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Congressional District # 07


EPA ID# IND980607360
Last Updated: November, 2014

Site Description

The Southside Sanitary Landfill (SSL) occupies 312 acres in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. The SSL facility is located on the west bank of the White River, one-half mile south of the intersection of Kentucky and Warman Road. The site location is approximately 4.5 miles southwest of downtown Indianapolis. The boundaries of the site include Eagle Creek to the east, White River to the south, portions of Starkis Lake, and a Martin Marietta limestone mine to the west. The SSL is an active solid waste disposal facility that began landfill activities in 1971. In 1974, the local government licensed the northern side of the site for disposal of solid waste. The first excavated area was filled by dumping refuse and covering with a layer of soil. A second disposal area was excavated 150 feet to the south. 

Approximately 7,000 to 8,000 people live within a 3-mile radius of the site and use the groundwater as a drinking water supply. The distance from the site to the nearest residence is two miles. Nearby Eagle Creek, White River, and Fall Creek are used for recreational activities. An estimated four million cubic yards of waste, including coal tar, asbestos, iron oxide and clarifier sludges, and paint waste, were buried at the landfill. Access to the site is restricted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in June 1986 and finalized the site on the NPL in March 1989.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater is contaminated with heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, cadmium, and nickel. On-site soils are contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  However, remedial measures implemented at the site (discussed below) are adequately preventing any exposure to the site contamination.

Cleanup Progress

In 1986, the SSL owners signed an Agreed Order (AO) with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to construct both a hydraulic cut-off barrier (known as a slurry wall) and a leachate collection system, in order to isolate the groundwater beneath the landfill from the surrounding groundwater. Thus, contaminated groundwater is prevented from leaving the site and the potential threat to the surrounding media has been eliminated. Additionally, the AO included a performance monitoring network, cover and grading requirements, operating procedures, closure and post-closure procedures and requirements, and the establishment of both closure and post-closure funds. The established well network monitors groundwater levels and quality both inside and outside the slurry wall. 

A Remedial Investigation (RI) was conducted between January 1992 and November 1993. The RI results and risk assessment evaluation established that the chemical contamination discovered at the site, with existing remedial measures in place, does not pose unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. The RI concluded that the remedial measures implemented per the 1986 AO were adequately protecting the surrounding media from the landfill contamination. Based on the RI conclusions, IDEM signed a Record of Decision (ROD) in September 1995 that selected a "No Further Action" remedy. Since 1986, the 1986 AO has served as the operating permit for the site. EPA deleted the site from the NPL on July 3, 1997. 

IDEM, in conjunction with EPA, completed five-year reviews for the site in September 2000 and September 2005, and both reviews found that the site remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. The Second Five-Year Review Report, completed on September 20, 2005, documented that the remedial measures implemented at the site remained protective of human health and the environment. The site was found to be in compliance with all applicable requirements in Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) 329 10-13-4 and the Site's Solid Waste Permit No. FP 49-01. The 2005 Five-Year Review found that the selected remedial measures currently in place, including the slurry wall, leachate collection systems, and performance monitoring system, were functioning as anticipated. The remedy was found to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term due to effective implementation of permit requirements at the site. Implementation and compliance with the site permit No. FP 49-01 requirements were considered to be an effective monitoring tool to mitigate any unforeseen actions at the site during the life of the permit. A review of the permit requirements indicated that the site operators were in compliance with federal and state landfill regulations. The 2005 Five-Year Review Report noted that, in the long term, the landfill will be subject to closure and post-closure procedures and requirements. The 2005 report documented that to ensure the long-term protectiveness of the remedial measures currently in place and to meet the closoure and post-closure requirements, the owners were required to implement an environmental easement/restrictive covenant (ERC) on the site property under authority of Indiana Code Section 13-25-4-24. 

As recommended in the 2005 Five-Year Review, IDEM submitted an Institutional Control (IC) plan for the site on November 5, 2008. The 2008 IC Plan determined that in the short term, the operating permit and the State statutes and regulations governing landfills serve as effective governmental ICs enforceable by IDEM to prevent interference with the remedy and to prevent inappropriate action that would threaten measures currently in place at the site. In the long term, the permit is a direct source of enforceable authority for proprietary ICs to be placed on the facility upon final closure of the landfill. The site's ICs, in the form of the permit and governmental controls (including Final Closure Certification to be required upon final closure), have been reviewed and evaluated by EPA. The ICs have been found to be in place and effective at the site, and the site achieved the Sitewide Ready for Reuse measure in September 2011.

The remedy at the site was conducted under the authority of the State of Indiana, and the site has been deleted from the NPL and is operating under a RCRA permit monitored by the State. Based on an evaluation of all of the above actions, EPA has determined that additional five-year reviews for the site are not warranted at this time.   

Property Reuse


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
linda kern (kern.linda@epa.gov)
(312) 886-7341

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




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


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