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Atkinson Landfill to test leachate water for contamination

There’s concern in the Village of Atkinson that violations at the Atkinson Landfill Company, may have compromised leachate water around the landfill.

On Monday, the Village of Atkinson Board of Trustees approved a bid from TEST, Inc. for leachate testing. According to an EPA Manual on Ground Water and Leachate Treatment Systems, leachate is defined as any contaminated liquid that is generated from water percolating through a solid waste disposal site, accumulating contaminants and moving into subsurface areas. Leachate can migrate and contaminate subsurface and surface waters.

The Board of Trustees says the tests could be done in the next couple of weeks. The test will look for about 40 substances including Ammonia, Arsenic, Barium, Cyanide, Copper, Nickel, Iron, Lead, and many more.

“We’re gonna test this leachate and there’s gonna be stuff in it, I’ll guarantee you, but you can test your drinking water too and there’s gonna be stuff in it. It’s just the level of contaminants as to whether it would be safe to run through our sewer system,” said the Village of Atkinson Mayor Ken Taber.

A February 28, 2011 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 811 Solid Waste Landfill Inspection Checklist found 23 different violations at the Atkinson Landfill Company including cause, threaten, or allow water pollution in Illinois, create a water pollution hazard, refuse in standing or flowing water, leachate flows entering waters of the state, leachate flows exiting the landfill confines, uncovered refuse remaining from any previous operating day or at the conclusion of any operating day, failure to submit reports required by permits or board regulations, groundwater monitoring program requirements, general requirements for leachate treatment and disposal system, standards for leachate storage system, standards for leachate monitoring systems, leachate drainage system, leachate collection system, and leachate collection pipes.

A May 7, 2013 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 811 Solid Waste Landfill Inspection Checklist found 27 different violations, many the same as the February 28, 2011 inspection.

According to the report, the violations included, “Atkinson Landfill Company (as owner and operator) and Bernard Piotrowski (as Chief Operator) caused or allowed contaminants (leachate) to be deposited upon the land in such a place and manner as to create a water pollution hazard and Atkinson Landfill Company (as owner and operator) and Bernard Piotrowski (as Chief Operator) caused or allowed the discharge of contaminants (leachate), so as to cause or tend to cause water pollution in Illinois.”

The report also stated that groundwater and leachate sampling analysis had not been submitted to the Agency since April 2010.

All of this information was not something the Board of Trustees was aware of prior to a September 3, 2013 board meeting.

“No we were not informed by the EPA or Branko either one, so I don’t know if I’m more upset with Branko or the EPA… ya know both are at fault, I feel,” said Taber.

The Office of the Attorney General has a case against the Atkinson Landfill Company in front of the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

Branko Vardijan, the owner of the Atkinson Landfill Company, told News Eight by phone that he has hired an outside company, Sherry Laboratories to test the water each quarter. Sherry Laboratories confirmed they test for the Atkinson Landfill Company, but could not provide information about whether or not the tests found anything of concern.

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