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Congressional District # 01


EPA ID# MND000874354
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Olmsted County Sanitary Landfill occupies approximately 52 acres of a 304-acre property located in Olmsted County, Minnesota, approximately three miles north of the City of Rochester.  The landfill  began operation around 1970 and accepted mixed municipal solid waste, as well as commercial and industrial solid waste, until 1987.  In 1987, the landfill was closed to all except for demoliton debris and ash from the Rochester Public Utilities power plant.  Final closure of the landfill began in 1993.  Land use surrounding the landfill is predominantly agricultural and residential.  A quarry is located to the west of the site.  Several hundred people live within one mile of the site and use private wells.  

Site Responsibility

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is the lead agency for the site.  MPCA currently manages the site as part of its Closed Landfill Program. 

Threats and Contaminants

In the past, groundwater was contaminated with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals.  

Cleanup Progress

The site was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1986.  In 1989, MPCA signed a Consent Order with Olmsted County, requiring the county to investigate contamination at the site and to conduct cleanup activities. The County initiated a study of contamination at the site in early 1991, which included analysis of groundwater, surface water, and sediments.  In 1993, the County also conducted a dye-tracing study to identify the flow pattern of groundwater in and around the site.  The landfill was found to have some impact on the Prairie du Chien aquifer at the site, in an area close to the landfill.  However, this aquifer already did not meet area-wide water quality standards for drinking water, due primarily to nitrogen and chloride from agricultural practices.  The deeper aquifer, in the Jordan Sandstone, was not impacted.  No contaminants were found in residential wells at levels higher than background levels.  

In 1994, EPA determined that no remedial action was needed at the site beyond what would be required under State laws and regulations.  Also in 1994, under a waste permit issued by the State, the landfill was capped and a leachate collection system was installed.  EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1995. 

Ongoing landfill maintenance is conducted by MPCA under its Closed Landfill Program.  Under this program, the landfill is maintained and landfill gas and groundwater are monitored.  The property is owned by the State, and land-use controls and groundwater restrictions are in place.   In recent years, on-site groundwater has contained manganese at levels above the Minnesota Department of Health's Health Risk Levels. MPCA continues to monitor the groundwater at the site. Contaminants are not detected in surrounding residential wells, and off-site groundwater does not exceed drinking water standards. MPCA has established a Groundwater Area of Concern and a Methane Gas Area of Concern at the site for added protection.

Property Reuse

In 2008, MPCA signed a long-term lease with the Rochester Aero Model Society for operation of a radio-controlled model airplane flying facility on the southwestern portion of the site.  This part of the site is not within the waste footprint.  In 2011, MPCA also signed a long-term lease with Olmstead Landfill Solar, LLC, for potential future development of a solar energy facility on one of the waste cells at the property.  Finally, Olmsted County also adopted a new zoning area for the site called Closed Landfill Restricted in 2011.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leah evison (evison.leah@epa.gov)
(312) 886-2064

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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