Lowry Landfill Glossary: Terms and Definitions

To help you navigate and understand it, following is an alphabetical list of common terms found throughout this website and related documents:


  • Cleanup: Cleanup throughout this website refers to efforts and activities addressing environmental contamination at the Lowry Landfill Superfund site. Because actual cleanup is infeasible on the site, the cleanup strategy of choice at Lowry Landfill is containment.
  • Containment: Containment is the chosen approach to addressing environmental contamination at Lowry Landfill, where the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s primary objective is preventing the spread of contaminants beyond the landfill.
  • Contaminants: Contaminants refers to chemicals, solvents and sludges that were disposed of at Lowry Landfill when it was an active landfill. Subsequently, those materials—many of which are hazardous to human health and the environment—have seeped into soil and groundwater beneath the site, contaminating it for people and wildlife.
  • Dioxane: Dioxane refers to the organic compound 1,4-dioxane. A probable human carcinogen and a known irritant, it’s used primarily as a solvent in the manufacture of chemicals.
  • Five-year review: Federal law requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate the effectiveness of cleanup efforts at Superfund sites every five years. The resulting report is known as a five-year review.
  • Groundwater: As opposed to surface water, groundwater is water that flows underground, beneath the earth’s surface in soil and in rocks. The result of rain, snow, sleet and hail that soaks into the ground, it serves as drinking water for 49 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Ground Water Association.
  • Landfill gas: Created naturally by the biological decomposition of organic matter in landfills under low-oxygen conditions, landfill gas consists of approximately 50 percent methane, 45 percent carbon dioxide, and a balance of nitrogen and other gases.
  • Liquid industrial waste: Liquid industrial waste is waste in liquid form that’s generated by industry, including factories, hospitals and government agencies, among many other entities. Common examples of liquid industrial waste include used oil, used cooking oils, sewer cleanout residue, grease trap clean-out residue, industrial wastewater, antifreeze and commercial chemicals.
  • Lowry Trust: Lowry Trust refers to the trust fund that was established to fund cleanup activities at Lowry Landfill. Hundreds of entities that owned, operated and/or transported waste to Lowry Landfill—including private businesses, municipalities, and state and federal agencies—paid into the trust, which is now being used to fund the work at Lowry Landfill and to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reimburse it for its work at the site.
  • Migration: On this website, the term migration is used primarily to describe the lateral movement or potential lateral movement of contaminated soil and/or groundwater beyond the boundaries of the Lowry Landfill Superfund site.
  • Municipal solid waste: Municipal solid waste refers to the trash and garbage that is collected by community sanitation services from residences and businesses. Common examples of municipal solid waste include tires, furniture, newspapers, containers and packaging, plastic wrap, yard waste and food.
  • Radionuclides: Radionuclides are radioactive contaminants, most of which are naturally occurring.
  • Record of Decision: The Record of Decision, or ROD, refers to Lowry Landfill’s official cleanup plan, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1994.
  • Remedy: Remedy is the term used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to describe environmental cleanup and containment actions underway at Lowry Landfill.
  • Superfund: Superfund refers to a program established by Congress in 1980 to clean up hazardous waste sites—known as Superfund sites—across the United States. The program is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in cooperation with individual states and tribal governments.
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the federal agency charged with protecting human health and the environment via environmental standards and regulations. It oversees and administers the Superfund program.