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Congressional District # 01


EPA ID# WID980614044
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Janesville Old Landfill is on a 65-acre parcel of land, located 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 Old Landfill operated from 1963 to 1978 and occupies approximately 18 acres.  A residential neighborhood is located approximately one-quarter mile to the east of the site.  The Janesvillle Old Landfill site is an abandoned sand and gravel pit that was used as a municipal sanitary landfill which also accepted drummed wastes, including solvents, used oils, paints, paint thinners, and other industrial wastes.  The landfill also accepted dried sludges from the Janesville Ash Beds Superfund site.  There are no private residential wells or municipal supply wells in the line of the groundwater plume between the landfill and the primary groundwater discharge point, the Rock River, 1,500 feet west of the site. 

Site Responsibility

This potentially responsible parties (PRPs) who signed a Consent Decree with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) performed the cleanup of the combined Janesville Disposal Facility Sites.  The work performed by the PRPs in response to the requirements of the CD was overseen, reviewed and approved by the 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 detected in the air at the disposal facility; soil and groundwater are contaminated with VOCs such as tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene and dichloroethene; and surface water in the Rock River contained low levels of VOCs.  Small amounts of contaminants were found in the Rock River and the onsite pond; however, along with the air contamination, these contaminants pose a very low health risk.  Contaminants in the soil and groundwater may pose a threat if individuals accidentally ingest or come into direct contact with contaminants.

Cleanup Progress

Following closure of the landfill in 1978, the city of Janesville placed two feet of clay over the landfill.  In September 1991, U.S. EPA and a PRPs, including the city of Janesville and 60 industrial parties, signed a consent decree (CD) under joint RCRA/CERCLA authorities for final cleanup of the entire Janesville Disposal Facility, including the Janesville Old Landfill site.  Since that time, the PRP group has regraded the site and installed a cap which meets state and federal regulations, including installation of a gas collection system. I n spring 1997, the PRPs completed the final seeding of the cap. On June 26, 1997, U.S. EPA conducted a final inspection and determined that all construction activities for the landfill were completed.  Groundwater has improved greatly due to the removal of source material at the adjacent Janesville Ash Beds; 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 and gas system is in good working order and contamination in groundwater is decreasing due to natural attenuation, but is still above cleanup goals. 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 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 followup 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 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. EPA 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.


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