Action taken to stabilize burn dump

The City Council took emergency action at its Oct. 4 meeting to stabilize the abandoned burn dump, which shed glass, metal and ceramic debris into a residential area in Laguna Canyon during the December deluge.

Stabilization measures are to be implemented before mid-December if possible, bypassing normal bidding procedures when necessary, with contracts not to exceed $150,000. Preliminary studies have been conducted to evaluate the options to keep debris out of residential areas and Laguna Creek pending remediation of the site.

"What we believe is the most feasible is to 'shotcrete' the area of exposed debris, cover it with material and prevent any additional erosion from occurring in the ravine," said Bob Burnham, who was once again drafted into service in the aftermath of a local disaster.

Burnham said the proposed interim project would also include construction of a check dam.

"It would be used to retain debris that did escape from the area and also to dissipate energy," Burnham said.

The dam would equalize the amount and velocity of the water coming down the hillside. Burnham also reported that five regulatory agencies are involved with the project, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Fish and Game and the state Regional Water Quality Control Board — San Diego Division.

"Hopefully the regulatory agencies will approve," Burnham said.

The city bought the dump site in 1997, shortly after the area was annexed, and was apparently unaware of the use as a dump site by the owner.

According to Burnham, the owner encouraged dumping, using organic matter to feed farm animals. Other materials were just tossed.

Slides of the area showed metal, glass and ceramic debris strewn down the hill, with more embedded in the earth, subject to erosion.

City officials said the existing conditions constitute a public nuisance and pose an immediate threat to the creek, warranting immediate action.

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