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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) prepared this health consultation under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). A health consultation evaluates public health hazards from exposure to hazardous waste site contaminants and recommends actions to reduce or prevent any potential adverse health effects. This health consultation is based on a review of available environmental information provided by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) and a visit to the site.


The Lanark City Dump site is about 4.5 miles north of Lanark, Illinois, and approximately 1 mile east of Lake Carroll. The dump is south of Fawn Ridge Drive (Attachment 1) within a residential development project currently managed by the Lake Carroll Property Owners Association. Lake Carroll was formed in the early 1970s when a dam was constructed on East Fork Creek. The development around the lake includes single-family homes and recreational facilities such as a golf course and a marina. Use of the lake and amenities are restricted to Lake Carroll property owners.

This wedge-shaped site is approximately 6 acres in size, slopes to the south, and is situated between two forested ravines that merge at the south end of the site (Attachment 1). The general terrain consists of rolling hills with areas of timber, open grassland, and residential housing. The site is well vegetated with grass, but some scrap metal is present in the forested area on the south edge of the property. The site is not used for any recreational purposes; the only known activity is occasional mowing.

Surface water runoff from the site collects in the two ravines bordering the east and west sides of the landfill. These merge at the south end of the site to form an intermittent creek. This creek then flows southward for about 0.5 miles before emptying into a 17-acre wetland. Water exits the wetland via a small ditch that flows about 0.3 miles westward into Lake Carroll (1).

Lake Carroll covers an area of about 640 acres and is privately used for recreational purposes such as boating, fishing, water skiing, and swimming. No surface water intakes are in the lake or downstream creeks.

Residents of Lake Carroll use private wells for drinking water. No public wells exist within a 4-mile radius of the landfill. The home closest to the site is approximately 400 feet south of the landfill. Other homes are about 430 feet to the east and 460 feet to the west of the landfill.

The site was originally used for agricultural purposes. According to IDPH files, the dump began operation in 1965 and continued until 1970. During these years, the land was owned privately, but the City of Lanark operated and licensed the dump. During the operational years no controls on dumping were in place, and no records were maintained on what was dumped or by whom. IDPH field inspections documented items in the landfill including cans, old appliances, paper, and various other garbage. Inspection reports also suggest that open burning of refuse was a common practice at the dump.

During its years of operation, the Lanark City Dump was under the regulatory jurisdiction of IDPH. According to IDPH field inspection reports, the landfill was cited several times for improper cover of refuse and for open burning of refuse. IDPH reports show that after it was closed, the dump was covered with at least 2 feet of clay.

Also after that 1970 closure, the property was sold to the Russwood Corporation, the original developer of Lake Carroll and the surrounding area. Russwood Corporation owned the property until declaring bankruptcy in 1976. The property was then held in a trust until ownership was transferred to the Lake Carroll Property Owners Association in 1990.

In 1991, Illinois EPA became involved with the Lanark City Dump when a complaint was received about improper waste disposal. The complaint alleged that trucks were illegally dumping barrels of plating waste into the dump. In 1993, Illinois EPA conducted a preliminary assessment at the site.

In October 1995, at the request of the Lake Carroll building inspector, IDPH sampled seven private wells near the dump. The samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds, but none were detected.

In October 2000, Illinois EPA personnel conducted a reconnaissance inspection of the site and returned in November to collect sediment and groundwater samples. Seven sediment samples and four residential well samples were collected.

Site Visit

On July 5, 2001, IDPH staff visited the site. Because the site is well vegetated with tall grass and bordered on three sides with dense shrubs and trees, it is difficult to recognize that the property formerly was used as a dump. Access to the site is unrestricted, but dense undergrowth in the forested ravines make it difficult to enter the area at the south end of the property where the two ravines meet. Scrap metal remains exposed at the south end of the property with no obvious signs of leachate or other contamination. There was no visible evidence of recent trespassing. The clay cap was intact with no visible sinkholes. Three utility boxes, spaced approximately 150 feet apart, were present at the north side of the property, each approximately 25 feet from the south edge of Fawn Ridge Drive. A gas utility line flag also was observed in the same area.

Upon inquiry at the Fawnridge Realty and Land Company, IDPH staff acquired a map of Lake Carroll properties. The map showed three home site properties located either on or adjacent to the former dump site, listed as lots 621, 622, and 623. A subsequent conversation with the Lake Carroll property manager determined that the property had been subdivided and that the three home sites had been sold for potential development. According to IDPH files, lot 621 was the subject of backhoe testing in 1988 to determine if this property contained a portion of the former dump. Dirt was excavated to a depth of 7.5 feet, at which point the backhoe encountered fractured rock. No refuse was found in this location.


Chemicals of Interest

IDPH compared the results of each sediment and residential groundwater sample with the appropriate screening comparison values to select chemicals for further evaluation for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects. Chemicals found at levels greater than comparison values were selected for further evaluation. A discussion of each comparison value is found in Attachment 2; however, exceeding a comparison value does not necessarily mean that exposure to the chemical will cause adverse health effects.

IDPH assumed that the samples were collected and handled properly and that appropriate analytical techniques were used. Based on data from the November 2000 sampling events, the chemicals of interest are lead and the pesticide dieldrin.

Residential Wells

In November 2000, four water samples were collected from nearby residential wells to determine whether contaminants from the landfill were entering the groundwater and affecting the local drinking water supply. One sample was found to contain lead at 21 parts per billion (ppb). Lead was not found at levels exceeding comparison values in samples collected just downstream of the landfill. Lead is not very mobile through soil to groundwater, and the home that had this level of lead used a well that was 200 feet deep. The lead found in this water sample is likely from a source other than the landfill - perhaps from the plumbing of the home.

The same groundwater sample contained iron at 5,180 ppb. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secondary drinking water standard for iron in public water systems is 300 ppb. Iron at this level is not considered a health hazard, but it can adversely affect the taste of the water and stain laundered clothes and plumbing fixtures.

Sediment Samples

During the November 2000 sampling, seven sediment samples were collected. Six of the samples were collected in the intermittent creek that runs south from the landfill and one was collected in the wetland that empties into Lake Carroll.

The two samples collected just downstream of the landfill exceeded comparison values for the pesticide dieldrin at 120 ppb and 110 ppb. The level of this pesticide decreases greatly in samples collected farther downstream from the site. No other contaminants were found at levels greater than comparison values.

Exposure Evaluation

Exposure to chemicals detected at levels greater than comparison values is limited to the household with elevated levels of lead and iron. Such exposure is also limited to persons who come in contact with sediment containing elevated levels of the pesticide dieldrin.

The potential for exposed persons to experience adverse health effects depends on

  • the specific chemicals to which a person is exposed,
  • how much of each chemical a person contacts,
  • how long a person is exposed, and
  • the health condition of the person exposed.

The residents with elevated lead levels in their drinking water have been advised of ways to reduce their exposure.

Although the site is not fenced and access is unrestricted, there is no evidence that people routinely enter areas where the intermittent creek sediment contains elevated levels of dieldrin. IDPH estimated the dose of dieldrin for children and adults who contact contaminated sediment weekly and found that exposure to that level of dieldrin would not result in adverse health effects. The level of dieldrin decreases greatly in sediment samples taken downstream.

Child Health Initiative

IDPH does not anticipate children will be exposed to contaminants at this site. Few children live near the site. No evidence of recent human activity on the property was observed during the site visit.


The Lanark City Dump currently poses no public health hazard. This conclusion is based on current conditions and on the site not being redeveloped for residential or commercial use. Site-related contaminants have not been detected in off-site residential wells. Exposure to the levels of contaminants detected in creek sediment would not be expected to cause adverse health effects. If the layer of clay placed over the site remains intact, it will serve as a barrier for the dump contents. Release of any site-related contaminants is unlikely.


IDPH has contacted by letter the residents of the home with increased levels of lead and iron in the well water. The letter provided a health interpretation of laboratory results and explained ways to reduce exposure to chemicals in their well water.

During a conversation with the general manager of the Lake Carroll Property Owners Association on August 29, 2001, IDPH staff recommended that the clay cap on the landfill be left intact and that the site not be developed for residential use. The general manager stated that persons who had purchased the three property parcels that were adjacent to the landfill would be offered a trade for similar properties in the Lake Carroll development. He also stated that the site would then remain undeveloped or sold only as lake access - with the restriction that it would not be developed for residential use.


Kathy Marshall
Environmental Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health


  1. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. CERCLA integrated assessment for Lanark City Dump. Springfield, IL; March 2001.

  2. Illinois Department of Public Health. Files for Lanark City Dump. Rockford, Illinois; July 2001.


This Lanark City Dump Consultation was prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

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

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

Richard E. Gillig


Approximate Location of Lanark City Dump
Figure 1. Approximate Location of Lanark City Dump


Comparison Values Used In Screening Contaminants For Further Evaluation

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 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 too are 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. They also 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.

Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs) are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a probability of one excess cancer in a million persons exposed over a lifetime. These are very conservative values designed to protect sensitive members of the population.

Action Levels are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). An action level is the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow. For lead or copper it is the level which, if exceeded in over 10% of the homes tested, triggers treatment.

Secondary Drinking Water Regulations are non-enforceable USEPA guidelines regarding cosmetic effects (such as tooth discoloration) or aesthetic effects (such as taste, odor , or color) of drinking water.

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
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