Chapter Impacts of the Proposed Project

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1 Chapter Impacts of the Proposed Project 4.0 Impacts of the Proposed Project This section presents the baseline conditions and the analysis of the potential for the proposed Ridgecrest Sanitary Landfill (Ridgecrest RSLF) Permit Revision Project (proposed Project) to cause significant impacts in the proposed Project study area from all components of the proposed Project, including: Amend the Kern County General Plan (GPA 2, Map 70); Apply for Conditional Use Permit (CUP 8, Map 70); Revise the Solid Waste Facilities Permit (No. 15-AA-0059); Petition for the exclusion of the Estray Ordinance for the project area; Construct a trans-load facility; Prepare a Joint Technical Document describing the facilities design and operations; Accept revised Waste Discharge Requirements; and Amend the Kern County and Incorporated Cities Integrated Waste Management Plan Non-Disposal Facility Element (NDFE) to include the expansion of the recycling programs being conducted at the facility. The above listed components constitute the proposed Project for this Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). This Draft EIR has been prepared in accordance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) statutes, the updated CEQA Guidelines (California Code of Regulations [CCR], 2009), and County of Kern s CEQA Implementation Document (Kern County Planning and Community Development Department, 2004a). The issue areas analyzed in the subsections that follow include: 4.1 Aesthetic Resources 4.2 Agricultural Resources 4.3 Air Quality 4.4 Biological Resources 4.5 Cultural Resources 4.6 Geology and Soils 4.7 Greenhouse Gas Emissions 4.8 Hazards and hazardous Materials 4.9 Hydrology and Water Quality Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-1

2 4.10 Land Use and Planning 4.11 Transportation and Traffic 4.12 Utilities and Service Systems Baseline/Existing Environmental Setting CEQA Guidelines Section requires that an EIR include a description of the physical environmental conditions of the project as they exist at the time the Notice of Preparation is published. Section states that this environmental setting will normally constitute the baseline physical conditions by which a lead agency determines whether an impact is significant. This section describes the general approach to the baseline in the DEIR, and summarizes the baseline used for all issue areas. Details regarding the relevant baseline for each potential environmental impact are presented in Sections 4.1 through 4.11 of this DEIR. In further explaining the principles found in CEQA Guidelines Section 15125, CEQA case law has confirmed that existing facilities or activities are considered part of the baseline even if they have been established or conducted without required permits or contrary to permits or codes (e.g., Riverwatch v. County of San Diego [1999] 76 Cal.App.4th 1428; Fat v. County of Sacramento [2002] 97 Cal.App.4th 1270; Eureka Citizens for Responsible Government v. City of Eureka [2007] 147 Cal.App.4th 357.) In addition, CEQA cases have acknowledged that environmental conditions may vary from year to year, and in some cases it is necessary to consider conditions over a range of time periods, including changes that occur during the time it takes to complete environmental review (e.g., Save Our Peninsula Committee v. Monterey County Bd. of Supervisors [2001] 87 Cal.App.4th 99.). For the same reason, cases have approved baselines for modifications to previously permitted projects or facilities based on the permitted use (e.g., Benton v. Board of Supervisors of Napa County [1991] 226 Cal.App.3d 1467; Fairview Neighbors v. County of Ventura [1999] 70 Cal.App.4th 238.). The Court of Appeal decision in Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management District ( CBE v. SCAQMD ) (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 1336, concluded that the permitted level of activity could be used as the baseline only if it had undergone prior CEQA review. However, in 2010 the California Supreme Court reviewed the case and overturned the Court of Appeal decision, ultimately ruling that existing activities are required to be used as the baseline. Table below summarizes the baseline used to assess each environmental medium potentially affected by the proposed Project. In general, the Draft EIR strives to apply a baseline consisting of the physical environmental conditions as of February 17, 2009, the date the Notice of Preparation (NOP) was issued for the Project; however, the information available for each environmental medium is different. Even so, the baseline represents a good faith effort to present the environmental conditions approximately as they existed as of the NOP date, using reasonably available information. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-2

3 Table Summary of the Ridgecrest RSLF Baselines Topic Baseline Notes Aesthetic Resources Figures through The existing site is visibly distinct from the natural landscape due to the disturbed nature of the landfill s surface areas. The landfill is an existing facility; it has become an established and accepted part of the landscape. Agricultural Resources Reports and maps prepared by the The entire project is located within the Kern California Department of County Estray Ordinance area (Open Range) Conservation, the Kern County and is subject to the provisions set forth in Kern Department of Agriculture and County Ordinance Code: Title 7, Chapter 7.16 Measurement Standards, the Kern Estrays, Sections thru (Kern County Planning and Community County Planning and Community Development Development Department, and the Department, 2002). California Division of Land Resource Protection. Air Quality Emissions Baseline emissions were calculated using existing equipment, tonnage, and traffic totals that were experienced at the site at the time of the NOP (Appendix I). Emissions attributable to the existing operation are already incorporated into the air basin s existing emissions inventory through inclusion in the Kern County General Plan and in the Eastern Kern County Air Pollution Control District Emissions Inventory and the California Air Resources Board Statewide Emissions Inventory. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-3

4 Odors Biological Resources Cultural Resources Topic Baseline Notes Odor complaints during the history of There have been no known odor complaints the Ridgecrest RSLF. that have been filed for the Ridgecrest RSLF. Surveys and reports prepared by Resource Management International (RMI) (1992a), and William Vanherweg (1996, 1997, 2000, and 2009). Comments from California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) (1980a and 1980b) their own field survey on the impacts to wildlife resources at Ridgecrest are included. Surveys and reports prepared by various consultants including Resource Management International (1992b), and Three Girls and a Shovel, LLC (2008). In addition, a sacred lands search for the property was performed by the Native American Heritage Commission. Biological surveys were conducted prior to the NOP, and are located in Appendix B of the DEIR. Cultural surveys were conducted prior to the NOP, and are located in Appendix C of the DEIR. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-4

5 Topic Baseline Notes Geology and Soils Information prepared by various Soil types at the site consist of coarse sands, consultants including EMCON intermixed with fine to medium gravel, and the Associates (1989 and 1991) and T.J. facility is not located on a floodplain or lake Cross Engineers (2004). In 2003, area. The Ridgecrest general area, like most of Geosyntec Consultants conducted Kern County, is considered to be seismically an investigation of faulting potential active. There are no identified active or at the Ridgecrest RSLF. In 2009, potentially active faults underlying the site or AMEC Geomatrix, Inc., prepared a adjacent areas. Faults considered to be water quality (AMEC, 2009a) and a presently active and near the landfill are the water supply (AMEC Geomatrix, Little Lake Fault zone, the Garlock Fault, and 2009b) assessment for the the Sierra Nevada Fault zone (Golder Ridgecrest RSLF (Appendix K and Associates, 2010). A technical study has Appendix L, respectively). In 2010, indicated that no Holocene fault has been Golder Associates (Golder) prepared identified within the landfill property boundary a geotechnical report for the (Geosyntec Consultants, 2003). The site is not Ridgecrest Recycling and Sanitary within an Alquist-Priolo Seismic Studies Zone. Landfill (Ridgecrest RSLF) The project area is outside of the 100-year (Appendix J). floodplain. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Kern County Waste Management Department Greenhouse Gas Emission Action Plan prepared by the Kern County Waste Management Department in December 2008 (Appendix H). This estimate is the most complete data available for the period nearest in time to the NOP date. As such, it generally approximates the inventory at the NOP date. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-5

6 Topic Baseline Notes Hazards and Hazardous Materials Hazardous Materials Vectors Hazardous waste is not accepted for disposal at the landfill. There have been no citations in the past concerning vectors. The Kern County Recycling and Solid Waste Planning - Waste Characterization Study (HF&H Consultants, 2009) found that the concentration of incidental household hazardous waste in the County s overall municipal waste stream was quite low (approximately 0.14%). The control of vectors (rodents, flies and birds) is a requirement of state regulations and is monitored by the LEA. Control of vectors is an ongoing operation through use of daily cover and rodent eradication when warranted. Hydrology and Water Quality Ground Water Quality Reports prepared by EMCON Associates (1989, 1999), SECOR (2002), and ongoing monitoring performed by the Kern County Waste Management Department. In 2009, AMEC Geomatrix, Inc., prepared a water quality (AMEC, 2009a) assessment for the Ridgecrest RSLF, provided in Appendix K of this DEIR. Groundwater quality at the landfill has been monitored since 1989 when the first three monitoring wells were installed. Currently the groundwater monitoring system consists of seven operating monitoring wells: one background well (RD1-25), four compliance wells (RD1-06, RD1-10, RD1-11 and RD1-26), and two Evaluation Monitoring Program wells (RD2-01 and RD2-02). Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-6

7 Topic Baseline Notes Ground Water Supply AMEC Geomatrix, Inc., prepared a The Ridgecrest RSLF is located in an arid water supply (AMEC, 2009b) area that has received approximately 6.15 assessment for the Ridgecrest inches of rain per year over the last 10 years RSLF, provided in Appendix L to this DEIR. (California Data Exchange Center, China Lake Armitage station). Evapotranspiration in the vicinity of the City of Ridgecrest is approximately 72.2 inches per year (AMEC Geomatrix, 2009a). The groundwater depth in the water supply well is estimated at approximately 354 feet below ground surface, which is comparable to the groundwater depths that currently are observed in well RD2-02. Observed groundwater levels in the Ridgecrest RSLF water supply well have declined by an average of 1.5 to 1.6 feet per year. Land Use Land use plans and zoning as of the NOP date. Surrounding land uses were determined in part by examination of aerial photographs, taken prior to the NOP date, and confirmed by field investigations. Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-7

8 Transportation and Traffic Utilities and Service Systems The routes of the public self-haul and commercial vehicles as proposed by the Project. Consultations with the Kern County Roads Department and Caltrans (Appendix A) were also used to determine the transportation and traffic issues related to the proposed Project. Reports prepared by HF&H Consultants (Appendix N), AMEC Geomatrix, Inc. (2009b) (Appendix L) and review of state and federal laws and regulations that govern the various utilities and service systems as well as the specific energy conservation requirements of the CEQA Guidelines Appendix F. The Ridgecrest RSLF is permitted for 795 vehicles per day. However, in 2008, the actual vehicles per day at the project site averaged 219, which is equivalent to 438 trips per day. All intersections are currently operating at an acceptable level of service. The Ridgecrest RSLF is a Class III municipal solid waste sanitary landfill, permitted to operate under the provision of Title 27 California Code of Regulations. The site is identified in the CalRecycle s database as Solid Waste Information System (SWIS) number 15- AA-0059 and is operated in compliance with federal, state, and local statures and regulations. Periodic inspections by the Kern County Environmental Health Services Department (KCEHSD), acting as the Local Enforcement Agency (LEA), ensure that the facility is maintained in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations. The Project will use groundwater primarily for fugitive dust control and soil compaction. The gatehouse accounts for only a small portion of the daily water use. The water will be supplied by the on-site supply well which is completed in Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-8

9 the unconfined aquifer. Water usage at the facility is highest in the summer months with an estimated daily usage of 11,075 gallons per day (gpd). Total annual usage from the supply well is estimated to be 2,433,182 gallons or about 7.5 acre-feet per year (AFY). This amount represents 0.03 percent of the annual groundwater production (25,000 acre-feet per year) in the Indian Wells Valley Basin (AMEC Geomatrix, 2009b). [This Space Intentionally Left Blank] Draft Environmental Impact Report 4.0-9

10 [This Page Intentionally Left Blank] Draft Environmental Impact Report

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