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This health consultation updates activities at the H & L # 1 Landfill site. In December 1998, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released a Public Health Assessment (PHA) for this site prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Routine monitoring data and additional off-site sampling activities of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) were reviewed to evaluate whether a public health hazard exists from current site conditions.


Site History

The H & L # 1 Landfill is located south of Danville, Illinois. It is bordered by Highland Boulevard, the Vermilion River, and Interstate 74 (Attachment 1). It is an inactive, 56-acre landfill owned by the City of Danville. The landfill accepted general refuse and industrial waste for about 40 years. Local residents and industries were known to use the landfill for waste disposal.

To date, the landfill has not undergone proper closure. It was never certified as having adequate final cover depth or proper contours. In 1999, Illinois EPA identified the landfill for inclusion in the Illinois Fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools, and Transit (FIRST) funding program. Illinois FIRST funding will be combined with a contribution from the City of Danville to pay for the engineering and construction of a landfill cap. All future maintenance of the site fencing, landfill cap, and turf will be paid for by the City of Danville. Construction on the engineered cap and landfill gas vents is scheduled to be completed in late 2003 (1).

The site has a history of problems with leachate flows, seeps, and persistent odors. Before remedial activities, leachate would flow through the cover soil, predominately along the northeastern part of the landfill. A remedial investigation (RI) was completed in 1987. Subsequently, a leachate-collection system was installed in 1992 and is currently in operation. No cleanup of contaminated soils and sediments on two adjacent properties was necessary because levels of contamination were less than clean-up objectives.

The 1998 PHA determined that site-related contaminants posed no apparent public health hazard because no exposure to contaminated media was occurring at levels that would cause adverse health effects. At one time, the site was a potential public health hazard to residential users of private well water east of the site and to children playing on the site. Exposure to contaminated drinking water was eliminated in 1987 when the municipal water supply was extended to residences east of the site. In addition, exposure to on-site seeps (soil, sediment) was eliminated in the fall of 1993 when a perimeter fence was installed. The PHA recommendations included:

  • complete Phase III work,

  • confirm that water wells east of the site have been properly abandoned,

  • continue to restrict site access,

  • prevent precipitation percolation into the landfill, and

  • prevent storm water from commingling with leachate (2).

According to the Amended Consent Decree, Phase III work will not be necessary unless leachate from the site enters neighboring properties. Although no information about proper abandonment of nearby water wells is known, these wells are no longer used for drinking water because municipal water has been provided to the area. The Consent Decree restricts the site for any public use (3). The pending landfill cap should minimize the seepage of rainwater into the landfill and reduce the amount of leachate produced. Finally, the installation of a concrete culvert in 1999 reduced the commingling of leachate with surface water and the flow off-site to the Vermilion River.

In March 2002, Illinois EPA conducted a pre-Comprehensive, Environmental, Response, Compensation, and Liability Inventory System (CERCLIS) screening on private residential property immediately south of the landfill. The property is bordered to the north by the landfill, to the west by a trucking company, and to the south by privately owned woods and residential property. Illinois EPA conducted soil sampling on this private residential property in April and July 2002. Before the July 2002 sampling event, the City of Danville purchased the property, and the former owners plan to move their home across the road. The landfill fence will be extended around this former residential property (4).

Site Visit

IDPH staff visited the site on April 4, 2003. The landfill remains fenced and is accessible only to authorized personnel. Surface runoff appears to be in an east-northeasterly direction, toward two ravines that flow into the Vermilion River. Vegetation has been removed from the landfill to prepare the site for contouring. Erosion areas were observed throughout the site. A stockpile of tire chips will be used as a substitute for gravel in the gas-migration layer during construction of the landfill cap. No leachate was observed migrating from the site.

The accessible off-site sampling area directly south of the landfill consisted of about 3 acres with a modular home and numerous small sheds and buildings used for housing animals. Reportedly, residents use this property for an animal rescue center. A tiger was observed in the trailer bed of a fenced-in truck.


Chemicals of Interest

IDPH compared results of the 2002 soil samples with appropriate screening comparison values to select chemicals for further evaluation of carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects. Chemicals found at levels exceeding comparison values or those for which no comparison values exist were selected for further evaluation. After reviewing the most recent soil data, no chemicals of interest were identified.

Off-site Soil

During the 2002 pre-CERCLIS investigations, off-site residential soil samples were collected at 15 locations. Soil samples were obtained with a Geoprobe, used to drive a steel sleeve at depths greater than 7 feet. These samples were analyzed for volatile organic chemicals, semi-volatile organic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and inorganic chemicals (4). No chemicals were detected at levels greater than comparison values.


Leachate-collection flow rates are monitored monthly; composite leachate samples are collected and reported semi-annually. Although the October 2002 composite phenol leachate sample exceeded the City of Danville's wastewater pretreatment permit levels (5), the level detected was well below comparison values for drinking water.

Exposure Assessment

The potential for an exposed person to experience adverse health effects depends on several factors, including:

  • the specific chemical and the level to which a person is exposed,

  • how long a person is exposed, and

  • the health condition of the exposed person.

Because no chemicals of interest were identified, no exposure assessment was conducted.


Children are a sensitive sub-population for exposure to some chemical contaminants. For that reason, IDPH included children when evaluating this site. Current conditions at the site indicate that children would not be exposed to chemicals from the site. Therefore, no exposure scenarios were considered.


Based on routine leachate monitoring and the Illinois EPA 2002 soil sampling data, IDPH concludes that the H & L #1 Landfill site poses no public health hazard. The 2002 off-site soil samples did not identify any chemicals of interest. Installation of a leachate-collection system, concrete storm-water culvert, and perimeter fencing has eliminated exposure to any site contaminants. This conclusion is based on current conditions, continued fencing of the site, and its designation as "off limits" for any public use.


IDPH recommends that, after capping is complete, the site remain fenced and not available for public use. The City of Danville should continue to operate and maintain the leachate-collection system and the forthcoming landfill cap and turf. Because the site does not pose a public health hazard, IDPH does not have a public health action plan for this site.


Cary Ware
Environmental Health Specialist
Illinois Department of Public Health


  1. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Landfill cap construction at the H & L #1 Landfill, Danville, Illinois; fact sheet #2. Springfield: Illinois EPA; April 2003.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public health assessment for the Danville H & L # 1 Danville City Dump, Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; September 1998.

  3. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. H & L #1 Landfill files, Danville, Illinois. Champaign, Illinois: Champaign Regional Office, Illinois EPA.

  4. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. CERCLA pre-CERCLIS action report for 401 9th Street, Danville, Illinois. Springfield: Illinois EPA; January 2003.

  5. PDC Laboratories, Incorporated. H & L #1 Landfill semiannual leachate data. PDC Laboratories, Inc.; October 2002.


The Illinois Department of Public Health prepared this H and L Landfill health consultation under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It was prepared in accordance with methods and procedures approved at the time the health consultation was begun.

W. Allen Robison
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SAAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DAC)

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this health consultation and concurs with its findings.

Sven E. Rodenbeck
for Roberta Erlwein
Chief, State Programs Section


Approximate Location of H&L #1 Landfill

Table of Contents The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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