DECATUR, MACON COUNTY, ILLINOIS
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) perform a health consultation for the Waste Control Site in Decatur, Macon County, Illinois (Attachment 1). IDPH prepared this consultation using site-specific information provided by Illinois EPA (1). This health consultation evaluates public health hazards posed by current site conditions.
The Waste Control site is a solid waste landfill that accepted general solid waste from 1976 to 1986. The site occupies approximately 35 acres on the west side of Decatur, Illinois (SW 1/4, Section 8, T.16N, R.2E). The site is bordered by Stevens Creek on the north and east, Route 36 on the south, and Moffet Lane on the west (Attachment 1).
On March 25 and 26, 1997, Illinois EPA conducted a site evaluation to determine if the landfill was adversely affecting local groundwater and the surrounding environment. During this evaluation, Illinois EPA collected three groundwater samples from on-site monitoring wells and two residential private wells on Moffet Lane. Illinois EPA also collected three on-site surface soil samples, one background surface soil sample at nearby Fairview Park, and three sediment samples from Stevens Creek (2). Groundwater samples were analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) and metals. Surface soil samples were analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs, metals, and pesticides. Based on the results of this site evaluation, Illinois EPA recommended the installation of a clay cap (L. Range, Illinois EPA, personal communication, 2000).
In July 1997, Illinois EPA asked IDPH to review the laboratory results of groundwater and soil samples collected during the CERCLA site evaluation and send letters to the residents who had their private wells sampled (2). VOCs and SVOCs were not present in the groundwater samples and metals were below levels that would present a public health hazard. IDPH did not recommend any changes in the water use patterns of the two homes whose wells were sampled (3). Several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including benzo(a)pyrene, were present in one downstream sediment sample collected from Stevens Creek at a point south of Route 36. Illinois EPA also mentioned the presence of "leachate seeps" on the site and the use of the grounds by local hunters (2).
After the request for this health consultation, IDPH visited the Waste Control site on August 17, 2000. Access was gained by a small road at the southwest corner. The site had extremely dense grass, brush, and weeds in some areas, but the top layer of soil, which had a sandy appearance, was exposed in many other areas, particularly on the north and east sections of the site. Several erosion gullies were observed where water had eroded soil to a depth of about 6 to 10 inches below the original surface. Occasionally, the landfill cover was gone and a black plastic landfill covering could be seen. Many deer footprints were observed on the site, but there was no evidence of human activity.
Dense woods and public property surround the site. The immediate area surrounding the north, east, and south sides of the site consists of dense wood and vegetation. The immediate area west of the site consists of a farm field with a pond. An aboveground sanitary sewer line runs from the northwest to the southeast through this field. The nearest home is in the southwest corner of the site on the small access road. The nearest residential area consists of 16 homes and is approximately 0.5 miles west of the site on Moffet Lane. Additional residential areas are less than 1 mile north and northeast of the site. A cemetery is less than 1 mile east of the site and across Stevens Creek. Fairview Park is south of the site across U.S. Route 36.
Exposure to landfill waste is not currently taking place at the Waste Control site. For the most part, the site is covered with a layer of top soil and vegetation is present. Densely wooded areas surround the site. Further, no evidence was collected during the CERCLA site evaluation to suggest that site-related waste has contaminated groundwater or off-site soil.
Some erosion gullies have exposed the plastic landfill covering in some locations, so direct contact with landfill waste or leachate might have taken place in the past (2) and could take place in the future. The site is frequented by deer and might be used by hunters. Hunters who use the site could come into direct contact with landfill waste or leachate in the future.
One downstream sediment sample collected from Stevens Creek contained benzo(a)pyrene. Sediment containing benzo(a)pyrene is probably not site-related, and it is unlikely that anyone would be exposed. This creek is not used as a drinking water source and benzo(a)pyrene binds readily to soil. The most likely route of exposure to the sediment with benzo(a)pyrene is by dermal contact when wading through the creek. Exposure through this route is expected not only to be infrequent but also minimal since hunters or trespassers will most likely be wearing boots. No adverse health effects would be expected from these exposures.
IDPH found no evidence that children frequent the site, so children would not be exposed to landfill waste or leachate.
Based on information gathered during a site visit and information provided by Illinois EPA, IDPH concludes that no public health hazard exists in association with the Waste Control site. The landfill has been covered with top soil so direct exposure to landfill waste is not currently taking place. Sampling data has not shown that local private wells have been affected. Since the landfill cover has been compromised by erosion gullies in some areas, direct exposure to landfill waste or leachate could take place in the future.
IDPH recommends that Illinois EPA ensure the landfill is adequately covered and vegetated to prevent exposure to landfill waste and leachate seeps. Illinois EPA is aware of the erosion problem and will ensure through the site owner that the cover is properly maintained.
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Enforcement referral: Waste Control Inc., et al. August 1993.
- Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Letter to Mike Moomey from Brad Taylor concerning groundwater samples from monitoring and private residential wells. July 17, 1997.
- Illinois Department of Public Health. Letter to Gerald Kitchen, homeowner, from Ken Runkle concerning water use patterns of homes with sampled wells. September 2, 1997.
Environmental Health Specialist
Illinois Department of Public Health
This Waste Control 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
SPS, SSAB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Health Consultation and concurs with its findings.
Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR