Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# MID000775957
Last Updated: January, 2012

Site Description

The Michigan Disposal (Cork Street Landfill) site is located in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.  It is a 68-acre landfill, located in a predominantly industrial and commercial area of Kalamazoo.  From 1925 to 1961, the site was operated as a waste disposal facility.  In 1961, the City of Kalamazoo purchased the property and used it for municipal waste disposal until 1968.  Prior to 1968, waste was burned in an onsite incinerator, and the ash was buried in the landfill.  The city continued to use the site until 1981 when Dispose-O-Waste, now Michigan Disposal Service, Inc., purchased the facility.  Michigan Disposal Service, Inc. received a permit from the State of Michigan to operate the site as a Type III landfill.

In 1991, under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) oversight and pursuant to an October 1987 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), the City of Kalamazoo and the owner completed a study which found volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including toluene, xylene, benzene, and the heavy metals arsenic and lead, in onsite monitoring wells.  A creek adjacent to the site showed elevated levels of lead and iron.  In 1992, the facility was shut down by State Order.

The population within a three-mile radius of the site is approximately 50,000 people.  The closest residence is located one-half mile from the site.  Approximately 30 private water wells and two municipal water wells operate within two miles of the landfill.  The municipal wells provide water for fire protection and are on stand-by status as drinking water sources.  Davis Creek flows along a portion of the eastern site boundary and also flows into the Kalamazoo River, which is used for recreational purposes. 

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed by the sole Potentially Responsible Party (PRP), the City of Kalamazoo, under a Consent Decree with USEPA.  A PRP is a party that the EPA believes may be legally responsible for the site's contamination.  The Consent Decree (CD) is a legal agreement between the PRP and EPA in which the PRP agreed to conduct cleanup activities at the site.

Threats and Contaminants

VOCs, including toluene, xylene, and benzene, and the heavy metals, arsenic and lead, were detected in onsite monitoring wells.  A creek adjacent to the site showed elevated levels of lead and iron.  Davis Creek and the Kalamazoo River may be threatened by site contaminants.  Potential health risks exist for individuals who accidentally ingest the contaminated groundwater or surface water.

Cleanup Progress

The U.S. EPA selected the final cleanup remedy in September 1991.  The remedy includes placing a solid waste cap on the entire site and pumping and treating the contaminated groundwater and discharging it to a publicly-owned wastewater treatment facility.  In March 1997 the City of Kalamazoo and the Michigan Disposal Service entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) to perform a predesign study, intended to define the extent of the groundwater contamination.  Consent Decree negotiations for design and construction of the remedy, which were suspended to allow the City and the Michigan Disposal Service an opportunity to resolve allocation issues, were concluded by May 1998.  Field work for the predesign studies and final remedial design were completed in December 1999.  Remedial Action activities for the selected remedy started in April 2000 and were completed in July 2002. 

The remedy for the Michigan Disposal Service Superfund Site consists of a re-compacted clay layer, 24 inch protection layer, 6 inch vegetation layer and gas vents over a 22 acre portion of the landfill; and a new cap over the remaining 30 acres including a 6 inch vegetation layer, 24 inch frost protection layer, geosynthetic clay liner and gas venting layer.  The remedy includes a RCRA Subtitle D cover for waste materials surface containment, an extension of the leachate collection system, and monitoring wells for periodic monitoring in accordance with the Groundwater/Surface Water Interface Monitoring Plan.  Remedial action institutional controls (ICs) include fencing; signage; notice to future property owners; and deed restrictions to regulate development and groundwater use.  

Inspections of the landfill are conducted on a quarterly basis.   Areas throughout the landfill are examined to ensure the various components of the landfill cover system are operational.  The PRPs report to U.S. EPA quarterly about activities conducted pursuant to the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Plan for the Closure Cover, Surface Water Management System, Leachate Collection System, Landfill Gas Monitoring System, Wetlands Mitigation and the Groundwater Surface Water Interface Monitoring Plan.  The PRPs submitted a revised Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) to cover the O&M sampling and this plan was approved by the U.S. EPA in July 2006.

Since hazardous materials remain onsite, the first statutory five-year review was completed in December 2004. The five-year review found that the remedy was properly constructed and is functioning as designed.  The immediate threats have been addressed and the remedy is expected to be protective as long as it is maintained and monitored, and the Institutional Control (IC) plan is implemented.  The old galvanized steel monitoring wells were replaced with PVC wells, and landfill gas probes were installed in 2005.  To address concerns raised by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) regarding the potential onsite seep, a sampling program was developed in 2006.  The results from the sampling event did not exceed human health or ecological risk-based criteria.  These sampling results were discussed and evaluated in the second five-year review report, which was completed on September 30, 2010.  The second five-year review found that the remedy is functioning as designed and is protective of human health and the environment in the short-term.  Long-term protectiveness requires an evaluation of ICs and the lateral extent of methane gas migration to determine if a more aggressive landfill gas system is required.

The PRP, U.S. EPA, and MDEQ are continuing to evaluate the monitoring program with expectation of possibly modifying the monitoring program.  A groundwater trend analysis was performed by the PRPs.  The U.S. EPA, in consultation with MDEQ, are presently evaluating the request to modify the long-term response action (LTRA) monitoring program.  The PRPs have asked to abandon several monitoring wells. 

Property Reuse

The 26-acre site is currently not being used and is fenced.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
Karen Mason-Smith (mason-smith.karen@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6150

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
dave novak
(312) 886-7478




Site Profile Information

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


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.