Closed Landfills – Kentwood, Sparta, North Kent


Kent County oversees closed landfills through monitoring and post-closure management in accordance with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and/or United States Environmental Protection Agency.

PFAS Treatment at Landfills in Kent County

Kent County Department of Public Works is a world-class leader in innovative waste management and is committed to protecting our air, land and Great Lakes. Kent County DPW is taking the initiative to protect public health through proactive waste management strategies to address long-term impacts of waste disposal on the environment. These include initiating infrastructure improvements that aim to avoid landfilling when possible and addressing the long-term challenges associated with landfills.
The Kent County DPW is committed to monitoring landfills and addressing per- & polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination at both active and closed landfills it is responsible for overseeing. Treating PFAS on-site prevents these chemicals from leaving the landfill via surface or ground water.
Kent County works closely with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), federal regulators and engineering firms to monitor groundwater, drinking water from wells and liquid waste (leachate) from landfills it oversees where PFAS has been detected. At the closed North Kent Landfill, Kent County is proactively implementing treatment solutions to treat leachate in a way that exceeds standards and work is also beginning on both the closed Kentwood Landfill and the active South Kent Landfill to remove PFAS compounds prior to leachate being transported to a wastewater treatment facility.
Updates on the various PFAS treatment projects will be posted to our website, www.reimaginetrash.org. If you have questions about PFAS at Kent County DPW sites, please contact us.

Environmental Compliance Manager:
Molly Sherwood
Kent County Department of Public Works
molly.sherwood@kentcountymi.gov
(616) 632-7934

Facility-specific information is listed in the ‘news’ section for each facility below, if it is available.

Kentwood Landfill

News

The result of urban growth, by the late 1940’s many unregulated, open-type dumps began to appear in Michigan, including in Kent County. With support of the State Health Department and to better understand this burgeoning problem, in 1965 the Kent County Board of Supervisors appointed a Garbage and Refuse Disposal Study Committee. With the assistance of the Health Department, Planning Department, Department of Public Works and an engineering consultant, the committee completed a study entitled Report on Refuse Disposal – October 1966 documenting the magnitude of the problem and “to determine the most efficient method for the disposal of refuse of all kinds for all municipalities and townships in Kent County”.

In 1965, twenty-nine dumps were scattered throughout the County with 11 municipally-owned and seven privately-owned still operating. Most were filling up and none met the upgraded licensing and disposal requirements of the newly enacted PA 87 of 1965, ultimately forcing closure of these sites.

Kent County DPW’s assistance was sought because municipal and private industry disposal options were shrinking and new facilities were not available to meet a burgeoning refuse disposal problem.

In 1967, the Board of Supervisors created the Kent County Refuse System and directed the Department of Public Works to develop a countywide refuse system including financing, design, construction, and operation with Board of Public Works oversight. Over the course of the next few years, the DPW negotiated agreements with 13 municipalities to provide disposal services and in the early 1970’s assumed the operating responsibility for two municipal dumps (known today as Kentwood Landfill and Sparta Landfill) as a stop gap measure to provide needed disposal capacity, improve site conditions and implement closure plans.

Following an in-depth investigation of the Kentwood site in 1990, the United States Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] determined specific cleanup actions to address organic and inorganic site contamination concerns at Kentwood Landfill. The cleanup actions included capping the landfill; incorporating a methane gas venting and leachate collection system; extracting and treating groundwater; and implementing groundwater use restrictions.

During the summer of 2015 an active gas collection and control system was added to reduce the potential for methane gas to move away from the landfill toward the library and other nearby buildings. Additional methane monitoring will take place after the collection system is installed and Kent County will continue to manage the site.

The remedial plan developed in the early 1990’s anticipated it would cost $5.7 million to mitigate contamination and provide 30-years of post-closure monitoring for the Kentwood Landfill. This estimation was subsequently found to be insufficient to correct all the problems encountered. Kentwood Landfill costs are $19.06 million as of 2017.

Kentwood Landfill is a Superfund site. Superfund is the name given to the federal program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites.

North Kent Landfill

North Kent Landfill accepted municipal solid waste from 1977 until 1986. North Kent Landfill was one of the first landfills in the State of Michigan to install a plastic liner below the waste to protect groundwater. The (approx.) 54-acre landfill is on the same property as the North Kent Waste & Recycling Center.

Groundwater around the landfill is sampled quarterly in accordance with rules set forth by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. A new methane collection system was installed in 2017 to collect landfill gas from below the landfill cap. Work has also begun on a multi-year plan to regrade the top of the landfill to improve drainage.

Sparta Landfill

News

No news to report on Sparta Landfill

The result of urban growth, by the late 1940’s many unregulated, open-type dumps began to appear in Michigan, including in Kent County. With support of the State Health Department and to better understand this burgeoning problem, in 1965 the Kent County Board of Supervisors appointed a Garbage and Refuse Disposal Study Committee. With the assistance of the Health Department, Planning Department, Department of Public Works and an engineering consultant, the committee completed a study entitled Report on Refuse Disposal – October 1966 documenting the magnitude of the problem and “to determine the most efficient method for the disposal of refuse of all kinds for all municipalities and townships in Kent County”.
In 1965, twenty-nine dumps were scattered throughout the County with 11 municipally-owned and seven privately-owned still operating. Most were filling up and none met the upgraded licensing and disposal requirements of the newly enacted PA 87 of 1965, ultimately forcing closure of these sites.

Kent County DPW’s assistance was sought because municipal and private industry disposal options were shrinking and new facilities were not available to meet a burgeoning refuse disposal problem.

In 1967, the Board of Supervisors created the Kent County Refuse System and directed the Department of Public Works to develop a countywide refuse system including financing, design, construction, and operation with Board of Public Works oversight. Over the course of the next few years, the DPW negotiated agreements with 13 municipalities to provide disposal services and in the early 1970’s assumed the operating responsibility for two municipal dumps (known today as Kentwood Landfill and Sparta Landfill) as a stop gap measure to provide needed disposal capacity, improve site conditions and implement closure plans.

Sparta Landfill is a Superfund site. Superfund is the name given to the federal program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites.