Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date







The Lee’s Lane Landfill is located in western Louisville, KY along the Ohio River (Fig. 1) [1]. The site was used as a quarry in the 1940s before being repurposed as a landfill from 1948 to 1975 (Fig. 2). At least 212,400 tons of municipal and industrial waste were disposed of in the landfill during this period. In 1980, the Kentucky Department of Hazardous Materials and Waste Management discovered approximately 400 drums of hazardous waste within the landfill; these drums were removed by the landfill owners in the fall of 1981, but the remaining drums of non-hazardous material, as well as any empty drums, were buried in place on the landfill. The buried and capped landfill waste covers an area of 112 acres. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the Lee’s Lane Landfill site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983. Cleanup efforts concluded in 1988 and monitoring of the site has continued since. This white paper summarizes reports published from 2013 through 2018 documenting Lee’s Lane Landfill site conditions and the effectiveness of the cap and other remedies put in place to protect human health. The condition of the site must be reviewed every five years by the EPA, and those results are made available to the public in what is referred to as a Five-Year Review (FYR). The Lee’s Lane Landfill FYR relies on information provided to the EPA by the Kentucky State Department of Environmental Protection (KDEP), information collected by the Lee’s Lane Landfill Group, monitoring data and conclusions from the Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD) Conceptual Site Model (CSM) report, [2] and other interim communications. Using the information in these reports as well as relevant current and historical research documents, we identify questions that remain unanswered and need to be addressed in order to confirm that the contaminants present on the site do not pose a risk to public health and to determine whether the site is ready for re-use. We conclude by proposing several next steps to fill the identified gaps in information and confirm the conclusions in the reports.