The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) requested that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) conduct an initial health evaluation for the Prior Landfill site near Centralia, Illinois (Attachment 1). The purpose of this health consultation is to assess any known or potential adverse human health effects that may result from exposure to contamination at the site. This health consultation is based on information currently available for the site.
The Prior Landfill site is about 37 acres in size and consists of two adjacent, inactive landfills near Centralia, in rural Marion County, Illinois (Attachment 2). The southern 29-acre area is known as the Prior Landfill. Along the western part of the northern border of the Prior Landfill is a 7.75-acre area known as the Prior-Blackwell Landfill. Perrine Street borders the site to the west. Wooded land is west of Perrine Street. A former city dump and wooded land are northeast of the site. The exact location of the city dump is not known. An active landfill, Centralia Environmental Services, is next to the southeastern border of the Prior Landfill site (Attachment 3). A few private homes are south of the site. Burlington Northern Railroad tracks run north to south through the site. An unnamed stream flows northwest, through the eastern portion of the site, and drains into Webster Creek, which runs through the northern tip of the site. A tree line and locked gates at two entry points on Perrine Street restrict vehicular access, but no fence surrounds the site.
During the early 1970s, the site was used for unpermitted dumping and had problems with exposed refuse. When the old city dump northeast of the site closed in 1975, the owner of the site applied for and received an operating permit for the 29-acre Prior Landfill. Wastes accepted in those areas included household and municipal wastes and several special wastes such as liquid wastes, industrial sludges, paint booth solids, and soil contaminated with diesel fuel. Throughout the operation of the landfill, IEPA site inspections identified various operating and permit violations, including the presence of leachate seeps and steep slopes resulting in subsided cover .
In 1981, IEPA granted an operating permit for an additional 7.75 acres known as the Prior-Blackwell Landfill. This area was to have had a clay barrier constructed to prevent leachate from infiltrating groundwater. Wastes accepted included household wastes, municipal wastes, and special wastes, including industrial sludges, solvent-contaminated soil, hydraulic oil waste, and waste water. This portion of the landfill closed in 1986. By 1987, those areas were filled, and the owner stopped accepting waste. The site was covered, and IEPA certified the final cover in 1987.
In 1993, IEPA inspectors found areas of ponding, areas void of vegetation, steep slopes, and ravines with leachate and exposed refuse . In 1985, IEPA conducted a Site Screening Inspection under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). They sampled three on-site groundwater monitoring wells, but no groundwater contamination was detected. IEPA sampled on-site monitoring wells in 1994. No private water wells were identified or sampled.
In November 1995, IEPA conducted a CERCLA Site Team Evaluation Prioritization (STEP) of the Prior Landfill site. Seven surface soil samples and six sediment samples were collected. The site was well vegetated except for some shallow ravines formed by erosion. Some ravines exhibited exposed refuse . No structures were found on the site. IEPA noted evidence of hunting activities, including a tree stand and expelled shotgun shells. Illegal dumping of general household waste was evident in Webster Creek. During the 1995 inspection, IEPA representatives witnessed someone throwing a bag into Webster Creek from a passing train .
The surface soil samples were collected at depths of 3 to 4 inches. The sediment samples were collected from drainage areas to determine if contaminants were entering Webster Creek. One sample was a background sample collected from a wooded area north of the landfill.
IDPH staff visited the site in November 1997. Access to the site was not restricted; however, vehicular traffic was limited to all-terrain vehicles. Most of the site property was heavily vegetated, and no structures were present on the site. The area surrounding the site was sparsely populated. A rural municipal water district provides water to most of the surrounding population.
Two intermittent streams flow through the site and empty into Webster Creek, which is intermittent. Webster Creek flows west for approximately six miles and converges with Sewer Creek. Sewer Creek then empties into Grand Point Creek, which ultimately flows into Crooked Creek. No municipal drinking water intakes are known to exist along Webster Creek. Past IEPA field inspections noted leachate seeps entering the intermittent streams and Webster Creek. No leachate samples were collected during the 1995 STEP inspection. The landfill is heavily vegetated with a certified cover. However, due to erosion of steep slopes, some areas have developed ditches with exposed refuse.