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Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# MND981088180
Last Updated: November, 2011

Site Description

The East Bethel Sanitary Landfill site is located in East Bethel Township, in north-central Anoka County, about 30 miles north of Minneapolis,  Minnesota.  The 60-acre site includes a 34.7-acre landfill that contains about 1.2 million cubic yards of waste.  Abundant wetlands are present in the general vicinity of the landfill and Neds Lake is located 1,000 feet from the site.  Land use in the area is recreational, agricultural,  commercial, and residential.  Approximately 3,400 people live within a three-mile radius of the site.  About 300 people who use private wells live within one mile of the site. The two closest residences are about 1,500 feet southwest of the landfill. A growing subdivision begins about 2,000 feet southwest of the site. 

The landfill operated as an unpermitted solid waste disposal facility from 1969 to 1971. In 1971, the landfill received its first permit and began accepting mixed demolition debris and a small amount of municipal waste.  A limited amount of industrial waste was accepted at the site and placed in a 7-acre area in the southwest corner of the site.  The majority of hazardous waste was accepted between 1969 and 1976.  MPCA files indicate that the equivalent of approximately 4,400 drums of hazardous industrial waste and contaminated soils were buried in the landfill in 1974.  Hazardous industrial wastes reported to have been disposed of at the site include: cleaning solvents, waste inks, caustics and acids, paint, waste oils, thinner, dry cleaning solvents, liquids with "a strong chemical odor," small transformers, and eight-ounce cans of ether.

The site was placed on the Minnesota Permanent List of Priorities (MPL) in October 1984 and on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in June 1986.

Site Responsibility

This site was addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. Currently the site is managed by the MPCA under its Closed Landfill Program.

Threats and Contaminants

The primary contaminants of concern affecting groundwater are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the heavy metals barium, cadmium, mercury, and lead.   On-site soils are contaminated with VOCs, including toluene and vinyl chloride.  Approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of solid and industrial waste debris are contained at the site and as much as 140 million gallons of the groundwater are impacted at the site. The areas to the west and southeast are marshy wetlands, and Ned's Lake lies 1,000 feet to the south and may have been threatened from site contaminants. The landfill is located on the Anoka Sand Plain, a shallow sand aquifer that provides drinking water to some residents in the area; however, the majority of residents use a deeper aquifer for drinking water.  Groundwater cleanup goals were achieved in 1994.   


Cleanup Progress

In 1981, Anoka County identified elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other compounds in on-site monitoring wells. Subsequent investigations by EPA and MPCA confirmed the presence of VOCs in groundwater.  In 1987, potentially responsible party (PRP) and MPCA entered into a Consent Order for performance of a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RI/FS was completed in 1992.

The site was addressed into two operable units (OUs). OU 1 addresses groundwater contamination at the Site and OU 2 addresses the source of the contamination, the landfill, at the site.  EPA issued the ROD for OU 1 on December 30, 1992.  The source control remedy for OU 2 was addressed through the Minnesota Closed Landfill Program (MCLP).

The selected remedy for OU1 included the following major components:

• The installation of a groundwater capture system in the A/B and C-horizon aquifers;
• Treatment of captured groundwater utilizing metals pretreatment with diffused aeration; and additional aeration via a rip-rap spillway prior to discharge to Neds Lake.

In 1994, the PRP implemented the OU 1 remedy under MPCA oversight.

In 1995, PRPC and the State of Minnesota entered into a landfill cleanup agreement (LCA) under the MCLP. Under the LCA, the owners agreed to meet all obligations under the 1987 MPCA Consent Order for construction of the source control remedy, OU 2. The complete source control remedy included the following components:

• High permeability sand layer to promote passive gas venting;
• Synthetic landfill cap (40 mil HDPE) to prevent infiltration of precipitation;
• Rooting zone soils;
• Top soils; and
• Passive gas vents connected by lateral lines.

Additionally, the LCA required the owners of the site to transfer the parcels of land comprising the landfill to MPCA and record restrictive covenants and easements on certain adjacent parcels. These restrictive covenants and easements were recorded with the Anoka County Registrar of Titles and Recorder. 

In 1998, to assure safe drinking water for nearby residents and to prevent any future public health concerns, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) in concert with MPCA, implemented a Special Well Construction Area (SWCA) designation in the vicinity of the site which prohibits well installation within a specified distance from the site without a permit. The SWCA designation has been effective to date.

All remedy construction for OU 1 and OU 2 was completed in 1995.  MPCA issued a Notice of Compliance on October 31, 1995. The site was deleted from the National Priorities List on May 7, 1996.  

The site is managed by MPCA and EPA, in coordination with MPCA, conducts periodic Five-Year Reviews for the site.   The latest Five-Year Review was completed on September 6, 2006.  It found that the site was protective in the short-term, and concurred with MPCA's plans to upgrade a number of areas of the remedy.  In the period since this review, MPCA has upgraded the landfill cover system, consolidated waste as planned, installed an active gas extraction system, and modified the groundwater extraction system to optimize the pumping rate and efficiency of the capture zone.  Currently, MPCA is in the process of working with local units of government to support long-term stewardship of the landfill and the surrounding properties.  The next five-year review will be completed by September 2011.

Property Reuse

The site is located adjacent to the Sandhill Crane Natural Area, an area created by the municipality and MPCA suitable for migrating sandhill cranes, offsetting encroaching development in the area.  Native species have been planted on the landfill to augment the crane 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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