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Healthy People. Healthy Choices.
Healthy Lake County.
Tony Beltran, MBA, Executive Director.

Solid Waste

About Us

Through a delegation agreement between the Illinois EPA, County of Lake and the Lake County Health Department, the Solid Waste Unit (SWU) regulates all solid waste facilities that have a permit from the Illinois EPA Bureau of Land. The facilities include operating landfills, compost facilities, landscape waste transfer stations, construction and demolition debris processing facilities, as well as household chemical waste collection and storage facilities. The SWU also inspects closed landfills, investigates illegal dumping activities and responds to general solid waste complaints. Unresolved violations are referred to the Lake County State's Attorney's Office and/or the Illinois Attorney General's Office for enforcement.

Who Can Receive Services
Solid waste facilities in Lake County with a permit from the Illinois EPA.

Lake County Central Permit Facility
500 W. Winchester Rd.
Libertyville, IL 60048

7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Operating Landfills
There are two municipal solid waste landfills that accept non-hazardous wastes from residential, commercial and industrial sources operating in the County; the ADS Zion Landfill and the Countryside Landfill located near Grayslake.  The active cells used for waste disposal are constructed with a composite liner consisting of compacted clay, with high density polyethylene plastic liner placed over the clay.  Liquid from the deposited waste is collected in a drainage layer from where it is pumped to a storage tank and trucked to a sewage treatment plant in Wisconsin.  For gases, there are numerous collection wells and associated pipes to collect the landfill gas that is generated by microorganisms decomposing the wastes in an anaerobic environment.  This landfill gas is used as fuel to run generators and turbines to create electricity.  Landfill gas in excess of the fuel demand is burned on-site using flares to destroy the methane and other organic compounds.   Groundwater monitoring wells are located along the perimeter of the landfills to ensure groundwater quality is not being impacted.  The facilities are inspected by the SWU on a weekly basis to monitor their compliance with the applicable regulations and permit conditions that stipulate how wastes, landfill gas and leachate are to be managed, and how odors are to be controlled or prevented.

Compost Facilities
In 1990, the Illinois Pollution Control Board banned landscape wastes from being disposed of in landfills to conserve landfill space.  As a result, composting facilities were developed throughout the state to handle these wastes.  There are currently ten compost facilities operating in Lake County. Traditionally, compost facilities take grass, leaves and brush, but anything organic in nature, including food scraps, can be composted to create an end-product which is very similar to topsoil.   Compost facilities that are managed correctly should not generate offensive off-site odors.  Managing a facility correctly means processing a volume that is compatible with the size of the facility and its distance to residential and business communities, having the proper carbon to nitrogen ratio, windrow size, porosity, and moisture and oxygen levels.  Inspections by the SWU focus on the facility’s compliance with the applicable regulations and permit conditions and implementation of best management practices.  You can contact the SWU for a list of the facilities.

Landscape Waste Transfer Stations
There are nine landscape waste transfer facilities operating in the County.  Landscape wastes received by these facilities must be removed from the site either within 24 hours or by the end of the operating day depending upon their permit requirements.  For most of the facilities, the wastes must be off-site by the end of the day.   If there are off-site odors, they are more likely to occur in late spring and summer when primarily grass clippings are being delivered to the site.  The nitrogen content of the grass along with its density and matting tendencies causes a release of ammonia and other compounds that create objectionable odors. The SWU inspects these facilities to ensure they’re in compliance with the applicable regulations and permit conditions, especially those related to odor prevention, including waste removal timelines and requirements to prevent ponding that helps eliminates leachate accumulation and stagnation.  You can contact the SWU for a list of the facilities.

Construction and Demolition Debris Facilities
Currently, there is one construction and demolition debris (CDD) facility operating in the County, ARS Acquisitions, LLC located in Zion.  The facility takes in non-hazardous, uncontaminated materials from the construction, remodeling, repair and demolition of structures and roads.  CDD included brick, concrete, soil, rock, wood, plumbing fixtures, asphalt shingles, metals etc.   The CDD is sorted by type for recycling and/or reuse.  Old wood is generally shredded and delivered to a landfill where it is used as road base and/or truck turn around areas.  The SWU inspects this facility to monitor its compliance with the regulations and permit conditions, especially those that relate to dust, noise, processing/sorting rates and on-site storage times.  CDD facilities are required to recycle 75% of the materials received on a twelve month average.

Household Chemical Waste Facilities
The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) operates a household chemical waste (HCW) collection and storage facility located in Gurnee.  This facility accepts household wastes to prevent them from being discarded in a landfill.  HCW includes unwanted medication, aerosol products, motor oil, antifreeze, asbestos containing products, batteries, household cleaners, driveway sealants, oil based paint, stains, varnishes, thermometers, pool chemicals, pesticides etc.   HCW is allowed to be stored up to 30 days.   The SWU inspects this facility for compliance with their permit conditions, including placing the wastes in the proper storage location based on whether it is flammable or combustible, a poison or pesticide, a paint or oxidizer or corrosive.  The Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District also accepts HCW which are picked up, transported and managed by SWALCO.

Closed Landfills
Twenty-two closed landfills in the County are inspected by the SWU.  Some site have been closed for decades, others have closed more recently. The inspections focus on the existing cap conditions for signs of erosion, exposed wastes, stressed vegetation from landfill gas migration, landfill gas odors, leachate seeps, illegal dumping activities and access to the property.   Responsible parties are notified of issues that need to be address to protect public health and the environment.   You can contact the SWU for a list of the facilities.

Groundwater Monitoring
The SWU monitors the groundwater quality near the active and closed landfills where residential wells are used for potable water supplies.  The wells are selected based on well depth, groundwater flow direction and proximity to the landfill.  The samples are analyzed for 56 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as other parameters that included ammonia, arsenic, chemical oxygen demand, chloride, hardness, iron, nitrate, pH, specific conductivity, sulfate, total dissolved solids and total organic carbon. VOCs are typically not a natural component of groundwater.  They can, however, be found in groundwater near landfills if a liner fails to contain the liquid within the site. The other parameters can be useful in determining if a landfill is leaking if the concentrations detected significantly exceed the concentrations normally found in the groundwater for the area.  VOCs are analyzed by a private laboratory.  All other parameters are analyzed by the Lake County Health Department Laboratory.

Groundwater Monitoring for 2015
Residential wells are scheduled to be sampled in June/July for the VOC analysis and in August/September for the other parameters.

Groundwater Monitoring Results for 2014
Residential wells located near the operating Countryside and ADS Landfills and six closed landfills were sampled during the year.  The closed landfills included Antioch HOD, Wauconda S & G, Waukegan Muni #1, Waukegan Muni #2, Waukegan Engelhardt, and Buffalo Grove Land & Lakes.  VOCs were not detected in any of the samples and the concentrations of the other parameters were typical for the groundwater in the area.  The water quality was determined to be satisfactory in all locations.

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Solid Waste Unit
Solid Waste Unit Coordinator
Report Odor Complaints
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