Woodlawn County Landfill
Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Maryland
EPA ID# MDD980504344
7th Congressional District
Last Update: February 2014
Woodlawn Transfer Station
Current Site Status
Physical construction of the final remedy at this site, including a vegetated soil cover on the landfill, has been completed. To restore the site for ecological habitat, diverse native grasses, shrubs and trees were planted for the vegetated cover. Natural processes in the soil have been demonstrated to be effectively removing or immobilizing contaminants in the groundwater. The cleansing effect of these processes is called natural attenuation. The construction phase of the project was completed in June 2001. The remedy also includes long-term monitoring of the groundwater, surface water, landfill gas and the vegetative soil cover to check the effectiveness of the remedy. The requirements of the remedy also included installation of an alternate water supply and localized pumping and treating of groundwater if these measures are determined to be necessary.
With construction of the remedy completed, the Woodlawn Landfill has begun a new phase of its existence as a wildlife habitat. Numerous volunteer projects were undertaken in the vicinity of the site to return the former landfill to a beneficial property for the community.
In 2005, a five year review of the remedy certified that the remedy for this site continues to operate as intended and is sufficient to ensure the current protection of human health and the environment. Long term protectiveness will be provided by institutional controls prohibiting drinking water wells in the contaminated plume area and ensuring that any future use of the property will not impair the effectiveness of the landfill cover. The second five year review was conducted, with a report issued in December 2010. That report certified that the site remedy continue to be protective of human health and the environment because exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled.
Site DescriptionThe Woodlawn County Landfill site covers approximately 37 acres in Cecil County, Maryland. The property was a privately owned sand and gravel quarry before it was purchased by the County in 1960. The county owned and operated the site as a municipal landfill from 1960 until 1978 when the state issued an order that prohibited the county from placing additional municipal wastes into the landfill. During operation of the landfill, two large quarrying pits were filled with agricultural, municipal, and industrial wastes. State records document the disposal of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sludge at the site by the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company (now Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.). The PVC sludge, which contained residual vinyl chloride, a known human carcinogen, was initially disposed of throughout the landfill. Between 1978 and 1981, after the landfill was closed to municipal waste, the PVC sludge was deposited into three segregated disposal cells. Analyses conducted by the State and potentially responsible parties (PRPs) showed the presence of contamination in on-site groundwater and soils, off-site ground water, and surface water and sediments of a stream that crosses the site. The stream enters Basin Run, a state-designated trout stream, about two miles from the site. The local aquifer is the only water supply available to area residents. Currently, the county operates a municipal waste transfer station at the entrance to the site.
Site ResponsibilityCleanup of this site is the responsibility of federal and state governments, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
NPL Listing HistoryThe site was proposed to the National Priorities List of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites requiring long term remedial action on January 22, 1987. The site was formally added to the list July 22, 1987.
Threats and ContaminantsThe groundwater was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily vinyl chloride and 1,2-dichloroethane, and with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides and metals, primarily manganese. The potential for exposure to contaminated groundwater at the site posed a threat to human health. Levels of mercury in soils affected by past discharges from the transfer station's septic system exceeded the level that EPA has determined is protective of wildlife.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
EPA selected a remedy for the site in a September 1993 Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD required: capping of the landfill to reduce further leaching of contaminants from buried wastes into the groundwater; extraction of contaminated groundwater in order to reduce contaminant concentrations to risk-based cleanup levels; on-site treatment of extracted groundwater and discharge to the on-site stream; continued groundwater and stream monitoring; restrictions on the use of the landfill property and local groundwater; and provision of an alternate water supply to area residents, if necessary.
In November of 1994, EPA ordered Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. and Cecil County to design, construct, operate, and maintain a site remedy in accordance with the September 1993 ROD. Under the order, the company and the county provided wellhead treatment at two homes near the site in order to prevent the residents' exposure to site contaminants. Design of the cap and groundwater extraction and treatment system required by the ROD was suspended because natural attenuation processes are effectively removing or immobilizing the contaminants in the ground water. EPA changed the requirements of the September 1993 ROD with a ROD Amendment issued in September 1999 which describes natural attenuation with monitoring of the groundwater, and a vegetative soil cover over landfilled wastes as the final remedy for the site. In addition, the remedy was modified to include development of a wildlife habitat on the site. On November 19, 1999 EPA modified the 1994 order, requiring the respondents to implement the revised remedy as specified in the September 1999 ROD Amendment. Physical construction of the remedy was completed in the summer of 2001. Long-term operation and maintenance of the site is ongoing.
The Woodlawn Landfill has been transformed into a wildlife habitat called "New Beginnings, the Woodlawn Wildlife Habitat Area" It is currently used as a nature and science study area by local schools and as an area for projects by the Boy Scouts, and Girls Scouts of America. The revitalization of the former landfill is a source or pride in the local community and preserves open space in Cecil County.
In 2005, a five year review of the remedy certified that the remedy for this site continues to operate as intended and is currently protective of human health and the environment. Long term protectiveness will be provided by institutional controls prohibiting drinking water wells in the contaminated plume area and ensuring that any future use of the property will not impair the effectiveness of the landfill cover. The second five year review was conducted, with a report issued in December 2010. That report again certified that the site remedy is protective of human health and the environment because exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled.