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E-M:/ EPA Proposes Taking Mason County Landfill off Priority List

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

EPA proposes taking Mason County landfill off of 
the National Priority List after clay capping......

[Federal Register: July 26, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 142)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 40328-40331]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



40 CFR Part 300


National Oil and Hazardous, Substances Pollution Contingency 
Plan; National Priorities List

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of intent to delete the Mason County Landfill Superfund 
Site from the National Priorities List; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) 
Region V announces its intent to delete the Mason County Landfill Site 
from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comment on 
this action. The NPL constitutes appendix B of 40 CFR part 300 which is 
the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan 
(NCP), which U.S. EPA promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act 
of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended. This action is being taken by U.S. EPA, 
because it has been determined that all Fund-financed responses under 
CERCLA have been implemented and U.S. EPA, in consultation with the 
State of Michigan, has determined that no further response is 
appropriate. It should be noted,

[[Page 40329]]

however, long-term maintenance of the landfill cap and monitoring of 
the groundwater at the Site will continue to ensure that the 
effectiveness of the remedy is sustained. U.S. EPA and the State have 
determined that remedial activities conducted at the Site to date have 
been protective of public health, welfare, and the environment.

DATES: Comments concerning the proposed deletion of the Site from the 
NPL may be submitted on or before August 25, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Gladys Beard, Associate Remedial 
Project Manager, Superfund Division, U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. Jackson 
Blvd. (SR-6J), Chicago, IL 60604. Comprehensive information on the site 
is available at U.S. EPA's Region V office and at the local information 
repository located at: Ludington Public Library 217 E. Ludington, 
Ludington, MI 49431. Requests for comprehensive copies of documents 
should be directed formally to the Region V Docket Office. The address 
and phone number for the Regional Docket Officer is Jan Pfundheller (H-
7J), U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey Gore at (312) 886-6552 (SR-
6J), Remedial Project Manager or Gladys Beard (SR-6J), Associate 
Remedial Project Manager, Superfund Division, U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. 
Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 886-7253 or Stuart Hill (P-
19J), Office of Public Affairs, U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. Jackson 
Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 886-0689.


Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. NPL Deletion Criteria
III. Deletion Procedures
IV. Basis for Intended Site Deletion

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region V announces 
its intent to delete the Mason County Landfill Site from the National 
Priorities List (NPL), which constitutes appendix B of the National Oil 
and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), and requests 
comments on the proposed deletion. The EPA identifies sites that appear 
to present a significant risk to public health, welfare or the 
environment, and maintains the NPL as the list of those sites. Sites on 
the NPL may be the subject of remedial actions financed by the 
Hazardous Substance Superfund Response Trust Fund (Fund). Pursuant to 
Sec. 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP, any site deleted from the NPL remains 
eligible for Fund-financed remedial actions if the conditions at the 
site warrant such action.
    The U.S. EPA will accept comments on this proposal for thirty (30) 
days after publication of this document in the Federal Register.
    Section II of this document explains the criteria for deleting 
sites from the NPL. Section III discusses procedures that EPA is using 
for this action. Section IV discusses the history of this site and 
explains how the site meets the deletion criteria.
    Deletion of sites from the NPL does not itself create, alter, or 
revoke any individual's rights or obligations. Furthermore, deletion 
from the NPL does not in any way alter U.S. EPA's right to take 
enforcement actions, as appropriate. The NPL is designed primarily for 
informational purposes and to assist in Agency management.

II. NPL Deletion Criteria

    The NCP establishes the criteria the Agency uses to delete sites 
from the NPL. In accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e), sites may be 
deleted from the NPL where no further response is appropriate. In 
making this determination, U.S. EPA considers, in consultation with the 
State, whether any of the following criteria have been met:
    (i) Responsible parties or other persons have implemented all 
appropriate response actions required; or
    (ii) All appropriate Fund-financed responses under CERCLA have been 
implemented, and no further response action by responsible parties is 
appropriate; or
    (iii) The Remedial Investigation has shown that the release poses 
no significant threat to public health or the environment and, 
therefore, remedial measures are not appropriate.

III. Deletion Procedures

    Upon determination that at least one of the criteria described in 
Sec. 300.425(e) has been met, U.S. EPA may formally begin deletion 
procedures once the State has concurred. This Federal Register 
document, and a concurrent notice in the local newspaper in the 
vicinity of the site, announce the initiation of a 30-day comment 
period. The public is asked to comment on U.S. EPA's intention to 
delete the Site from the NPL. All critical documents needed to evaluate 
U.S. EPA's decision are included in the information repository and the 
deletion docket.
    Upon completion of the public comment period, if necessary, the 
U.S. EPA Regional Office will prepare a Responsiveness Summary to 
evaluate and address comments that were received. The public is welcome 
to contact the U.S. EPA Region V Office to obtain a copy of this 
responsiveness summary, if one is prepared. If U.S. EPA then determines 
the deletion from the NPL is appropriate, final notice of deletion will 
be published in the Federal Register.

IV. Basis for Intended Site Deletion

    The Mason County Landfill Site is located three miles south of the 
city of Ludington, Michigan and one mile east of Lake Michigan. The 
Site occupies approximately eighteen acres of a predominantly rural 
area in Pere Marquette Township; approximately ten acres of the Site is 
landfilled. During its active life, Industrial, commercial and 
municipal waste was placed in the landfill.
    The Site property was originally owned by Edward Dains when it was 
selected for use as a sanitary landfill by the Mason County Department 
of Public Works (DPW). In 1971, Mason County DPW leased the property 
from Mr. Dains and subsequently entered into an agreement with Acme 
Disposal to operate the landfill. Mr. Dains was hired by Acme Disposal 
as a Sanitation Engineer to oversee the daily operations of the 
landfill from 1972 until 1978. The Michigan Department of Public Health 
(MDPH) approved Acme's Solid Waste Disposal Area License in 1971 with 
the stipulations that no refuse be disposed of below the 710 foot 
elevation (mean sea level) that the final cover contained at least 
twenty percent clay, and that monitoring wells be installed. In 1973, 
landfill licensing and oversight were transferred from the MDPH to the 
Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). During its oversight, 
the MDNR documented that slurry and sludge wastes from local industries 
were being dumped at the landfill, allowed to dry, and then covered. 
The Site's license was renewed annually through 1977. It was closed in 
August of 1978 when it reached capacity. Public concerns over the water 
quality in nearby Iris Creek prompted the Mason County DPW and the MDNR 
to review closure activities at the site.
    In 1983, the Mason County DPW received a grant from the State of 
Michigan for improvements to the landfill. A clay cap was completed and 
berms and storm drains were constructed to improve Site drainage. Two 
surface aerators were installed in Babbin Pond to help aerate the pond 
and facilitate biodegradation of organic matter. Fifteen gas vents were 
placed into the top of the landfill.

[[Page 40330]]

    Ludington, Michigan has a population of about 9,500. The population 
of Mason County has been estimated at 26,400 based on the 1980 census. 
The population within a three mile radius of the Site has been 
estimated at 1,112.
    Just north of the Site are heavily wooded areas and orchards are 
located to the east and south of the Site. The topography varies from 
relatively level upland areas south and east of the landfill to steep 
valleys north of the landfill. The landfill is generally a valley fill 
with a maximum depth estimated to be 40 to 50 feet.
    Surface waters which the Site affected included Iris Creek, the 
Pere Marquette River, Pere Marquette Lake, and Lake Michigan. The 
headwaters of Iris Creek are located less than 500 feet from the 
landfill and consist of a wet, marshy area southwest of Babbin Road. 
Water from the marshy area drains into Babbin Pond, which discharges 
directly into Iris Creek. Iris Creek discharges into Pere Marquette 
River, which discharges into Lake Michigan. A pumped-storage power 
reservoir operated by Consumers Energy Company is located approximately 
one half mile south of the Site. Lake Michigan is the main drinking 
water source in the area and is the City of Ludington's water supply. 
In rural Pere Marquette Township, residents generally depend on small 
domestic wells screened in sand and gravel aquifers for potable water 
supplies. Fourteen residential wells are within about a half mile 
radius of the landfill that vary in depth from 30 to 150 feet below 
ground surface.
    Other water uses in the area include large capacity wells that 
produce salt brine for industrial use. A salt brine well about 1,000 
feet west of the landfill is screened in an aquifer at a depth of 450 
feet. The brine aquifer is separated from the overlying aquifers used 
for potable water by more than 300 feet of low permeability glacial 
    Mason County is undelain by bedrock formations at depths from 300 
to 700 feet. The Mississippi Age Coldwater Shale lies beneath the 
landfill Site at a depth of 650 feet. The formation is predominantly 
shale with occasional interbeds of sandstone and limestone.
    A U.S. EPA Field Investigation Team (FIT) inspected the landfill 
Site in May 1982. The team sampled and analyzed the existing monitoring 
wells at the site. Based on this investigation, the Site was assigned a 
hazard ranking system score of 34.18, a score high enough to qualify it 
for inclusion on the National Priority List (NPL). This score was 
arrived at based primarily on the presence in groundwater of ethyl-
benzene, pentachlorophenol, trichloroethene, 1,2 trans-dichloroethene, 
and 1,1-dichloroethene. The Site was proposed for the Federal National 
Priorities List (NPL) on December 30, 1982. The listing was finalized 
on September 8, 1983.
    U.S. EPA conducted a Remedial Investigation (RI) at the Site 
through the use of a its contractor, CH2MHill. The RI included two 
phases of sampling events. Phase I of the RI fieldwork was conducted 
from September to November 1986 and Phase II was conducted between 
October 1987 and January 1988. The RI at the Site included the 
    1. Review and evaluation of past investigations as well as 
historical practices and other records relating to the Site. (RI Phase 
    2. Extensive aquifer sampling and water level measurements (in both 
the upper and lower aquifers) to determine groundwater quality, flow 
directions, and gradients. (RI Phase I and II)
    3. Evaluation through an electromagnetic geophysical survey to 
determine whether existing landfill monitoring wells were properly 
positioned to interpret potential plumes originating from the Site. (RI 
Phase II)
    4. Sampling within the wetland, Babbin Pond, and Iris Creek to 
define the Site's impact on surface waters and sediment. The base flow 
in Iris Creek was determined to help estimate groundwater discharge 
rates into the creek. (RI Phase I and II)
    5. Soil borings and the gamma logging of existing monitoring wells 
were conducted to help define the geology of the Site. (RI Phase I and 
    6. Sampling of the Site's gas vents and ambient air accrued to 
determine the Site's impact on air quality. (RI Phase I and II)
    7. Surface soil samples were taken to determine if erosion along 
the northern side of the Site presented a pathway of contaminant 
    8. Samples from a drainage pipe leading from the Site to Iris Creek 
were taken to determine if groundwater and/or leachate were 
infiltrating into the pipe and therefore presenting a possible pathway 
of contaminant migration.
    The Remedial Investigation (RI) for the site was completed in July 
1988. A Feasibility Study (FS) was prepared for the site to evaluate 
potential remediations for the site. The FS also was completed in July 
    Based on the exposure pathways of the Feasibility Study (FS), two 
operable units or pathways were selected to be addressed: (1) Landfill 
contents, and (2) groundwater. The landfill contents operable unit 
addressed all materials contained beneath the existing Site cap, such 
as general refuse, sludges, possible buried drums and the underlying 
soil contaminated by leachate. The landfill contents operable unit also 
addressed gas generated by the decomposing buried waste. The general 
remedial action goals for the landfill contents operable unit were to 
prevent direct contact with contaminant sources and to minimize future 
release of contaminants. The selected remedy for the landfill operable 
unit consisted of properly capping the landfill. The operable unit that 
directly addressed groundwater contamination and other potential off-
site contamination was completed after more investigation had been 
done. These investigations included an assessment of the effectiveness 
of the new landfill cap called for in the September 28, 1988 ROD. The 
specific components of the selected remedy include: a RCRA subtitle C 
compliant soil/clay cap, a fence around the site, deed restrictions on 
and near the site to prohibit use of the shallow aquifer, and continued 
monitoring to assess the quality of groundwater and to monitor the 
effectiveness of the new cap. The Record of Decision (ROD) for the 
first operable unit was signed on September 28, 1988.
    The results of on-site groundwater monitoring indicated that the 
landfill cap was effective in reducing the amount of contamination 
reaching the groundwater, resulting in a reduction of the number and 
levels of chemicals present in the groundwater. Prior to the 
construction of the upgraded cap a variety of chemicals including 
volatile, semivolatile and inorganic compounds were detected in several 
site wells, some at levels exceeding the Maximum Contaminant Level 
(MCL) set by U. S. EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act, (benzene, 
antimony, cadmium, chromium, lead and nickel). After the landfill cap 
was repaired and upgraded however, many contaminants were no longer 
detected in the groundwater.
    The groundwater operable unit addressed the shallow and deep 
aquifers. The general remedial action goals for the groundwater 
operable unit were to minimize migration of contaminants in groundwater 
and to prevent exposure to contaminants in residential wells. The ROD 
for this operable unit was signed September 27, 1993. The selected 
remedy was continued groundwater monitoring. The ROD documented that no 
further remedial action was necessary at this site beyond continuation 
of a monitoring program.
    Construction of a RCRA subtitle C compliant soil/clay cap began on 
November 13, 1990 and was completed

[[Page 40331]]

on September 23, 1991. Institutional controls along with deed 
restrictions were put in place late 1991 at the Site.
    A five-year review pursuant to OSWER Directive 9355.7-02 
(``Structure and Components of Five-Year Reviews'') was conducted at 
the Site. The Five-Year review was signed November 13, 1997.
    EPA, with concurrence from the State of Michigan, has determined 
that all appropriate Fund-financed responses under CERCLA at the Mason 
County Landfill Superfund Site have been completed, and no further 
CERCLA response is appropriate in order to provide protection of human 
health and the environment. The long-term maintenance of the landfill 
cap and monitoring of the groundwater will continue to ensure that the 
effectiveness of the remedy is sustained. Therefore, EPA proposes to 
delete the Site from the NPL.

    Dated: July 14, 1999.
David A. Ullrich,
Acting Regional Administrator, Region V.
[FR Doc. 99-18720 Filed 7-23-99; 8:45 am]

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  ajs@sagady.com

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and Community Environmental Protection

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