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Congressional District # 10


EPA ID# ILD980500102
Last Updated: December, 2011

Site Description

The approximately 70-acre Yeoman Creek Landfill ("YCL") in Waukegan, Illinois, is bounded by Lewis Avenue on the west, Glen Flora Avenue on the south, Sunset Avenue/Golf Road on the north, and Western Avenue/Buttrick Avenue on the east. The site operated as a landfill from 1959 to 1969. The landfill has no bottom liner, and the underlying soils are permeable. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 26,890 people, 23.2 percent of them Black of African-American and 34.9 percent of them Hispanic, live within a 1-mile radius of the site. Waukegan is an environmental justice community. Residents of Waukegan are supplied with drinking water from a Lake Michigan intake, located approximately three miles downstream from the site. About 14 active residential wells are located several miles downstream of the site. Apartments, businesses, and wetlands surround the site. Leachate has been observed seeping into Yeoman Creek since 1969, although the quantity decreased substantially after the site cover was upgraded in 1980.

Site Responsibility

U.S. EPA is the lead Agency in partnership with Illinois EPA overseeing the potentially responsible parties' ("PRPs") cleanup of the site.

Threats and Contaminants

Leachate from the landfill contains volatile organic compounds ("VOCs"), polychlorinated biphenyls ("PCBs"), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, and elevated concentrations of lead, manganese, iron, chloride, and ammonia. Some groundwater samples contained low concentrations of VOCs, bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, and elevated concentrations of lead, chloride, and ammonia. Sediments of Yeoman Creek at the landfill, and farther downstream at Yeoman Park, contain PCBs and other organic chemicals. Landfill gas ("LFG") was detected at levels above the lower explosive limit ("LEL"), migrating offsite. The LFG containing a number of VOCs was detected entering a building near the site. The risk assessment indicated that future residential usage of the groundwater near the site would present an unacceptable health risk. There may also have been significant adverse effects on wildlife in the creek and adjacent wetland. VOC-contaminated LFG also presented a health risk to residents of the building where they were detected, and the gases could have caused explosions.

Cleanup Progress

This site is being addressed in two stages: immediate actions and a long-term phase, focusing on cleanup of the entire site. In 1980, the city upgraded the site cover in most areas of the landfill under an agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency ("IEPA"). In 1990, the PRPs installed a fence around the site, under an agreement with U.S. EPA. In mid-1994, the PRPs installed a ventilation system in a building adjacent to the site, under an agreement with U.S. EPA. The PRPs, under U.S. EPA supervision, investigated the effect the site could have on the local population and ecosystem, and conducted groundwater, leachate, and stream sampling to determine the nature and extent of the contamination at the site in 1995. U.S. EPA selected a cleanup plan called a Record of Decision ("ROD") on September 30, 1996. The final cleanup included sediment collection in Yeoman Creek and limited wetland areas, reconstruction of Yeoman Creek, installation of a flexible onsite landfill cover, continuation of measures to address LFG, waste consolidation and extensive long-term monitoring.

On April 28, 1998, a unilateral administrative order was issued to the PRPs, requiring the installation of a LFG collection system to remove explosive levels of LFG that had migrated to the basements and adjacent soils of certain buildings north of the site. The LFG collection system was installed, modified several times, and has not been able to achieve compliance at all monitoring points. A settlement agreement called a consent decree ("CD") for remedial design ("RD") and remedial action ("RA") was entered by the court on April 7, 1999. Under the CD the PRPs collected additional data, started a long-term monitoring program for the site, and designed the remedy at the site. In February 2002, the PRPs began construction of the remedy. The management of drummed wastes and contact water/leachate slowed progress toward cleanup. Major construction activities were halted in May 2003 to allow time for the local, state, and federal agencies and the PRPs to evaluate the potential for placing dredged materials from Waukegan Harbor at the site, should the dredging occur.

In early April 2004, the city of Waukegan confirmed that it would never allow the dredged material to be placed at the site in spite of its many related benefits. On April 16, 2004, the PRPs signed contracts to complete the cleanup at the site.

On September 23, 2005, U.S. EPA issued a Preliminary Close-out Report for the YCL documenting that all major construction activities were completed.

On February 27, 2007, U.S. EPA completed its first Five-Year Review (FYR) of the site. The FYR cited the following issues: "The remedy has failed to control the migration of LFG in the northern portion of the site. Institutional controls are needed for properties impacted by the site. Many of the groundwater monitoring wells, LFG probes casings and passive vents and a turbine ventilator need repair and maintenance. The perimeter fence and signs need maintenance and/or repair. Grading and reseeding is needed in several areas of the site cover." The FYR includes the following protectiveness statement: "The remedy at the YCL is not protective because the LFG collection system is not operating as designed; i.e., LFG above 50% of the LEL continues to migrate beyond the landfill boundary. Additional remedial action as well as implementation and compliance with land and groundwater use restrictions that prohibit interference with the dual barrier cover and the LFG collection system and prohibit use of groundwater are necessary to ensure protectiveness. U.S. EPA and the responsible parties are evaluating the needs of the additional remedial action that is expected to include a separate gas collection system for the northern portion of the site."

Most of the issues from the 2007 FYR have been addressed. On the northern portion of the site, the PRPs have completed the construction of a new perimeter trench gas collection system. Construction of this system, drainage system improvements, grading, and seeding was completed in late 2009. Despite the installation of the slurry wall and the trench gas collection system and despite the several steps the PRPs have taken to improve the collection system, the actions so far have had limited success in controlling off-site gas migration north of the YCL site. In 2011, the PRPs conducted a Geoprobe subsurface investigation in and around the area of concern. Based on this investigation, the PRPs have concluded that the LFG is located in a debris situated in the area of concern. Currently, the PRPs are designing the LFG system to address the landfill gas believed to be located in the debris fill material. U.S EPA will ensure that the system meet all substantive requirements for all state, local and federal air emission regulatory limitations.

Community Involvement

U.S. EPA issued a revised final Community Involvement Plan in January 2007.

Property Reuse

The City of Waukegan received a Superfund redevelopment grant to start planning for reuse of the site. During the planning meetings, the local community expressed an interest in recreational uses including soccer fields, a nature park with pedestrian and bicycle paths, and wildlife habitat. The City, however, is focused on redevelopment of the lakefront and reuse of the site does not appear likely in the near future.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
syed quadri (quadri.syed@epa.gov)
(312) 886-5736

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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