MPCA maintains regular monitoring of landfill

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 7/1/97.

With work completed on closing the Paynesville Landfill, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has maintained a regular testing of the wells.

Nils Fellow, MPCA, said work on properly closing the landfill was completed last August. ďThe gas vents and wells are working,Ē he said. The MPCA did ground water monitoring in the fall and again this spring.

ďIn the meantime weíre watching the grass grow, trying to establish a suitable ground cover for the landfill,Ē he added.

Ingrid Verhagen, hydrogeologist with the technical assistance closure unit of the MPCA, reported the wells were sampled twice in 1996 and thus far only once in 1997.

ďWe are very happy with the test results and hope the levels keep dropping with time,Ē she said. ďThe only contamination was concentrated in one well, the closest to the waste pile. The gas vents are working and you can only smell them if you are on-site,Ē Verhagen said.

The only compound exceeding the health risk limit in 1996 at the Paynesville Landfill was vinyl chloride. The standard is .02 ug/l. The amount recorded in the April testing was 1.8 and in the November sample, .45. When making a comparison with 1995, it reveals that the impact of vinyl chloride had been reduced to the one well.

Verhagen said she wasnít concerned with the manganese levels as they are a naturally occurring compound. Only one well contained any significant readings, the same well that recorded the vinyl chloride. The impact to manganese was only on the slopes.

Verhagen said the next testing would take place in July or August. She expects each testing to be lower than the last as time passes.


The Paynesville Landfill was first permitted to accept waste in July of 1976 and operated until May 1, 1989. The landfill contained about 870,000 yards of waste when it closed. Groundwater contamination was identified prior to its closing.

When the 59-acre landfill closed, the area, under a stipulation agreement, received three feet of cover.

In May of 1996, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency monitored the official closure of the landfill. Mathiowetz Construction, Sleepy Eye, was the low bidder on the project.

Garbage pile were consolidated and a and a liner placed on top the landfill with extra top soil. The new cover system was to stop further groundwater contam-ination. The MPCA will continue monitoring the landfill wells, model contaminant behavior on the slopes direction, and monitor area residential wells.

A gas venting system was installed to help maintain proper gas levels. Besides the 11 gas events, two outlets were installed to release surface water into ditches around the landfill. The plans also called for a 200-foot buffer zone around the landfill.

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