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Spickler Landfill is a former landfill located in the southwestern corner of Marathon County,Wisconsin, three miles northwest of the City of Marshfield. When in operation from 1970 to 1974,the landfill received a variety of municipal and industrial wastes.

Spickler Landfill posed a public health hazard in the past because people who worked on the site orlived nearby probably inhaled asbestos dust particles when waste materials were received at the site. After the site stopped receiving waste the site posed an indeterminate public health hazard becauseinhalation of asbestos around the site may have continued because poor site maintenance, aninadequate landfill cap, and on-site excavations permitted asbestos-based waste material to come tothe surface. Dry and windy conditions could have caused uncovered asbestos to become airborneand be inhaled by people on and off the site. Information is not adequate to estimate the duration ornumber of people who may have been exposed to asbestos. In the fall of 1993, recent improvementsin the refuse cover and site restrictions have prevented the uncovering and spreading of asbestos-based waste materials and the chance that people may currently be exposed to asbestos from the site. Currently the Spickler Landfill poses no public health hazard.

Groundwater is contaminated around the site from chemicals in the landfill, but contamination hasnot reached any nearby private wells. Groundwater samples collected from around the site haveshown the presence of hazardous substances. Water samples from three private wells revealedelevated levels of some inorganic compounds, but these chemicals are probably not site-related. Copper was detected in one private well at a level of health concern. However when a secondsample was collected from the same private well the copper level was lower and not a healthconcern. Ongoing testing of monitoring and nearby private wells will provide a warning of themovement of contaminated groundwater.

Methane landfill gas is being produced at the site and has been found at explosive levels in somemonitoring locations immediately adjacent to the site. Landfill gas has not been detected in anynearby homes. Continued landfill gas monitoring in homes would detect the presence of low-levelsof gas in private homes and allow the prevention of a potentially hazardous situation.

Leachate seeped to the surface at one location and flows away from the site. This seep provides apotential surface water pathway for contaminants to be carried from the site. No hazardoussubstances were detected in leachate, but the leachate contents could change. The contents of thisleachate should be monitored until site remediation eliminates this seep. The installation of aleachate extraction system is planned to decrease and halt the production and movement of leachateaway from the site.

The ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel and the Wisconsin Division of Healthrecommends a review of relevant health statistics due to the possiblity of significant past humanexposure to asbestos around the site. In addition, both the community and local health professionalsneed additional information about the potential for exposure to asbestos associated with the site.


A. Site Description and History


Spickler Landfill is in Marathon County, Wisconsin and is situated in the northwest ,southeast , Section 33, Township 26 North, Range 2 East, Town of Spencer, approximatelyfour miles south of the Village of Spencer, and three miles west-northwest of the City ofMarshfield (Figure 1). There are two areas on the property which comprise Spickler Landfill:the New Fill Area; and the Old Fill Area. The two sites areas total approximately ten acres insize and are set within the 80 acre Spickler Landfill property (refer to Figure 2).

An oil pipeline divides the Old Fill Area and New Fill Area, and was noted in the RemedialInvestigation Report (RI) as a potential contributor to contamination at the site [54, P2-4]. Sediment sampling during the RI suggests that the pipeline is probably not releasingcontaminants near the site. This pipeline is a southern branch of an extensive pipelinenetwork running across Canada and through the upper Great Lakes, and on to Ontario andQuebec, Canada. This branch of the pipeline was constructed through Wisconsin during 1968and 1969, prior to the opening of Spickler Landfill. Crude oil is the only product carried bythe Lakehead Pipeline and the supply originates in Redwater, Saskatchewan. A representativeof Lakehead Pipeline stated that the pipeline receives regular internal inspections [24].


Spickler Landfill received municipal and industrial wastes for a four year period, from July1970 to March 1974. Site ownership changed hands three times during this period. FredSpickler was the first owner and operator of the site. In addition to receiving municipal waste,the significant hazardous wastes disposed at the site were: kalo dust (asbestos based), mercurybrine sludge, spent manufacturing solvents, and processed wood/paper remnants [54, P1-3].

Within the New Fill area is a mercury brine sludge pit, which received mercury brine mudsover a four month period in 1971. The specially designed clay-lined pit measures 100 foot by100 foot square and is 10 feet deep. The mercury brine muds were the by-product of chlorinegas production at a nearby manufacturer. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) correspondence to the Town of Spencer [14] indicates the sludge contained twocategories of mercury waste: a "granular waste" containing mercury at a concentration of 13ppm (parts per million); and a sludge material containing 33 ppm of mercury. The receipt ofthese mercury brine muds at the site became controversial with the Spencer community inearly 1971. In response to local concerns raised about the sludge, the DNR advised the TownBoard of Spencer that the presence of "mercury wastes at this site is not a hazard to the peopleof the Town of Spencer" [14]. Nevertheless, the Town of Spencer Board passed a motion inFebruary 1971, restricting Mr. Spickler's permit, which denied the local manufacturer furtheruse of the site for disposal of mercury brine muds [53]. When the manufacturer halted thedisposal of mercury brine muds at Spickler Landfill in April 1971, over 1,281 cubic yards ofsludge had been deposited at the site [15] [54, P1-3]. In September 1971, the pit was coveredwith a clay cap to contain the mercury residue. During a June 1984 site visit, U.S. EPArepresentatives noted the clay cap on this pit settled and surface water created a small pond onthe top [50].

Carmen Way purchased the site and the surrounding parcel in August 1972 from Mr. Spicklerand took over operations under the name of Way's Sanitary Landfill [54, P1-3]. Under a newDNR license Way's Sanitary Landfill was permitted to receive only solid waste which did notcontain toxic and hazardous material (as then defined by the DNR) [54, P1-3]. Yet Way'sSanitary Landfill was cited a number of times by the DNR for failure to operate the site withinregulations. These citations were issued because of the use of inappropriate covermaterials [54, P1-4] and improper grading that resulted in poor drainage so that contaminantswere carried by rainwater to adjacent property [22, P5]. Mr. Way was mandated by the DNRto make site improvements which would eliminate the drainage problem and to use propercover materials.

The owners of Midstate Disposal purchased the site and surrounding parcel from Mr. Way inOctober 1973. Midstate Disposal was operating the site in March 1974 when the DNR issuedan order to perform closure work and shut down site operations within three months [22, P5]. Six months after the ordered May 31st closure date, it was reported the site had not beenclosed. The RI states that "detailed documentation of site closure is not known toexist" [54, P1-5]. In February 1975 the DNR ordered complete closure to occur by June 1975. During a June 1975 inspection by the DNR, it was again reported that closure work was notcompleted and the site was still out of compliance. Midstate completed the final closure work,and the site was closed in mid-1976 [22, P6].

Mr. Spickler re-purchased the site and surrounding parcel in April 1975. He sold the propertyto the current owner Mr. Kenneth Fuller in February 1976. Mr. Fuller lived at and operated atree farm on the site until the Fall of 1993, when he relocated his residence further north onthe surrounding parcel.

In 1983 a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) subcontractor performed apreliminary assessment of the site and derived a Hazard Ranking System (HRS) below theminimum required to qualify for the National Priorities List (NPL). During a 1984 site visitthe same U.S. EPA subcontractor noted leachate seeps along the north and south faces of theNew Fill Areas [50]. The subsequent hydrogeologic evaluation detected the presence ofVolatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and inorganic chemicals above normal backgroundlevels. As a result, the Spickler Landfill was assigned a new HRS score which qualified thesite for placement on the NPL [54, P1-5]. Testing of five on-site monitoring wells in 1985revealed the presence of VOCs and elevated inorganic chemicals in groundwater under thesite [20].

In July 1988 the U.S. EPA issued an Administrative Order by Consent for a site RemedialInvestigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The objectives of the Remedial Investigation (RI) were to [54, P1-6]:

  • Determine the characteristics and extent of contamination at the site;

  • Characterize the hydrogeologic setting to determine the most likely contaminantmigration pathways and physical features potentially affecting remedial actions;

  • Quantify risk to public health and the environment; and

  • Gather information necessary to support the feasibility study.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed a preliminarypublic health assessment in September 1988 which concluded the site posed a potential publichealth concern.

In the Fall of 1993 a number of remediation activities were initiated at Spickler Landfill. Mr. Fuller's residence was closed and demolished. The removal of trees from the landfillsurface began in preparation of putting additional protective cover on the landfill. Also, theconstruction of the Leachate Removal system was started and a fence was installed around theperimeter of the landfill [39]. Other activities ongoing and planned for the season included theinstallation of the gas extraction system, and grading and capping of the landfill [37].


The geologic deposits at the site are glacially derived. These deposits include glacial tills ofsandy and clayey soils. Information obtained from boring indicates the glacial tills are chieflyclay soils with thin lenses of sand and silty sand soils [54, P3-4]. The bedrock at the site is afine to medium grained quartz sandstone with "well-developed fractures and joints", and thedepth to bedrock ranges from 4 feet (MW-8) to 13.5 feet (MW-17) [54, P3-5]. Groundwater isfound between 8 to 20 feet below the surface and generally moves from the southeast tonorthwest across the site.

B. Site Visit

Two representatives (Henry Nehls-Lowe and Mary Young) from the Division of Health,Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services (DOH) visited the Spickler Landfill site on April 3, 1992. Also present were representatives from the WisconsinRapids District DNR Office and the Marathon County Health Department.

There were no fencing or physical barriers observed around the site, nor were trespass warningsigns seen on or around the property. Leachate seeps were observed at a number of locations. These locations included the western edge of the Old Fill area (near a gas probe GP-6) and thenorthwestern corner of the New Fill area (SW-5). At SW-5 leachate (a brownish liquid) wasvisibly flowing away from the site. Above the seep numerous cattails were growing, despitebeing on a hill. The leachate was draining into a ditch and flowing due west, through aculvert and off of the Spickler property. The DNR representative remarked that the leachatesmelled like decomposing organic material.

The cap on the New Fill and Old Fill areas was irregular and furrowed from the planting ofthe trees. Evidence of animals burrowing into the cap was seen on the New Fill area. Thetrees on the site were mostly Red Pine and White Spruce, grown and pruned by the owner forsale as Christmas trees. A few stumps were noted where trees had been cut.

A hole was found approximately 80 feet west of the mercury brine sludge pit where a tree wasexcavated. Inside of the hole the site visit team could clearly see a cross-section of the topsoil(3 inches), the cap (approximately 1 feet), and refuse mixed with soil below the cap. Outside and next to the hole was a crumpled 1 gallon can, which indicates that refuse wasbrought up to the surface with the removal of the tree root balls. On the edge of the hole was asmall pile of moist, friable (crumbling and brittle) material. A sample of this material wascollected for analysis. Four similar diggings were observed in the vicinity, but the holes hadbeen backfilled with soil.

The mercury brine sludge pit settled 4 to 6 feet below the level of the surrounding landfill. Though some standing water was observed in the pit, there were very few cattails seengrowing within the pit boundaries. The eastern Borrow pits were ice-covered during the sitevisit. Along both sides of the road and near the borrow pits was assorted scrap material, wood,vehicles, and other materials. The borrow pits and assorted material and equipmentconstitutes a potential physical hazard.

Approximately 100 feet northeast of monitoring well MW-10, the team observed a number ofplaces where animals have burrowed into the side of the New Fill area. At one location thesite visit team saw a number of brick-sized, whitish blocks of fibrous and friable materialwhich appeared very similar to the material collected from the excavated hole on the New Fillarea.

The DOH and DNR representatives visited six residences around the site where the wells havebeen tested. At one residence the owner said he has been farming the land directly south of thesite prior to the Spickler becoming a landfill and receiving wastes. Though he expressed nohealth concerns about the site, he commented on the poor manner which the site was operatedduring the entire time it was receiving waste material. He described that when kalo dust wasbeing hauled to the site and the wind was blowing from the north, often part of his field nearthe site would appear as though it was covered with snow. He said he knew that kalo containsasbestos because he had worked for the company which disposed kalo dust at the site. Theowner also indicated that for a number of years a portion of his field adjacent to the site wasmuch less productive than it should have been. He said the productivity of this part of thefield had returned to normal. During a DOH follow-up telephone call to the above resident hestated that the dust residue was particularly noticeable after the snows melted in the spring.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

The area surrounding the site is rural and is predominantly used for agricultural purposes. There are scattered private residences in the area. The nearest home shares a boundary withthe site and only one individual lives there. This person operates a tree farming business fromtheir home. Two other homes are approximately 500 feet southwest of the site. There is noevidence that children live at any of these homes. All residences rely on groundwater for theirdomestic water supplies.

Spickler Landfill is located within Marathon County, but is one-quarter mile north of WoodCounty. The landfill is located in the Town of Spencer. According to the 1990 Census, thereare 2,794 persons living within the Town of Spencer, of which 1,757 live within the Village ofSpencer. Directly south of Spickler Landfill, and in Wood County, is the Town of Lincoln. There are 1,429 persons living in Lincoln. On the eastern edge of the Town of Lincoln is theCity of Marshfield, which reported a 1990 census population of 19,291. The annual projectedgrowth rate for Marshfield and Spencer is between 0.2 and 0.7 percent. The median age forMarshfield is 32.8 years, and is 31.3 for the Village of Spencer. The race of these populationsis over 99.0 percent white. The 1990 average household income is $32,262 for Marshfieldand $29,113 for Spencer, with 8.1 and 16.6 percent of the respective populations at or belowthe federal poverty level [10] [11]. This is the most detailed demographic informationavailable and there is no census information available for residents living immediatelyadjacent to the Superfund site.

D. Health Outcome Data

"Health Outcome Data" refers to records of death and disease. When there is evidence thatpeople living near a site have been exposed to contaminants at levels that could lead to anincrease in rates of death or disease, a review of health outcome data may be appropriate. Areview also may be appropriate if there are reports of unusual clusters of disease near the site. As discussed in the Exposure Pathways section, people may have been exposed to asbestoscontained in waste that was disposed at the site. The evaluation of health outcome datarelated to such potential exposures are discussed on page 28, under the Health Outcome Data Evaluation section.


During the DOH site visit residents were asked about their health concerns related to theSpickler Landfill. Residents at one household asked the following questions.

  • Will test wells drilled near the site be monitored on a continuing schedule?

  • Have any private wells within approximately one-half mile of the site beenrecommended not to be used? If so are there funds to replace those wells?

  • Will the DNR, or any other agency, continue to periodically test water from privatewells in the vicinity of the site?

The Marathon County Health Department has not received further questions about theSpickler Landfill.


Please refer to Appendix D for a discussion of how contaminants at and around the site areevaluated and selected as being at a level of health concern.

A. On-Site Contamination

The RI report described three potential sources of contamination at Spickler: the crude oilpipeline; the mercury brine sludge pit; and the landfill refuse [54, P3-13].

The crude oil pipeline was eliminated from consideration as a contaminant source aftersurface and sub-surface soil samples collected from the right-of-way did not revealcontaminants associated with the site or the pipeline [54, P6-4].

The contaminants from the mercury brine sludge pit probably have had little effect ongroundwater contamination on and off the site. Analysis of leachate collected from themercury brine sludge pit, which is lined and capped with clay soils, showed one VOC andelevated metal levels (including mercury and manganese). The concentrations of the VOCand these metals outside the pit were lower and were "representative of concentrations...expected for sanitary landfill leachate". Mercury was not detected in any off-sitegroundwater monitoring wells [54, P6-3]. Consequently, the landfill refuse likely represents thesource of most contamination leaving the site.


Hazardous materials have been detected in the media of these two on-site areas: the Old Fillarea and the New Fill Area. These media include leachate, leachate seeps, surface water,groundwater sediment, and soil. The RI did not include sampling and analyses of any refusematerials. Cover boring logs only report the visual inspection of material in waste. The RIdid describe materials likely to be found in refuse, which includes kalo dust (asbestos), certainVOCs, certain Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), demolition debris, rubber tires,scrap metals, paper products, paint wastes, plastics, ash, sawdust, leather scraps, glass, andother municipal wastes [54, P3-13]. These materials represent the source of hazardouscontaminants on and around the site.

Table 1.

Chemicals in On-site Leachate July 1990 & March 1993 Spickler Landfill, Marathon County, Wisconsin
Number of Detections
Old Fill Area New Fill Area Mercury Brine Pit
1990 Benzene 2 25 2/7 1* 1  
Tetrachloroethylene 14 120 2/7 1*   1
Vinyl Chloride - - 0/7      
Xylene 29 18,000 5/7 2* 3  
Barium 530 940 7/7 2 4* 1
Chromium 27 88 4/7 2* 2  
Copper 28 99 6/7 2* 3 1
Iron 2,440 105,000 6/7 2* 3 1
Manganese 4,210 2,180,000 7/7 2 4 1*
1993a Benzene 2 14 2/7 1* 1  
Tetrachloroethylene - - 0/7      
Vinyl Chloride - 3 1/7 1*    
Xylene 47 8,500 7/7 3* 4  

* Highest concentration at Spickler Landfill was found in this area.
a In 1993 the inorganic compounds were only analyzed from a composite sample, not from samples from each well, and is not comparable in this table with 1990 data.

Source: [54] [34]

Asbestos is apparently widespread throughout the site. The RI states "it is likely that asbestosexists in both fill areas at the site" [54, P4-19]. One responsible party was reported in the U.S.EPA Administrative Order by Consent to have disposed of asbestos material at thesite [54, P1-3]. The DOH site visit describes finding asbestos-like material on the ground. Asample collected during the visit from the New Fill area contained 35 percent amositeasbestos [17]. Cover soil borings taken around the site during the RI [54, P2-5] indicate that amaterial resembling asbestos was found at 20 of the 40 boring sites [54, APPENDIX C-1]. Twosamples were collected as a part of the cover borings and analyzed for asbestos (collectionpoints were not reported). One sample collected contained 40 percent asbestos (25 percentamosite and 15 percent chrysotile) [54, APPENDIX E-7].

Table 2.

Chemicals in Off-site Groundwater Monitoring Wells 1990, 1991, & 1993 Spickler Landfill, Marathon County, Wisconsin
Compound July 1990 Sampling January 1991 Sampling March 1993 Sampling July 1993 Sampling Comparison Value (µg/L)
Minimum Detected (µg/L) Maximum Detected (µg/L) Frequency of Detection Minimum Detected (µg/L) Maximum Detected (µg/L) Frequency of Detection Minimum Detected (µg/L) Maximum Detected (µg/L) Frequency of Detection Minimum Detected (µg/L) Maximum Detected (µg/L) Frequency of Detection
Benzene 2* 8* 4/15 2* 10* 2/15 1* 7* 6/20 3* 8* 3/20 1 b
Tetrachloroethylene - 4 1/15 - - 0/15 - - 0/20 - - 0/20 5 f
Vinyl Chloride - 39* 1/15 - 47* 1/15 4* 70* 2/20 1* 45* 2/20 0.7 a
Xylene 2 2,100* 8/15 8 2,700* 7/15 13 1,300* 8/20 21 1,500* 5/20 620 d
Arsenic 3 62* 3/15 3 88* 3/15 3 43* 5/20 7 24* 5/20 11 c
Barium 200 4,690* 12/15 210 4,860* 8/15 5 3,870* 19/20 17 496 17/20 1,000 e
Chromium 1 12 6/15 7 11 2/15 7 8 3/20 3 13 3/20 50 c
Iron 63 71,500* 9/15 106 82,600* 9/15 2,350* 34,300* 7/20 2,340* 75,500* 5/20 300 e
Manganese 23 6,700* 14/15 16 4,010* 13/15 198* 4,150* 9/20 537* 9,830* 13/20 50 e

* Exceeds Comparison Value
- Not Detected

Comparison Values Refer to the appendix for definitions of the below values.
a Environmental Media Evaluation Guideline (Chronic) - Adult
b Cancer Risk Evaluation Guideline (Oral) - Adult
c Oral Reference Dose - Adult
d NR 140 - Wisconsin Public Health Groundwater Enforcement Standards, January 1992.
e NR 140 - Wisconsin Public Welfare Groundwater Enforcement Standards, January 1992.
f EPA's Maximum Contaminant Level

Source: [54][34][38]


The RI describes leaching as the primary process that is carrying waste from the refuse to thegroundwater [54, P5-12]. Leachate is a mixture of water and materials extracted from thewaste. It is produced when groundwater percolates down through waste material and carriesaway soluble materials, including contaminants. Leachate samples were collected from fiveleachate head wells and two on-site groundwater monitoring wells.

The presence of an on-site leachate head suggests that refuse at the site is saturated bygroundwater. This leachate head is affected by the infiltration of groundwater into refusematerial, which is allowed by the penetration of water through the clay cap. Water infiltrationis allowed by the relative thinness of the cap and where tree roots have punctured the cap. TheRI described the clay cap as having a thin soil covering and not satisfying the DNR cappingrequirements [54, P3-10], and that damage has occurred to the cap due to lack of maintenanceand tree farming activities [54, PIII].

The results of leachate sampling are shown in Table 1. These results are also consistent withthe refuse materials identified in the RI. The wells located on the Old Fill area (LH-1 &LH-4) demonstrated the highest numbers and levels of contaminants.

Leachate Seep

In June 1984 leachate seeps were noted during a site inspection. Seeps were reportedly foundon the north and south faces of the New Fill Area. The DNR collected soil samples from theseseeps and analysis revealed traces of mercury. However, the levels of mercury contaminationwere not reported and the information about seep locations was "unavailable" [54, P1-5].

During the April 1992 site visit DOH representatives saw numerous leachate seeps around thesite. The volume flowing from the leachate seep found at the northwest corner of the New Fillarea (SW-5) was adequate to support a large growth of cattails on the edge of the site andabove the seep. Leachate was visibly flowing down the side of the New Fill area, runningwest into the drainage ditch north of the Old Fill area, under a culvert, and off the site [17].

The northwest corner of the New Fill area is being "affected by leachate seeps" [54, P5-15]. A water sample was collected at the seep at the northwest edge of the New Fill area (SW-5), which was identified as an on-site leachate seep location. One SVOC was detected in the sample from this location and was not at a level of health concern. Certain inorganic chemicals were detected at high levels. Elevated concentrations of chromium (36 µg/L), iron (1,060,000 µg/L), and manganese (4,970 µg/L) were reported.


In 1984 six groundwater monitoring wells were installed on and around the site. Also at thattime, two leachate head wells (S-4 & S-5) were placed near the mercury brine sludge pit, onwhat eventually would become the New Fill Area. Samples were collected from theseleachate head wells in June 1990 as part of the leachate sampling. However these two wellswere abandoned within three weeks, because the wells penetrated waste material and therewas concern these wells might become a conduit for contaminants entering the aquifer below.

The results of June 1990 RI sampling were very similar to leachate sampling results. Theresults are included in Table 1. Of the seven leachate/monitoring wells sampled, S-5 had thehighest concentrations of two SVOCs.


Sediment was sampled only at two on-site locations, which were at the leachate seep in thenorthwest corner of the New Fill area (SD-5) and the northern edge of the New Fill area (SD-3). Two SVOCs were detected in one sample (SD-5). A single SVOC and a low-levelpolychlorinated biphenyl were detected in the other sample. However, none of the compoundsdetected in sediment were at levels of health concern.

B. Off-Site Contamination

Landfill Gas

Landfill gas levels are currently monitored around the site to determine the extent of methanemigrating off the site. A landfill gas monitoring program was initiated when methane gas wasdetected in a recently installed monitoring well.

The RI stated that "it is evident that landfill gas is being produced and has migrated off-site". Also the RI mentioned a need for calculating volume estimates of landfill gas production,which was not performed as a part of the RI [54, P6-4]. The U.S. EPA is continuing monitoringof methane gas at gas probes and in homes adjacent to the site. Landfill gas has not beendetected in any nearby buildings or houses. There has been no testing of landfill gas samplesfor the presence of VOCs, which could be considered a data gap. See page 17 for a discussionof potential physical hazards posed by landfill gas.

Table 3.

Off-site Private Well Sampling Results January & July 1991, March 1993
Spickler Landfill, Marathon County, Wisconsin (all values are in µg/L)
Date Compound PW-20 PW-23 PW-200 PW-201 PW-202 PW-203 PW-204 Comparison Value (µg/L)
1991 Benzene - - - - - 1* - 1 a
  Xylene - - - - - 7 - 620 b
  Chromium - - - < 32 - - - 50 b
  Copper 491 12 16 17 100 7 17 1,000 c
  Iron - - - - 4,280* 1,720* - 300 c
  Manganese - 54* - - - - - 50 c
March 1993 Benzene - - - THESE PRIVATE WELLS
1 a
  Xylene - - - 620 b
  Chromium - - - 50 b
  Copper 30 105 32 1,000 c
  Iron - 399* - 300 c
  Manganese 9 17 8 50 c
Nov 1993 Benzene - - - THESE PRIVATE WELLS
1 a
  Xylene - - - 620 b
  Chromium - - - 50 b
  Copper - 32 55 1,000 c
  Iron - 118 32 300 c
  Manganese - - - 50 c

- Not Detected in Sample.
* Matches or Exceeds Comparison Value.
1 Sample collected July 30, 1991. First sample collected January, 1991 detected copper at a level of 2,250 µg/L.
2 Sample collected July 30, 1991. First sample collected January, 1991 detected chromium at a level of 59 µg/L.

Comparison Values Refer to the appendix for definitions of the below values.
a Cancer Risk Evaluation Guideline - Adult.
b NR 140 - Wisconsin Public Health Groundwater Enforcement Standards, January 1992.
c NR 140 - Wisconsin Public Welfare Groundwater Enforcement Standards, January 1992.

Sources: [54] [16] [33] [38]


The RI states that "groundwater is the primary contaminant migration pathway" identified atthe site [54, P6-5]. The first hydrogeologic evaluation, in March 1985, detected a variety ofVOCs, SVOCs, and elevated indicators in groundwater collected from on and around thesite [54, P1-5]. The second hydrogeologic investigation, performed as part of the RI, requiredthe installation of monitoring wells at fifteen points around the site. A well was installed ateach location to monitor the water table (19-28 feet deep), and deeper wells (47-71 feet deep)were installed at ten locations. Samples were collected from these groundwater monitoringwells in July 1990, January 1991, March 1993, and July 1993. Additional groundwatersampling is planned two more times in 1993, and is scheduled to occur annually thereafter. The results of these rounds of sampling are shown in Table 2.

Off-site groundwater contamination at Spickler Landfill is found predominantly in the shallow wells. The well with the greatest number of VOCs was located at S-1 (Figure 3). However, the concentrations of some VOCs detected in this well were lower than those observed in other wells. Well S-2 had the highest xylene concentration (2,700 µg/L) and benzene level (10 µg/L). Well MW-10 had the second highest xylene concentration (1,500 µg/L).

Private wells adjacent to the site were first collectively tested as part of the RI in January1991. Groundwater samples were collected from seven private wells (Figure 2) in January,and one well was resampled in March 1991 [54, P2-10]. These residential wells are within one-half mile of site and the wells penetrate into the sandstone aquifer. Available well logs(PW-20 & PW-23) show drilling to a depth of approximately 70 feet, and wells are screenedthe last 20 feet in sandstone [54, APPENDIX D]. The results of the private well sampling are presented in Table 3.

A single private well (PW-203) exhibited low levels of VOCs during the January 1991sampling. None of these VOCs were at a level of health concern.

Elevated levels of inorganic chemicals were observed in five private wells. One well west of the site (PW-201) exhibited a chromium concentration of 59 µg/L, which exceeds the Wisconsin Public Health Groundwater Enforcement Standard (primary standard) of 50 µg/L [57]. The Wisconsin Public Welfare Groundwater Enforcement Standard (secondary standard) was exceeded in four private wells. High iron levels of 4,280 & 1,720 µg/L (secondary standard - 300 µg/L) were detected in two private wells approximately one-half mile north of the site along Mann Road (PW-202 & PW-203). Copper was detected at 2,250 µg/L (secondary standard - 1,000 µg/L) in a single well southwest of the site (PW-20). A private well on the landfill property (PW-23) revealed a manganese concentration of 54 µg/L which was slightly above the secondary standard (50 µg/L).

The DNR conducted a second round of private well testing in July 1991, for the two wells with high chromium (PW-201) and copper (PW-20) [16]. The results showed PW-201 with a chromium level less than 3 µg/L, which is below the primary groundwater standard of 50 µg/L [57]. The level of copper detected in PW-20 was 49 µg/L, which is also below the secondary standard of 1,000 µg/L [57].

Surface Water

Surface water samples were collected at two locations near the site in June 1990. A samplewas collected from each of the borrow pits west of the site (SW-2 & SW-3). The RI planincluded collection of samples from three additional locations, but dry conditions precludedthis.

Contamination of surface water was detected at very low levels. Two SVOCs were identified in surface water samples, but neither were at levels of health concern. The concentrations of some inorganic chemicals were elevated. The most notable elevated chemicals included iron (2,190 µg/L) and magnesium (8,620 µg/L).

Leachate seeps (see page 10) could be affecting off-site surface water quality. The two low-level SVOCs detected in surface water samples were at much lower levels than in on-siteleachate. Additionally, these two SVOCs were not detected in the sample collected from theleachate seep. The SVOCs and inorganic chemicals detected in surface water were at levelswhich are not a health concern.

Planned remediation activities include the installation of a leachate extraction system andproperly capping the landfill, which will likely result in a decrease or halt of the flow ofleachate from seeps at the landfill.

Table 4.

On & Off-site Sediment Sampling Results July 1990 Spickler Landfill, Marathon County, Wisconsin
Compound On-Site Off-Site Comparison Value (µg/kg)
Minimum Detected (µg/kg) Maximum Detected (µg/kg) Frequency of Detection Minimum Detected (µg/kg) Maximum Detected (µg/kg) Frequency of Detection
Arsenic 4 7 2/2 - - 0/4 15,000a
Barium 56 1,460 2/2 56 113 4/4 3,500,000a
Chromium 31 85 2/2 10 18 4/4 250,000a
Copper - 13 1/2 7 22 4/4 n/a
Iron 34,800 176,000 2/2 4,630 15,200 4/4 n/a
Manganese 1,030 4,040 2/2 58 395 4/4 5,000,000a

* Exceeds Comparison value.
a EPA's Oral Reference Dose - Child.

Source: [54]


Sediment samples were collected in July 1990 from six locations around the site. Thesampling locations were the same as the surface water locations. Sediment samples werecollected even if the location was not under surface water. The results of this sampling are detailed in Table 4.

Five organic compounds were detected in the sediment samples. Three other SVOCs wereeach detected in one sample. One sediment sample showed the presence of a commonpesticide at a low level. No pesticides were detected in waste leachate or groundwater. TheRI attributes a pesticide found in soil to agricultural use on or around the site [54, P4-18]. Noneof the chemicals detected in off-site sediment were at levels of health concern.


Soil sampling was conducted exclusively along the crude oil pipeline right-of-way, which runsbetween the Old Fill and New Fill areas. This soil testing evaluated if the crude oil pipeline affects contamination found at the site.

Table 5.

Off-site Soil Sampling Results July 1990 Spickler Landfill, Marathon County, Wisconsin
Compound Minimum Detected (mg/kg) Maximum Detected (mg/kg) Frequency of Detection Highest Background Level Detected (mg/kg) Comparison Value (mg/kg)
Arsenic 1 5 10/10 4 15a
Barium 96 188 10/10 298 3,500a
Chromium 11 35 10/10 16 250a
Copper 7 23 10/10 14 n/a
Iron 5,860 22,300 10/10 18,200 n/a
Manganese 164 1,870 10/10 2,330 5,000a

* Exceeds Comparison Value.
a EPA's Oral Reference Dose - Child.

Source: [54]

Eight surface and seven subsurface soil samples feet below the surface) were collected fromthe right-of-way in July 1990. Surface samples were collected directly from the surface. Subsurface samples were collected from depths varying between 0.4 to 2.5 feet below thesurface. The results of soil sampling are summarized in Table 5.

The chemicals detected in the soil were at low levels. When background levels of a chemicalwere available, the level found at the sampling point was similar to or below backgroundlevels. The RI states that the presence of two of the organic compounds is "uncertain" as"both compounds can be common laboratory contaminants" [54, P4-18].

There were five inorganic compounds detected in the soil that exceeded the background level,though exceedances were slight. Cyanide was detected in three of the ten soil samples. TheRI attributed the presence of cyanide to the "result of cyanide-based pesticide use at the site, oron agricultural fields upgradient of the site" [54, P4-18]. Cyanide was not at a level of healthconcern. There were no chemicals detected in surface or subsurface soil which were at levels of potential health concern.

C. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory

A Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) search was conducted by DOH for the Town ofSpencer and City of Marshfield zip codes (54479 and 54449 respectively). The TRI issearched in order to investigate any other sources of environmental contamination near thesite. Certain manufacturers are required to report to the U.S. EPA of releases to theenvironment of over 300 hazardous chemicals. This reported information is entered into theautomated TRI system.

There were no reports of hazardous substances for the Spencer zip code. However for theMarshfield zip code there were reported releases of hazardous substances also found at thesite. All reported releases of these hazardous substances occurred at manufacturing facilitiesin Marshfield, over three miles from the site. Given the distance from the site and thedirection of groundwater and surface water flow it is unlikely that these releases has an impacton contamination at and around the Spickler Landfill.

D. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

The Wisconsin Division of Health (DOH) assumes that the RI contractor fully met theobjectives described in the Quality Assurance Project Plan. The ability of the DOH to makevalid conclusions is dependent, to some extent, on the amount and quality of data provided. These quality assurance and quality control measures were to be followed during fieldsampling and measurements, the chain of custody activities, laboratory analytical procedures,and data reporting. The remedial investigation followed this plan, and was approved by theU.S. EPA.

Water samples collected from nearby homes in January 1991 detected copper and chromiumat levels of potential health concern. However when a second sample was collected from thesehomes in July 1991 the levels were not at a level of health concern. It is not known why therewere higher inorganic levels in January than in July. One possible explanation is thatchromium and copper are leaching from copper and galvanized pipes in these homes. Whenwater samples are taken from a residential well it is important to collect the sample from thefaucet closest to the pump and for old water to be flushed from the pipes. If this technique wasnot performed during the January 1991 sampling, then some samples might have beenaffected by the internal plumbing, such as a particle of a pipe or plumbing fixture may havegotten into the January sample, but not the July sample.

Concern was expressed in the Summary and Conclusions section of the RI that VOCs couldbe a constituent of the landfill gas. The types and levels of these VOCs in landfill gas werenot characterized in the RI [54, P3-11], and constitutes a "data gap".

E. Physical and Other Hazards

Landfill Gas

Landfill gas generated at Spickler Landfill is a potential explosive hazard to the residents ofnearby homes. Landfill gas has not been detected in any nearby buildings. Landfill gasmonitoring is continuing adjacent to a nearby home.

Methane, a major constituent of landfill gas, is generated from the decomposition of organicmaterial found in refuse deposited at the site. Landfill gas has been detected at SpicklerLandfill and is capable of migrating off-site. It was speculated that some of the methanedetected around the site could also come from nearby wetlands, though this has not beenverified [35]. The potential exists for explosive levels of landfill gas to move into thebasements of private homes and accumulate. A spark from a furnace, water heater, or amechanical source could ignite the gas at such a level.

Landfill gas monitoring at the site was first conducted in 1990 and found landfill gas to bepresent along the north and western edge of the Old Fill area [54, P2-4]. In June 1990 landfillgas was monitored at 15 points on and around the site. Landfill gas was detected in sixlocations at 100 percent of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) [56]. No landfill gas wasdetected in buildings adjacent to the site. In November and December 1990 methane gas wasdetected in three rounds of sampling at three of ten permanent gas probes placed around thesite. These three probes (GP-5, GP-6, & GP-7) were along the western edge of the Old FillArea and registered methane levels that exceeded the LEL. Additionally, for each of theserounds of sampling, well S-3 (along the northern border of the Old Fill area) also exhibitedmethane levels that exceeded the LEL. Sampling from one monitoring well (MW-6) and apermanent gas probe (GP-4) detected gases above the LEL during the third round. These twodetections in the third round may have resulted from frozen soil conditions which wouldsuppress venting of gas through the surface topsoils [54, P3-11].

In January and August 1993, two rounds of landfill gas monitoring did not detect landfill gasin any buildings or residences adjacent to the site. Samples from MW-6 did not show thepresence of gas, as found previously. Samples were evaluated from all ten permanent probesand found gas levels above the LEL in three probes (GP-5, GP-6, & GP-7)[31][36]. Gasmonitoring at and around the site was described under the Remedial Design Sampling andAnalysis Plan to be conducted on a monthly basis [32, P13].

Other Hazards

On the eastern side of the site are the borrow pits, which constitute a potential physical hazard. The pits are filled with water, and have very steep banks, which would make it difficult toclimb out of the water. At the time of the site visit the water in the pits was frozen. A personcould fall through the ice. In the vicinity of the borrow pits are a number of broken-downvehicles, heavy equipment, scrap material, firewood, and miscellaneous junk. Some of thesecould be an attractive nuisance for children. However, planned remediation and clean-upactivities includes the installation of a six-foot chain link fence around the landfill and theborrow pits, and removal of assorted material and equipment found on the east side of the site [35].


Please refer to Appendix E for a discussion on how pathways are evaluated in a public health assessment.

A. Completed Human Exposure Pathways


Human exposure to waste material from Spickler Landfill, most notably asbestos, probablyoccurred in the past. It is not likely that significant amounts of asbestos will be released as aresult of remediation activities at the site.

The RI reported the presence of a material resembling asbestos throughout the site. Amositeand chrysotile asbestos was detected during the 1990 RI cover soil borings. Friable(crumbling and brittle) amosite asbestos was also identified in an on-site sample collectedduring the 1992 DOH site visit.

One resident living and farming south of the site reported that when the landfill was receivingkalo dust waste, and when the wind was blowing in from the northwest, the asbestos-basedmaterial would drift onto his fields. The RI indicates that winter winds at the site arepredominantly from the northwest. This individual stated that after the snow would melt inthe spring there would be a visible covering of kalo dust in his fields near the site. This personwas likely exposed to asbestos when conducting farming activities in these fields. It should benoted that this individual worked for the manufacturer which is reported to have disposedasbestos at Spickler Landfill. Furthermore, this person said when working for themanufacturer he regularly came in contact with kalo waste. Therefore, it is likely that hisoccupational asbestos exposure was at least as significant as the exposure he might havereceived while farming.

Asbestos may have been frequently uncovered at the site, even when kalo dust disposal hadceased and after the closure of the site. The clay cap covering the waste material wasdescribed in the RI as deficient and not meeting current DNR landfill closurerequirements [54, PIII]. Cover soil boring logs indicate a number of places on site where theclay cap is non-existent and waste is covered by a three inch layer of topsoil [54, APPENDIX C]. Tree farm excavation activities and animal burrowing at the site continues to bring wastematerial to the surface. It is possible that other processes (such as erosion) may uncover wastematerial, including asbestos.

Concern was expressed by the U.S. EPA and DOH that dry and windy conditions at the sitecould cause uncovered and friable asbestos to become airborne, creating a potential inhalationexposure if breathed by persons working on the site, particularly during remediation activitiesat the site [51]. In December 1992 an engineering contractor collected air samples whiledigging trenches into refuse at the landfill. The analysis of samples showed that while"significant" amounts of asbestos was exposed in the waste material, the amount released intoair did not require special health and safety precautions" [30]. The measured levels of asbestoswere below workplace limits set by the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration [35].

B. Potential Human Exposure Pathways


People have probably not been exposed to contaminated groundwater originating from thesite. Groundwater monitoring from on and around the site does show contamination of theshallow aquifer and low-level contamination of the deep aquifer. If the site were not cleaned-up, then contaminated groundwater could move away from the site and be drawn by privatewells.

Private well testing (Table 5) in January 1991 did find certain inorganic compounds at levelswhich could be of potential health concern. One private well one-half mile west of the site(PW-201) had chromium at 59 µg/L and an sample from a private well 500 feet southwest ofthe site (PW-20) detected copper at 2,250 µg/L. When resampled in July 1991 these privatewells showed the levels of chromium and copper to be lower and not of concern. Thesecontaminants are probably not site-related because there is no indication that a plume of thesecontaminants has moved away from the site and because the levels detected in January arehigher than those found in groundwater immediately around the site.

One private well (PW-203), located one-half mile north of the site, showed the presence ofeight VOCs, though none of these compounds were at levels of health concern. Again thesecontaminants probably did not originate from the site.

Three other private wells showed the presence of metals (iron and manganese) above thePublic Welfare Groundwater Quality Enforcement Standard, or secondary standards. Thesesecondary standards are established for aesthetic reasons, (such as odors or staining problems)rather than for health related reasons.

It is unlikely that people have been or are currently exposed to groundwater carryingcontamination away from the site. People might face future exposure to groundwater carryingsite-related contaminants if the site is not cleaned-up.

Leachate Seep

Surface water was sampled during the RI from one leachate seep on the northwest corner of the New Fill area (SW-5).

A potential future pathway exists for contaminants to leave the site as part of this leachate. Itwas reported by the DOH site visit that the liquid from this seepage was flowing from the site,entering a drainage ditch, and flowing west away from the site. While leachate characteristicsbetween sampling times have not varied significantly, it is possible for the constituents of thisleachate to change and include additional contaminants, such as arsenic. Such contaminantscould then flow away from the site as part of the leachate. People and or animals might comein contact with contaminants carried in this liquid. However, none of the chemicals detectedin leachate have been at levels of health concern.

The installation of the planned leachate extraction system and re-capping the site willprobably halt or cause a significant decrease in the flow of the leachate seeps at the site.

Landfill Gas

Methane has been detected at gas probe monitors and monitoring wells around the site. Though gas monitoring has not detected landfill gas in any of the private residences, landfillgas from the site could migrate and collect in private buildings in the future. However,planned remediation activities include the installation of a gas extraction system. This systemwill remove methane gas from the landfill and decrease the possibility of gas migration awayfrom the landfill [35].

Gas monitoring did not include analyses of VOC constituents, which could be present sincethese are found in the refuse and contaminated media. Though such testing was not part of theapproved RI Work Plan, the absence of this information was identified as a datagap [54, P3-11]. The potential exists for landfill gas to reach adjacent homes and for it toconcurrently include VOCs. People might then be exposed to VOC vapors. However bothabove circumstances must first be fulfilled before could people inhale VOCs within theirhomes.


A. Toxicological Evaluation

The chemicals of potential health concern at Spickler Landfill are summarized in Table 6.

Table 6.

Chemicals of Potential Health Concern Spickler Landfill, Marathon County, Wisconsin
Chemical Media Has Human Contact Occurred? Maximum Level Detected
Benzene Groundwater No 10 µg/L
Tetrachloroethylene Groundwater No 4 µg/L
Vinyl Chloride Groundwater No 47 µg/L
Xylene Groundwater Yes 7 µg/L
Asbestos Refuse Yes n/a
Arsenic Groundwater No 88 µg/L
Barium Groundwater No 4,860 µg/L
Chromium Groundwater Yes 59 µg/L
Copper Groundwater Yes 2,250 µg/L
Iron Groundwater Yes 1,720 µg/L
Manganese Groundwater Yes 54 µg/L


People who live around Spickler Landfill have probably not been exposed to benzene. If the site was not cleaned up contaminated groundwater might reach nearby private wells in the future. Benzene contamination of groundwater has not been detected in any private wells. Benzene has been measured in a few of off-site monitoring wells, with the highest level detected of 10 µg/L.

Benzene contaminated groundwater could leave the site and reach nearby private wells. People drinking water contaminated with benzene at a level of 10 µg/L for a lifetime would face no apparent increased risk of cancer. Though inhaled benzene is classified as a confirmed human carcinogen, there is little information available about the human cancer effects of ingesting benzene. The U.S. EPA determined that ingesting benzene causes cancer in people based on studies of people who inhaled benzene and on studies of laboratory animals that ingested cancer [4, P75]. Cancer studies in animals link benzene to leukemia in rodents and various organ carcinomas in rats [4, P45].

There are no other health effects expected from the highest level of benzene found ingroundwater around the site.

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)

People living nearby have probably not come in contact with groundwater contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE). PCE has not been detected in any nearby private wells, but people might be exposed to PCE if the contamination were to reach a private water supply. PCE was detected in one groundwater monitoring well (S-2) during the July 1990 round of sampling, at 4 µg/L.

It can be estimated that a person drinking water contaminated at 4 µg/L for a lifetime would face no apparent increased cancer risk. This level exceeds the Wisconsin Groundwater Quality Enforcement Standard for PCE of 1 µg/L [57]. This standard was adopted based on the U.S. EPA level of an acceptable lifetime cancer risk [19, P304]. The Department of Health and Social Services determined that PCE "may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen" [7, P4]. There are no conclusive studies concerning the cancer effects of PCE in humans. Laboratory mice ingesting low levels of PCE have shown increases in liver cancer [7, P28]. No other health effects are known for ingesting this level of PCE.

Vinyl Chloride

People living around the site have probably not been exposed to vinyl chloride ingroundwater as it has not been detected in any private wells. Vinyl chloride does notpose a current health risk to people living around the site.

If the site were not cleaned-up then groundwater might carry vinyl chloride away from the site and contaminate private wells. Vinyl chloride was detected in a single monitoring well during both rounds of off-site groundwater testing. This well (S-1) is directly south of the New Fill area. During the 7/90 and 1/91 rounds of groundwater monitoring, this well showed detections of vinyl chloride at 39 and 47 µg/L.

A person using domestic water contaminated with vinyl chloride at a concentration of 47 µg/L could face a low increased risk of cancer. Vinyl chloride is classified by the U.S. EPA as a known human carcinogen. If found in a domestic water supply, the health effects of vinyl chloride exposure is from both drinking contaminated water and inhaling vinyl chloride vapors released during the use (washing, bathing, etc.) of contaminated water.

There is little information about the human health effects of exposure to vinyl chloride resulting from oral ingestion. Most information we have about human health problems from ingesting vinyl chloride is extrapolated from animal studies. These studies suggest that ingested vinyl chloride causes adverse effects to the liver. Cancer studies of laboratory animals describe increased rates of liver cancers [8, P36]. Inhalation of vinyl chloride vapors by people can cause liver changes, nerve damage, and a decreased immune reaction. Increases in human liver cancer has been documented in studies of long-term, low-level occupational exposure [8, P4]. There are no other health effects in people exposed to a vinyl chloride concentration of 47 µg/L.


Xylene was found in one private well at a level that was not of health concern. If thesite were not cleaned-up, groundwater could carry xylene away from the site and furthercontaminate private wells.

Private well sampling in January 1991 found low-level xylene (7 µg/L) in a single well located one-half mile north of the site. The origin of xylene (and other detected VOCs) is unclear because some monitoring wells between this private well and the site have shown no detections of VOCs. Xylene was detected in about half of shallow monitoring wells around the site (Table 2), with the highest level found (2,700 µg/L) in a monitoring well south of the New Fill Area (S-2). Groundwater monitoring suggests that xylene contamination may be moving to the northwest and away from the site.

The human health effects from low-level ingestion of xylene over a long term is notknown, as most information available about xylene toxicity is based on animal studies. Based on this, the highest levels of xylene found in off-site groundwater are not of ahealth concern.


Nearby residents and workers at the site were probably exposed to asbestos in the pastwhen the site was receiving wastes. While asbestos was found in early 1992 above-ground at the site, additional cover was added to the site during recent remediationactivities, which apparently covered any exposed asbestos.

Unprotected people who worked at or came onto the site during prior dry periods mayhave inhaled asbestos fibers. During the DOH site visit a number of locations werenoted where asbestos had been brought to the surface. Dry conditions would haveallowed particles to become airborne and be inhaled.

Analysis of samples collected during the RI and the DOH site visit demonstrated thepresence of amosite and chrysotile asbestos. Amosite is classified as an amphibole,which is thought to be the most potent cancer-causing form of asbestos [2, P26].

There is no documentation of how many nearby residents were exposed in the past toasbestos originating from the site. A nearby resident reported asbestos-based dustblowing onto fields adjacent to the site when waste material was being received. Atleast one person living near the site was probably been exposed to asbestos duringnormal off-site farming activities. There is no information to estimate the dose, durationor number of people exposed to asbestos originating from the site.

Inhalation of asbestos particles can cause serious health effects. Exposure to asbestosincreases the risk of lung cancer and cancer of the lining of the lung (mesothelioma). One study showed that lung cancer developed in rats which were exposed to amositeasbestos for only one day [2, P48]. The long-term inhalation of asbestos can also resultin asbestosis, which is the scarring of lung tissue caused by asbestos fibers. If a personinhaling asbestos also smokes, the combined risk of lung cancer and asbestosis is fargreater than risk from smoking and asbestos exposure alone [2, P52]. It is difficult tomeasure the health risks of low-level asbestos exposure. Eating, or oral ingestion, ofasbestos fibers is not known to result in human health effects as most fibers harmlesslypass through the digestive tract and are excreted [2].


People living near Spickler Landfill have probably not been drinking well watercontaminated with arsenic. However if the site is not clean-up, then groundwater couldcarry arsenic away from the site and contaminate private wells. It would be at a level ofpotential health concern if people drank water containing highest level of arsenic foundin groundwater around the site.

Arsenic was not found in any samples collected from private wells around the site. Arsenic was detected in the groundwater samples collected from three monitoring wells around the site. The highest concentration of arsenic detected (88 µg/L) exceeding the Wisconsin Public Health Groundwater Enforcement Standard of 50 µg/L [57]. Two other monitoring wells had detections of arsenic and both detections were less than 16 µg/L.

There can be significant human health effects from drinking water contaminated with arsenic. Ingestion of arsenic is a known to cause cancer in humans, and arsenic is classified as a Class "A" carcinogen by the U.S. EPA [41]. There is "convincing" evidence of ingested arsenic increasing the risk of skin cancer. Arsenic is also suspected of increasing the risk of cancer of internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and bladder [1, P50]. However it is difficult to determine the carcinogenic effects of arsenic at low doses because of the lack of understanding of the mechanism of arsenic-induced cancers. Complicating this is that arsenic may be an essential human nutrient and it is estimated the daily requirement falls into the range of 10 to 50 µg/day [1, P71].

A person drinking water contaminated with arsenic at 88 µg/L for a lifetime would have a low increased risk of cancer. This does not account for the possible nutrient role arsenic may play in human diet. There are no other health effects from the level of arsenic found in groundwater around the site.


Barium was detected in the groundwater samples collected from many of the monitoring wells around the site, but was not detected in private wells near the site. The highest barium detected off-site (4,860 µg/L) was in an older monitoring well (S-2), which was the only exceedance of the Wisconsin Public Welfare Groundwater Enforcement Standard.

The human health effects from long-term exposure to low levels of barium is not wellknown. Barium is not a chemical of concern at Spickler Landfill.


Human exposure to chromium in groundwater probably has occurred within a single nearby household. January 1991 private well sampling detected a chromium concentration of 59 µg/L in one well (PW-201), which is located one-half mile west of the site. A second sample collected from this private well in July 1991 detected chromium at a level less than 3 µg/L [16]. Chromium was not detected in any other private wells.

It is difficult to attribute this private well chromium contamination to Spickler Landfill. Chromium was not found in most of the groundwater monitoring wells between the siteand this private residence. Five of the six monitoring wells which show the presence ofchromium are within 200 feet of the site, with the sixth monitoring well 650 feet fromthe site.

Chromium could be carried away from the site by groundwater and contaminate private wells. Chromium levels detected in groundwater were generally low, with the highest level of 12 µg/L (MW-10). There are no known human health effects from drinking water contaminated with this level of chromium. Chromium in groundwater is not a chemical of concern at Spickler Landfill.


Human exposure to a high level of copper in drinking water may have occurred within one household (PW-20), which is located approximately 500 feet southwest the site. January 1991 private well sampling detected a copper concentration of 2,250 µg/L in this well. However the validity of the 2,250 µg/L level is questioned by a second sample collected July 1991 which detected copper at 49 µg/L [16]. The January 1991 level of copper could have been affected by the leaching of materials from the pipes and plumbing fixtures within the residence.

Even if the 2,250 µg/L private well copper level is valid, like chromium it is not possible to attribute this contamination to Spickler Landfill.

Copper detected in groundwater around the site is not a chemical of concern. Additionally, copper contamination detected in private wells is probably not site-related.


Iron levels were elevated in various media collected from around the site. Iron concentrations detected in groundwater samples collected from two private wells were 4,280 and 1,720 µg/L. The highest iron levels detected in groundwater monitoring wells were 71,500 and 82,600 µg/L. These values are well above the background groundwater levels for Marathon County, which range from 25 to 1,400 µg/L of iron, with an average concentration of 568 µg/L [23, P24].

The levels detected in the two private wells exceed the Wisconsin Public Welfare Groundwater Quality Enforcement Standard for iron, which is 300 µg/L. This standard is set for aesthetic (taste and staining) reasons, rather than health considerations.

Iron concentrations in groundwater at and around the site are elevated and some levelsdetected exceed the Secondary Wisconsin Groundwater Standard. However iron ingroundwater is not of concern because there are no human health risks from the levelsdetected.


Manganese levels were elevated in various media around the site. High manganese levels in groundwater (greater than 4,000 µg/L) were detected in some monitoring wells from around the site. The levels detected in groundwater is above the background manganese levels observed Marathon County groundwater, which ranges from 2 to 220 µg/L, with an average concentration of 79 µg/L [23, P26].

One private well near the site (PW-23) demonstrated a level of manganese (54 µg/L) which slightly exceeded the Wisconsin Public Health Groundwater Quality Enforcement Standard of 50 µg/L. The Wisconsin Public Welfare Groundwater Standard of 50 µg/L was adopted because of an aesthetic basis (odor and staining), rather than health reasons [47].

Manganese is not a chemical of concern at Spickler Landfill because levels detected arefar below those which could affect the health of people.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

A review of health outcome data is appropriate when there is evidence of people who havebeen exposed to contaminants at levels which could lead to an increase in rates of death orillness. "Health Outcome Data" refers to records of death and/or disease. A review of healthoutcome data might also be appropriate if there are reports of unusual clusters or higher-than-expected levels of specific diseases near a site.

Asbestos exposure is known to cause mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer. Death certificateswere reviewed where mesothelioma was diagnosed as the cause or contributing cause of death. Mesothelioma is associated with asbestos exposure (see above). Only one case was identifiedfor the Town of Spencer. The address of the deceased is over four miles from the site. It is notpossible to attribute this single case of mesothelioma to the site [18]. A search was conductedof Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System for cases of mesothelioma reported for the period1976 to 1992, for Spencer, Marshfield, and Loyal zip codes (54479, 54449, and 54446respectively). No cases of mesothelioma were reported for the Spencer zip code. ForMarshfield and Loyal only one case of mesothelioma was reported for each zip code (1979and 1980 respectively. These cases of mesothelioma are probably not site-related.

Based on existing data from the RI/FS and current information on diseases caused by othercontaminants which were found at the site, the levels of exposure to these contaminants are toolow to initiate any studies of death and illness. In the event additional Spickler Landfill databecomes available which shows local residents exposed to a much higher level ofcontaminants, such a study may be desirable.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

The health-related concerns expressed by residents neighboring Spickler Landfill areaddressed below:

  1. Will the test wells drilled near the site be monitored on a continuing basis?
  2. The U.S. EPA Record of Decision [52] states that groundwater monitoring willcontinue. Quarterly groundwater monitoring will be conducted during the first year. The need for further monitoring will be evaluated after each sampling. It is expectedthat groundwater monitoring will be continue after the first year and occur at least on an annual basis [32].

  3. Have any private wells within the approximate one-half mile radius of the site been recommended not be used? If so are there funds to replace those wells?
  4. There are no nearby private wells which have shown contamination from the site orwhich have been recommended by the DNR to not be used.

  5. Will the DNR (or any other agency) continue to periodically test water fromprivate wells in the vicinity of the site?
  6. As mentioned above, the U.S. EPA Record of Decision states that groundwatermonitoring will continue. The first two rounds of quarterly groundwater monitoringcollected water samples from three private wells nearest to the site (PW 20, PW 23, andPW 200), and is planned for two more quarters in 1993 [33] [38].

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