Toxic Metal Concentration and Distribution in Soils of Four Abandoned Landfill Sites, Springfield, Missouri

Date of Graduation

Fall 1981


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Thomas Moeglin


The four abandoned Springfield landfills are located in river floodplains on soluble limestone bedrock, maximizing the possibility for ground and surface water contamination by leachate. Toxic metals are present in the landfills from the disposal of everyday household items, and the two more recently abandoned Springfield landfills were the recipients of waste from a metal plating industry in the city. The landfill soils were tested by atomic absorption for cadmium, copper, chromium, lead, and nickel to determine if metals had moved through the soils. All metals were found to be present in the soil samples of the older landfills in statistically high amounts and appeared to be moving toward the adjacent surface streams. In time, the newer landfills will very likely begin to leach metals. The situation presents an irreversible threat to drinking water supplies. Landfills should not be used in the area without the use of plastic liners and leachate collection systems. The city of Springfield should implement waste reduction methods such as the resource derived fuel plant as soon as possible. Landfills should be used only as a last resort.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Victoria A Sutton