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Congressional District # 08


EPA ID# MND980904049
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The Kummer Sanitary Landfill site is located in Beltrami County, Northern Township, Minnesota, immediately north of the corporate limit of Bemidji, Minnesota and approximately one mile west of Lake Bemidji.  The landfill covers 35 acres of a 42-acre parcel of land.  From 1971 until 1984, the site was a privately owned and operated solid waste landfill that accepted mixed municipal wastes.  Beginning in 1974, demolition debris, consisting of fly ash and sawdust, was disposed of on-site.  In 1982 and 1983, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) sampled groundwater from on-site monitoring wells and found the groundwater to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  Residential wells east of the landfill were found to be contaminated the following year, and subsequently, in 1985, the landfill was closed.  Currently the closed landfill is owned and operated by the State of Minnesota.  Surrounding land consists of woods and wetlands to the north and northwest, residential property to the east and southeast, and commercial property to the southwest.  A hospital is located across the road to the southwest.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through the State of Minnesota's Closed Landfill Program. 

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater underlying the site contained VOCs, including vinyl chloride, xylenes, carbon tetrachloride, and naphthalene from the landfill wastes. There was the potential for people to be at risk if they came into direct contact with landfill wastes or if they ingested contaminated groundwater.  There was also the potential for contaminants from the landfill to reach Lake Bemidji or a nearby wetlands area where it could potentially harm wildlife. 

Cleanup Progress

The site was addressed in three long-term cleanup actions to supply an alternate water source, control the source of contamination, and clean up the groundwater.  In 1985, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) selected a remedy to provide an alternate water supply to affected residents by constructing a new well to draw clean water from a deeper aquifer, to connect affected local residents to the City of Bemidji's main water supply.  The well installation and 198 water connections were completed in 1991.   

To control the source of the contamination, EPA and MPCA selected a remedy in 1988 that included consolidation of waste material, construction of a new multi-layer cap, deed restrictions to control use of the landfill property and groundwater monitoring.  The State began cleanup activities for the landfill in 1990 and completed activities in late 1992.  More recently, MPCA has constructed a solar-powered gas flare on the landfill.

In 1990, EPA and MPCA selected a remedy for groundwater which included extraction and treatment by an advanced oxidation process.   The groundwater remedy was amended in 1995 to require groundwater monitoring and a pilot study of treatment by in-situ bioremediation.  Following implementation of the pilot study, in 1999, EPA and MPCA again modified the remedy to document that a full-scale bioremediation system was not feasible nor necessary due to further declines in contaminant levels in groundwater.  The amended remedy also included institutional controls to restrict the use of groundwater and required groundwater monitoring.  A special well construction area is maintained by the Minnesota Department of Health to supply this protection. 

In 1995, the owners of the site entered into a Landfill Cleanup Agreement with the MPCA's Closed Landfill Program.  The Site was deleted from the NPL in 1996. 

In 2000, EPA signed a preliminary close-out report which documented that all construction activity had been completed. Currently, groundwater continues to improve through natural attenuation and monitoring confirms that contaminants are degrading.  The most recent five-year review was conducted in 2013, and it documented that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment in the short-term because an alternate water supply was constructed, the landfill cap is intact, and the contaminated groundwater plume is stable. 


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leah evison (evison.leah@epa.gov)
(312) 886-2064

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
cheryl allen
(312) 353-6196




Site Profile Information

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


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