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Cleanup Starts on Exposed Waste in Historic Dump

The following is a press release from the Forest Service on 9-29-21.

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Photo credit:

SACRAMENTO – Crews started work today on a $864,000 safety upgrade to the former Lee Vining Burn Dump site after county inspections revealed rains had eroded portions of the dump’s protective cover of potentially hazardous material.

Closed in 1972, the site near the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center overlooking Mono Lake received municipal solid waste from Lee Vining, CA during an era before regulation of solid waste dumps.

To protect public safety, the Inyo National Forest (Forest Service) partnered with California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to reinforce the protective soil covering of the former Lee Vining Burn Dump site and reduce future erosion.

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Photo credit: Friends of the Inyo

CalRecycle is using technical consultants to plan, and perform the work, which includes relocating some solid waste to adjust the path of storm water drainage channels to reduce future erosion. Some waste in the burn site will be moved and consolidated within the existing site.

About 1,800 cubic yards of consolidated waste will be graded and covered with soil from a nearby site. Crews will also harden the storm water drainage channels with grouted rock to minimize erosion.

The Forest Service provided archeological clearance on tribal lands and support to prevent the spread of invasive species. It also set guidelines for reseeding native plants once the work is complete.

“The Inyo National Forest sought to proactively mitigate the hazards at the site and we are pleased to have a partner like CalRecycle achieve this goal,” said Nora Gamino, Forest Engineer.

The project is primarily funded by CalRecycle through their Solid Waste Cleanup Program, with matching contributions from the Forest Service.

Visitors to the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center should expect portions of the parking lot to be closed while construction is underway. Work will continue through the end of November 2021. The visitor center will close for the season on October 2nd.

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