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The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) perform a health consultation for Lincoln Municipal Landfill in Lincoln, Logan County, Illinois (Attachment 1). IDPH prepared this consultation using site-specific information provided by Illinois EPA. This health consultation evaluates public health hazards posed by current site conditions.


Site Description and History

The Lincoln Municipal Landfill site consists of an inactive municipal landfill that occupies about 22 acres on the southwest side of Lincoln, Logan County, Illinois (Section 1, T.19N, R.20E). The site is surrounded by Broadwell Street on the north, Business Highway I-55 on the west, Salt Creek on the south, and a residential area, junkyard, and railroad on the east (Attachment 1).

The city of Lincoln owned and operated the landfill from about 1910 until 1978, when it stopped accepting waste. During operation, the city accepted municipal and industrial waste, including general refuse, pesticides, animal carcasses, and oil. In 1977, the city also accepted an unknown volume of herbicides and insecticides from the Fuller Seed Company. The city officially closed the landfill in 1989 and followed designated closure activities. Currently, the city continues to accept landscape waste at the site and it is open to the public two days each week. A contractor has been hired to grind this waste into chips for re-use (1).

The Lincoln Municipal Landfill site was added to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) in December 1983. In July 1987, the Illinois EPA performed a site screening inspection at the site and found semi-volatile organic compounds and metals in both soil and groundwater samples. Illinois EPA returned to the site in July 1995 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked them to perform an additional inspection to prioritize the site for future activities (1).

In July 1995, the Illinois EPA performed a site prioritization inspection, which included the collection of five sediment samples and six groundwater samples at various locations south of the site. Illinois EPA also collected sediment samples from four locations south and southeast of the site. Groundwater samples were collected from three monitoring wells. A background water sample was collected from a municipal well 3.5 miles north of the site and two other samples were collected from a municipal well 1,500 feet south of the site (1).

Site Visit

On November 22, 2000, staff from IDPH visited the Lincoln Municipal Landfill site to determine the current site conditions. Access to the site is limited by a fence that surrounds the site on the north, east, and northwest sides. The southern section of the site is not fenced, but access is limited by a shoulderless section of Business I-55 and Salt Creek. Two buildings were present on the site: a small shed used as a checkpoint and a larger building reportedly used for equipment storage (1). The northern section of the site is used to store landscape waste. The mounds in the southern section of the site did not have a dense vegetative cover, but the landfill cap was not compromised and no landfill waste was visible. The southern section of the site slopes toward Salt Creek (Attachment 1).

The area surrounding the site is composed of public and private property. Union Cemetery is immediately north of the site across Broadwell Street, and Holy Cross Cemetery is immediately northwest of the site across Business I-55. The Lincoln Sportsman's Club is southwest of the site. It includes a rifle and trap shooting range, all-terrain vehicle trails, a pond used for fishing, and a playground. Salt Creek is also used for fishing and is approximately 400 feet south of the landfill area. The area east of the site is composed of an auto junkyard, and a residential area.


IDPH has reviewed the sediment and groundwater sampling data for the site and compared the concentration of each contaminant with the appropriate screening comparison value used to select contaminants for further evaluation for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects. Chemicals found at levels greater than comparison values or those for which no comparison values exist were selected for further evaluation. A discussion of each comparison value used is found in Attachment 2. The contaminants of interest at this site are benzo(a)pyrene and cadmium in sediment, and manganese in groundwater.

Exposure Evaluation

IDPH estimated exposure to the chemicals of interest to evaluate the potential for adverse health effects. For sediment, we assumed a 12-year-old contacting contamination 1 day per week, for 4 months per year. For drinking water, we assumed a child drinking one liter of water per day.


Two sediment samples collected from Salt Creek contained benzo(a)pyrene, which may not be related to the site. Cadmium was also detected in one sediment sample at a level that exceeded the average background concentration of cadmium in Illinois soil. The most likely route of exposure to sediment containing benzo(a)pyrene and cadmium is dermal contact during recreational activities. Studies by Wester et al., Skog and Wahlberg, and others suggest that dermal absorption of cadmium would be of concern only in situations where high levels would be in contact with skin for prolonged periods (2).

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails are present in the area and exposure through incidental contact with water is expected to be minimal since ATV riders or other recreational users will most likely be wearing boots and other clothing. Based on our exposure scenario, exposure would not result in adverse health effects.


Manganese was detected in all seven groundwater samples, but it was not present in any of the on-site sediment samples. The highest level of manganese (1.02 milligrams per liter of water) was detected in a sample collected from monitoring well one, which is southwest of the site across Business I-55. No one currently drinks this level of manganese in their water. No adverse health effects would be expected if anyone drinks this water (3).

Historically, Lincoln municipal wells have had high levels of manganese in raw groundwater, so the manganese may not be related to the site (1). Lincoln municipal water is monitored according to Illinois EPA regulations, so water contaminated with any site-related contaminants should be identified before it reached consumers.


IDPH understands that children are the most sensitive population in our exposure scenarios and found that no adverse health effects would be expected from exposure to chemicals near the site.


Based on the information reviewed, IDPH concludes that no public health hazard currently exists in association with the Lincoln Municipal Landfill site. Although some chemicals were detected in sediment and groundwater samples, we expect exposure to be either minimal or nonexistent.


None at this time.


Aaron Martin & Aparna Kaul
Environmental Health Specialists
Illinois Department of Public Health


  1. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Information System, Site Inspection Prioritization Report. Springfield. 1995

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Cadmium (Update). Atlanta. July 1999.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Manganese (Update). Atlanta. September 2000.


This Lincoln Municipal Landfill Health Consultation was prepared by the Illinois Department of Health under Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the Health Consultation was initiated.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Health Consultation and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig

Location of the Lincoln Municipal Landfill Site
Attachment 1. Location of the Lincoln Municipal Landfill Site


Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs) are developed for chemicals based on their toxicity, frequency of occurrence at National Priorities List (NPL) sites, and potential for human exposure. They are not action levels but are comparison values. They are developed without consideration for carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple route exposure, or exposure through other environmental media. They are very conservative concentration values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guides (RMEGs) are another type of comparison value. They are developed without consideration for carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple route exposure, or exposure through other environmental media. They are very conservative concentration values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs) are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a probability of one excess cancer in a million persons exposed to a chemical over a lifetime.

Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) have been established by USEPA for public water supplies to reduce the chances of occurrence of adverse health effects from use of contaminated drinking water. These standards are well below levels for which health effects have been observed and take into account the financial feasibility of achieving specific contaminant levels. These are enforceable limits that public water supplies must meet.

Lifetime Health Advisories for drinking water (LTHAs) have been established by USEPA for drinking water. They represent the concentrations of chemicals in drinking water that are not expected to cause any adverse, non-carcinogenic effects over a lifetime of exposure. These are conservative values that incorporate a margin of safety.

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