Relief Hill Dump Clean-up Successful
In a successful partnership, the Forest Service and Cal-Recycle with assistance from Nevada County Environmental Health and Nevada County Code Compliance were able to clean-up the Relief Hill Dump located north of the town of Washington along the Relief Hill Road. Pacific States Environmental Contractors, Inc. was tasked by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) under contract to perform the work.
Originally in 1955, the dump was operated by Nevada County under Special Use Permit issued by the Forest Service. When the permit ended in 1979, illegal dumping continued at the old site. Through a State-wide MOU in 2010, the Forest Service and the State agreed to split the costs cleaning up closed and abandoned solid waste disposal sites. In 2012, the Relief Hill agreement was signed and the project work plan approved.
The site not only contained vast amounts of debris, household waste and abandoned vehicles, but it was located on steep rocky cliffs containing naturally occurring asbestos which complicated the clean-up efforts. Due to the ambient levels of asbestos, air monitoring was completed at several locations – before, during and after the clean-up. All personnel were required to wear personal protective equipment and respirators. Water was sprayed along the Relief Hill Road near the work area and at the site to reduce the dust for worker and public safety.
The clean-up of the dump site was completed during the summer, 2012. The cost of the project was $283,000, split between the State and the Forest Service. The project entailed gathering waste; loading it into bins and boxes; hauling it up the cliff; and disposing of the debris at a legal disposal site. Approximately 75-100 cubic yards of waste were removed and included: 4.83 tons of miscellaneous debris, 16 large tractor/trailer tires, 120 passenger vehicle tires, 25 tons of scrap metal, and 4 abandoned autos. The site was then closed to further dumping by blocking off the access with K-rails topped with chain-link fence. Signs were posted to notify the public that dumping is prohibited.
“Through partnerships like these between the Forest Service, Nevada County Environmental Health, Nevada County Code Enforcement and CalRecycle, we have been able to clean-up several abandoned dumps and remove abandoned vehicles in the Tahoe National Forest within Nevada County. Also, we can use help from the public. If anyone notices illegal dumpsites or abandoned vehicles in the National Forest, please contact me (530-478-6241),” stated Rick Weaver, Hydrologist and Hazardous Materials Spill Coordinator for the Forest Service.
Photo Series - Dump before, hillside after clean-up, and work in progress