Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering


In 1960 the city of Brookings purchased a quarter section of land for a sanitary landfill. The site was located approximately two miles south of the city and was an inactive gravel excavation area prior to being used as a refuse disposal site (1-19). In the future, other parts of the quarter section, which are presently being used for farming operations, will be converted to fill areas as a need arises. The Brookings refuse disposal site is not operated as a conventional sanitary landfill, where all refuse is deposited in one cell, compacted, and covered without burning. Rather, the refuse is sorted into various classes and dumped into assigned areas for burning or storage. Each of these areas is compacted and covered intermittently to eliminate nuisances (2-3). Local landowners expressed concern that the landfill operation might impair their ground water supplies (3-28). Thus, the city of Brookings initiated a system of wells to determine the influence of the landfill on the ground water quality. In 1964 the Civil Engineering Department of South Dakota State University began extensive research at the landfill. Results of these earlier studies were reported by McCormick (1), who studied the effects of the Brookings landfill on the quality of the underlying ground water, and Sawinski (3), who reported on the areal extent of ground water contamination and seasonal variation. A study of the literature revealed that there was a pressing need to have detailed chemical information in relation to domestic water quality of ground waters coming in contact with deposited refuse. In particular, information was needed on the concentrations of deleterious chemicals that would render the resulting water quality unfit for later beneficial uses. Therefore, this study evaluated the influence of the Brookings landfill on subsequential uses of water in relation to distance downstream from the refuse. Beneficial uses considered were the suitability of the ground water for domestic and irrigation water supplies. The presence of the following chemical constituents was investigated with regard to domestic water supply quality: arsenic, barium, cadium, chlorides, hexavalent chromium, copper, cyanides, fluorides, iron, lead, manganese, nitrates, phenols, selenium, silver, sulfates, and zinc. Boron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and specific conductance determinations were necessary for the evaluation of irrigation water quality.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Refuse and refuse disposal
Sanitary landfills
Groundwater quality




South Dakota State University