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The MIG/Dewane Landfill (MIG) is a 47-acre, former landfill located 0.25 miles east ofBelvidere in Boone County Illinois. MIG was in operation under various names from 1969 untilthe owners abandoned it in July 1988. The landfill contains approximately 3.7 million cubicyards of solid waste and rises about 50 feet above the surrounding area. During its operation, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency(IEPA) permitted MIG to accept household, municipal, commercial, and industrial waste. TheU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) determined that hazardous wastes were alsodisposed in the landfill.

The landfill was not properly closed and capped as required by Illinois Pollution Control Boardregulations. Improper capping resulted in a 5 to 10-acre depression in the middle of the landfillthat collected precipitation, which ponded and infiltrated the landfill, resulting in numerousleachate seeps throughout the landfill area. This also resulted in the migration of contaminantsinto area groundwater.

USEPA added the landfill to the National Priorities List (NPL) on August 30, 1990, because ofleachate seepage, potential for Kishwaukee River contamination, and existing soil, sediment, and groundwater contamination.

In April 1999, elevated levels of landfill gas were detected in the soil and in homes in WycliffeEstates, directly west of the site. An active landfill gas interception system was installed alongthe western boundary of the site. Since then, flammable gas concentrations have dropped belowlevels that present a hazard.

Based on information reviewed, IDPH concludes that the MIG/Dewane Landfill does not pose a public health hazard at this time. No adverse health effects or increased risk of developing cancer would be expected from estimated exposures presently associated with the site. Soils on the site contain several contaminants, but the site is well vegetated and fenced, which should limit exposures.


In cooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the IllinoisDepartment of Public Health (IDPH) evaluates the public health significance of NationalPriorities List (NPL or Superfund) sites in Illinois. MIG/Dewane Landfill is an NPL site thatIDPH evaluated to determine whether adverse human health effects are possible from exposureto site-related contaminants. IDPH recommends actions, presented in this document, to reduce or prevent future exposures to site-related contaminants.



The MIG/Dewane Landfill (MIG) is a 47-acre site located 0.25 miles east of Belvidere in BooneCounty, Illinois. The Kishwaukee River is north of the site, farm fields are south and east of thesite, and the Wycliffe Estates residential development is west of the site (Attachment 1).


MIG began operation as a privately-owned landfill in 1969. During operation, it acceptedhousehold, municipal, commercial, and industrial waste. Records show that more than 480,000gallons of material later classified by USEPA as hazardous waste were placed in the landfill. Thelandfill continued operation under various names until its owners abandoned the site in July1988.

The landfill contains approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of solid waste and rises about 50 feetabove the surrounding area. When the landfill was abandoned, it was not properly closed andcapped as required by Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations. Because of improper capping,a 5 to 10-acre depression developed in the middle of the landfill and collects precipitation. As aresult of the precipitation collection, leachate seeps throughout the landfill and overflows acollection pond. Several incidents of the leachate seeps on the site have been reported since 1983.In 1989, an emergency removal permit was obtained, and a waste hauler pumped about 85,000gallons of leachate from the leachate surface impoundment pond east of the landfill [1]. USEPAadded the landfill to the NPL on August 30, 1990, because of leachate seepage, potentialKishwaukee River contamination, and because of existing soil, sediment, and groundwatercontamination.

Several interim remedial activities occurred between October 1991 and February 1993. A 6-foot-tall, chain link fence, topped with barbed wire, was built around the perimeter. An interim capwas constructed, ponded water was removed from the top of the landfill, and leachate waspumped from a surface impoundment. Since then, several investigations have occurred at thesite, and a final remedial investigation (RI) report was submitted to the Illinois EnvironmentalProtection Agency (IEPA) in July 1997. Options for final remedial solution for the site werepresented in a Focused Feasibility Study completed in February 1999.

On April 16, 1999, flammable landfill gas was found infiltrating homes in Wycliffe Estatessubdivision, directly west of the site (Attachment 2). Elevated levels of gas were detected in thesoil, and IEPA was immediately notified. Methane was found at levels approaching 100% of thelower explosive limit (LEL, the lowest level of a gas that can ignite) or 50,000 parts per million(ppm) deep in the sump pump pits of a few homes. Six homes were found to contain methanelevels in the basement at or above 10% of the LEL (5,000 ppm), which may be considered a levelthat warrants evacuation to ensure the safety of occupants. On the basis of that information,Boone County Emergency Services Disaster Agency officials recommended evacuation of thosehomes. IEPA later established a trigger level of 25% of the LEL for methane as an evacuationlevel for the homes [2].

An active landfill gas detection and interception system began operating on May 13, 1999, (Attachment 3). The system consists of

  • a gas extraction trench close to the west side of the landfill,
  • a series of gas probes and extraction wells about 40 feet deep west of the trench and east of Wycliffe Estates,
  • gas probes within Wycliffe Estates, and
  • methane gas detectors in several homes in the eastern portion of Wycliffe Estates.

Flammable gas concentrations dropped below levels that presented a hazard, and on January 25,2000, the gas extraction wells were shut down. Since then, the 25% LEL trigger level has beenexceeded twice in two different gas probes. The extraction wells were reactivated until thelandfill gas was cleared. Methane was believed not to have exceeded 25% of the LEL in homesbecause no methane detectors alarmed. The gas extraction trench on the west side of the landfill remains in operation [3].


Belvidere has a population of more than 18,000 people. Land use within a 1-mile radius of thesite is residential, commercial, and agricultural (Attachment 2). About 2,300 persons live within1 mile of the site. Based on 1990 census data, 95% of these persons are white, 5% are Hispanicin origin, 1% are Asian, and less than 1% are black. People living in Wycliffe Estates are at most risk to the explosive gas hazard at the site.

Site Visit

On January 3, 2000, IDPH staff visited the site. The site is surrounded by farm land with a newersubdivision directly west of the site. The subdivision, Wycliffe Estates, contains about 70 homes.Site conditions have not changed since that time.

A 6-foot-tall fence and a locked gate restricts direct access to the site. Another locked gate alsorestricts access to an old road that used to allow access to the site. Homes in Wycliffe Estates arealong the fenced, western boundary of the site. Getting onto the site would be very difficult for trespassers under current conditions.


Chemicals of Interest

IDPH compared the maximum level of each contaminant detected during environmentalsampling with appropriate screening comparison values to select chemicals for further evaluationfor both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health effects. Chemicals that exceeded comparisonvalues were selected for further evaluation. A detailed discussion of each of the comparisonvalues used is found in Attachment 4.

The comparison values are used only to screen for contaminants that should be evaluated furtherand do not represent thresholds of toxicity. Though some of the chemicals might exist at levelsgreater than comparison values, the contaminants can only affect someone who is exposed and ifthe exposure results in high enough doses for adverse effects to occur. The contaminantconcentration, the duration of exposure, the route of exposure, and the health status of exposedindividuals are important factors in determining the potential for adverse health effects to occur.

Environmental media that were sampled included on-site monitoring wells, residential wells, on-site surface soil, Kishwaukee River surface water and sediments, intermittent streams, andleachate. From those data, IDPH determined that the chemicals of interest at this site are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), arsenic, and lead.

Environmental Contamination


The groundwater on the site was extensively sampled from 1993 to 1995. During that time, 170samples were analyzed for VOCs and heavy metals (Tables 1 and 2). The chemicals of interest ingroundwater are VOCs, arsenic, and lead. The VOCs at MIG are a group of chemicals known aschlorinated solvents. The VOCs most frequently detected included trichloroethylene,chloroethane, and vinyl chloride. Data from 1990 showed that no VOCs were detected inresidential wells above comparison values; however, no recent VOC analysis for residential wellsexists, so IDPH cannot determine whether those contaminants are migrating from the site.

The nearest off-site, residential well is 1,500 feet north of the site across the Kishwaukee River.That well and four other private residential wells were sampled for heavy metals. No metals weredetected above comparison values [4].

On-site Surface Soil

In on-site surface soil, the chemicals of interest were arsenic and SVOCs, including polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A mixture of nine PAHs was found in the soil samples (Table 3).


Since the early 1980s, leachate and surface water runoff from the site has flowed onto farm landnorth of the landfill. This runoff caused the creation of two erosion channels in the field north ofthe site. Soil samples were taken from this area. The results of those soil samples showed thatnone of the contaminants exceeded comparison values.

Surface Water

The Kishwaukee River flows from east to west about 1,000 feet north of the site. Twointermittent streams join southeast of the site and continue as one stream flowing northeastwardto the Kishwaukee River. Surface water and sediments were sampled in both the river and thestreams. Four locations along the intermittent stream and fifteen locations along the KishwaukeeRiver were sampled for the RI, but contaminants were not found at levels above comparisonvalues. Results from surface water samples collected from the Kishwaukee River upstream,closest to and downstream of the landfill indicated that the site was not affecting the river [5].

Exposure Assessment

IDPH evaluated the surrounding environmental conditions and local activities that may lead toexposure to determine whether residents living near the site have been, are being, or might beexposed to hazardous chemicals migrating from the site. The information is evaluated for fivecomponents that comprise an exposure pathway. The five elements include a contaminant source,an environmental transport pathway (such as groundwater), a point of potential exposure (such asa water spigot), a route of exposure (such as ingestion of contaminated groundwater), and areceptor population or people who are exposed.

An exposure pathway is considered complete, potential, or incomplete based on the status of thefive elements. If all five elements exist, then exposure is complete, and people have come intocontact with contaminants, either currently or in the past. A potential exposure pathway is one inwhich at least one of the five elements is missing but could exist. Past exposure might haveoccurred, exposure could be occurring, or exposure could occur in the future. An exposurepathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never bepresent.

Completed and potential exposure pathways at MIG are presented in the following discussion and are shown in Table 4.

Completed Exposure Pathways

Soil Gas

In April 1999, landfill gas was detected beneath the ground surface and in sump pits andbasements of homes west of the site. In May 1999, an active landfill gas interception system wasinstalled along the western boundary of the site. Since then, flammable gas concentrations havedropped below levels that present a hazard. The gas extraction trench on the west side of thelandfill remains in operation. As long as the system is operating correctly, people in the homes should be safe from this physical hazard.

Potential Exposure Pathways

On-site Surface Soil

A potential on-site surface soil exposure pathway exists. PAHs and arsenic were found in thesurface soil samples at levels above comparison values. Trespassers could be exposed to thecontaminants if they come into contact with contaminated soil. The exposure scenario IDPHconsidered was a child trespasser who goes onto the site one day per week for five years and isexposed via ingestion to the highest levels of contaminants detected. On the basis of thatexposure scenario, IDPH would not expect any adverse health effects to occur in people exposed in that manner.

Area Groundwater

Area residential wells were last sampled in 1993 and did not contain contaminants at that time.Groundwater flow near the site is north and northwest toward the Kishwaukee River, and noprivate wells are in that area. The wells north of the Kishwaukee River should remain unaffectedby the site, but flooding or other unusual phenomenon, although unlikely, could altergroundwater flow. A potential exposure pathway exists if contaminants from the site reachnearby private wells. The homes in Wycliffe Estates use public water.

Surface Water

Use of Kishwaukee River and intermittent surface stream water is another potential exposurepathway, but contaminants were not detected in surface water samples. Even if contaminantsfrom the site made their way to the surface water bodies, exposure as a result of recreational usewould not be expected to result in adverse health effects because the VOCs would readilyvolatilize and disperse. The metals are unlikely to move at concentrated levels to the river and streams.


The main community health concern at this site was the safety of homes due to methane presentin the landfill gas. This safety situation has been resolved, and no other community healthconcerns have been reported. This document was available for public comment at the Ida Public library from January 3 to February 5, 2001, but no comments were received.


IDPH and ATSDR recognize that children are especially sensitive to some contaminants. For thatreason, IDPH includes children when evaluating exposures to contaminants and considerschildren as the most sensitive population considered in this public health assessment. Currently,no children are being exposed to site-related contamination. The most serious health threat tochildren and adults at this site is the methane gas migration toward the subdivision near the site. As long as the intervention measures are working, children who live in those homes should be safe. Parents should also be sure that children do not trespass on the site.


Based on the information reviewed, IDPH concludes that, under current site conditions, theMIG/Dewane Landfill site poses no apparent public health hazard. Flammable landfill gas was ahazard before the installation of a mitigation system, but as long as the system is operatingcorrectly, people living in the affected homes should be safe.

Soils on the site contain several PAHs and metals, but the site is well vegetated and fenced,which should limit exposure to these contaminants. Also, the interim soil cap installed between1991 and 1993 should limit exposure.

If current conditions change, contaminated groundwater could reach private wells that are used in the area. Contaminants could also reach the nearby river and streams.


IDPH recommends that:

  • IEPA oversee continued area groundwater monitoring to determine the extent ofgroundwater contamination.

  • IEPA oversee continued monitoring of the Kishwaukee River and intermittent streams toensure that contaminants are not migrating from the site to nearby surface water.

  • IEPA ensure that site access remains restricted.

  • IEPA oversee continued monitoring of the landfill gas interception system and gas probes at specified intervals as outlined in a plan proposed by Clayton EnvironmentalConsultants.

IEPA agrees with these recommendations and will work with the contractor of the groupresponsible for the cleanup of the site to ensure their implementation.


Jennifer Davis
Environmental Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health

Ken Runkle & Mike Moomey
Environmental Toxicologists
Illinois Department of Public Health

ATSDR Regional Representative
Louise Fabinski
Regional Operations
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officers
Gail Godfrey
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Steve Inserra
Division of Health Studies

Mark Miller
Division of Health Education and Promotion


This MIG-Dewane Landfill Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Illinois Departmentof Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances andDisease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and proceduresexisting at the time the health assessment began.

Technical Project Officer,

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



  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Preliminary Public HealthAssessment for MIG/Dewane Landfill, Belvidere, Boone County, Illinois. Atlanta:USDepartment of Health and Human Services; 1992.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health consultation concerningMIG/Dewane Landfill. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1999 May 3.

  3. Clayton Environmental Consultants, Inc. Letter to Illinois Environmental ProtectionAgency concerning Mig/Dewane Landfill. Belvidere, Illinois. February 8, 2000.

  4. Camp Dresser & McKee Inc. Final Report Human Health and Ecological RiskAssessment for MIG/Dewane Landfill. Belvidere, Illinois. March 31, 1997.

  5. Clayton Environmental Consultants, Inc. Final Remedial Investigation Report concerningMIG/Dewane Landfill. Belvidere, Illinois. July 11, 1997.

Table 1.

Volatile Organic Chemicals of Interest in Groundwater - 1993-95 all values in micrograms per liter (g/l)
1,1-dichloroethene 4/87 ND-15 0.06 CREG
1,2-dichloroethene (total) 4/87 ND-190 70 MCL
trichloroethylene 24/87 ND-10 5 MCL
chloroethane 34/87 ND-26 NA NA
methylene chloride 2/87 ND-12 5 CREG
1,1-dichloroethane 2/87 ND-56 NA NA
vinyl chloride 24/87 ND-28 0.2 EMEG
chloroform 8/87 ND-10 6 CREG
benzene 20/87 ND-12 1 CREG
1,2-dichloropropane 15/87 ND-10 3 RMEG
tetrachloroethene 15/87 ND-7 5 MCL
chloromethane 20/87 ND-5 3 LTHA

NA - comparison value not available
MCL - Maximum Contaminant Level
CREG - Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
EMEG - Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
RMEG - Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide
LTHA - Lifetime Health Advisory

Table 2.

Inorganic Chemicals of Interest in Groundwater -- 1993-95 all values in micrograms per liter (g/l)
aluminum 59/170 ND-3,150 NA NA
arsenic 51/170 ND-50.4 0.02 CREG
chromium 30/170 ND-264 100 LTHA
boron 45/170 ND-2,590 100 EMEG
cobalt 46/170 ND-32.2B NA NA
lead 67/170 ND-260 15 USEPA Action Level
manganese 166/170 ND-1,180 500 RMEG
antimony 22/170 ND-9.3 4 RMEG
nickel 96/170 ND-243 200 RMEG

NA - comparison value not available
B - element found in the blank
CREG - Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
EMEG - Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
RMEG - Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide
LTHA - Lifetime Health Advisory

Table 3.

Chemicals of Interest in On-site Surface Soil - 1993 all values in micrograms per kilogram (g/kg)
Chemical Frequency of Detection Range Comparison Value Comparison Source
arsenic 21/21 2,500-9,200 500 CREG
phenanthrene 5/21 ND-250 NA NA
benzo(a)anthracene 3/21 ND-670 NA NA
chrysene 5/21 ND-370 NA NA
benzo(b)fluoranthene 4/21 ND-410 NA NA
benzo(k)fluoranthene 4/21 ND-310 NA NA
benzo(a)pyrene 4/21 ND-290 100 CREG
indeno(1,2,3-c,d)pyrene 2/21 ND-280 NA NA
dibenz(a,h)anthracene 2/21 ND-160 NA NA
benzo(g,h,i)perylene 2/21 ND-110 NA NA

NA - Comparison Value not available
CREG - Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide

Table 4.

Completed Exposure Pathways
Pathway Name Source Medium Exposure Point Exposure Route Receptor Population Time of Exposure Exposure Activities Estimated Number Exposed Chemicals
Soil Gas MIG/Dewane Soil Gas Basements of Homes Inhalation Persons living in homes where soil gas is infiltrating Past Activities occurring in the basements of homes 25 Methane Gas

Table 5.

Potential Exposure Pathways
Pathway Name Source Medium Exposure Point Exposure Route Receptor Population Time of Exposure Exposure Activities Estimated Number Exposed Chemicals
MIG/Dewane Groundwater Private Wells Ingestion
Persons using private well water Future Bathing
Cooking, etc.
25 Tables 1 & 2
Surface Water
MIG/Dewane Water & Sediments Kishwaukee River/ Intermittent Streams Ingestion
Persons using the river or streams Future Fishing
50 Tables 1 & 2
Surface Soil
MIG/Dewane Surface Soil Surface Soil Ingestion
Contacting contaminated material 15 Tables 1 & 2

Approximate Location of MIG/DeWane Landfill
Attachment 1. Approximate Location of MIG/DeWane Landfill

Demographics Statistics
Attachment 2. Demographics Statistics

Gas Extraction System Layout
Attachment 3. Gas Extraction System Layout

Attachment 4: Comparison Values Used In Screening Contaminants For Further Evaluation

Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs) are developed for chemicals based on theirtoxicity, frequency of occurrence at National Priorities List (NPL) sites, and potential for humanexposure. They are not action levels but are comparison values. They are developed withoutconsideration for carcinogenic effects, chemical interactions, multiple route exposure, orexposure through other environmental media. They are very conservative concentration valuesdesigned to protect sensitive members of the population.

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

Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs) are estimated contaminant concentrations based on aprobability 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 watersupplies to reduce the chances of occurrence of adverse health effects from use of contaminateddrinking water. These standards are well below levels for which health effects have beenobserved 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 fordrinking water. They represent the concentrations of chemicals in drinking water that are notexpected 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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