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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

H.O.D. LANDFILL
ANTIOCH, LAKE COUNTY, ILLINOIS


SUMMARY

H.O.D. Landfill is a 51-acre landfill in the Village of Antioch, Illinois, near the intersection of McMillen Road and Illinois Highway l73. The landfill functioned as a sanitary landfill until 1988 but is currently inactive. The site is in a freshwater wetland within an area of residential, agricultural, light industrial, and commercial use in the Chain O' Lakes Recreational Area.

The site is not a public health hazard in its present condition. Vinyl chloride, thallium, benzene, bis-2(ethylhexyl)phthalate, and sodium are contaminants of concern. Although vinyl chloride is of particular concern in the past, benzene was included because it is a known human carcinogen, but it was detected only once in an on-site groundwater monitoring well at levels that pose no apparent health risks. Some low-level contamination of Antioch's municipal well number 4, downgradient of the site, has occurred sporadically. However, the Village of Antioch's public water supply wells have met state drinking water regulatory standards. The contaminants present in the municipal supply are vinyl chloride, thallium, and sodium. People have been exposed to these contaminants through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact and may be exposed in the future with the Village's continued use of well number 4.

The contaminants of concern in the seven private wells sampled near the site are thallium and sodium. The use of these wells for drinking and household purposes constitutes past, present, and future completed exposure pathways through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Additionally, on-site groundwater has shown contamination, particularly with respect to the high levels of vinyl chloride and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate. Tests conducted thus far do not clearly demonstrate if the groundwater contaminants will reach the public water supply or the nearby private wells. People using private well water and the public water supply may be exposed to those contaminants if they reach the wells.

Complete analyses of the extent and nature of the contamination in the public well, private wells, and groundwater monitoring wells, and better characterization of the site's hydrogeology are necessary for a complete assessment of this site. Recommendations for the protection of public health include continued leachate removal to reduce groundwater contamination. Also, municipal wells 3, 4, and 5 and nearby private wells should be monitored regularly, and an alternative to well number 4 should be considered if contamination persists above levels of health concern. Those persons on salt-restricted diets who drink water with elevated levels of sodium should consult with their physician regarding continued ingestion of their drinking water source.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

The H.O.D. Landfill is within a former gravel pit on the eastern boundary of the Village of Antioch, in Lake County, Illinois (T.46N., R.10E., Sections 8 and 9). It is on an 80-acre site off McMillen Road and Highway l73 (Figure 1), and occupies approximately 51 acres east of Sequoit Acres Industrial Park.

The H.O.D. site consists of two landfilled areas, the "old" and "new" landfills, that were legally delineated in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) permitting process. The "old" landfill occupies 24.2 acres on the western third of the site. The "new" landfill consists of 26.8 acres east of the "old" landfill. The site has been previously known as both Lake Landfill and C.C.D. Disposal. It is bordered on the south and west by Sequoit Creek, which was rerouted to the southern boundary of the site as the "old" landfill expanded. A large wetlands area is south of the landfill.

Agricultural land, housing subdivisions, and undeveloped land exist north of the site. Commercial establishments line Highway l73 south of the site. Silver Lake is approximately 200 feet southeast of the site. The Silver Lake Park residential subdivision is east-southeast of the site. Antioch High School is at the intersection of McMillen Road and Highway l73, approximately a quarter-mile southwest of the site.

The Village of Antioch has six municipal wells at depths of about 150-250 feet within 3 miles of the site (IEPA, Public Water Supplies). Figure 2 shows the locations of five of the municipal wells. The municipal wells are screened in the deep sand and gravel dolomite aquifer. Municipal well number 4 serves most of the Village residents with drinking water and is the closest municipal well to the site (approximately 350 feet). The municipal wells serve a population of approximately 4,400. More than 30 private wells are within 3 miles of the site (IEPA, Files). The nearest residential well is within 100 feet of the site's perimeter (Figure 3). The privately owned wells are also screened in the deep sand and gravel dolomite aquifer. They are completed at depths of approximately 85 to 250 feet (Warzyn, 1991).

H.O.D. Landfill is next to the Sequoit Acres Industrial Park, which has supported light industry since the 1950s. The industrial park contains several small generators of hazardous wastes and five underground gasoline storage tanks. The park was allegedly constructed over a former municipal dump and a former industrial dump once operated by Quaker Industries, which operates near the H.O.D. landfill. A former refuse dump is thought to be between the light industrial area and the western bank of Sequoit Creek (Ecology and Environment, 1989).

Antioch Village well number 4 may have been drilled through refuse contained in the municipal landfill (March Smith. Waste Management of Illinois, Inc. April 1992. Personal Communication). Oil had previously contaminated the well, because of a malfunctioning pump oiling mechanism. Analysis of the oil showed the presence of toluene, xylenes, and ethyl benzene in the well (Warzyn, 1991).

H.O.D. Landfill has been owned and operated by three successive companies since 1963: Cunningham Cartage, Inc., H.O.D. Disposal, Inc., and Waste Management of Illinois, Inc., (WMI) and its subsidiaries. Cunningham Cartage operated a 20-acre sanitary landfill on a parcel of land that now contains the H.O.D. Landfill site from 1963 until August 1965. The Lake County Health Department granted the permit. However, the Lake County Health Department denied a subsequent expansion permit request (Ecology and Environment, 1989).

In August 1965, H.O.D. Disposal, Inc., took over permitted operation of the 20-acre site and continued landfilling through March 12, 1975. In October 1965, H.O.D. Disposal, Inc. applied to the Lake County Health Department to expand the landfill to 80 acres. The permit was denied due to zoning restrictions. In December 1972, the 20-acre parcel was sold to C.C.D. Disposal, Inc., which purchased the adjacent 60 acres of land east of the landfill.

In June 1973, WMI merged with H.O.D. Disposal and C.C.D. Disposal and retained ownership of the site. In October 1973, WMI submitted a zoning request for the operation of 80 acres, and applied to IEPA for a permit on June 26, 1974. On October 21, 1974, the zoning request was approved, and IEPA approved the development permit on March 12, 1975. In August 1974, IEPA fined WMI $5,000 for not having a permit within the prescribed time. WMI operated the landfill from 1973 until 1984, when the site was closed. H.O.D. Disposal and C.C.D. Disposal became subsidiaries of WMI (Warzyn, 1992).

Portions of the site were landfilled during WMI's ownership (Ecology and Environment, 1989). In January 1975, WMI transferred two parcels of the site to the Village of Antioch, and retained rights to landfill each parcel for designated periods. The State sued WMI alleging cover violations. Afterwards, the daily cover violations were dismissed. Between July 1975 and the closing of the landfill in 1984, IEPA granted various supplemental permits to WMI. In 1982, WMI again applied to IEPA to expand the H.O.D. Landfill site onto land north of the site. IEPA and the Lake County Health Department denied the request. WMI appealed the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, which upheld IEPA's permit denial.

In 1978, the State filed an enforcement notice against WMI for repeated violations of state law regarding cover requirements at the landfill. IEPA inspections from August 1973 to May 1982 revealed: a) inadequate daily and intermediate cover; b) trenches that were not excavated and constructed as permitted; and c) leachate collection pipes that were not joined. Leachate is the liquid component of a landfill, generally consisting of water and a mixture of the chemicals stored within the landfill that may drain from the site over time or be removed by a leachate collection system. The system was repaired, and an October 1984 settlement was reached in which WMI agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and cease cover violations.

The landfill was filled by late 1983. WMI ceased accepting wastes for disposal at the site in 1984. In September 1984, the Village of Antioch filed an eleven-count complaint against WMI, Chem Waste Management, and other private parties. The complaint was dismissed. In May 1985, the Village filed an amended complaint against Waste Management for breach of contract, creating a nuisance, and wrongful use of land. Portions of this complaint were dismissed.

A review of the files of IEPA and the Lake County Health Department revealed that citizen concerns with respect to the H.O.D. Landfill existed throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. Correspondence from area State legislators and members of Congress to IEPA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) concerning problems with the site and plans for its expansion were found. IEPA tested private wells for inorganic and organic contaminants at homeowners' request. All samples met water quality regulatory limits. No evidence of specific health concerns in the 1970s and 1980s was found, although general opposition to the landfill and expansion plans existed.

Before the 1970s, opposition to the C.C.D. Landfill and its re-zoning efforts was expressed by the Chain of Lakes Conservation Association. After that, the Little Silver Lake Improvement Association, Inc., (the Association) was the most prominent group opposing the landfill's expansion. In 1966, the Association was featured in the Waukegan News Sun newspaper and fought the re-zoning efforts and expansion of the sanitary landfill in the early 1970s. The residents' concerns centered on odors, land and property values, aesthetics, and flooding of the Little Silver Lake Subdivision from road construction at the landfill. The neighbors' complaints were in respect to the wetland ecology (loss of native marsh species, erosion, and runoff), rodents, flooding, wild dogs, noise, and possible bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) allegedly disposed at the site.

In 1974, the Association filed a complaint with the Illinois Pollution Control Board against WMI, H.O.D. Disposal, the Mayor of the Village of Antioch and the Board of Trustees, and the Lake County Health Department regarding the unsuitability of the site. A State Senator wrote a letter to the Board of Trustees regarding local concern about the site's problems.

Articles in the Chicago Tribune in 1983 document a visit to the site by community activists. A citizen committee, the Antioch Landfill Investigation Committee, formed to study the site. They alleged that Waste Management had promised local residents an independent study of the recreational possibilities that the site might offer, such as ski slopes and parks, that did not materialize. Allegations were made that WMI did not keep its promises respective to the types of wastes accepted and to landfill design. The Committee attempted to learn what chemicals were disposed at H.O.D. before 1979 but were allegedly thwarted from sampling and testing by WMI.

Several complaints to IEPA were documented in the Lake County Health Department files with respect to "midnight dumping" by tankers bearing "flammable" labels. Complaints were received from a police officer and employees of the adjacent Quaker Industries and other private citizens. Testimony in hearings on the proposed expansion before the Lake County Board attempted to document this practice. Letters were sent to the editor of local newspapers from individuals who opposed the expansion. More than 200 citizens attended a public hearing in 1982 on the issue of annexing 40 acres to the 80-acre property.

The premise that the area affected by H.O.D. landfill was formerly a spawning ground for northern pike and large mouth bass was advanced by area sportsmen. Allegations of wildlife habitat destruction, the demise of Sequoit Creek, permit violations, and subdivision flooding were supported by documentation from the Antioch Public Works Department and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The Lakeland newspaper opposed the landfill's expansion in a 1984 editorial. In 1984, the Village of Antioch sued WMI in Circuit Court charging that the company accepted hazardous industrial wastes in a sanitary landfill. About 600 people attended a hearing regarding the expansion and company practices. Concerns included: land and home value depreciation, vertical expansion plans, numerous IEPA citations against WMI, alleged high chemical oxygen demand values in municipal wells number 3 and 4, and high biochemical oxygen demand values in the holding ponds.

The historical record of waste disposal at H.O.D. comes from various accounts and reports. Solid, sludge, slurry, and liquid wastes were reportedly disposed at the site. According to IEPA, special permitted wastes accounted for approximately 2 percent of the total volume of wastes at H.O.D. Some of the industrial and special wastes disposed were:

    waste oils and chlorinated solvents;
    emulsions polymerization waste containing phenol, lead, and zinc;
    various industrial sludges;
    municipal waste water treatment sludges;
    baghouse dust;
    grinding sludge containing chromium, cyanide, and nickel;
    paint booth wastes;
    waste filter cake;
    latex sludge containing cyanide, phenol, and zinc; and
    water-soluble coolants and oil wastes (IEPA files, 1980-1982).

A Preliminary Assessment produced by WMI listed the following substances as present at the site:

    oily wastes (PCBs, oils, and coolants);
    inorganic chemicals (cyanide, salts);
    organic chemicals (epoxy resins);
    paint sludge;
    solvents (phenols); and
    heavy metals (zinc, mercury, chromium, and lead) (Warzyn, 1992).

An IEPA site investigation estimated that 86,857 drums of hazardous wastes in sludge and liquid form had been disposed in the landfill. This figure was based on records of the volume of hazardous materials accepted by the landfill. Other IEPA reports estimated that 11,000 drums and 8,640 cubic yards of toxic, corrosive, flammable, persistent, soluble, ignitable, highly volatile, and explosive materials were stored on-site (IEPA files, Maywood office). Although waste quantities were not identified, reports and complaints to IEPA showed that the site accepted liquid organic wastes and drums (IEPA files).

Besides IEPA-permitted wastes, several other types of wastes are alleged to have been illegally disposed at the site, including caustic wastes, kerosene, cyanide-bearing wastes, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (Versar, 1986). Bulk liquid organic wastes and drummed wastes generated by Johnson Motors Division of Outboard Marine Corporation were reportedly disposed at the site from 1963-1981 (IEPA files, 1982). IEPA files note that a tanker allegedly dumped wastes containing 80 parts per billion (ppb) of PCBs and asserts that pharmaceutical products may also have been disposed at the site (IEPA files, 1979). No further documentation with respect to these waste products was found.

In June 1981, WMI reported to USEPA that solvents, heavy metals, and cutting and hydraulic oils may have been disposed at the site, in addition to heterogeneous municipal wastes (yard and food waste, paper, inert mineral waste, and glass, etc.). This disclosure was required by Section 103(c) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Warzyn, 1992).

A Preliminary Site Assessment was submitted to USEPA on February 11, 1983, by Ecology and Environment, Inc. The Field Inspection Team prepared the Hazard Ranking Model Score and submitted it to USEPA in April 1985. The presence of zinc at a concentration of 2,040 ppb in a groundwater sample collected from on-site monitoring well G103 helped document the release of contaminants from the site to the groundwater. WMI contended that the zinc concentrations were the result of a deteriorating galvanized steel protector pipe, and the well was replaced with well R103 on October 31, 1985 (See Figure 4).

On September l8, 1985, USEPA proposed that the site be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) as an uncontrolled hazardous waste site (Ecology and Environment, Inc., 1987). USEPA conducted additional investigations at the landfill from November 1986 to September 1989 and began the search for potentially responsible parties. In 1986, Versar prepared a report entitled H.O.D. Landfill Responsible Party Search Draft Final Report for USEPA. An expanded site inspection was conducted by Ecology and Environment for the period 1986 through 1989.

A year-round leachate collection system of piezometers that collect the liquid waste three times per week for disposal at CID Disposal in Calumet City has been established on-site. Leachate collection began in 1987 and 5,000-10,000 gallons per week are collected into 2,500-gallon accumulation tanks. As of July 1990, more than one million gallons of leachate had been collected and shipped off site for treatment and disposal. In June 1988, gas wells were drilled to the bottom of the landfill and were hooked to individual flares (Warzyn, 1991).

Because of the presence of contaminants in the surface sand, and the potential for downward movement of groundwater, USEPA recognized the deep sand and gravel aquifer as potentially vulnerable to contamination. In February 1990, the site was added to the NPL. On August 20, 1990, WMI and USEPA negotiated an Administrative Order on Consent to conduct a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site. The contaminants present at and near the site are discussed more fully in the section entitled Environmental Contamination and Other Hazards.

B. Site Visit

On May 22, 1992, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) staff, accompanied by representatives of USEPA, WMI, and Warzyn, Inc., toured H.O.D. Landfill. A six-foot high chain-link fence surrounds the site, and access is restricted. Iron contamination of the east bank of Sequoit Creek was noted. The creek appeared overgrown with an algal bloom. No leachate pools were visible. The site was covered with vegetation. A twelve-foot clay berm surrounded the landfill. A sedimentation pond and soil borrow area exist at the south and east ends of the site.

Staff from IDPH revisited the site on March 18, 1993, for a health and safety plan review. Present were representatives from USEPA, IEPA, WMI, Warzyn, Ecology and Environment, and Environmental and Foundation Drilling, Inc. Staff toured the site, took site photographs, and were briefed on plans for the forthcoming RI/FS.

On March 1, 1996, staff from IDPH revisited the site. Staff toured the site and surrounding area. The leachate collection system was in operation and the removal rate continues to be from 5,000 to 10,000 gallons per week. Groundcover at the site appeared to be in good condition. The chain-link fence surrounding the site is intact and continues to restrict access. Conditions at the site are similar now as in 1996.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

The H.O.D. site in Lake County is near the Chain O' Lakes Recreational Area, a popular location for fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities. Several subdivisions are found around various lakes within a 2-mile radius of the site. Urbanization in Lake County has been occurring along the western shore of Lake Michigan, in southern portions of the county, and to the east of the Des Plaines River. The Lake County population in 1990 was 516,418 people and the Village of Antioch's population was 6,105 people. The closest residence to the H.O.D. site is within l00 feet of the site boundary, or approximately 400 feet from the waste storage area. Within a three-mile radius of the site, the population is estimated to be 14,332 (IEPA files, 1982).

Land Use

Land use in Lake County is primarily agricultural, although urbanization and recreational use of the area are increasing. Outdoor summer activities in the area include fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and winter sports include hunting, ice skating, sledding, and cross-country skiing. Agricultural acreage is primarily used for growing corn, with some land used for dairy and hay production (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1970).

Natural Resource Use

Village of Antioch residents use the municipal water supply for drinking water and other household uses, and some residents tap the groundwater with private wells. Six municipal wells supply the residents in the corporate limits of the Village of Antioch, while private wells supply rural residents (IEPA files, 1992). All wells tap the same, unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifer (IEPA files, 1985). Fox River Valley, 4-5 miles west of the site, serves as the recharge area for many Village of Antioch residential wells and the municipal wells. The principal geologic unit is present near the surface, and water from precipitation, lakes, and the Fox River Valley enters the sand. Groundwater flows from the recharge area east toward Lake Michigan (Warzyn, 1991).

Approximately two-thirds of the surface drainage in Lake County is directed toward the Des Plaines River, approximately 5 1/4 miles east of the site. The remaining one-third of the surface drainage is directed either east toward Lake Michigan or west toward the Fox River (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1970). Primary recharge to the deep sand and gravel aquifer occurs where it outcrops in the Fox River Valley. The Village of Antioch has no surface water intakes, and surface waters are used solely for recreation.

The H.O.D. Landfill site partially overlies a shallow sand and gravel deposit that is separated from a lower sand and gravel deposit by the permeable Wadsworth Till that has an estimated thickness of about 185 feet in Antioch. The geologic substrata may contain up to 30% sand. Both of the sand and gravel units are water-bearing. The deep sand and gravel aquifer supplies water to the Village of Antioch and to the Silver Lake Subdivision. Potable water is supplied to the subdivision by private wells that draw from the lower sand and gravel aquifer. Sewage is discharged to residential septic tanks (Warzyn, 1991).

The total population served by groundwater within a 3-mile radius of the site is approximately 4,600 people (IEPA files). Many residential wells obtain groundwater from glacially derived sand and gravel deposits (Woller and Gibb, 1976). Municipal wells 3 and 4 are within l,000 feet southwest of the landfill site. Well 3 is approximately 100 feet west of well 4, and well 4 is about 600 feet from the site perimeter (Figure 2). The clay layer is believed to be thinnest near municipal well number 4 (March Smith. WMI. Personal Communication. March 1993). The depth to the groundwater in the area is from 8 to l2 feet. Wells average about 300 feet in depth in the shallow dolomite aquifer, and average 1,300 feet in the deep aquifer (Warzyn, 1992).

Groundwater flow is generally south-southeast. However, in the Little Silver Lake Subdivision southeast of the site, groundwater flows south-southwest, possibly due to residential groundwater use patterns. Groundwater flow in the deep aquifer is toward the pumping wells. Groundwater flow at the site is believed to be toward Sequoit Creek. Wells west of the site boundary are not screened in the upper sand and gravel shallow aquifer. USEPA contends that the flow may be toward Sequoit Creek in the shallow portions of the upper aquifer, but flow in the deeper portions of the upper aquifer may be in another direction, possibly recharging the lower sand and gravel aquifer (Warzyn, 1992).

Based on aerial photographs of the site, Sequoit Creek originally flowed northwest from Silver Lake to a point that is now the approximate center of the northern boundary of the site, where it then flowed west toward the Village of Antioch. The creek was rerouted between 1961 and 1967 to flow west from Silver Lake along what is currently the southern border of the H.O.D. Landfill property. At the southwestern corner of the landfill, the creek was routed to flow north along the western boundary of the landfill property. Approximately 250 feet north of the northwestern corner of the landfill, the creek resumes its original route and flows west approximately 2 miles before discharging into Lake Marie (Warzyn, 1991). Water entering Lake Marie eventually discharges to the Fox River (U.S. Geological Survey, 1960). Before the landfill's development and the rerouting of Sequoit Creek, the southeastern portion of the site had been wetlands and fish spawning ground.

D. Health Outcome Data

The State of Illinois maintains data bases for cancer and birth defects. Information from the Illinois State Cancer Registry is available for the years 1985 through 1994. These data are organized by county and zip code.

Information from the Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Reporting System has been available since September of 1987 and is designed to guide public health policy in the reduction of adverse pregnancy outcomes and to track children who require special services to correct or prevent health problems and disabling conditions.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

In 1993, area citizens expressed concerns to IDPH with respect to ammonia levels in private wells. They alleged that some Village of Antioch residents were unable to support aquarium fish in tap water. It was determined that the ammonia levels, as measured by the Lake County Health Department, although elevated, were below levels of health concern. Local public health officials continue to monitor the area's water quality.

In July 1993, USEPA held a public availability session at the Antioch Village Hall to address concerns of the citizenry and to explain the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study in progress. Approximately 30 persons were present, and about 5 people expressed health concerns. The following questions summarize the community's health concerns:

  1. Aren't there limitations inherent in risk assessment?
  2. Are there adequate quality control and technical oversight of the contractual laboratory and risk assessment work done by the potentially-responsible persons or other entities?
  3. What contaminants at what concentrations exist in the H.O.D. Landfill, and what is the potential for their migration to the public and private drinking water wells?
  4. Are there radioactive materials in the H.O.D. Landfill?
  5. Is it safe to drink water from the public wells, particularly municipal well number 4?
  6. Will there be additional sampling done of the public and private drinking water wells?
  7. Aren't groundwater flow and fluctuations in the earth's surface mysteries, and therefore, isn't it difficult to assess which wells will become contaminated?
  8. Shouldn't all concerned residents have their drinking water tested for contaminants?
  9. How can governmental and private entities know which contaminants to look for in drinking water wells when the composition of the landfill is unknown?
  10. Is it safe to breathe the air around the landfill?
  11. Weren't all the priority pollutants found at high levels on the H.O.D. Landfill site?
  12. How can the municipal well number 4 contaminants occur sporadically?
  13. Have other Antioch municipal drinking water wells shown contamination?
  14. Isn't it unsafe to shower with water that has shown chemical contamination?

This document was released for public comment. IDPH did not receive any comments on this document.


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