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Congressional District # 08


EPA ID# MND980904049
Last Updated: February, 2012

Site Description

The Kummer Sanitary Landfill site is located in Beltrami County, Northern Township, Minnesota, and covers 35 acres of a 40-acre parcel of land.  The northern corporate limit of the City of Bemidji is located one half mile south of the site and Lake Bemidji is located aproximately one mile east of the site. From 1971 until 1984, the site was a privately owned and operated solid waste landfill that accepted mixed municipal wastes. Beginning in 1974, demolition debris, consisting of fly ash and sawdust, was disposed of onsite. There was a history of violations such as improper covering of the debris, garbage blowing from the site, and improper grading. In 1982 and 1983, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) sampled groundwater from onsite monitoring wells and found the water to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Residential wells downgradient from the site were found to be contaminated the following year, and subsequently, in 1985, the landfill was closed. Northern Township has a population of about 4,100 people. Residential areas and a business development are located 1,000 to 1,500 feet from the landfill. 

Site Responsibility

This site is currently being addressed through the State of Minnesota's Closed Landfill Program. 

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater underlying the site contained VOCs, including vinyl chloride, xylenes, carbon tetrachloride, and naphthalene from the landfill wastes. There was the potential for people to be at risk if they came into direct contact with or ingested contaminated groundwater.  There was also the potential for contaminants from the landfill to leach into Lake Bemidji or a nearby wetlands area where it could potentially harm wildlife. 

Cleanup Progress

The site was addressed in three long-term cleanup actions to supply an alternate water source, control the source of contamination, and cleanup the groundwater. In 1985, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) selected a remedy to provide alternate water to affected residents by constructing a connecting well tapping into the deep uncontaminated aquifer, connecting into the city of Bemidji's main waterline, and installing a water distribution system. The well installation and distribution system were completed in 1991. The state connected the affected residences to the municipal water supply. To control the source of the contamination, U.S. EPA selected a remedy in 1988 which included: grading the site and consolidating the soil and other waste material; placing a sloping foundation layer of natural soil fill; covering the landfill with clay or synthetic material and a drainage layer with a soil and vegetative cover; establishing deed restrictions to limit the future use of the site; fencing the site; and monitoring the groundwater and landfill gas to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup. The state began cleanup activities for the landfill in 1990 and completed activities in late 1992.

In 1990, a remedy was selected for groundwater which included treatment by advanced oxidation.  Following a pilot study, the remedy was amended to require gruondwater treatment by subsurface oxygen addition.  The amended remedy also included institutional controls to restrict the use of groundwater and groundwater monitoring.  A special well construction area is maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health to supply this protection. 

In 1995, the owners of the site entered into a Landfill Cleanup Agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the site is managed by the MPCA's Closed Landfill Program.  In 2000, U.S. EPA signed a preliminary close-out report which documented that all construction was completed. Currently, groundwater icontinues to improve through natural attenuation and monitoring confirms that contaminants are degrading.  The most recent five-year review was conducted in 2008 and documented that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leah evison (evison.leah@epa.gov)
(312) 886-2064

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
dave novak
(312) 886-7478




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


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