Officials Hope Pasco Landfill Fire Is Now Out After Smoldering F - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Officials Hope Pasco Landfill Fire Is Now Out After Smoldering For Years

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PASCO, WA. -- The Department of Ecology has been working for nearly two years to put out a fire burning at the Pasco Sanitary Landfill. On Wednesday, we found out workers think the fire may be out but they're not taking any chances with hazardous chemicals stored nearby.

At the Pasco Sanitary Landfill and behind this fence, is the site in question where a fire was burning below the ground or smoldering in the waste here for some time. Now officials hope that this two year ordeal will be coming to a conclusion here soon in the next couple months. 

Below workers feet is where a fire had burned in our trash for years. The fire was first noticed in November 2013. The Department of Ecology tried to pour soil on top to smother the fire, then force liquid nitrogen inside to cool it. Neither did the trick.

More recently, workers dug 35 feet into the trash and treated all of it individually with this mix of concrete, sand and clay to stop the smoldering. The trash was then put back and entombed with walls of the mixture on all sides and top to stop the fire from spreading. 

It's taken a lot of work but Chuck Gruenenfelder from Department of Ecology says they feel good with where they are now. 

"We're feeling good in terms of getting this fire out," Gruenenfelder said. "We still have some confirmation efforts to verify that the fire is entirely out. But the work has been going very smoothly."

Department of Ecology is so focused on stopping the spread of this fire because only yards away sits 35,000 drums of hazardous waste such as cleaners and paint containers. 

It'll take about a month for workers to take this sludge and create a barrier or a wall that will separate the hazardous material from where that fire was burning.

Once that 350 foot barrier goes up, there shouldn't be any more problems from this fire that has been burning for the last couple years. When the entire project is done, once the barrier goes up, then workers and the Department of Ecology can get started on the much larger project here which is cleaning up all the material left over here in this landfill.