Meyers Landfill

Meyers Landfill Remediation Community Relations Plan

Meyers Landfill closure continues for public safety

Interim Groundwater Characterization Report

Meyers Landfill Ground Water Monitoring Report

Meyers Landfill Fact Sheet Update on Remedial Activities

Meyers Landfill closure continues for public safety

Forest Service update on Meyers Landfill Site

Nov. 2010 - The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit hosted a meeting to update the community on the Meyers Landfill site on Thursday, November 18, 2010, at the Forest Supervisor's office, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, Calif. The meeting included an update on the status of construction of the landfill cap, details on the continued forest closure at the site, and information regarding continued investigations into the extent of the contaminated groundwater plume originating at the site, as well as time for questions.  If you would like to read the originial news release, visit

The following documents were presented at the meeting:

Decision Memo and Forest Order on Meyers Landfill Closure

Meyers Landfill Fact Sheet Update on Remedial Activities

Meyers Landfill Final (100%) Remedial Design Operable Unit 1 - Jan. 2009

Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for Operable Unit 1, at the Meyers Landfill Site

Nov. 2007 - The U.S. Forest Service signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation (CERCLA) Record of Decision on November 15, 2007, for the remedy of Operable Unit 1, at the Meyers Landfill site near South Lake Tahoe. The remedy is designed to eliminate exposure to the landfill contents, and to isolate the waste from rain and snowmelt infiltration, which is the primary cause of hazardous substances being released into groundwater. The decision only addresses the remedy for Operable Unit 1. The proposed remedy follows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's presumptive remedy for CERCLA municipal landfill sites. Read More

Response to Public Meeting Comments and Questions

May/June 2007 - The document listed below addresses public comments and questions received at the May 24, 2007 and June 14, 2007 public meetings on the Proposed Plan for the Meyers Landfill Site Operable Unit 1(OU-1), issued on May 21, 2007.

Proposed Plan for Meyers Landfill Cleanup

Background Information and Site History

Site Location Map
(PDF 310 KB)

The lands where the Meyers Landfill site is located was acquired as part of the National Forest System in 1938. It was part of a larger land exchange with Carson & Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Company and the El Dorado Woods & Flume Company. The deed from the transfer was recorded on June 3, 1938. Land transfer records show no indication that there was a dump at the site at the time of acquisition.

From 1946 to 1971, the Meyers Landfill site was operated under a series of Special Use Permits as a "garbage and refuse disposal area." The following is a chronology of the site permit history:

  • In 1946, a Special Use Permit was issued to Juchtzer and Sons to operate a dump at the site.
  • In 1947 the original permit to Juchtzer and Sons was cancelled and a new permit was issued which expanded the size of the site to 4.5 acres. According to permit documents, the original area allowed for waste disposal under the 1946 permit proved to be inadequate to meet the demand for garbage disposal in the area.
  • In 1950, waste disposal operations at the site were transferred to Robert Hardy and George Hickey under a new special use permit issued that year.
  • In 1954, site operations were transferred to Kays Garbage Service under a new special use permit issued that year.
  • Approximately one year later, at the request of El Dorado County, the site operations were transferred to the County so that it could be operated as a public dump. Site operations were officially transferred to the County through the issuance of a special use permit in 1955.
  • In 1960, El Dorado County submitted a new permit application to expand the size of the dump from 4.5 acres to 10 acres. This expansion was granted and a new permit issued in 1961.
  • In 1966, the last special use permit for waste disposal operations at the site was issued to El Dorado County. This last permit was issued with the understanding that it would expire on December 31, 1971 and that the County would "endeavor to secure an alternative refuse disposal site which will not present the possibilities of water pollution, contamination and land use conflicts imposed on the Tahoe Basin by the present site".

Throughout the time period the Meyers Landfill was officially permitted to El Dorado County.  The county had agreements with contractors (such as Ralph White Serv-U Garbage Company, and South Tahoe Refuse) for the operation of the disposal site. Records show that Meyers Landfill was available for refuse disposal for South Lake Tahoe and the rest of El Dorado County in the Lake Tahoe Basin portion of California, as well as the Douglas County portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin in Nevada.

Up until the early 1960s the disposal site was primarily operated as a "burn dump" in which the refuse was periodically burned and buried. In response to increasing concerns regarding the open burning of refuse, the practice at the Meyers Landfill site was restricted by the Forest Service with the issuance of the 1961 special use permit to El Dorado County and was banned as a condition of the 1966 permit.

Upon closure of the landfill in 1971, the County was directed to undertake site restoration activities which included general site clean up, removal of all tanks and buildings, covering all exposed trash with at least six inches of soil, leveling of the area, cleaning the drainage channels, re-vegetating the area and mulching the banks, capping the well, and gating the access road. When the site closed in 1971 there were no environmental regulations in place providing closure standards for solid waste disposal sites. The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) had began developing comprehensive environmental regulations related to water quality and waste disposal, pursuant to the authorities of the 1969 California Porter-Cologne Act. However, it wasn't until several years after the site stopped receiving waste that relevant standards became effective as part of the North and South Lahontan Basin Plans.

In 1974, inspections of the Site discovered leachate flowing from the buried culvert at the north end of the dump. Leachate is contaminated water that is produced when precipitation and snowmelt percolates through the waste materials and leaches out contaminates such as chemicals and metals. In 1975 sampling by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board ("Lahontan") confirmed the presence of leachate discharging from the landfill and inspections observed that the soil covering the landfill had eroded in certain areas, leaving waste exposed. In June 1975 Lahontan issued a Cleanup and Abatement Order ("CAO") (#75-5) to the County and the Forest Service. The CAO required the Forest Service and the County to mitigate the leachate discharge and the soil erosion from the Site. In response to the Lahontan Order the Forest Service and the County added approximately 30,000 cubic yards of soil over the dump surface to fill depressions and control erosion. Drainage systems to collect water from the intermittent stream were installed out the south end of the dump, diverting it upstream of the wastemass. New vegetation was also planted in the area. Additional drainage and erosion control measures were implemented by the Forest Service to stabilize the landfill in 1976 and 1977. Throughout the implementation of the corrective action work at the Site, Lahontan expressed their appreciation of the efforts of the Forest Service and the County in addressing the pollution.

Beginning in 1990, the Forest Service initiated site investigations. Vinyl chloride was first detected in the groundwater. Continued monitoring demonstrated that, by 1996, a vinyl chloride plume extended 30 feet.

Beginning in 1991, investigations were carried out to satisfy California Solid Waste Assessment Test (SWAT) requirements, under California State Water Code Section 13273. Some shallow groundwater samples within the landfill boundaries were found to contain vinyl chloride and cis-1,2-dichloroethene. In August 1996, vinyl chloride was detected downgradient of the Site, and the Forest Service initiated a response under CERCLA to determine the impacts of the contamination, pursuant to its lead agency authority provided by Executive Order 12580. In 1997 and 1999, additional investigations were conducted to define the extent of the waste and the contaminated area. The 1997-1999 investigation work was conducted by the South Lake Tahoe Basin Waste Management Authority, on behalf of the County, under an administrative order issued by the Forest Service. The investigations have determined that the contaminants in the groundwater beneath the Site include approximately 34 VOCs, consisting of both halogenated and non-halogenated hydrocarbons.

In September 1997, the Forest Service also initiated a removal action under CERCLA, to close the site to public access. The purpose of which was to protect monitoring equipment and wells from damage from unauthorized recreational use such as off-road vehicles and snowmobiles and to protect the public from potential contamination or injury during future CERCLA investigation and remediation efforts. On October 27, 1997 the Forest supported the removal action with a Forest Order which further closed the Site to public access. A copy of the closure order is posted at the Site at the perimeter of the landfill and buried waste.

In January of 2002, the Forest Service issued a Feasibility Study ("FS") and proposed plan for the Site, which identified and screened alternatives for remediation of the landfill and selected a preferred remedial alternative. The proposed preferred remedial alternative consisted of a cap over the wastemass, consistent with EPA's guidance "Presumptive Remedy for CERCLA Municipal Landfill Sites", and a "pump and treat" system for addressing the groundwater contamination. At the time, the cost of the proposed remedy was estimated to be $10.4 million. In response to public comments on the proposed remedy, and discussions with representatives of El Dorado County and the City of South Lake Tahoe, the Forest Service determined that additional site investigation work should be performed in order to "fine tune" the remedy selection for addressing the groundwater contamination and for obtaining additional information for the cover design. This additional site investigation work was the subject of separate administrative orders with the City and County and is a key component of the current Forest Service supplemental CERCLA Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study efforts.

Currently, the vinyl chloride plume extends approximately 1,600 feet down gradient of the northern boundary of the landfill area (see Site Contamination Map, following this section). The exact boundaries of the plume shown on the figure are approximate and groundwater studies are still ongoing.

Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen and mutagen. It is a colorless, flammable gas with a fairly sweet odor, and is slightly soluble in water. At Meyers Landfill, the contamination at levels requiring the agency to take action has been detected in groundwater, at levels as high as 40 to 50 parts per billion. Action is required at levels higher than 0.5 parts per billion.

In the case of Meyers Landfill, the exact source of the vinyl chloride is unknown. Vinyl chloride typically comes from the degradation of compounds such as automobile degreaser and dry cleaning solvents and plastic products. Surface risk of exposure to vinyl chloride on site is considered minimal, as the primary contamination pathway is in the groundwater impacted. Trace amounts of the chemical have been detected in Saxon Creek.

In addition to vinyl chloride, methane gas, produced by the decomposing materials in the landfill, has been detected at Meyers Landfill. Levels have been measured and they are not a heath risk; however, they are flammable. The long-term remedial action will also address the remediation of the methane gas.

Mailing and Meeting Information

Want to be added to our Mailing List?
Interested individuals are invited to be added to the Meyers Landfill Mailing List, by sending name and address to:

Attention: Meyers Landfill Mailing List
35 College Drive
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

or via email to:
Please include Meyers Landfill Mailing List in the subject line, and provide complete contact information, including a mailing address.

How to find more information
Information on Meyers Landfill Remediation, including a site history and relevant documents are available on this website. As new information becomes available, it will be included.

The Administrative History of the Meyers Landfill Remediation is available for inspection upon request at the Forest Supervisor's Office located at
35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Switchboard: (530) 543-2600