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Land and Lakes Gets IEPA Clearance

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced Jan. 13 that Buffalo Grove's landfill no longer requires monitoring. Village officials say the decision means the property can be redeveloped.

Post-closure care will end at Buffalo Grove’s Land and Lakes landfill, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Jan. 13, paving the way for commercial development plans to begin at the northeast end of the village.

In a 19-page responsiveness summary, IEPA officials said that the facility has met the state’s environmental requirements and will no longer be required to monitor groundwater or maintain the cover system of the landfill, which last accepted waste in 1994 and closed the next year. The site then underwent the minimum 15 years of post-closure monitoring required by the state.

The IEPA further stated that the landfill’s "groundwater monitoring wells, piezometers, leachate collection wells and gas vents were properly plugged and abandoned" after the agency determined that Land and Lakes had met its criteria and resolved all questions from the IEPA’s technical staff. (See the attached PDF for the complete report.)

The report, originally scheduled for release in January 2011, was issued after a . Additional data was collected and examined during that time.

The IEPA’s report includes responses to questions and concerns raised during a public comment period in late 2010. It states that results from a preliminary study commissioned by Buffalo Grove did not play a role in its decision. Instead, the IEPA “relied on information collected from quarterly groundwater monitoring of the landfill during the entire post-closure care period as well as the application for completion of post-closure care.”

Several pages of the report address concerns about the presence of phenol, a toxin that was detected in groundwater during some tests on the site. In its response, the IEPA noted that “phenol has been detected only sporadically at this facility and at low concentrations ... below the Class II groundwater quality standard.”

Concerns about possible contamination were expressed at a , held at the request of former Trustee Lisa Stone. Stone has voiced a number of concerns related to conditions at the landfill during the past couple of years, and this month to the IEPA.

Stone could not immediately be reached for response to the IEPA’s decision on Jan. 13. In a press release issued on her behalf just an hour before the IEPA's announcement, Stone said she remains concerned about the safety of the site.

"We can’t let this potential time bomb sit there. We need to make sure that the area is clean, that there are no toxic substances polluting the ground and water of current residents and future generations," she said.

At the 2010 public hearing, Deputy Village Manager Ghida Neukirch addressed IEPA officials on behalf of the village, asking that post-closure care end so that the 60 acres at 1300 Milwaukee Ave. can be developed. 

Buffalo Grove Village Manager Dane Bragg said the agency’s decision is “a significant step toward the redevelopment of the property.”

“This is a major hurdle for us to clear,” he said. “The next steps for them will be to develop a marketing plan and work with the village to market the site. I think it opens up some great opportunities for the village and Land and Lakes.”

Neukirch said that the property is already zoned for commercial use. She said she envisions a retail development that will include big-box retailers, restaurants, a hotel and office space.

Despite the challenging economy, “we do have a lot of leads for that site,” she said.

“If it was up to us, they would be before the board right now. We are working with Land and Lakes and we would like to see the property developed as expeditiously as possible,” she said.

Buffalo Grove Village President Jeff Braiman said he was pleased by the IEPA’s decision. He said its commercial development will generate additional sales tax revenue for the village. 

The IEPA’s decision, he said, is “not surprising to me because if you followed it, their testing didn’t show anything abnormal. There’s nothing in the documentation from the IEPA in the last two years that was concerning.”

“The whole controversy behind it, hopefully that’s behind us and we can move on to other things,” he said.

Dr. Michael Glaskin-Clay January 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Our village nightmare is finally over?
niki January 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Good to know. Therefore, I now will know where not to purchase in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Bravo, Buffalo Grove, Illinois. You've overdeveloped (several of the prairie areas have been destroyed by your allowing the development of cheaply constructed condos) and I don't know if you noticed, many of the retail outlets in Buffalo Grove, Illinois have either relocated or have gone out of business. So...who will be crazy enough to pay for this development? I guess you're thinking this will generate oodles of tax-payer dollars for Buffalo Grove, IL. I doubt it. I know, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" and that's exactly what I'm attempting to do. Outrageous property taxes and zip community services has made me aware that this my only alternative. I WANT OUT OF BUFFALO GROVE, ILLINOIS.
StandToReason January 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Anyone seen Erica? I miss her comments on the landfill...
Abigail January 13, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I'll help you pack. I would rather have people who like our community as neighbors than people who complain about it, so the sooner you leave--the better.
Lisa Stone April 05, 2012 at 11:56 PM
The Land & Lakes Landfill (Lake County) was permitted for approximately 32 acres in 1981 and IEPA recently granted said approximate 32 acres "closure" which was reported in the IEPA Responsiveness Summary on January 13, 2012. Why then does the Andrews Engineering Report (representing L&L) indicate in their July 2011, published 106 page Report, that there are 40.8 Acres of Landfill(s) in the "area" labeled "830" which we understood to contain approximately 32 acres of landfill? Where are the other approximate 8.8 acres that the public isn't aware of in the area labeled "830"? Permit, Regulations & Groundwater monitoring would be the immediate concerns that come to mind. http://buffalogrove.patch.com/articles/former-trustee-creates-a-stir-at-village-board-meeting#pdf-9508317

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