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Congressional District # 03


EPA ID# MID000260281
Last Updated: February, 2012

Site Description

The Kentwood Landfill Superfund Site is a 72-acre landfill site located at 4900 Walma Road in the city of Kentwood, Kent County, Michigan.  The landfill 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.   The city operated the site as an open dumpsite from January 1968 to June 1970.  From 1971 until 1975, Kent County operated the site as a municipal landfill.  The site was capped and closed in early 1976.  Leachate containing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and metals was generated by wastes disposed of at the landfill and contaminated the soil and groundwater.  Concern about the potential impact on public health through direct contact with or through ingestion of leachate or through the ingestion of leachate-contaminated groundwater resulted in the Kentwood Landfill being placed on the National Priorities List in September 1983.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal oversight of potentially responsible parties' actions.  The two potentially responsible parties are the city of Kentwood and Kent County, Michigan. 

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, phenols, and heavy metals.  Soil in isolated areas shows low levels of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination.  Potential health risks could occur from use of contaminated water as a drinking water supply.    However, all affected water wells that are currently in use have been replaced with deeper wells that draw from a lower, uncontaminated aquifer or with city water lines.  Therefore, the groundwater contamination presently poses little or no threat to public health. 

Cleanup Progress

An Administrative Order by Consent was signed by the city of Kentwood, Kent County, and the United States Environmental Agency (EPA) in December 1985 requiring a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The city and the county completed a RI/FS in 1990, and EPA signed a Record of Decision in March, 1991, which selected specific cleanup actions to address organic and inorganic site contamination concerns. The cleanup actions included capping the landfill; incorporating 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. This 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 of the cleanup actions conducted at the Kentwood Landfill site.  EPA completed a second five-year review of the site in October 2004.  This review 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 five-year review of the Site in October 2009.  This review 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 soil exposures. 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. 

The current restrictive covenant and the city ordinance prohibit the use of contaminated groundwater at and near the landfill site.  Long-term protectiveness requires compliance with effective ICs. The Site remedy components, including institutional controls (ICs), must be maintained, monitored, and enforced to ensure long-term protectiveness. In order to address various state concerns, EPA included a request in the 2009 five-year review for the municipalities to prepare an Institutional Control Implementation and Assurance Plan (ICIAP) for the Site. The purpose of the ICIAP is to evaluate the current ICs to ensure they are effective and properly maintained, monitored, and enforced and determine if any changes or additional ICs are needed. T he review found 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 is expected to be filed in February 2012.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has a different interpretation of how the remedy is being implemented, the level of protectiveness, and compliance with the Record of Decision (ROD). The MDEQ's comments are part of the site Administrative Record.


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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