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Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# MID980506463
Last Updated: June, 2015

Site Description

The K & L Avenue Landfill is a former sanitary landfill, covering 87 acres in Oshtemo Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. The site served as a local garbage dump for the township from the 1960s until 1968, when it became the county sanitary landfill. Approximately five million cubic yards of solid waste were disposed of at the site. The landfill was closed in 1979, after contaminants were found in residential wells. Approximately 11,000 people live within three miles of the landfill. The area surrounding the site is rural and residential. The nearest residence is adjacent to the site. The landfill is located about 200 feet southwest of Bonnie Castle Lake and one mile east of Dustin Lake. Both bodies of water are used for recreation, including fishing. 

Site Responsibility

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

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.  All affected water wells have been replaced with deeper wells that draw from the lower, uncontaminated aquifer or with city water lines.  Groundwater movement is monitored to ensure that no residential wells are impacted by site-related contaminants.  Therefore, the groundwater presently poses no immediate threat to public health. 

Cleanup Progress

In 1980 and 1981, the County of Kalamazoo either installed new wells or provided connections to a public water supply for residences affected by contaminants from the landfill. 

In 1990, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site and selected cleanup remedies to address the contamination. These remedies were documented in a Record of Decision (ROD), and they included: continued monitoring of groundwater, surface water, and air; deed restrictions to prevent the use of the shallow aquifer as a drinking water source; groundwater extraction and treatment; fencing of the site; deed restrictions to prevent the construction of buildings on the site or adjacent to the site; installation of a landfill cap; and installation and monitoring of gas vents throughout the landfill. 

The remedy selected in 1990 was subsequently put on hold while the site was investigated by the PRPs under a Consent Decree to determine the feasibility of natural attenuation / bioremediation at the site. These studies evaluated whether bioremediation or natural attenuation, which rely on naturally-occurring organisms to address groundwater contamination, would be a more effective alternative. The PRPs expanded the studies to investigate the potential for natural attenuation of the landfilled waste as well.  Field work for this re-evaluation began in 1993.

In 1999, additional homes were placed on the municipal water supply by the PRPs after several wells in a subdivision near the site were found to be contaminated.  All affected homes were hooked up to municipal water, and a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program was initiated to detect any future contamination of wells.

A ROD Amendment was signed in 2003 to address the need for additional homes to be hooked up to municipal water. The hookups were completed by the end of 2004.  The amendment also included a requirement for a municipal water service zone, or other institutional controls, within and around the area affected by the contamination.

On September 12, 2005, EPA amended the ROD a second time, to replace the active groundwater pump and treat remedy with a monitored natural attenuation cleanup plan. The amendment also changed several design requirements for the landfill cap, and revised the boundaries of the municipal water service zone.  A second amendment to the Consent Decree was signed on July 23, 2007, and lodged in federal court on Setpember 21, 2007. 

Construction of the landfill cap began in the fall of 2005, and the pre-final inspection was completed in October 2006. A Preliminary Close-out Report was signed by EPA on December 20, 2006. The final inspection took place in April 2007, and the Construction Completion Report for the remedy was approved in June 2007. The landfill is currently in the Operation and Maintenance phase, whereby the landfill components (landfill cap, storm water management system, passive gas vents, and perimeter gas monitoring probes) are routinely inspected and repairs are made, if needed.  In March 2008, the passive gas vents were converted to an active gas extraction system to address methane gas generation at the landfill and assist in the overall remedy performance.

Groundwater is sampled semi-annually to continue to monitor the degradation of contaminants in the groundwater. 

A first five-year review of the site remedy was completed in May 2009.  The review concluded that the remedy was protective of human health and the enviornment, but that future protectiveness would be acheived when the county-wide groundwater use ordinance was in place.  This ordinance would require residents to abandon potable use of existing private drinking water wells and connect to the city water supply.

From 2010 to 2013, the PRPs continued with semi-annual and annual sampling of residential wells to ensure that drinking water was safe to drink.  The PRPs also performed additional groundwater investigations and continued groundwater sampling at other wells to monitor the effectiveness of the monitored natural attenuation remedy. 

In June 2013, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) which, under certain conditions, would allow residents within the proposed Groundwater Restricted Use Zone (GRUZ) to continue using their drinking water wells instead of being required to abandon their well once the groundwater ordinance is adopted.

A second five-year review was completed in May 2014.   This review concluded that the PRPs would need to conduct additional groundwater investigations and other work before EPA could make a protectiveness determination for the remedy.  The investigations and other work are expected to be completed in 2015/early 2016.   EPA will make a protectiveness determination by June 2016. 

In October 2014, the PRPs submitted a formal application to Kalamazoo County to establish a GRUZ.  On June 2, 2015, Kalamazoo County held a formal public hearing to allow residents to comment on the PRPs' application and proposed GRUZ.  Once Kalamazoo County approves the GRUZ, a groundwater ordinance will be adopted, and all residents within the GRUZ will be required to abandon their drinking water wells and connect to City water.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
shari kolak (kolak.shari@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6151

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
teresa jones
(312) 886-0725




Site Profile Information

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


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