Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 14


EPA ID# ILD048306138
Last Updated: February, 2015

Site Description

The Tri-County/Elgin Landfills Site is a 66 acre site that is one contiguous disposal unit with separate ownership and operating histories.  Approximately four out of the 66 acres contain fill material.  The site accepted solid and liquid commercial/industrial waste from 1961 through 1976.  Although some records of waste type and quantities exist for the Tri-County Landfill, location of hazardous waste disposal is not known for either landfill. 

In 1984, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) detected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater monitoring wells downgradient of the site. Ten thousand residents within three miles of the site use groundwater as their source of drinking water. In 1988, U.S. EPA initiated a fund-lead remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS). The study found low-level groundwater contamination outside of the landfill boundaries; contaminated surface water and sediment in an adjacent wetland; and widespread contamination in surface soils at the landfills, including VOCs and semi-VOCs, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Contamination at the site includes low-level groundwater contamination outside of the landfill boundaries; contaminated surface water and sediment in an adjacent wetland; and widespread contamination in surface soils at the landfills, including VOCs and semi-VOCs, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals. 

Cleanup Progress

A record of decision (ROD) was signed on September 18, 1992, requiring: construction of an impermeable landfill cap; an active landfill gas collection system; and groundwater extraction and treatment.  Approximately 3,000 cubic yards of sediments contaminated with heavy metals were to be excavated from the adjacent wetland and consolidated onsite under the cap.  In 1994, site PRPs entered into an administrative order on consent (AOC) with U.S. EPA to perform the design work while the search continued for additional PRPs to perform the remedial action (RA). 

An explanation of significant differences (ESD) was signed on June 25, 1996.  The ESD deferred design and implementation of the groundwater extraction and treatment component of the remedy to see whether the landfill cap and gas collection system alone could reduce the contamination in groundwater.  Groundwater extraction and treatment could still be required in the future if needed.

The landfill cap specified in the ROD was changed during its design to ensure long-term effectiveness as well as to improve short-term effectiveness and implementation.  The final landfill cap design was completed on September 30, 1997.  In order to document these design changes and the resulting cost increase, U.S. EPA issued a second ESD on April 23, 1998.  

Unilateral administrative orders (UAOs) for remedial action were issued to site PRPs on September 24 and November 19, 1998, and the effective dates of the two UAOs were synchronized.  On May 25, 1999, U.S. EPA approved the RA workplan for the site and issued the notice of authorization to proceed with the remedial action at the site. On July 14, 1999, U.S. EPA approved a third ESD for a different landfill cap profile for the Elgin Landfill and Elgin-Wayne portion of the site that would: (1) reduce disruption to existing businesses during construction, (2) be more cost effective, and (3) be more effective than the alternative, selected in the ROD.  In November 2000, the Tri-County Landfill RA was completed.

An administrative order on consent for a de minimis settlement was signed on June 11, 1999.  U.S. EPA issued amended UAOs to WMI and BFI on November 3, 1999. A de minimis settlement was completed on August 28, 2000.  A Municipal Solid Waste Settlement was entered in court on July 12, 2000.  In October 2001, the Elgin Landfill RA was completed. A pre-final inspection was conducted on September 12, 2001, and all incomplete work items were addressed by September 26, 2001. A preliminary close-out report was completed on November 1, 2001.

The site is currently in operation and maintenance phase.  Five-year reviews were completed in August 2004 and September 2009.  The third five-year review was completed on July 3, 2014 and found that the remedy at the Site is protective of human health and the environment and exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled as long as the institutional controls and operation and maintenance activities are maintained.

Community Involvement

U.S. EPA is available to discuss and address any site issues or concerns brought forth by the community.  No comments were received from the community during the 2014 five-year review process or during subsequent years.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
john fagiolo (fagiolo.john@epa.gov)
(312) 886-0800

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

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


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.