Landfill Closure Casts Doubt on Cleanup Funds

The court-ordered closure of the Azusa Land Reclamation Co. landfill has cast doubt on the future of a $20.5-million contribution the dump’s operator made in 1989 for cleanup of the underground water supply of the San Gabriel Valley.

State and landfill officials said it is uncertain what will happen with the money, considered one of the few sure sources for a cleanup that will cost an estimated $106 million. The funds were placed in an escrow account as a condition of the dump’s planned expansion.

Landfill manager Paul Schelstrate said the company is considering withdrawing all but $3 million from the account, using some to help pay for environmental studies that must be undertaken before the site south of the Foothill Freeway would be permitted to reopen.