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Congressional District # 08


EPA ID# ILD047019732
Last Updated: January, 2012

Site Description

The 60-acre Wauconda Sand and Gravel site, located in Lake County, Illinois, includes six acres of licensed and 43 acres of unlicensed landfill areas. From around 1955 until 1978, the site operated as a municipal waste landfill. Approximately 3 million cubic yards of waste were placed in the licensed and unlicensed landfills, operated on the site. The entire site was closed and covered with a layer of clay, soil, and vegetation in 1978. Since the late 1970s, leachate from the site entered the nearby Mutton Creek. Surface water samples, taken from this creek in the early 1980s, revealed low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals. PCBs have not been detected in any subsequent studies. The site currently is restricted, although the property was at one time used for various recreational activities. Approximately 12 homes are located within one mile of the landfill.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Sampling of the groundwater indicates contamination with heavy metals, VOCs, and pesticides. Leachate is contaminated with heavy metals and cyanide. Health threats include accidental ingestion of or direct contact with contaminated groundwater or leachate.

Cleanup Progress

An administrative order on consent (AOC) was reached among the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and the Wauconda Task Group in 1986, for additional investigations as well as installing leachate collection drains to stop surface leachate discharge into Mutton Creek; providing for proper disposal of leachate either at the Wauconda Sewage Treatment Plant or a hazardous waste treatment facility; regrading depressed and eroded areas on the existing landfill soil cover with sufficient slope to promote rain runoff; revegetating bare and eroded areas to prevent erosion of soils into Mutton Creek; and placing a fence around the site. By 1987, all of these actions had been completed.

The system was upgraded in 1996, by the addition of a synthetic liner on the north slope to reduce infiltration and therefore leachate generation in that specific area. The typical leachate flow rate is 1,000 gallons per day. In 1989, a unilateral administrative order (UAO) was issued for the following to be performed: long-term monitoring of groundwater and Mutton Creek; installation of additional air emission controls, including new and additional vents and, if required, an active collection system; imposing restrictions on use of onsite groundwater; upgrading of the landfill cover to reduce infiltration and surface gas emissions and to control erosion due to runoff from the site; continued operation of the leachate collection system; and long-term inspection and maintenance of the gas venting and leachate collection systems, site cover, fence, and the monitoring well network.

The design of the remedy was completed in 1992. Subsequently, it was determined that an active gas venting system would not be required, and all construction activities were completed in August 1996. In September 1994, during the installation of offsite soil gas probes along the east side of the site, additional buried waste was discovered. A workplan for the delineation and investigation of the additional buried waste was submitted to EPA on March 6, 1995. Additional buried waste investigations began in June 1995 and concluded in July 1996. In February and April 1998, the PRP group submitted grading plans for the additional buried waste to ensure that the landfill soil cover remains protective. EPA approved these grading plans in May 1998. The PRPs implemented the grading plans immediately after receiving EPA's approval.

In 2000, portions of the site were purchased by an independent party, and the site is being considered for its reuse potential. The potentially responsible parties (PRPs) have and continue to comply with the requirements of the UAO. The five-year review of the site was completed on August 23, 2002. As a result of the five-year review, EPA recommended the following: the continuation of operation and maintenance activities for the leachate collection system, gas management system, and the landfill cap; the continuation of groundwater and residential well sampling; and, further investigations of the impact of new municipal well installations on the site.

During the fall of 2003, random sampling of residential wells by the local health department indicated vinyl chloride contamination in 3 wells slightly above the federal safe drinking water standard of 2 parts per billion.  Subsequent sampling by the PRPs showed slight detections of vinyl chloride in approximately 88 residential wells.  EPA issued a unilateral administrative order to the PRPs require additional investigations and the nature and extent of the problem.  The PRPs proposed that EPA allow them to provide bottle water to the affected residents and connect nearly 400 residents to a municipal water supply system in lieu of complying with the requirements of the unilateral administrative order.  EPA accepted this proposal.  To date, all but a few of the residential homes have been connected to the municipal supply system. 

A Consent Decree was entered in federal court on February 5, 2009 which required the PRPs to conduct addtional work to ensure that the remedy remains protective.   Five-Year Reviews for the Site are on-going since the remedy does not allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure.  The third five-year review was completed on August 21, 2007 by EPA and IEPA. That review determined that the remedy 1) remained protective of human health and the environment in the short-term and 2) follow-up actions are necessary to address long-term protectiveness. Those actions have been underway and include performing cap repairs and upgrades as needed, monitoring and evaluating leachate and gas migration, and taking steps to implement effective institutional controls, and preparing a long-term stewardship plan along with continuing monitoring and maintenance activities. The actions are on-going.

The fourth five-year review is underway and is due by August 2012.



Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
sheri bianchin (bianchin.sheri@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4745

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.


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