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Congressional District # 4


EPA ID# IND980997639
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Tippecanoe Sanitary Landfill (TSL) is approximately 80 acres in size and is located in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The site is an inactive landfill that includes a wetland. The site lies within the common floodplain of the Wabash River, which is located within 1.5 miles northwest of the site and flows to the south, and Wildcat Creek, which flows toward the north approximately 600 feet northeast of the landfill.

The land use in the immediate area surrounding the site is a mixture of residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural, located north/northeast of downtown Lafayette. The site is bordered on the west by North 9th Street, CSX Railroad, and businesses, on the north and east by wooded and agricultural land with scattered residences, and on the south by a former quarry including woods, a wetland, and lake. Municipal water was extended to the area prior to the discovery of any groundwater contamination. No drinking water wells exist within a one-mile radius of the site.

In 1971, Tippecanoe County, Purdue University, the City of West Lafayette, and the City of Lafayette decided that there should be one landfill in the county that local residents, commercial entities, and industry could use for the disposal of non-hazardous wastes. TSL was privately formed and reached an agreement with the Tippecanoe County Board of Commissioners in June 1971 for the operation of a landfill. TSL first leased the property at the site for the landfill in June 1971. The Indiana State Board of Health (ISBH) issued an operating permit on April 12, 1971, and landfill operations began in June 1971. Renewal of the landfill operating permit was denied on February 1, 1978. Sporadic daily cover, unsatisfactory cover materials, possible acceptance of hazardous wastes by the landfill, and poor geological conditions were cited as reasons for denial of the permit. An agreed order allowed the landfill to operate until August 1, 1979. In October 1979, TSL submitted a renewal application; on February 27, 1981, TSL was granted a two-year renewal of its operating permit. In 1983, renewal of TSL’s operating permit was again denied because the landfill was not operating in accordance with permit stipulations. On November 29, 1988, a Consent Decree was filed that stipulated that solid waste could not be accepted at the site after October 1, 1989. The CD also outlined landfill closure requirements.

Primarily, the wastes received for disposal at the site were solid wastes generated by residents, businesses, and industries. An industrial sludge was accepted at the site for a number of years in the 1970s, but this practice was discontinued when a sludge sample was found to contain elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). During the last year or more of operation, some out-of-state wastes were deposited at the site. Estimates indicate that 3.4 million cubic yards of solid waste were disposed in the landfill over approximately 59 acres.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) on August 30, 1990. 

Site Responsibility

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

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater contamination, including organic and inorganic compounds typically seen in landfill leachate, has been verified at the site. However, no drinking water wells exist within one mile of the site and municipal water was extended to the area prior to the discovery of any groundwater contamination. Prior to cleanup activities performed at the site, methane gas migrated from the waste disposal area.

Remedial action objectives were developed for four environmental media of possible concern: landfill contents, leachate, landfill gas, and groundwater. Groundwater contamination, including organic and inorganic compounds typically seen in landfill leachate, was verified at the site.

Cleanup Progress

EPA, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and ten of the parties who had been named Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the site agreed to an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) that required the PRPs to fully determine the nature and extent of the contamination at the site by conducting a Remedial Investigation (RI) and to evaluate alternatives for cleanup alternatives to address potential risks at the site by completing a Feasibility Study (FS). RI/FS work began in March 1990 and continued through 1997.

EPA, in consultation with IDEM, signed a Record of Decision on September 30, 1997, which selected the final cleanup remedy for the site. The major components of the selected remedy include:

The PRPs signed a Consent Decree with IDEM on March 31, 1998, which required implementation of the Remedial Design/Remedial Action. The Consent Decree was entered in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on August 10, 1998. EPA signed an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) on September 27, 2001, which allows for on-site storage of extracted leachate with off-site treatment and disposal at a licensed facility.

Implementation of the remedy began in 2000 and was completed in 2002. EPA signed the Preliminary Close Out Report for the site on September 27, 2002. Operation and monitoring of all remedy components, including groundwater monitoring, continues at the site to ensure that the remedy remains protective.

EPA signed the site's First Five-Year Review Report, which was prepared by IDEM, in September 2005. EPA signed the Second Five-Year Review Report, again prepared by IDEM, on September 21, 2010. The assessment of the 2010 five-year review found that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment in the short term and is expected to be protective in the long term. The remedy is effective and the impact of leachate on groundwater has continued to decrease. The site is in substantial compliance with landfill gas/methane requirements due to continuous monitoring and adjustments to the methane extraction system. Off-site methane alarm systems are maintained and functioning properly. Any potential threats have been addressed. The institutional controls required by the ROD are in place and effective.

The 2010 five-year review noted that quarterly groundwater monitoring results, collected since before the start-up of the remedy, show decreasing concentration trends in a number of leachate indicators including chloride, total dissolved solids, anions, and alkali and alkaline earth metals. The decreasing trends are predominantly observed in point-of-compliance monitoring wells and off-site monitoring wells, indicating the positive effects of the remedy. Similarly, decreases in the number of exceedances of Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) and Secondary MCLs have also been observed. Off-site groundwater has not exceeded health-based standards since routine groundwater monitoring was instituted.

A copy of the five-year review reports and other site documents are available for review in the site's Information Repository, located at the Tippecanoe County Public Library, 627 South Street, Lafayette, Indiana.

The next five-year review for the site will be completed in 2015.

Property Reuse

EPA, IDEM, and technical representatives for the PRPs have been in discussions regarding potential site re-use and redevelopment issues for the site. A revised conceptual site model for post-construction site risk assessment was completed in the spring of 2015. EPA and IDEM will continue to coordinate with the PRPs in evaluating potential redevelopment of the site.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
linda kern (kern.linda@epa.gov)
(312) 886-7341

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




Site Profile Information

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


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