Onondaga Lake Superfund (NPL) Sites - Site Descriptions - Town of Salina Landfill

Salina Town Landfill

A sub-site of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site  

New 2009 Fact Sheet


The Salina Town Landfill was a municipally operated landfill located off of NYS Route 11, just south of the NYS Thruway (Figure 1). It is an un-lined landfill established in a flood-prone wetland next to Ley Creek. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it received domestic, commercial and industrial wastes. There is documented disposal of hazardous waste from the General Motors Fisher Guide Division. These wastes included 640 tons of paint sludge and 22 tons of waste paint thinner and reducer. PCB waste mixed with General Motor's general plant refuse was also disposed of at the landfill, but the quantity is unknown.  The Town of Salina officially stopped accepting refuse at the landfill in 1975, but some wastes were brought in after that time. Closure with a soil cover did not occur until late in 1982. Currently the property is mostly covered with tall grass, reeds, and small trees.
Ley Creek, a major tributary of Onondaga Lake, formerly flowed along the eastern and southern edges of the landfill. However, in the 1970s, the Army Corps of Engineers rerouted the creek through the southeast corner of the landfill, thereby creating an isolated waste deposit (south section of landfill) and backwater area (Old Ley Creek channel). Sediments in much of Ley Creek are contaminated with PCBs. The active channel downstream of Route 11 (“Lower Ley Creek”) is a newly designated Superfund sub-site.


Responsiveness Summary - The Responsiveness Summary provides a summary of citizen's comments and concerns received during the two public comment periodsrelated to the Salina Landfill Sub-Site.

Summary of Remediation - 2009

Record of Decision - March 2007

Which includes the following details: Technologies Used: Cap; Consolidate; Covenant; Discharge; Disposal; Easement; Engineering Control, Not Specified; Excavation; Extraction; Flocculation; Groundwater use/well drilling regulation; Hot Water or Steam Flushing/Stripping; Liner; Monitoring; Operations & Maintenance (O&M); Treatment, Not Specified; and Zoning regulation.

aerial view of site perimeter

Aerial view of site perimeter - 1.25 miles from Onondaga Lake

Site perimeter detail - Figure 1


1951 aerial view


1966 aerial view

Environmental Issues

The landfill contains a wide variety of contaminants, including:

*Asterisked chemicals are known or suspected of causing cancer

Environmental sampling has confirmed that PCBs, metals, and solvent compounds are migrating away from the site in the groundwater. In addition, contaminated landfill leachate flows directly into Ley Creek and neighboring wetlands. The site presents a significant environmental threat due to the ongoing releases of contaminants from the landfill into Ley Creek and adjacent wetlands (Figure 2). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in surface soils and leachate that seeps into Ley Creek. PCB contamination has been confirmed in landfill soils and Ley Creek sediments in excess of 50 ppm, a level which classifies the material as hazardous waste.

Both wildlife and people can be exposed to site contaminants through a variety of pathways (see Figure 2):
Direct contact to soils. The site is not fenced, and while there is evidence of people and animals visiting the site, soils are largely covered with trees and other vegetation.
Consumption of contaminated fish or other organisms. Fish in Ley Creek are known to be contaminated with PCBs and very likely with other chemicals. A state Department of Health fish consumption advisory is issued annually for Onondaga Lake and its tributaries, including Ley Creek. Remediation of the landfill will not address PCB contamination already in Ley Creek.
Consumption of water. While the local groundwater is heavily contaminated, it is not used for drinking within a 3-mile radius of the site. Wildlife are exposed to contaminated surface waters.
Inhalation of vapors. NYSDEC and USEPA have assumed this risk is minimal.

Figure 2. Cross-section of the Salina Landfill showing pathways for contaminants to move out of  the waste materials into groundwater, Ley Creek, and local wetlands. (not to scale)
(Adapted from Figure 7, Record of Decision, 2007)

Partial list of site contaminants

CAS # Contaminant Name Contaminated
More Information
108-90-7 CHLOROBENZENE Ground Water ATSDR Profile
540-59-0 1,2-DICHLOROETHENE Ground Water  
67-64-1 ACETONE Ground Water ATSDR Profile
71-43-2 BENZENE Ground Water ATSDR Profile
71-55-6 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE Ground Water ATSDR Profile

What's being done to address the problem?

A Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) was completed for this site. This investigation identified VOCs and PCBs in the soil at the site which contribute to the known groundwater contamination as well as leachate outbreaks to Ley Creek, documenting that the existing cover was not adequate. A full 6NYCRR Part 360 closure is required.A Proposed Remedial Action Plan for the site calling for a full 360 multi-layer cap, leachate collection and conveyance of the leachate to the Onondaga County Sewage Treatment Plant was released to the public for comment in January 2003. Onondaga County has a policy of not accepting leachate from hazardous waste sites and, therefore, this plan could not be finalized. The Department and EPA reissued a Proposed Remedial Action Plan calling for on-site treatment of the leachate for public comment in December 2006. A public meeting was held and a Record of Decision was signed on March 29, 2007. The Department partially approved the remedial design work plan in November 2007 so pre-design fieldwork could begin. The Town has several on-site issues (i.e., gas main and electric power poles running through the site) to rectify before the Part 360 landfill closure system can be fully designed. Commencement of Remedial Action is tentatively scheduled for the Summer of 2009.

site map from ROD

Site Map

Contacts for more information and comments

John Grathwol, Project Manager
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, 12th floor, Albany, NY 12233-7016
jcgrathw@gw.dec.state.ny.us                                                                                                                                         Phone: 518-402-9775
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Please call for an appointment

Documents for this site are available for public inspection at:
Atlantic States Legal Foundation Depository Library
658 West Onondaga Street, Syracuse NY 13204-3711                                              
Phone: 315-475-1170 Fax: 315-475-6719

Onondaga County Public Library
Central Branch at the Galleries
447 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13202                                                                           
 Phone: (315) 435-1800
Hours: M, Th, Fri, Sat, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Tu, W, 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7016                                                                                             
 Phone: (518) 402-9676
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Please call for an appointment

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 7
615 Erie Blvd. West, Syracuse, NY 13204-2400                                                                                    
 Phone: (315) 426-7400
Hours: M - Fri, 8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. Please call for an appointment


This Fact Sheet was funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Technical Assistance Grant program.