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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
BELVIDERE MUNICIPAL LANDFILL #1
BELVIDERE, BOONE COUNTY, ILLINOIS

SUMMARY

The Belvidere Municipal No. 1 Landfill site is an inactive landfill situated on Boone CountyConservation District property in Belvidere, Illinois. Extensive environmental samplingperformed for the Remedial Investigation (RI) in 1985-87 identified site-related soil,groundwater, and sediment contamination with various compounds. The main concern on-sitewas soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in an old drum storage area. Several compounds in groundwater beneath the site were also identified. Exposure to site-relatedcontamination has been limited in the past and in most cases has been eliminated throughremedial activities. Past exposures to site-related contaminants have been determined by theIllinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to present an insignificant health risk to arearesidents. Remedial activities have included removal and disposal of PCB contaminated soil,restricting access to the site, capping and revegetating the landfill, and the construction of agroundwater treatment system.

This site poses no apparent public health hazard at this time. Low-level contamination exists inon-site sediments and soil, but exposure is limited and contaminant concentrations are belowlevels of health concern. There is also no exposure to groundwater contaminated with site-related compounds. Elevated levels of nitrite were detected in residential wells sampled duringthe RI, however, the wells have recently been re-sampled by IDPH and no nitrite was detected. Furthermore, the landfill is not expected to be the source of this contamination since these wellsare upgradient of the site. Other site-related groundwater contaminants have not affected nearbywells and groundwater remediation should reduce the risk of future well contamination. TheKishwaukee River and two ponds next to the site have been sampled for surface water, sediment,and fish and aquatic biota contamination. The contamination detected has been below levels ofhealth concern and exposure at these areas does not present a significant risk to public health. Community health concerns have been raised regarding area wells and consuming fish from theKishwaukee River and the two ponds. These concerns have been addressed in the Community Health Concerns Evaluation section of this public health assessment.

IDPH recommends that area residents be provided information about the potential adverse healtheffects associated with drinking water from private wells containing elevated levels of nitrites. Inaddition, IDPH recommends continued annual environmental sampling to detect any spread ofsite-related contaminants. IDPH will continue to evaluate any new data.

BACKGROUND

A. SITE DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

The Belvidere Municipal No. 1 Landfill (hereafter called the Belvidere Landfill or the site) is aNational Priorities List (NPL) site located on the west side of Belvidere in Boone County, Illinois. The inactive landfill occupies approximately 10 acres of a 139 acre area owned by the Boone County Conservation District (BCCD), and is bordered by the Kishwaukee River to the west, Spencer Park to the south, a gravel pit to the north, and Appleton Road (a residential neighborhood) to the east (Figures 1, 2 and 3)(9).

The Belvidere Landfill was owned and operated as a municipal landfill by the City of Belviderefrom 1939 until 1965. The city purchased a 10 acre tract of land from an area family in 1939,and no documentation has been found to suggest that waste disposal occurred on this tract beforeits purchase by the city. Waste disposal took place on this original parcel until 1954 when anadditional acre was purchased for the landfill. During the early years of operation, the site wasalso used for open burning (12). Although the city purchased approximately 128 additional acresbetween 1957 and 1968, waste disposal activities were conducted on only 11 acres (Figure 4)(12). From 1965 until 1973, the city retained ownership while private contractors operated thelandfill. During this period of operation it was used for disposal of industrial wastes, sludge fromthe city sewage treatment plant, paint/oil sludge, unknown liquid wastes and other unknownsludges. The landfill was formally closed in 1973 and covered with sandy soil excavated from anon-site borrow pit and soil remaining from highway construction just south of the facility (9). The BCCD purchased the total landfill property on November 17, 1976.

A cover of up to 3 feet of silt and sandy loam was placed on the landfill in 1979 because theprevious cover did not satisfy regulatory requirements. The new cover was vegetated with activeprairie plants to help reduce erosion and an earthen berm was constructed on top of the sideslopes to reduce erosion. The site was placed on the NPL in December 1982 (9).

A Remedial Investigation (RI) was performed beginning in December, 1985 and continuingthrough December, 1986 when 100 drums (containing liquids and/or sludges located west of thesite) were removed and disposed off-site at a permitted hazardous waste landfill. The Final RIreport was issued in March 1988 followed by a Record of Decision (ROD) signed on June 29,1988. The ROD prescribed a final site remedy which would contain on-site wastes andcontaminated soils and extract and treat groundwater (10). The major components of the selectedremedy included:

  1. flood control measures,
  2. deed restrictions,
  3. security fencing,
  4. environmental monitoring (soil, groundwater, surface water, sediments, and aquatic biota),
  5. landfill capping, and
  6. groundwater extraction and treatment.

ATSDR released their public health assessment of the Belvidere Landfill site on August 2, 1988,concluding that the site posed a potential public health concern because of possible humanexposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the former drum disposal area (5). In August of1990, construction of a chain-linked security fence around the landfill area was completed and inOctober excavation of approximately 1 foot of contaminated soil (about 300 cubic yards) wascompleted from within the limits of the former drum disposal area. These measures minimizedthe potential hazards as determined by ATSDR. The excavated soil was deposited on the landfillas part of a levelling layer and was covered with an additional 2 feet of levelling material in theconstruction of the cap. The former drum disposal area was backfilled with random topsoil,regraded, and revegetated. Other remedial activities continued through 1991, and on January 6,1992, remedial construction was completed (10). Subsequent inspections, sampling, and systemtuning have been performed and the final cover system over the landfill and the barrier extractionsystem are now operational. As indicated in the ROD, the selected remedy allows hazardoussubstances to remain on-site. A review must, therefore, be conducted within 5 years of thecommencement of the remedial action to ensure the continued protection of human health andthe environment (10).

B. SITE VISIT

Ken McCann from IDPH conducted a site visit in August of 1992. Spencer Park is a well keptpark with a large pavilion and picnic area, playground, and large grassy areas. Several picnictables were also seen next to the Kishwaukee River which runs along the western border of theentire conservation area. The landfill area is surrounded by a 6-foot fence with a locked gatelimiting access. Signs alerting people of hazardous conditions were hanging on the fence. Noactivity was observed in the landfill area. The West Pond, the larger of the two ponds, hadextremely clear water. "No swimming" signs were posted around these ponds in several areasmaking it impossible to overlook them. Several visitors were observed in Spencer Park andaround the ponds. Signs of activity were noticed near and around both of the ponds (pop andbeer cans, foot prints, etc.) and two young men were observed fishing in the East Pond. According to a gentleman walking by the pond, this area is frequented by many people who fishand hike. He visits the area often and has not seen swimmers in either of the ponds.

In October of 1994, a site visit was conducted by Steve Johnson of IDPH. The site appeared tobe well maintained, and several hikers and joggers were observed in the park. No physicalchanges from the 1992 site visit were observed.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE

Demographics

The Belvidere Landfill is located on the northwestern edge of the City of Belvidere. Accordingto the 1990 U.S. Census data, Belvidere has a population of 15,958. The racial makeup ofBelvidere is 93% white, 0.6% black, and 6.4% Native Americans, Asians and others. Of thesegroups, 10.3% are of Spanish origin. Approximately 13.2% (2,111) of Belvidere's population areat or above the retirement age of 65. The remaining population by age includes:

Age Group (years) Number of people
<5 1,312
5-24 4,692
25-44 4,911
45-54 1,657
55-59 635
60-64 640

The population within a 3-mile radius of the site is estimated to be approximately 14,000 persons (5). The nearest residences are located 1/2 mile east of the landfill on Appleton Road near the eastern site boundary. These six residences have private wells for their potable water supplies (Figure 5).

Land Use

While most of Boone County is rural, Belvidere has an industrial base which includesautomobile and furniture manufacturing, metal fastener production, and several light industries(16). Land in the immediate site vicinity is used for recreational purposes. After purchasing thetotal landfill property in 1976, the BCCD began developing park roads and hiking/cross-countryski trails for public use in areas not affected by previous landfill operations (16). The SpencerPark area now includes an area with playground equipment for children and picnic facilities forfamilies. A large pavilion for public use is near the park entrance. The BCCD also uses the parkas an experimental prairie and uses the area for educational tours by local schools. The landfillarea is completely fenced in with several strands of barbed-wire inhibiting access to the landfill. In the summer, land plots are available to residents for gardening. Fishing occurs in the twoabandoned gravel pit-ponds (East and West Ponds) during both the winter (ice fishing) andsummer months. The ponds are not used for swimming or wading (enforced by BCCD patrols)(5,16). The Kishwaukee River, bordering the south and west sides of the site, is also used forfishing. Swimming in the river is not a frequent occurrence (5,16). Wild raspberries grow inareas located east and west of the landfill (not in disposal areas) and are harvested during thesummer months. Hunting is not allowed on the BCCD, however, it is known to occur in areasalong the Kishwaukee River downstream of the BCCD property (5,16). A large number of deerfrequent the site area.

Natural Resource Use

Two hydraulically connected aquifers exist beneath the Belvidere Landfill. The upper aquiferoccurs in the unconsolidated sediments consisting of the outwash sands and gravels. The loweraquifer occurs in the Galena and Platteville Dolomites (Figure 6). The upper aquifer providesgroundwater for the Municipality of Belvidere, private homeowners, and industry (16). Thegroundwater in both aquifers is flowing to the southwest toward the Kishwaukee River. Theflow rate in the upper aquifer is approximately 254 feet per year (ft/yr). The lower aquifer flowrate is much slower at approximately 108 ft/yr (16). Use of the upper aquifer downgradient ofthe site is not well defined, but it is believed that at least some of the groundwater in thecontaminated upper aquifer will be intercepted by the Kishwaukee River (16). The interactionbetween the upper aquifer, where the contamination is known to exist, and the bedrock (lower)aquifer is not understood. It is not known how many people, if any, use the bedrock (lower)aquifer or the alluvial groundwater (upper aquifer) downgradient of the site as a drinking watersource (16). There are no wells, however, within a mile downgradient of the site. A trailer parkis located 3 miles southwest of the site, however it uses city water for its supply.

The Kishwaukee River lies immediately to the south and hydraulically downgradient of thelandfill site. The location of the landfill to the River raises a concern regarding potentialcontamination of river sediments, water, and aquatic biota. The Kishwaukee River flows in anorthwesterly direction. It turns toward the southwest and flows into the Rock River, which inturn discharges into the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois. The Kishwaukee river is notused as a drinking water source in the area of the site.

Boone County contains widespread sand and gravel deposits of glacial origin that have beenextensively excavated. Locally, an active sand and gravel pit operates directly north of the site(Figure 3).

D. HEALTH OUTCOME DATA

The State of Illinois maintains databases for cancer incidence and birth defects. Informationfrom the Illinois State Cancer Registry is available for the years 1985 through 1992. These dataare organized by county and zip code.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has been very active in addressingcommunity health concerns associated with the Belvidere site. Informal meetings with localofficials and citizens were conducted by IEPA personnel to address specific concerns. The IEPACommunity Relations Coordinator has also acted as a liaison between the Mayor of Belvidere,the Boone County Conservation District Executive Director, and the Boone County PublicHealth Administrator who represents the county residents. IEPA established two informationrepositories that contained site-related documents. These repositories were located at a Belviderepublic library and the City Clerk's Office. Public meetings were held to inform residents aboutremedial activities and to respond to community health concerns.

The following community health concerns have been expressed by area residents:

  1. Will private wells in the area of the Belvidere site become contaminated? Can wells bedeveloped in the future in the area of this site?
  2. Can people drink the water from the wells located in Spencer Park?
  3. Is it safe to eat the fish from the East and West ponds next to the landfill and the KishwaukeeRiver?

Community health concerns were updated October of 1994 through contact with IEPArepresentatives and local county health officials. No new concerns were expressed.

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