Apollo Erosion Control Project
Steuben County, IN

Grantee: Northeast Indiana Solid Waste Management District and Wood-Land-Lake Resources Conservation and Development, Inc.
Basin Program Funds: $15,000
Non-federal Funds: $21,142
Project Duration: 06/1998 - 12/1999
Status: complete

Problem Statement
An abandoned 18-acre landfill on the Black Creek, in northeastern Indiana's St. Joseph River watershed, has been a chronic source of sediment and contaminated leachate to the surrounding watershed. It drains to Fish Creek which contains the greatest diversity of freshwater mussels in the Great Lakes basin. Further downstream, the St. Joseph River flows into Fort Wayne, Indiana and provides drinking water for over 200,000 people.

Before and after pictures.

Agency jurisdiction over the landfill is unclear and, as such, offered an opportunity to develop a unique approach to environmental remediation. A new partnership has emerged to address the problems associated with the site, building trust and a working relationship among representatives of public, private, local, state and federal groups. This project exemplifies the Wood-Land-Lakes Resource Conservation and Development Area Council's mission of "volunteers working together for responsible stewardship of our natural resources." Local citizens had a direct impact on water quality by adopting the abandoned, 18-acre landfill site, while all partners participated in developing and implementing the remediation plan.

The goal of the Apollo Erosion Control Project is to control erosion, sedimentation and surface run-off from the highly erosive landfill site. The Apollo Erosion Control Project has had an impact on recreation, biodiversity, economic sustainability, human health and grassroots partnership issues. Improved water quality has helped to ensure continued use of the creek for water-based recreation and improved habitat for fish and wildlife populations.

This project is a component of a larger landfill closure plan which involves implementing erosion control and establishing vegetative cover. The partnership has already assessed current erosion rates, determined the number and type of erosion control structures required and selected the vegetative practices best suited to the site.

The project team began work on the landfill site in October 1998. The first step was to construct a permanent service road to ensure adequate access to the site.

During the summer of 1999, project personnel prepared the site by grading the north and east gullies. They installed 30 tons of rip-rap with subsurface drainage tiles along the gullies. The top of the site, approximately 8 acres, required almost 12,500 cubic yards of clay to cap it. After spreading a layer of topsoil, project personnel used a hydroseeder to overseed with a grass-legume and wheat cover crop. They also constructed a sediment retention basin covering approximately 1/4-acre. The basin required an additional 15 tons of rip rap and is approximately three feet deep.

The new service road.

Project personnel estimate that the grade stabilization structure will save 7,400 tons of sediment, 37 pounds of phosphorus and 7 pounds of nitrogen over the 20 year life of the structure. Additionally, the seeded cap is expected to remain for 50 years and save 24,300 tons of soil, 121 pounds of phosphorus and 24 pounds of nitrogen over its lifespan. The project has been demonstrated to over 6,500 students, lake association members, elected officials, environmental groups and federal, state and local agencies. Project personnel arranged for a site tour, conducted a radio interview and wrote numerous newspaper and newsletter articles.

The initial Great Lakes Basin Program grant received considerable local publicity which encouraged the project group to seek additional funds. An additional $121, 000 in funding for more work on the project has resulted from the initial investment. A local foundation provided money for groundwater monitoring wells and funding for additional work has been approved by

Contact: Kathy Latz, (219) 349-1433


Great Lakes Commission des Grands Lacs.  2805 S. Industrial Highway, Suite 100.  Ann Arbor, MI  48104-6791.  phone: 734/971.9135.  fax: 734/971-9150.  projects.glc.org. Join the Friends of the Great Lakes GLIN Partner