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Suffolk City Landfill

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Suffolk County
Route 604
City of Suffolk

EPA ID# VAD980917983

4th Congressional District

Last Update: February 2014

Other Names


Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded that no further actions were needed at this site. The EPA has deemed that the site cleanup was effective at protecting human health and the environment. Because of this, the site was removed from the list of sites eligible for federal cleanup in 1995.

The City of Suffolk monitors landfill gas and collects groundwater samples from the Site. EPA completed the third five-year review in September 2009 to make sure the cleanup remains effective. In the second five-year review, EPA concluded that institutional controls be implemented to prevent exposure to contaminated groundwater and to protect the integrity of the soil cap. EPA further reviewed this recommendation and acknowledges that it is partially unsupported by the facts. First, the Agency did not consider any risk associated with exposure to waste below the cap in the 1992 Record of Decision and would therefore be in no position to determine in 2004 that institutional controls were necessary to achieve and /or maintain protectiveness. Second, the Agency's 1992 Record of Decision stated that only consumption of on-site groundwater created unacceptable risk; this finding does not support the selection of institutional for anything other than preventing consumption of such on-site groundwater. In 1992 EPA stated that such consumption was not occurring and would not be expected to occur in the future. EPA does not have any information which suggests that this has changed, but now determines that selection of institutional controls to address future risks from the consumption of naturally occurring arsenic-contaminated groundwater to be outside the Agency's authority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, compensation , and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA began the fourth five year review in December 2013.

Site Description

The 67-acre Suffolk City Landfill is owned and managed by the City of Suffolk. This now-closed sanitary landfill operated from 1967 to 1985. Municipal solid waste from both the city and Nansemond County were disposed in this unlined landfill. While the landfill primarily accepted municipal solid wastes, on-site disposal of highly-toxic pesticides was the primary concern. In 1970, the Dixie Guano Company disposed 27 tons of chemicals in a portion of the landfill.

In 1983, the landfill operation permit was re-issued. Because a regional landfill was being built, this permit required the city to close its landfill once the regional one became operational. The City designed a closure plan, which was submitted to the State. The city covered, graded, and replanted the landfill in 1988.

The area is rural and agricultural. Approximately 2,500 people obtain drinking water from private wells within 3 miles of the site. Surface runoff from the site discharges into two unnamed tributaries to the Great Dismal Swamp, a major freshwater wetland.

Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site was the responsibility of federal, state, and municipal governments, the site owner, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
NPL Listing History

Our country's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites can be cleaned using federal money. To be eligible for federal cleanup money, a site must be put on the National Priorities List (NPL). This site was proposed for listing on June 24, 1988. The site was added to the NPL on February 21, 1990.

Once Superfund site work is done, it is evaluated to see if the remedy is effective. If the goal of the work is reached, and EPA determines that nothing else remains to be done, the site is then removed from the list of sites eligible for federal Superfund funding. This site was removed from the Superfund list on January 24, 1995.

Threats and Contaminants

The ground water, soil, and liquids in retention basins had been contaminated with various pesticides from former disposal practices. Potential health hazards once included accidentally ingesting or coming in direct contact with contaminated ground water and soil. There was also the potential for contaminated site run-off to impact the Great Dismal Swamp, but this did not occur. Today, the site is safe; there is no threat to human health or the environment.

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

Cleanup Progress

As a part of legal agreement, the City of Suffolk installed a leachate collection and treatment system at the Site. Under orders from the State, the City of Suffolk agreed to conduct an intensive study of soil and ground water contamination at the site to determine its nature and extent and to recommend strategies for its cleanup. The study, completed in 1992, showed that pesticide contamination no longer exists at the site. Scientific information on pesticides has shown that these substances are prone to degrading naturally over time. Therefore, no other actions are required at the site; the area is safe and no other action is needed. EPA has deleted the site from the National Priorities List.


Site Contacts

Administrative Record Locations

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

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