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Congressional District # 03


EPA ID# MID000260281
Last Updated: September, 2014

Site Description

The 72-acre Kentwood Landfill Superfund Site is located at 4900 Walma Road in the city of Kentwood, Kent County, Michigan. The site is bordered by city municipal buildings to the west, a church and a residential area to the south, a shallow ravine and Plaster Creek to the east, and a residential subdivision and municipally-owned property to the north.

In the early 1950s, the site originated as the town dump. In 1966, the site was licensed as a solid waste disposal facility. In January 1968, the state health agency transferred the license to the city of Kentwood and the city operated the site as an open dump from January 1968 to June 1970. From 1971 until 1975, Kent County operated the site as a municipal landfill and then the county capped and closed it in early 1976. Leachate containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metals generated by wastes disposed of at the landfill has contaminated the soil and groundwater.

EPA placed the Kentwood Landfill site on the National Priorities List in September 1983.

Site Responsibility

The Kentwood Landfill site is being addressed through federal and state oversight of potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. 

Threats and Contaminants

Site groundwater is contaminated with VOCs, phenols, and heavy metals and soil in isolated areas showed low levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination.  Public health risks could occur through direct contact with or ingestion of landfill leachate or through the ingestion of leachate-contaminated groundwater. However, all residential water wells that were affected by leachate have either been replaced with deeper wells that draw water from a lower, uncontaminated aquifer or with a connection to the municipal water supply.  Therefore, people are currently not being exposed to the groundwater contamination at the site.

Cleanup Progress

The city of Kentwood and Kent County, Michigan are the two PRPs at the site. Both PRPs and EPA signed an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) in December 1985 that required the PRPs to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at the site. The city and the county completed the RI/FS in 1990, and EPA signed a Record of Decision in March 1991 that selected specific cleanup actions to address organic and inorganic site contamination. The cleanup actions included capping the landfill;  constructing a gas venting and leachate collection system; extracting and treating groundwater; and implementing groundwater-use restrictions.

In August 1991, the city and the county signed a Consent Decree (CD) for the design and construction of the selected cleanup actions. The CD was lodged by the U.S. Department of Justice on December 1991. Design began in November 1991, and was completed in March 1994. All requirements to address the soils, leachate, and groundwater contamination were completed in September 1995.

In October 1999, EPA completed a five-year review (FYR) of the cleanup actions conducted at the Kentwood Landfill site. EPA completed a second FYR at the site in October 2004. The 2004 FYR report concluded that the cleanup action conducted at the landfill site is expected to be protective of human health and the environment. 

EPA completed a third FYR at the site in October 2009. This FYR report concluded that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment in the short-term because the landfill cap and site fencing is functional, operational, and effective in eliminating the potential for any exposure to contaminated soil. Restrictions on site access and on the use of contaminated groundwater associated with the site remain in place. No contaminants of concern, above Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) or state drinking water criteria, were detected in any of the drinking water wells currently in use in the area. 

A restrictive covenant and a city ordinance prohibit the use of contaminated groundwater at and near the landfill site. The site remedy components, including institutional controls (ICs), must be maintained, monitored, and enforced to ensure long-term protectiveness. In order to address a state concern, EPA included a request in the 2009 FYR report for the municipalities to prepare an Institutional Control Implementation and Assurance Plan (ICIAP) for the site. This plan determined that the existing deed restriction/environmental covenant needed to be amended to allow use of a portion of the site for materials storage by the city of Kentwood. This amendment was filed in April 2012.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has had a different interpretation of how efficiently portions of the remedy are being implemented, the level of protectiveness, and overall compliance with the Record of Decision (ROD). MDEQ's past comments on EPA's FYR reports are part of the site Administrative Record.

EPA plans to complete the fourth FYR at the Kentwood Landfill site in October 2014.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leslie patterson (patterson.leslie@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4904

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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