachate. This highly toxic sludge is created when rainwater comes in contact with garbage in all its nasty forms – heavy metals; herbicides; pesticides; gasoline, oil and other hydrocarbons; etc. Leachate seeps to the bottom of a landfill and is collected by a system of pipes. About 660,000 gallons of leachate are pumped out of Kilcona each year and trucked to the North End Sewage Treatment Plant.
The constant decomposition of garbage and the removal of leachate mean the landfill is not stable. Over the past thirty years the top has subsided in some areas. The spots that have settled – the dark areas – can be seen on the park map, which was created from a satellite photo.
The low spots on the hill collect rainwater, which is prevented from percolating easily into the ground by the heavy clay cap. The stagnant ponds are first class, foul smelling mosquito breeding grounds.
Settling means the original sloping that was designed to promote rainwater runoff has been compromised and must be corrected. If the cap is not maintained, rain will enter the landfill resulting in a buildup of leachate to the point where the bathtub can overflow its sides and wastes can enter the environment.
KPDC’s Board of Directors has known for several years that the City’s Water and Waste Department needs to fill in the low spots with clean, heavy clay. City administrators talked about using fill from the Chief Peguis construction.
Now the City has secured a convenient source of clean fill from a construction project that’s underway in Sun Valley, just a couple of kilometers from Kilcona. Thirty to 40 tandem truckloads of clean fill are being delivered to the park. Once the soil’s in place, crews will be bringing in a Cat to correct the slope.
And the stench – it’s coming from those foul smelling ponds that are being disturbed.