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Congressional District # 07


EPA ID# MND981090483
Last Updated: November, 2011

Site Description

The La Grand Sanitary Landfill is located in a rural part of west-central Douglas County, Minnesota, approximately five miles west of the town of Alexandria and three miles south of the town of Garfield.  The site consists of 76 acres of forest, uncultivated hills, and wetland.  The main landfill area occupies six acres in the northwest portion of the site and contains approximately 155,000 cubic yards of mixed municipal solid waste and nonhazardous industrial wastes.  The landfill was permitted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on March 15, 1974, and began receiving wastes on June 4, 1974. The site closed on March 14, 1985. The nearest, occupied residence is located 1,200 feet downgradient from the site and has a deep water well that is not impacted by contaminants from the landfill.  Previous site owners and permittees graded, sloped, and covered the wastes with a two- to three- foot compacted-clay cover system and established a vegetative cover. The site is included on both state and federal Superfund priority lists. About 1,100 people live within three miles of the landfill and depend on public and private wells for drinking water. The property is owned by the state through tax forfeiture and is managed by Douglas County.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal and state actions.  The site is part of the MPCA's Closed Landfill Program and MPCA is the lead agency overseeing the site.

Threats and Contaminants

The landfill contains mixed municipal and nonhazardous industrial wastes which must be properly contained to prevent exposure.  Groundwater flow is to the east and southeast.  Groundwater contaminants include low levels of manganese and semi-volatile organic phthalate compounds such as bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate, and di-n-octyl phthalate.  Levels of all potential groundwater contaminants are currently below health-based levels for drinking water. There are several small wetlands in the vicinity of the landfill; however, studies indicated that they were not impacted by contaminants released from the landfill. 

Cleanup Progress

In 1987, MPCA issued a Request for Response Action to a number of PRPs to perform a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site.  Following a determination that actions would not be taken in the time and manner requested, MPCA conducted the RI/FS.  Results showed minimal contamination in surface water, soil and air, but potentially unacceptable levels of contaminants in groundwater.  In 1992, MPCA and EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that selected a remedy including long-term monitoring of groundwater, monitoring of landfill gas; gas venting; abandonment of an on-site well; slope stabilization of the landfill and borrow-pit area; placement of institutional controls; and landfill cover system maintenance and monitoring. Construction work was completed in 1993.

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the closed landfill has been conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and MPCA (cover system regrading and surface water diversion). Gas property line monitoring continues, and the gas venting system on the fill area has been updated. The groundwater quality is well defined and has improved since the cover was installed. Groundwater monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the landfill cover and to assure protection of residential well supplies continues.  The site is now entered into Minnesota's Closed Landfill Program, per an agreement between U.S. EPA and MPCA. This site was deleted from the National Priorities List on October 23, 1997. 

Five-Year Reviews were completed for the site in 1999, 2004, and 2008.  The 2004 review recommended upgrades to landfill cap and gas vents.  The landfill cap was upgraded with geomembrane, geocomposite drainage net and cover soils to promote surface water runoff.  Storm water management was improved with grading of landfill slopes and sedimentation basins.  Eleven landfill gas vents were installed and older less useful gas vents were abandoned.  An East Cut-Off Trench was also graded on the landfill as an additinoal safeguard against gas migration. The site was seeded and fertilized in 2006 and slopes protected with erosion control materials.  

The 2008 Five-Year Review concluded that ongoing operation and maintenance by MPCA continues to provide assurance that the remedy is functioning as intended and the site is protective.  The Five-Year Review also noted that institutional controls will be augmented through a Land Use Plan to be developed by MPCA.  


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





Site Profile Information

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


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