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  1. Spickler Landfill was a past public health hazard because nearby residents and peopleworking on the site were probably exposed to asbestos in the early 1970s when the site wasreceiving kalo waste. One nearby resident reported kalo dust blowing off the site onto hisadjacent farmland. This resident probably inhaled asbestos as a part of normal farmingactivities that were conducted on this land. There is not enough information to determine thenumber of people who may have been exposed, and to estimate the duration and level of theirasbestos exposure. Human exposure to asbestos can seriously affect the lungs, and can cause a form of lung cancer.

  2. After the site stopped receiving waste the site posed an indeterminate public health hazardbecause inadequate waste cover, poor site maintenance, and on-site excavations by people andanimals in the past permitted waste materials, including friable asbestos, to be uncovered andbrought to the surface. Dry and windy conditions may have allowed this asbestos to becomeairborne. Asbestos waste material was found uncovered at various locations around the siteand may have been breathed by people. In the fall of 1993, recent improvements in the refusecover and site restrictions have prevented the uncovering and spreading of asbestos-basedwaste materials and the chance that people may currently be exposed to asbestos from the site. Air monitoring during investigation activities at the site revealed that airborne asbestos did not pose a health hazard to workers. Currently the Spickler Landfill poses no public health hazard.

  3. Groundwater is contaminated around Spickler Landfill, but is not a current public healthhazard because contamination has not reached any nearby private wells. A variety ofhazardous chemicals are being carried away from the site by groundwater and have beendetected in nearby monitoring wells. Groundwater is a future potential public health hazard if the site is not cleaned-up and contaminated groundwater moves further away from the site.

  4. Landfill gas conditions around the site could pose a physical hazard, though landfill gas hasnot been detected in any nearby buildings or homes. The decomposition of organic material atSpickler Landfill is generating landfill gas and explosive levels have been found at a numberof locations on and around the site. Landfill gas could move into a nearby building and result in an explosive conditions. Landfill gas monitoring is continuing on a monthly basis.


  1. Restrict the access of unauthorized personnel to Spickler Landfill. Remedial action plans included fencing of the perimeter of the landfill and around the borrow pits.

  2. Halt the excavation of trees from the site and reduce or eliminate animal burrowing into thesite in order to prevent additional wastes coming to the surface. (However the removal of trees may be necessary to properly cap the landfill.)

  3. Supplement the existing refuse cover material to comply with DNR requirements. This will decrease the infiltration of water into refuse and reduce the likelihood of uncovering waste material. This is a planned remedial action at the site.

  4. Regularly monitor leachate seep constituents until measures are taken to reduce or stop the flow of leachate from the site.

  5. Continue regular testing of off-site monitoring wells and selected private wells forcontaminants.

  6. Continue monthly monitoring of landfill gas levels around the site and in nearby buildings and private homes.

A. Health Activities Recommendation Panel Statement

The ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP, see Appendix C) and theWisconsin Division of Health evaluated the data on this site to determine what needs exist foradditional research and/or education about health related concerns. Examples of suchactivities could include further studies on cases of disease in the vicinity of the site orproviding residents with additional information about the health effects of exposures tospecific toxic chemicals coming from the site. People living near the site have probably notbeen exposed to contaminants in groundwater, so no adverse health effects are expected fromcontaminated groundwater.

There may have been a significant human exposure to asbestos around the site. Consequentlya review of relevant health statistics is appropriate. In addition both the community and localhealth professionals need additional information about the potential for exposure to asbestos associated with the site.

B. Public Health Actions

The following actions either have been or will be performed to meet the needs expressed bythe recommendations of this health assessment. The Wisconsin Division of Health, incooperation with ATSDR, will:

  1. In response to the HARP recommendation for a health statistics review, the WisconsinDivision of Health conducted a search of the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System forcases of mesothelioma (see Health Outcome Data Evaluation).

  2. Continue to consult with the U.S. EPA and the DNR on public health issues that mayarise as action(s) on the site occur;

  3. Provide continuing health education as new information becomes available pertaining to public health issues of the site;

  4. Solicit health concerns of Town of Spencer citizens directly or through agency contacts with the Marathon County Health Department and through public meetings;

  5. Continue to cooperate with the Marathon County Health Department to addressenvironmental health and public health issues that pertain to the site and thecommunity;

  6. Health professions education related to the site will continue to be provided topracticing health care providers in the Town of Spencer area.

The U.S. EPA will continue to implement source controls of Spickler Landfill site by the following actions [52]:

  1. Installation of an impermeable cap over the mercury brine sludge pit, preceded by the stabilization of the contents of the pit;

  2. Installation of an impermeable cap over the New and Old Fill areas;

  3. Installation of a leachate extraction and treatment system;

  4. Implement and of site controls, including fencing;

  5. Regular monitoring of landfill gas, groundwater, and site integrity (fencing and landfill cap).


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
Regional Services
Region V
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

William Greim
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Remedial Programs Branch


The Spickler Landfill public health assessment was prepared by the Wisconsin Division of Healthunder 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.

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.

Director, DHAC, ATSDR


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

  2. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Asbestos. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1990.

  3. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Barium. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1990.

  4. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Benzene. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1990.

  5. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Copper. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1990.

  6. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Manganese. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, October 1990.

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

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

  9. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Xylenes. Atlanta, Georgia: ATSDR, December 1990.

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

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

  12. Casarett, CD, Amdur, MO, and Doull, J. Toxicology - The Basic Science of Poisons. Third Edition. New York: Macmillian Publishing Co., 1986.

  13. DeLorme Mapping Company. Wisconsin Atlas and Gazetteer. Freeport, Maine: DelormeMapping Company, 1989.

  14. DNR (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources). Correspondence to Victor Carpenter, Chairman, Town of Spencer, from B. Becker, Director, Bureau of Air Pollution Control and Solid Waste Disposal, January 4, 1971.

  15. DNR. File memorandum from Dave Carriveau reporting details of the Spickler LandfillInvestigation. May 23, 1986.

  16. DNR. Correspondence to residences at PW-201 and PW-20 reporting second round of results for private well testing. October 30 & 16, 1991.

  17. DOH (Wisconsin Division of Health). File memorandum from Henry Nehls-Lowe and MaryYoung reporting the Site visit to Spickler Landfill on April 3, 1992. April 6, 1992.

  18. DOH. File memorandum from Henry Nehls-Lowe reporting a search of death certificates for mesothelioma related to Spickler Landfill. April 23, 1992.

  19. DOH. Groundwater Advisories: Supporting Documentation. September 1989.

  20. Ecology & Environment, Inc. File memorandum from Anne C. Sause reporting results of March, 1985, monitoring well test results. March 29, 1985.

  21. Ellenhorn, MJ, & Barceloux, DG. Medical Toxicology - Diagnosis and Treatment of Human Poisoning. New York: Elsevier Science Publishing Co., Inc., 1988.

  22. Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Final Community Relations Plan for Spickler Landfill, Town of Spickler, Wisconsin. Developed for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region V. February 1989.

  23. Kammerer, Phil A. Ground-Water-Quality Atlas of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin:University of Wisconsin - Extension, Geological and Natural History Survey, February1981.

  24. Lakehead Pipe Line Company, Correspondence from Denise Hamsher, 4/2/92.

  25. Otto, William H. 1990. Inhalation exposure from volatile organic compounds found indrinking water. In Environmental issues: today's challenge for the future; proceedings of thefourth 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 CharlesXintaras, Eds. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service,Atlanta, Georgia. November. pp. 69-78.

  26. NRC (National Research Council), Safe Drinking Water Committee. Drinking Water andHealth. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1977.

  27. NRC, Safe Drinking Water Committee. Drinking Water and Health - Volume 3. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1980.

  28. NRC, Food and Nutrition Board. Recommended Dietary Allowances - 10th Edition. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1989.

  29. Sittig, M. Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals. Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Publications, Inc., 1981.

  30. STS Consultants, Ltd. Remedial Design and Leachate Removal Work Plan Comments for the Spickler Landfill Site. Correspondence to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. January 12, 1993.

  31. STS Consultants, Ltd. Monthly Progress Report No. 5, Spickler Landfill Site - STS Project No. 83894XG. Submitted to U.S. EPA Region V Office. February 25, 1993.

  32. STS Consultants, Ltd. Remedial Design: Sampling and Analyses Plan. Spickler Landfill Site. Spencer, Wisconsin. Prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: STS. April 13, 1993.

  33. STS Consultants, Ltd. Technical Memorandum Number 1: Round 1 Quarterly Groundwater Monitoring Results. Spickler Landfill Site. Town of Spencer, Wisconsin. Prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: STS. May 26, 1993.

  34. STS Consultants, Ltd. Technical Memorandum No. 2: Round 2 Interim LeachateMonitoring. Spickler Landfill Site. Town of Spencer, Wisconsin. Prepared for the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency. Milwaukee Wisconsin: STS. July 13, 1993.

  35. STS Consultants, Ltd. Comments Regarding the Public Comment Draft of the Public Health Assessment for Spickler Landfill. Correspondence to the Wisconsin Division of Health. July 14, 1993.

  36. STS Consultants, Ltd. Monthly Progress Report No. 12, Spickler Landfill Site - STS Project No. 83894XG. Submitted to U.S. EPA Region V Office. September 15, 1993.

  37. STS Consultants, Ltd. Correspondence to the U.S. EPA Region V Office. Spickler Landfill Leachate Removal Construction - STS Project No. 84240XA. October 28, 1993.

  38. STS Consultants, Ltd. Technical Memorandum No. 3: Round 2 Quarterly GroundwaterMonitoring Results. Spickler Landfill Site, Town of Spencer, Wisconsin. Prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Milwaukee Wisconsin: STS. November 11, 1993.

  39. STS Consultants, Ltd. Monthly Progress Report No. 14, Spickler Landfill Site - STS Project No. 83894XG. Submitted to U.S. EPA Region V Office. November 12, 1993.

  40. Syftestad, EP. Public Water Supply Data Book - 1985. Madison, Wisconsin: DNR(Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources), 1985.

  41. USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) document for Arsenic.

  42. USEPA. 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) document for Barium.

  43. USEPA. 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) document for Benzene.

  44. USEPA. 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) document for Manganese.

  45. USEPA. 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) document forTetrachloroethylene.

  46. USEPA. 1991. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) document for Xylene.

  47. USEPA. "Basis and Purpose for the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations". Washington, DC: USEPA. March, 1977.

  48. USEPA. 40 CFR Parts 141, 142, and 143: "National Primary Drinking Water Regulations; Final Rule". Federal Register 56: 3526-3598, 1991.

  49. USEPA. Health Effects Assessment Summary Tables. Annual FY 1992, March 1992.

  50. USEPA. Potential Hazardous Waste - Site Inspection Report for Spickler Landfill. June 20, 1984.

  51. USEPA. Potential Asbestos Exposure at Spickler Superfund Site. Correspondence to Foley & Lardner. April 14, 1992.

  52. USEPA. Record of Decision, Decision Summary, Spickler Landfill, Source Control Operable Unit, Spencer, Wisconsin. Chicago, Illinois: May 1992.

  53. Wausau Daily Record Herald - Merrill Daily Herald, "Dumping of Mercury Effluent isHalted", page 11, February 12, 1971.

  54. Warzyn, Inc. Remedial Investigation Report - Spickler Landfill, Town of Spencer, Wisconsin. Final Report 13757 prepared for BASF Corporation and Weyerhaeuser Company. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, Inc., August 1991.

  55. Warzyn, Inc. Monthly Status Report for July 1991. Submitted to U.S. EPA Region V Office. Madison, Wisconsin: Warzyn, August 8, 1991.

  56. Weston, Roy F., Inc. Technical Assistance Team Report. Correspondence to U.S. EPA - Region V Office, September 30, 1990.

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

  58. WHO (World Health Organization), "Trace Elements in Human Nutrition: Manganese". Page 34-36. Report of a WHO Committee, Technical Report Service. Geneva, Switzerland:WHO, 1973.


Spickler Landfill - Surrounding Communities & Counties.
Figure 1. Spickler Landfill - Surrounding Communities & Counties.

Spickler Landfill - Immediate Vicinity.
Figure 2. Spickler Landfill - Immediate Vicinity.

Spickler Landfill - Monitoring Wells.
Figure 3. Spickler Landfill - Monitoring Wells.



Chemical contaminants in on-site ground water currently do not pose a cancer risk because peopleare not exposed to this water. The upper level estimates of lifetime cancer risks listed in the tablebelow offer a perspective on the relative cancer risks the contaminants in on-site ground water wouldpose if that water were used for drinking water. In general, the chemicals with the highest estimatedrisk pose the greatest threat to downgradient wells. Obviously, the maximum concentrations foundon site are not the concentrations likely to reach off-site wells due to natural attenuation andbiodegradation of the contaminants between the site and wells. The estimates below are only arelative index of the potential cancer risks that the chemicals pose. A more detailed discussion ofthe potential toxic effects of each chemical begins on page 22.

Chemical Maximum Level Detected (µg/L) USEPA Carcinogen Group* Unit Cancer Risk* (µg/L)-1 Upper Level Estimated Lifetime Cancer Risk (x 10-6)
Benzene 21 A 8.3 x 10-7 17
Tetrachloroethylene+ 1 B2 1.5 x 10-6 2
Vinyl chloride+ 7 A 5.4 x 10-5 380

* Source: (49)
+ chemicals marked "+" are under review by the U.S. EPA.

EPA Carcinogen Group

The EPA uses one of five groups to classify the carcinogenic potential of a chemical, according tothe weight of evidence from epidemiological studies and animal studies. The following list explainscategories listed on the above table:

Group A - Human Carcinogen (sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans);

Group B2 - Probable Human Carcinogen (sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals andinadequate or no evidence of carcinogenicity in humans);

Group C - Probable Human Carcinogen (limited evidence of carcinogenicity in animals andinadequate or no evidence of carcinogenicity in humans).

NA - This is not an EPA category. This notation indicates that information is "not available"because the EPA has not evaluated this chemical.

Cancer Risk

The EPA estimates the level of cancer risk posed by exposure to relatively low doses of carcinogens. The EPA uses the available data and a theoretical "model" of how chemicals cause cancer toestimate the carcinogenic potency of a chemical. This potency is an "upper-bound estimate." Inother words, the true risk is not likely to be higher and may be lower. The estimated lifetime cancerrisk is the upper bound estimate of the increase in one's probability of contracting cancer as a resultof ingesting the chemical in drinking water for a lifetime. The "unit cancer risk" is the EPA'sestimate of one's increased risk from drinking 1 g of the chemical per liter of drinking water for alifetime. The higher the unit risk, the greater is the estimated carcinogenic potency of thechemical [49].

The "upper level estimated lifetime cancer risk" is the product of the maximum concentration of thechemical in ground water at the Spickler Landfill site and the unit cancer risk. The estimated risk isrounded to one significant digit because of the great uncertainty involved in estimating the risk. Atbest the order of magnitude of the risk reflects the relative carcinogenic hazard that a chemicalposes. The table does not include risks associated with breathing VOC's released from residentialwater or from dermally absorbing carcinogens in the water. As a general rule of thumb, combinedinhalation and dermal exposures to VOC's would be roughly equivalent to twice that from drinking contaminated water [25].


The Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry, a federal agency.

Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide (CREG):
An estimate of the excess upper-bound lifetime probability (at or less than 1 in1,000,000) of an individual developing cancer from an exposure to a concentration of a specific chemical or substance.

Cancer Slope Factor (CSF):
The upper limit on the lifetime probability (at or less than 1 in 1,000,000) that acancer causing chemical will cause cancer at a dose of 1.0 mg/kg/day.

A substance which has been proven to cause cancer in humans or animals.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Environmental Liability Act. Also known as "Superfund", this program is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Division of Health, Wisconsin Department of Health & Social Services.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Drinking Water Lifetime Health Advisory:
That portion of an individual's total exposure to a chemical that is attributed todrinking water, and is considered protective of noncarcinogenic health effects during a lifetime exposure.

Environmental Media Evaluation Guideline (EMEG):
Expressed in either µg/L or µg/m3. Derived from ATSDR's Minimal Risk Level (expressed in mg/kg/day), which isan estimate of the daily human exposure to or dose of a chemical that is likely tobe without an appreciable risk of deleterious, noncancerous effects over aspecified duration of exposure. EMEGs are categorized by timeframes ofexposure: acute (< 14 days); intermediate (15 - 365 days); and chronic (> 365 days).

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP):
A review panel consisting of representatives from each division of ATSDR andthe participating state health department. HARP recommends, following reviewand discussion of the health assessment, appropriate follow-up health actionsdesigned to mitigate or prevent adverse health effects related to exposures tohazardous substances.

Lower Explosive Limit (LEL):
The minimum concentration of a chemical or substance in air which will create aflame on contact with an ignition source.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL):
Drinking water health goals set by the U.S. EPA at which "no known oranticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occur and which allows anadequate margin of safety".

Milligrams per Kilograms per Day

National Priorities List (NPL):
U.S. EPA's list of top priority hazardous waste sites that are eligible forinvestigation and cleanup under Superfund.

Pertaining to locations OUTSIDE of the boundaries of the Old Fill or the NewFill areas (Figure 3). It is possible for a location to be off-site and still be on theLandfill Property.

Pertaining to locations WITHIN the boundary of either the Old Fill or the NewFill areas (Figure 3).

Parts Per Billion or Micrograms per Liter (µg/L)

Parts Per Million or Milligrams per Liter (mg/L)

Reference Dose (RfD):
An estimate of a daily exposure level to a substance for the human population thatis likely to be without an apparent risk of causing damaging health effects duringa lifetime of exposure.

Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS):
Two parts of the Superfund process. The Remedial Investigation includes thecollection and evaluation of data to define site conditions, including the nature ofhazardous substances found at a site and the extent that those hazardoussubstances were released from the site. These releases are evaluated to assess theeffect on public health and the environment. The Feasibility Study defines arange of likely alternatives for cleaning up a site.

Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds

Target Compound List / Target Analyte List

United States Environmental Protection Agency

Micrograms per Liter or Parts Per Billion

Micrograms per Cubic Meter

Micrograms per Kilogram

Milligrams per Kilogram

Volatile Organic Compounds


Once a contaminant from a Superfund site has been shown to be part of a Completed or PotentialPathway, it is evaluated to determine how it will affect the health of people who are exposed. Contaminants are selected and reviewed in a public health assessment.

A contaminant is selected as being at a level of "health concern" when its concentration is above alevel where the maximum plausible exposure to the contaminated material might affect humanhealth. For carcinogenic chemicals a level of health concern refers to a concentration where alifetime of exposure to the most contaminated material might result in an upper-level estimated riskof one cancer for every one million people exposed. This assessment addresses only thosecontaminants that the authors judge to be present at levels of health concern. In many cases, levelsof health concern are not published standards. Typically, health assessors use ATSDR's MinimalRisk Levels, EPA's Reference Doses, EPA's Cancer Slope Factors, or EPA's Maximum ContaminantLevel to decide whether chemicals are present at a level of health concern at a site. Some of thesescreening values are listed in the Definitions appendix of this document.


Pathways are evaluated to determine whether nearby residents have been exposed to contaminantsoriginating from the site. A pathway is a route along which contaminants can move away from asite and enter the bodies of people living nearby. There are five elements in a completed pathway:

  1. Contaminant Source: The place where contaminants entering the environment arecoming from.
  2. Media: a media that the contamination is found in (soil, sediment, groundwater, air, surface water, fish, and game animals).
  3. Exposure Point: the location at which human contact is made with the contamination. The Exposure Point is specific to each type of media (e.g. - groundwater, surface water, soil, etc.)
  4. Exposure Route: the process by which the contaminated media gets inside of people (eating/drinking, skin/dermal contact, or inhaling).
  5. Receptor Population: groups of people who are or may be exposed.


The Comments on the Public Comment Draft of the Spickler Landfill Public Health Assessmentwere solicited for the period from June 11 to July 12, 1993. Comments were received from onesource. These comments pointed out the presence of additional sampling data available and plannedremedial actions for Spickler Landfill. Where appropriate this additional data and relevant remedial information was incorporated into the public health assessment.

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