Jacksonville Seeking for Official Closure of City Landfill from IEPA

By Jeremy Coumbes on June 16, 2021 at 9:29am

The City of Jacksonville is again trying to convince the State of Illinois to officially close the city’s landfill that has not been used in decades.

The City is entering into an engineering agreement with Fehr Graham Engineering and Environmental to explore being able to officially close the municipal landfill located north of Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard says the engineering agreement will hopefully lead to considerable savings for the city.

Fehr Graham is a very reputable engineering and environmental firm. We worked with Joel Zirkle in the past. We feel very comfortable and love the track record that he has with helping folks get closure on landfills.

We feel that with the timing right now we need to take another crack at it because the lease is over $100,000 dollars a year, and we continue testing which adds up a dollar amount each year. We’ll work with the engineers and the team will try to figure out a game plan on how we can get closure on our long-time closed landfill.”

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency requires landfills go through a certain number of post-closure requirements before they can be considered fully closed and not cause a threat to the environment. Ezard says the City Street Department maintains the landfill and pumps liquid out as needed and well as general maintenance on the property.

Ezard says after discussing with the city’s consultant, Fehr Graham representative, and City Street Superintendent Les Ballenger, all agree that now is the right time to take another crack at obtaining certification from the IEPA on closing the landfill.

He says the owner of the property has said he appreciates the lease the city continues to pay on the ground, however, he has an interest in ending the lease and using the property for other means. Ezard says that can’t happen until the landfill is certified as closed. Ezard says testing is still regularly performed at the site in accordance with state regulations.

There’s a company PDC Labs that has a testing component and they go out and test quarterly and what they test is the leachate, which is the stuff that’s broken down over the years. Which impacts the groundwater from chloride, and has prompted things of higher readings, and if we get a lot of rain and do a lot of pumping then it goes down. And there’s things like dioxane and just all kinds of different chemicals from this leachate.

Now you wouldn’t know when you were out there on the property that there was even a landfill there if you didn’t know about it. The grass has taken over, there’s animals all over the place. It’s good hunting property and I know that’s why the landowner wants it in his hands because he wants to do something in regards to the hunting realm like an outfitter-type situation. But he can’t allow that right now until we get closure on this.”

According to the IEPA, Permitted landfills subject to closure and post-closure requirements are clearly not eligible for the Voluntary Site Remediation Program, however, a disposal site is eligible for the VSRP after it completes all of its post-closure requirements which take place over 15 or 30 years, depending on the type of landfill.