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Congressional District # 06


EPA ID# WID980901243
Last Updated: December, 2014

Site Description

The 21-acre Lemberger Landfill, Inc. Site (LL site) is located in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, approximately one-quarter mile from the affiliated Lemberger Transport and Recycling Site (LTR site). Both sites are on the National Priorities List. The LL and LTR sites are also near the active Ridgeview Landfill. Farm and wide-spaced rural residences that utilize groundwater for drinking are near the LL site, and the area is used for hunting. Part of the site is bordered by a marsh, and wetland vegetation occupies low-lying areas of the site. The nearby Branch River is used for swimming, fishing, and canoeing. 

The LL site was formerly a gravel pit, and was used as a township dump from 1940 to 1970. Lemberger Landfill, Inc. operated the Lemberger Landfill as a sanitary landfill under a license from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) from 1969 to 1976. An estimated 1,750 to 2,500 cubic yards of fly ash were disposed in the landfill each month. In 1980, WDNR responded to complaints by nearby residents that leachate from the landfill had seeped onto their properties. Lemberger Landfill, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 1983. In 1985, volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination, including 1,1,1-trichloroethane and trichloroethylene, was detected in seven residential wells northwest of the site at levels that exceeded drinking water standards.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the LL site for the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1985 and finalized the site on the NPL in June 1986. 

Site Responsibility

In 1985, WDNR replaced residential wells where VOCs were detected with much deeper wells. EPA funded the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study. A group of potentially responsible parties known as the Lemberger Site Remediation Group (LSRG) have implemented the cleanup actions under EPA and WDNR oversight.  

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater contaminated by VOCs, including 1,1,1-trichloroethane and trichloroethylene, extends about one mile to the northwest from the site. VOCs that were present in the shallow groundwater near the site have attenuated. The deeper groundwater contamination appears to originate from the LTR site and not the LL site. Health threats from direct contact with waste, leachate, and contaminated soil have been addressed by construction of a slurry wall to contain the contaminated shallow groundwater and a multilayer soil cover over the landfill, and by withdrawal of leachate.

Cleanup Progress

In 1985, WDNR installed replacement wells for seven residences. The replacement wells draw water from a deeper groundwater source, approximately 250 feet below ground surface. 

From 1987 to 1991, EPA conducted a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site and to identify cleanup alternatives to address site risks. In 1991, EPA signed a record of decision that selected the final remedy for the site. The selected remedy includes deed restrictions and the following constructed components: a fence around the site; a slurry wall to contain the contaminated shallow groundwater; a multi-layer soil cover over the landfill; a leachate withdrawal system; and a groundwater pump-and-treat system combined with the system for the LTR site. In 1992, the LSRG entered into a consent decree with EPA to implement the site remedy. In 1997, the LSRG completed construction of the remedy and started operation of the leachate withdrawal and pump-and-treat systems. In 2001, the LSRG added four additional pumping wells to the groundwater pump-and-treat system and operated the system until August 2006. 

From August 2006 through August 2008, the LSRG performed a monitored natural attenuation (MNA) study, which included a temporary shutdown of the pump-and-treat system. From December 2008 through December 2009, the LSRG conducted a study of the need for continued leachate withdrawal, which included shutdown of the leachate withdrawal system. EPA has allowed continued shutdown of the pump-and-treat system because operating the existing system provides little benefit. 

EPA conducted a five-year review of the site remedy in 2010. In the five-year review, EPA made a number of determinations, largely based on the MNA study, including the following: the groundwater monitoring plans needed to be updated; the existing pump-and-treat system had limited effectiveness because a substantial amount of highly-contaminated groundwater from the LTR site was not being captured; there were deficiencies in operation of the pump-and-treat system; release of VOCs to groundwater from the LTR site will continue for a very long period of time; it would not be appropriate for EPA to accept MNA as the major component of the groundwater cleanup based on information available at that time; contaminant entry into Branch Creek needed to be evaluated; leachate withdrawal requirements needed to be reviewed; and options to improve the pump-and-treat system needed to be evaluated. WDNR staff determined that contaminant migration into Branch Creek will not cause a significant threat to fish or wildlife.  

EPA and the State have been re-evaluating the existing data, and the LSRG installed several additional monitoring wells at the site during 2012/2013. A more thorough MNA study was initiated during the spring of 2013 and is expected to continue approximately two years. EPA and the State expect to use the additional data to make a decision on whether MNA is a viable remedy for the remaining groundwater contamination at the site. 

The next five-year review for the site is scheduled to be completed by mid-July 2015.

Community Involvement


Property Reuse

The site owner entered an Environmental Protection Easement and Declaration of Restrictive Covenant with the LSRG restricting usage of groundwater and disturbance of soils. Groundwater in the vicinity of the contaminant plume is restricted through State of Wisconsin Regulation NR 812.09. 


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
demaree collier (collier.demaree@epa.gov)
(312) 886-0214

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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