Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 01


EPA ID# WID000712950
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Janesville Ash Beds Site is located on a 65-acre parcel of land in Rock County, Wisconsin. The parcel contains four different areas [two Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) sites and two Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) units]: the Janesville Ash Beds, the Old Dump, the Old Landfill, and the New Landfill.  All four sites have been combined as the Janesville Disposal Facility (JDF) and are being addressed jointly under CERCLA and RCRA. The Janesville Ash Beds site comprises five ash beds in an area of approximately 400 feet by 400 feet.  Industrial liquids and sludges were deposited in this area and allowed to evaporate. The resultant dried sludge was then disposed in two adjacent landfills: the Old Landfill, another National Priorities List (NPL) site, and the New Landfill, a RCRA-regulated unit.  Both are now closed.

The Site operated from 1974 to 1985. The primary contaminants in the groundwater downgradient of the site were volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, vinyl chloride, 1,1-dichloroethene, and 1,2-dichloroethene. The area surrounding the ash beds is industrial property and vacant land. There are no private residential wells or municipal supply wells in the line of the groundwater plume between the facility and the Rock River, the groundwater discharge point. However, approximately 12 residences exist within one-half mile, to the northwest of the site.

Site Responsibility

The Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), pursuant to a Consent Decreee (CD) with the U.S. EPA, performed the cleanup of the combined Janesville Disposal Facility sites.  The work peformed by the PRPs was approved by U.S. EPA, with the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

Threats and Contaminants

All four facilities contributed to contamination of the air, groundwater, sediments, soil, and surface water in their vicinity. Methane gas was been detected in the air at the disposal facility; soil and groundwater are contaminated with VOCs such as tetrachlorethene, trichloroethene and dichloroethene; and surface water in the Rock River contained low levels of VOCs.  Although small amounts of contaminants were found in the Rock River and the onsite pond, these contaminants pose a very low health risk.  Contaminants found in the soil and groundwater may pose a threat, if individuals accidentally ingest or come into direct contact with those contaminants. 

Cleanup Progress

Prior to closure, the city of Janesville excavated several thousand tons of contaminated material from the ash beds. Some of the material was incorporated into neighboring landfills, including the Janesville Old Landfill Superfund site.  Some was disposed at private hazardous waste facilities.

The city of Janesville backfilled the ash beds with sand and capped the area with two feet of clay.  In September 1991, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs), including the city of Janesville and 60 industrial parties, signed a consent decree (CD) under joint RCRA/CERCLA authorities for cleanup of the entire Janesville Disposal Facility, including the Janesville Ash Beds site. Since that time, the PRP group has removed all remaining ash stockpiles for disposal and seeded, graded, and maintained the clay cap. Groundwater, adjacent to the site, has improved greatly due to the removal of source material; a private groundwater treatment system, operated at the Parker Pen facility nearby; and natural attenuation. The record of decision (ROD) and CD require groundwater treatment if certain standards are exceeded. 

On September 17, 1997, U.S. EPA issued an explanation of significant differences (ESD), explaining a change to the ROD for this site.  Based upon improvements in the levels of groundwater contamination downgradient of the site, U.S. EPA and the State of Wisconsin determined that: (1) groundwater extraction and treatment are not necessary to achieve regulatory requirements and to protect public health and the environment and (2) these goals can be achieved by monitored natural attenuation of groundwater.

On September 18, 1997, U.S. EPA signed a preliminary site close-out report, documenting that all construction activities for the JDF Site were completed and "No Further Response Action" anticipated. U.S. EPA has  periodically reviewed monitoring data to assess whether natural attenuation is reducing contaminant levels in a satisfactory manner.  A five-year review for the combined JDF was completed in September 2001.  The five-year review determined that the landfill is in good condition, the gas collection system is in good working order and contamination in groundwater, although still above cleanup goals, is decreasing due to natural attenuation.  Groundwater conditions will continue to be monitored.

Due to elevated methane in gas probes near the perimeter of the site, the landfill gas system recovery system was evaluated and upgraded in 2005.  Evaluation of the enhanced system over the course of two annual monitoring periods confirms the effectiveness of the enhancements.  A remedial action completion report for the site was completed in July 2008.

The second five-year review of the JDF was completed in September 2006.  The five-year review concluded that the remedy at the JDF remains protective of human health and the environment.  The five-year review recommended a follow-up evaluation of the contribution to site VOCs at the Parker Pen facility.  It also recommended exploration of a possible enhancement to the effective institutional controls that are in place at the site.

The third five-year review of the JDF was completed in August in 2011.  The five-year review concluded that: the remedy is protective of human health and the environment; all immediate human health threats have been addressed; there are no unacceptable exposures to site-related contaminants; the landfill cap and gas collection and treatment systems continue to prevent exposure to waste materials and minimize the flow of water through the waste mass; natural attenuation processes appear to be controlling and reducing groundwater contaminant concentrations; and all necessary institutional controls are in place and functioning as designed and are appropriately monitored and enforced.

A Five Year Groundwater Assessment was completed by the Janesville PRP Group in April 2011.  The Five Year Groundwater Assessment recommended that the current compliance monitoring program be discontinued and a three-year confirmation monitoring program, as described in Section VI of the Consent Decree, be initiated.  U.S. EPA is reviewed and approved the PRPs recommendation in July 2012.

The site continues to be managed by the City of Janesville for the PRP Group.  The fourth five-year review is scheduled to be completed in August 2016.


Community Involvement

The JDF Situation Assessment was completed with the assistance and input of the City of Janesville.

Property Reuse

The JDF Site lies entirely within the boundaries of the city of Janesville, Wisconsin.  The City of Janesville Public Works Department, acting as the agent for the PRP group, monitors and maintains the Site.  Institutional controls prohibit any use of the site inconsistent with the operation of the site remedies.

In 2010 U.S. EPA completed a Situation Assessment of the JDF, concluding that, if the type and location of site restricitons and oppportunities can be clarified, the JDF could be redeveloped to support community recreation, new industry, wildlife habitat or a combination of all three uses.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
thomas barounis (barounis.thomas@epa.gov)
(312) 353-5577

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

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


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.