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  1. Groundwater around the Muskego Sanitary Landfill poses a public health hazard because people living in three nearby households were evidently exposed to contaminated water drawn from their private wells. Monitoring has shown that groundwater is contaminated and is moving away from the site. High lead levels were found in two private wells. An alternative water supply was installed, halting this exposure. Though groundwater under the site has been shown to be contaminated with lead, it is not known if the lead in the private wells came from the site. Site-related VOC contamination was detected in a third private well, but this contamination was not at a level of health concern. No other nearby private wells are currently known to be drawing contaminated groundwater.
  2. Muskego Santiary Landfill might pose a future public health hazard to nearby residents if no further action action were taken to clean-up the site. If the site is not properly cleaned-up then contaminated groundwater under and in the vicinity of the site could migrate away and reach other private wells.
  3. Ambient air near Muskego Sanitary Landfill is an indeterminate health hazard. The health of people could be adversely affected if they were exposed long-term to the highest levels of VOC contaminants detected in ambient air monitoring. Air contaminated with site-related VOCs may be inhaled by people living near the site, however not enough information is available to estimate the duration and levels of such potential exposures. Ambient air samples were collected only once from around the site, with inadequate information about the specific locations of the samples and no reporting of weather conditions during the sampling. Also interpreting air monitoring results is limited because the samples were not properly handled by the analyzing laboratory. Further air monitoring has not been conducted at either nearby residences nor around the site.
  4. Surface water appears to be carrying some contaminants off the Muskego Sanitary Landfill site, but detected levels are not of health concern. Samples of sediments taken from drainageways and an off-site wetland showed the presence of some SVOCs at low-levels which are not expected to adversely affect the health of people who might be exposed. Surface water was not tested for contamination.
  5. People living around the site have expressed concerns about the continued monitoring of local groundwater and private wells, the possibility of present and future exposure to contaminants from the site, and the explosive hazards of methane gas produced by the site. Groundwater and private well monitoring will continue as a part of the remediation alternative selected by the U.S. EPA. The public will be informed of any changes in the contamination of groundwater and of contamination reaching private wells around the site. Landfill gas monitoring has not detected any hazardous methane gas situations on and around the site. Current and proposed site control measures will decrease the possibility of methane gas migrating away from the site.


The Wisconsin Division of Health offers the following recommendations concerning the Muskego Sanitary Landfill:

  1. Monitoring wells between the site and residential wells should be tested regularly for VOCs and metal contamination.
  2. Private wells in use around the site should be tested regularly to identify if any people are drinking contaminated groundwater.
  3. A clean, alternate water supply should be used if a private well becomes contaminated at levels of health concern. This measure would stop future exposures to groundwater contaminants originating from the Muskego Sanitary Landfill. Such an alternate supply could include connecting to the municipal water supply lines recently installed at homes near the site.
  4. Implementation of the gas and/or vapor control measures listed in the U.S. EPA's preferred remedy would minimize the release of VOCs from the site in to ambient air.
  5. If no action is taken to minimize air emissions from the site, additional ambient air testing for VOCs is necessary. This would provide information to determine if the air around the site is contaminated and poses a human health hazard. This testing should include sampling near private homes.

A. Need For Follow-up Health Activities

The DOH reviewed the data on this site to determine the need for more research and/or local education about health-related concerns. Such action could include conducting more studies on cases of disease in the area or providing information about exposure to toxic chemicals. Some people living near the site have probably been exposed to contaminants in groundwater and ambient air, but there is no evidence that exposure was sufficient to cause adverse health effects. Therefore, no more studies of the site's impact on public health are needed now.

DOH will inform and update local health care providers when information requests are received and the full health assessment is released. DOH will provide health education to community members about the site when the U.S. EPA holds their public meetings on the site. DOH will reconsider the need for other activities if and/or when additional information is obtained which shows that toxic chemicals are more widespread than previous sampling found.

B. Public Health Action

The following actions either have been or will be performed to meet the needs expressed by the recommendations of this Health Assessment. The Wisconsin Division of Health, in cooperation with ATSDR, will:

  1. Continue to consult with the U.S. EPA and DNR on public health issues that may arise as action on the site occurs;
  2. Provide continuing health education as new information becomes available pertaining to public health issues of the site;
  3. Solicit health concerns of Muskego citizens directly or through agency contacts with the Waukesha County Health Department and through public meetings;
  4. Continue to cooperate with the Waukesha County Health Department to address environmental health and public health issues that pertain to the site and the community;
  5. Offer professional education opportunities related to the site to practicing health care providers in the Muskego area.

The U.S. EPA will implement source controls of the Muskego Sanitary Landfill site [27] by the following actions:

  1. Cap the Non-contiguous Fill area and upgrade the caps over the Old Fill and Southeast Fill areas in order to reduce penetration of surface water into the refuse and decrease migration of contaminants away from the site.
  2. Install a leachate control system in the Old Fill area and upgrade the leachate system in the Southeast Fill area. Install an In-Situ Vapor Extraction system in the Non-Contiguous area.
  3. Implement site controls, including complete fencing.
  4. Implement an active landfill gas control system in the Old Fill and Southeast Fill areas in order to decrease any potential ambient air emissions.
  5. Implement a semi-annual groundwater monitoring program at selected private and monitoring wells to detect any further movement of contaminants in the groundwater.


Henry Nehls-Lowe, MPH
Environmental Health Section
Bureau of Public Health
Division of Health
Wisconsin Department of Health & Social Services

ATSDR Senior Regional Representative

Louise Fabinski
Office of Regional Operations
Region V
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

William J. Greim
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Remedial Programs Branch


The Muskego Sanitary Landfill public health assessment was prepared by the Wisconsin Division of 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 public health assessment was begun.

William Greim
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment and concurs with the findings.

Robert C. Williams
Director, DHAC, ATSDR


  1. ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry). Toxicological Profile for Benzene. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  2. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1989.

  3. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethane. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1989.

  4. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1989.

  5. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloropropane. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1989.

  6. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  7. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Methylene Chloride. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  8. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  9. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  10. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Vinyl Chloride. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1991.

  11. ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists). 1991-1992 Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices. Cincinnati, Ohio: ACGIH, 1991.

  12. CACI Marketing Systems, Inc. The Sourcebook of Demographics and Buying Power for Every ZIP Code in the USA. Sixth Edition, Second Printing. Fairfax, Virginia: CACI, 1989.

  13. CACI Marketing Systems, Inc. The Sourcebook of ZIP Code Demographics, 1990 Census Edition - Volume One. Fairfax, Virginia: CACI, 1991.

  14. DOH (Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Health), file memo on October 8, 1991, site visit, October 10, 1991.

  15. DOH, Groundwater Advisories: Supporting Documentation. September 1989.

  16. DOH, file memo on October 9, 1991, meeting on Health Concerns, October 11, 1991.

  17. DOH, file memorandum on site visit of June 6, 1994. June 14, 1994.

  18. DNR (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources), file memorandum on May 12, 1987, site visit, May 21, 1987.

  19. DNR, correspondence to Bill Haubold, Muskego Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA, Region V Office, from Gary Edelstein, Emergency & Remedial Response Section, Bureau of Solid & Hazardous Waste Management. Madison, Wisconsin. December 17, 1991.

  20. EMCON Associates, Geohydrologic Investigation Report, 1976.

  21. Foth & Van Dyke and Associates, Inc. Correspondence to DNR (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources). Chloride reduction effort report for Muskego Rendering Company, Inc. December 29, 1983.

  22. Foth & Van Dyke. Correspondence to DNR. Lagoon abandonment plan for Muskego Rendering Company, Inc. October 3, 1985.

  23. Foth & Van Dyke. Correspondence to DNR. Summary of soil absorption lagoons abandonment activities for Muskego Rendering Company, Inc. March 15, 1988.

  24. Otto, William H. 1990. Inhalation exposure from volatile organic compounds found in drinking water. In Environmental issues: today's challenge for the future; proceedings of the fourth environmental health conference at San Antonio, Texas, June 20-23, 1989. John S. Andrews, Jr., Lydia Ogden Askew, Jeanne A. Bucsela, Barry L. Johnson, and Charles Xintaras, Eds. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia. November. pp. 69-78.

  25. U.S EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). Potential Hazardous Waste Site: Site Inspection Report, May 3, 1983.

  26. U.S. EPA. Correspondence to Gary Edelstein (WDNR) reporting Muskego Landfill Private Well Sampling results, from Bill Haulbold of U.S. EPA Region 5 Office. Chicago, Illinois: U.S.EPA, September 26, 1991.

  27. U.S. EPA. "U.S. EPA Recommends Cleanup Plan", Site fact sheet for Muskego Sanitary Landfill, Muskego, Wisconsin. Chicago, Illinois: U.S.EPA, October 1991.

  28. U.S. EPA. 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) for Benzene.

  29. U.S. EPA., Office of Research and Development and Office of Emergency and Remedial Response. Health Effects Assessment Summary Tables: Annual FY 1992. Washington, D.C.: USEPA, March 1992.

  30. Waste Management of Wisconsin, Inc (WMWI). Correspondence to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Leachate priority pollutant scan for Muskego Sanitary Landfill. April 10, 1984.

  31. WMWI. Correspondence to DNR. Additional data for leachate and private well sampling for Muskego Sanitary Landfill. May 16, 1984.

  32. WMWI. Correspondence to DNR. Leachate and Private Well Monitoring for Muskego Sanitary Landfill, August 22, 1984.

  33. Warzyn, Inc. Quality Assurance Project Plan - Muskego Sanitary Landfill, Report 13115. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, December 1987.

  34. Warzyn, Inc. Site Evaluation Report - Muskego Sanitary Landfill, 2nd Draft - Report 13115.01. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, June 1988.

  35. Warzyn, Inc. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study - Muskego Sanitary Landfill Site, Technical Memorandum No. 1, Report 13527.14. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, April 1989.

  36. Warzyn, Inc. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study - Muskego Sanitary Landfill Site, Technical Memorandum No. 2, Report 13527. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, January 1991.

  37. Warzyn, Inc. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study - Muskego Sanitary Landfill Site, Supplement to Technical Memorandum No. 2, Report 13527. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, June 1991.

  38. Warzyn, Inc. Feasibility Study - Source-Control Operable Unit - Muskego Sanitary Landfill Site, Muskego, Wisconsin, Report 13527. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, November 1991.

  39. Warzyn, Inc. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study - Muskego Sanitary Landfill Site, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Project 13527.33. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, January 1992.

  40. Wisconsin Administrative Code, Groundwater Quality, Chapter NR 140, Subchapter II, 10/90, No. 418.

  41. Wisconsin Administrative Code, Water Supply Well, s. NR 112.08(4)(g), Wis. Adm. Code.

  42. Zimpro Environmental Energy Systems, Correspondence to Foth & Van Dyke and Associates, Inc. VOC analysis results of sludge from Muskego Rendering Plant lagoons. October 14, 1986.

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