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Onalaska Municipal Landfill

Site Information
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (pastor.susan@epa.gov)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325

Remedial Project Manager
Demaree Collier (collier.demaree@epa.gov)
312-886-0214 or 800-621-8431, ext. 60214

Wisconsin DNR State Project Manager
Mae Willkom


(where to view written records)

Onalaska Public Library
741 Oak Ave. S,
Onalaska, Wis.

Holmen Area Library
103 State St.
Holmen, Wis.


The Onalaska Municipal Landfill site consists of a 7-acre landfill on an 11-acre parcel of property near the Black River in the rural, unincorporated town of Onalaska. The surrounding area consists primarily of agricultural lands, although several homes are located nearby. The landfill area was a sand and gravel quarry before the town used it as a municipal landfill from 1969 to 1980.  Municipal refuse was mixed with industrial solvents such as naphtha, toluene, and trichloroethene.

The cleanup, which consisted of a landfill cover, ground water pump and treat system, and a bioremediation system was completed in 1994.  The bioremediation system was shut down in 1998 and the ground water system was discontinued in 2001.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources assumed control of the site in 2002.

The cleanup has been reviewed three times to make sure people and the environment are still protected.  EPA and Wisconsin DNR are currently evaluating the need to have additional long-term institutional controls placed on the landfill property.

Site Updates | Latest Update | Technical Documents || Five-Year Reviews || Legal Agreements

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Site Updates

August 2015

EPA completed a review of the site's cleanup in 2013. This type of review is required at least every five years where the cleanup is complete but hazardous waste remains managed on-site. These reviews are done to ensure that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment.
The review included:

The review found the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment. The next scheduled review will be in 2018.
EPA, along with Wisconsin DNR, approved an amendment to the original cleanup plan to address the volatile organic compounds (trimethylbenzenes and naphthalene) that are still in the groundwater. The September 2012 plan allows for the groundwater pump and treat system to be permanently shut down and uses monitored natural attenuation to clean up VOCs in ground water. 

Two private water supply wells close to the landfill, which have high levels of manganese, were replaced as part of the amended cleanup plan.  The final plan is outlined in a document called the Record of Decision Amendment.

Also, EPA originally used Wisconsin’s Preventative Action Limits, or PALs, as its cleanup goals rather than the state’s Enforcement Standards described in Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 140.  Wisconsin NR 140 uses PALs as an indicator of potential groundwater contamination problems.  It also uses the Enforcement Standards as a compliance standard for human health and welfare concerns.  Wisconsin DNR has also found in many cases that achieving PALs is not technically or economically feasible.  The Enforcement Standards will now serve as the groundwater cleanup goals for this site. 

Technical Documents

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Five-Year Reviews

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Legal Agreements

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