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HEALTH CONSULTATION

CEE JA LANDFILL,
WOOD RIVER, MADISON COUNTY, ILLINOIS

 

BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) evaluate any known or future potential human health hazards from the site information currently available for the former Cee Ja Landfill site. IDPH prepared this evaluation using site-specific information provided by IEPA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), and other agencies. IDPH staff conducted a file review at the IEPA Bureau of Land in 1996 and a site visit on May 28, 1997 [1]. IDPH staff conducted interviews with IEPA staff in Springfield and in the Collinsville regional offices [2, 3]. This health consultation presents and discusses all data known to exist for this site.

Cee Ja Landfill (the site) is an old, privately-owned dump, now considered a closed and covered landfill in Foster Township, Madison County, northeast of Alton, Illinois. It is not within any municipal boundary, but it is within the Bethalto zip code area (Figure 1). The site is next to Vonnahmen Lane and is currently bordered by large residential lots.

Approximately 30 acres were formerly used as an auto salvage yard and began waste collection in the late 1940s that continued until the mid 1970s. The property owner at that time collected municipal and commercial wastes and placed the wastes in a creek ravine near the northwest corner of the property. The owner lived on this property and used water from a private well. When the owner first began collecting trash on his property, the area was primarily agricultural and sparsely populated. Today, much of the area has been developed, and the neighborhoods created can be characterized as country suburbia. Two golf courses (Cloverleaf on Fosterburg Road and Woodlands on Harris Lane) currently operate in the area. The site is currently secured by a green aluminum privacy fence that blocks the view of the auto salvage yard (A-A Used Auto Parts).

Part of the West Fork of Wood River Creek, a watershed within the Mississippi River basin [4], is along the west side of the site (Figure 2). The creek bank is naturally steep and was enhanced by the development of the landfill, which created a slope that, at one time, was estimated to be greater than 70 degrees. A spring-fed, unnamed pond is on the site and at one time was stocked with fish and supported some waterfowl [5].

IDPH regulated the site before the existence of IEPA. IDPH suspended registration of the site on at least one occasion, but it was later reinstated when some improvements were made. Typical violations included not covering trash on a daily basis. IEPA began routine inspections in the early 1970s when land program regulations were approved. Sources of the solid wastes collected at the site allegedly include municipal trash from East Alton, Brighton, and Bethalto, as well as industrial wastes from Amoco Oil [1, 2, 5]. Inspectors observed and noted the presence of household refuse, cardboard, appliances, tires, and cars. In January 1973, an inspector noted the possibility of Smith and Weston ammunition manufacturing waste, probably metals and solvents. A smoldering fire was observed in 1973 when the owner stated that only demolition debris was being collected. Notes from a December 1973 inspection mention debris in drums labeled "Smith & Wesson Ammunition."

In May 1974, an inspector noted the possibility of inappropriate disposal of liquid petroleum waste. The property owner told the IEPA inspector not to worry about Amoco oil sludge at the site because he intended to spread the waste on his private roads. A report listed filter sludges, solvents, acids, metals, and "other organics" in unknown quantities [5]. The court ordered the landfill closed in 1977, and IEPA approved the final cover in November 1978. In 1984, the size of the landfill was estimated to be approximately 3 acres [5]. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has been studying the area as a route under consideration for the extension of US Interstate 255 [6, 7].

Public water lines were brought into the area in 1973, but homes connected to this service were not required to abandon and seal their existing wells. In addition, not every home was connected, so some property owners may still use private wells for drinking purposes [8]. The landfill is approximately 1.8 miles from a 90 to 100-foot deep former community well north of Forest Homes [5]. Groundwater is believed to move in a south-southwesterly direction away from this well. This well is no longer in use and the area is now used as a pumping station.

On January 9, 1975, IEPA staff collected a leachate sample and two surface water samples from the west perimeter of the site [9]. Laboratory results of the water samples are shown in Table 1. The upstream sample and the downstream sample were collected from the West Fork of Wood River Creek. The leachate sample had a slight odor and "routine analyses" were ordered at the IEPA laboratory. Several additional water quality parameters such as oxygen content, organic content, and pH were measured for these samples but were not assessed in this report.

In April 1984, IEPA and USEPA completed a site inspection report [5]. By this time, ownership of the property had changed. The new owner accompanied state and federal staff during a site visit. The new owner did not give consent for sampling at that time. On June 24, 1986, IEPA staff collected samples from two private wells in use nearby [10]. A sample from one of the private wells (G201) had a profound odor, and the residents stated that they did not use the water for drinking purposes. The 19-year old drilled well was about 40 feet deep and had a concrete casing. A well sample collected from another home (G202) on the same day was clear and odorless. That well was approximately 1/4 mile west of the site. The well was 24 years old, 40 feet deep, and used for drinking water at that time. Table 1 shows the detected concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and inorganic chemicals from this sampling event.

IEPA conducted the most recent sampling event in May 1995 in response to a request from USEPA for an additional site assessment [1, 2, 11]. Samples were analyzed for VOCs, semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and inorganic chemicals. A groundwater sample (G202) from a previously sampled well was again collected. The laboratory results for this water sample are included in Table 1. Soil samples were also collected. A background soil sample (X101) was collected on the site near a cyclone fence separating A-A Used Auto Parts (7639 Vonnahmen Road) and the owner's home south of the salvage yard on Vonnahmen Road. A surface soil sample collected in an oil-stained area at the landfill was divided into two samples (split) in the field before being shipped to the laboratory.

Sediment samples were also collected. The sediment sample upstream from the site (X201) can be considered a background reference. Sediment sample X202 was close to an area of the landfill considered a point where leachate and runoff may enter the surface water. The landfill appears to continue producing leachate that flows into the creek and may threaten surface and groundwater. A sediment sample collected approximately 200 feet downstream of the site was also split in the field (X202/X203). Laboratory results for soil and sediment samples are included in Tables 2 and 3. Descriptions of the 1995 sample locations are found in Attachment 1.

A preliminary assessment for Superfund scoring was done in 1984 by IEPA and USEPA and the site was given a medium rating [5 and 12]. USEPA contractors reviewed existing files at IEPA in 1991 for the development of an ESI Prioritization report [12]. IEPA completed a CERCLA Site Inspection Prioritization for USEPA Region V in 1995 shortly after the laboratory results were available [2, 11]. IDPH does not know at this time if the site will be included in any existing regulatory or voluntary clean-up program.


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