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Superfund Site | 19th Avenue Landfill | Delisted

EPA #: AZD009004177

Superfund National Priority List (NPL) Status: The EPA listed this site on Oct. 4, 1989


The 19th Avenue Landfill site is located in an industrial area of Phoenix, Arizona at the southeast corner of 19th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road. The site covers 213 acres of land, of which the major part containing 200 acres is referred to as Cell A, and located on the north side of the Salt River channel. The remainder of the landfill Cell A-1 is located south of the river channel.

Contaminants of Concern

The current contaminants of concern in groundwater include very low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals including arsenic, barium, mercury, and nickel.  Currently, arsenic continues to exceed the water quality standards on the site. Contaminants of concern at the site may change as new data become available. Sampling of soil and refuse in the landfill indicated that the contents of the landfill are similar to those expected in municipal landfills; however, industrial wastes were also disposed at the site.

Public Health Impact

The baseline risk/health assessment prepared by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry indicates that the groundwater flowing underneath the landfill is not considered to be a threat to public health. Groundwater in the area is used for industrial purposes only; it is not used as drinking water. Potential and future groundwater impacts will be mitigated by the groundwater contingency plan. Therefore, there will be no exposure pathway through any drinking water supplies.

The area's primary drinking water is provided by COP water distribution system. The municipal system draws water from groundwater and surface water sources over thirty miles away. The nearest drinking water supply well is over three miles away. An industrial well and a down gradient agricultural well are located 200 feet and 800 feet, respectively, from the Site. However, there is no known contamination of these wells at this time. Ambient air quality monitoring indicates no apparent risk to human health from landfill gas emissions.

Site Hydrogeology

The site is situated in the southeastern portion of the west sub-basin of the Salt River Basin in central Arizona. The site is within the basin and range physiographic province. The landfill is sited on alluvial fill material that commonly occupies the structurally depressed basins of the region. No active faults are known to be present near the site.

A monitor well installation program was implemented to characterize the shallow subsurface geology in the area near the landfill. This was accomplished by drilling 12 boreholes during the summer of 1987, four of which were drilled to a depth of 300 feet or greater. Data collected from the boreholes indicate that at least five identifiable stratigraphic subunits exist within approximately 400 feet of the surface. These stratigraphic subunits belong to the upper alluvial unit with designated subunits S, A, B, C and the middle alluvial unit.
The natural groundwater flow direction beneath both cells of the landfill is to the northwest. This phenomenon is controlled primarily by the pumping of large volume irrigation wells located northwest of the landfill site. Season fluctuations can occur, however, the pumping of irrigation wells along with the natural regional flow direction controls the groundwater flow beneath the landfill.

Depth to groundwater ranges between 20 to 40 feet below ground surface (bgs) near the river, and 60 to 80 feet bgs north of the site. The current drought has resulted in lowering of the water table by 20 feet or more.

Action Taken

In 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers, on behalf of the U.S. EPA, completed the fifth Five Year Review (FYR). The FYR concluded that the site remedy is protective of public health and the environment.


The COP continues to operate and maintain the treatment system and submit semi-annual groundwater monitoring reports.

As hazardous substances remain buried on-site above health-based levels, the site will continue to undergo FYRs to ensure the remedy continues to be protective of public health and the environment. The next FYR will be due in 2025.

Learn more about this Superfund site on the EPA website | View Site >