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Bush Valley Landfill

Current Site Information

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Maryland
Harford County
Abingdon

EPA ID# MDD980504195

2nd Congressional District

Last Update: February 2013

Other Names

Harris Landfill

Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the cleanup of the Bush Valley Landfill, where construction of the landfill cap was completed in August 2001 and post-construction monitoring is underway. Monitoring has shown that the cap's passive gas venting system is not enough, by itself, to reduce the levels of underground landfill gas to acceptable levels. The Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) recently modified the gas management system to include active gas venting system. This active system became operational in late March 2005.

When combined with environmental monitoring and land-use restrictions, the cap and gas management system is protective of human health and the environment. The cap was seeded with warm-season grasses and native wildflowers. This area will remain a green space and wildlife habitat. The landfill will also serve as a buffer between developed areas and the neighboring Bush Declaration Natural Resources Management Area.

The EPA is continuing to monitor and evaluate the landfill gas management system (LFGMS) and cap to ensure that they maintain long-term protectiveness. Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions from the landfill have been reduced significantly since the LFGMS went on-line in March 2005. Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) of groundwater continues to be evaluated through groundwater monitoring in order to assure MNA is continuing to be an effective remedy for the contaminated groundwater. The Site's Second Five-Year Review was completed in September 28, 2010.

The Second Five-Year Review found the protectiveness determination of the remedy could not be made at that time until further information was obtained. This determination was due to the potential of vapor intrusion and landfill gas migration to the homes adjacent to the Site and also the need for further surface water and sediment monitoring. Information was obtained by taking the following actions: modifying the landfill gas sampling methodology and locations, and utilizing stainless steel evacuated canisters for sampling and analytical method TO-15. In Fall of 2011, EPA evaluated the landfill gas results from the new data and performed a landfill gas risk assessment to determine if vapor intrusion to nearby residences was a possibility. In October 2011, in response to EPA's finding, Harford County offered homeowners VI sampling, but the homeowners declined. The first of two rounds of sediment and surface water sampling took place in the fall 2011, and the second round of sampling took place in spring 2012. EPA is evaluating the data currently reviewing the sampling data and will  make a determination on the remedy's protectiveness in an addendum to the Second Five-Year Review no later than September 2013.

Site Description

The Bush Valley Landfill Site is located in Harford County, Maryland, one mile from the town of Abingdon. The site is located on a 29-acre parcel of land, approximately 16 of which are occupied by the actual landfill. The Bush Declaration Natural Resources Management Area, a 120-acre tidal cattail marsh, borders the site to the north and east. Harford Town, a planned community, lies west of the Site across Bush Road. Three single-family homes are located within 300 feet of the landfill's southern border.

Before 1974, the land was used for cattle grazing and raising crops. In 1974, a trash hauler leased the property and in 1975 the hauler contracted to provide landfill services for Harford County. That same year, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) granted a permit to use the land as a municipal solid waste landfill. The landfill took in household and industrial wastes and may have also accepted industrial wastes. After ignoring DHMH's orders to stop site operations, the operator abandoned the site in 1983 when the landfill reached capacity.

The state of Maryland did inspections in 1983. In 1984, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspected the site and in 1988 the site was proposed as an addition to the National Priorities List. Sites on this list can be cleaned up using federal Superfund money if no other source of funding is available. In June 1990 Harford County started negotiations with EPA, resulting in an agreement that the County do the site studies.

These studies took place from 1991 to 1995, when a final report was approved. In 1995 EPA issued a proposed plan, outlining cleanup options and recommending a course of action. The final decision on how the site would be addressed was made later that year.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through Federal, State, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

NPL Listing History

This site was proposed to the National Priorities List of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites requiring long-term cleanup action on June 24, 1988. The site was formally added to the list on March 31, 1989, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.

Threats and Contaminants

During site investigations, several volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) were detected, including: benzene, vinyl chloride, and tetrachloroethene. Metals including beryllium, arsenic and manganese have shown up in samples of ground water, surface water, soil, and leachate. The VOCs have appeared in air samples.

Investigators from EPA and Harford County observed several leachate seeps on the landfill's slopes during site investigation. The cleanup will eliminate these seeps and protect local ecology. Wetlands next to the site may be impacted by the contaminated ground water. Two private wells are located on properties next to the site, but all residences in the area have connected to a public water system for their drinking water supply.

EPA's 1993 Human Health Risk Assessment indicates that ground water is the only potential source of elevated risk if people are exposed to it. However, no residents currently use ground water in the area for their drinking or cooking. This assessment was not able to rule out air as potentially significant pathway, but additional air testing during the cleanup showed that the air is safe to breathe.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.

Cleanup Progress

Construction Complete

Construction of the landfill cap was completed in August 200.. The cleanup plan includes an impermeable landfill cap to prevent further groundwater contamination paired with a landfill gas management system, plus environmental monitoring and land-use restrictions.

Monitoring has shown that the cap's passive gas venting system was not enough, by itself, to reduce the levels of underground landfill gas to acceptable levels. For this reason, the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) modified the gas management system to include active gas venting system. EPA approved the design for the active venting system in April 2004 and construction of the system began in July 2004. The active venting system became operational in late March 2005.

Combined with environmental monitoring and land-use restrictions, the cap and gas management system will protect human health and the environment. The cap was seeded with warm-season grasses and native wildflowers. This area will remain a green space and wildlife habitat. The landfill will also serve as a buffer between developed areas and the neighboring Bush Declaration Natural Resources Management Area.

EPA performs a Five-Year Review at all sites where there are hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants remain on-site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure. The Five-Year Review requirement is independent of and unaffected by the deletion process. The Site's second Five-Year Review was completed in September 28, 2010.

The second Five-Year Review found the protectiveness determination of the remedy could not be made at that time until further information was obtained. This determination was due to the potential of vapor intrusion and landfill gas migration to the homes adjacent to the Site and also the need for further surface water and sediment monitoring. Information was obtained by taking the following actions: modifying the landfill gas sampling methodology and locations, and utilizing stainless steel evacuated canisters for sampling and analytical method TO-15. In Fall of 2011, EPA evaluated the landfill gas results from the new data and performed a landfill gas risk assessment to determine if vapor intrusion to nearby residences was a possibility. In October 2011, in response to EPA's finding, Harford County offered homeowners VI sampling, but the homeowners declined. The first of two rounds of sediment and surface water sampling took place in the fall 2011, and the second round of sampling took place in spring 2012. EPA is evaluating the data currently reviewing the sampling data and will  make a determination on the remedy's protectiveness in an addendum to the Second Five-Year Review no later than September 2013.

Contacts

Site Contacts

Administrative Record Locations

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Superfund |EPA Home | EPA Superfund Homepage


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