But the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) remembers the long-dead local dumps. The DEP now calls them "landfills."
For example, the DEP's computerized records show there was once a dump at the now heavily developed intersection of Route 70 and Cuthbert Boulevard in Cherry Hill. And DEP knows that an old landfill lies beneath the ballfields at the end of East Atlantic Avenue in Haddonfield.
In fact, DEP officials say they know about some landfills that even local officials are not aware of.
"We are also ferreting out more old sites all the time," said DEP public information spokesman Jim Staples.
Since the DEP took over the ground-water monitoring task from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1982, the DEP has been ordering municipalities that own abandoned landfill sites to drill test wells and monitor for ground-water pollution.
But some local officials dispute the accuracy of DEP's data about landfill locations.
Although DEP records show Maple Shade has three abandoned landfills, Maple Shade officials deny that two of them ever existed. Also, in interviews last week, officials from Collingswood and Edgewater Park said they could not recall there ever being landfills at locations that DEP records show are landfill sites.
However, Staples and William B. Brown, chief of the DEP's compliance monitoring section for groundwater discharge permits, said such denials do not undermine DEP's confidence in its data. Brown said that the DEP's information about old dump sites comes from sources officials consider to be reliable, such as old aerial photos. He added that officials make on-site inspections at disputed locations before ordering water monitoring.
Brown said he personally visited the controversial Maple Shade sites and is convinced they were, in fact, refuse-disposal sites.
Maple Shade Mayor Frank A. Troso said local officials are just as convinced that there were never landfills at the two sites in question: Roland Avenue next to the town's sewage plant, and at Haverford Avenue and Pennsauken Creek. He said that, although there is evidence of surface debris on the sites from isolated incidents of dumping, test borings taken by the township have yielded no evidence of buried refuse.
"It seems ridiculous for us to spend money to prove they're wrong," said the mayor. "They should have to prove they're right." Troso said officials are still negotiating with the DEP. "If they demonstrate there is a health hazard, we certainly will act immediately, but we don't think there is," said Troso.
Brown said the Collingswood and Edgewater Park sites, as well as sites in Brooklawn, Chesilhurst and Glassboro, were still being investigated by the DEP. Officials in other towns where the DEP has targeted old landfills have either installed the required wells, agreed to install them, or are under order to install them, he said.
Haddon Heights and Bellmawr plan to drill monitoring wells in the spring.
Bellmawr's landfill differs from most others in that it was once commercially owned. Bellmawr Mayor Joseph Petruzzi said the town bought the 27-acre Blanton-Bellmawr landfill in 1976 to keep it from reopening. Its former commercial operator closed it about 1970, he said. Bellmawr is reclaiming a few acres at a time for park space, Petruzzi said.
"I know a lot of towns have resisted," Petruzzi said last week, "but we'll be getting the wells in as soon as we possibly can, because they're for our benefit, too."
Although agreeing that monitoring is needed, Edward Fitzgerald, president of Haddon Heights Borough Council, complained that requiring municipalities to pay for it "is another state edict in which they tell us what we've got to do, while at the same time reducing the state's revenue sharing dollars." He added: "They're leaving us holding the bag again."
Fitzgerald said he hoped a government-sponsored regional testing facility could be set up to do ground-water analyses for municipalities at a cost lower than that charged by commercial labs.
The DEP generally requires that abandoned landfills be checked quarterly for ground-water pollution for about 30 years after closure. Such monitoring can be a financial burden for some small towns. And if pollution is detected, the towns will be responsible for stopping it, Staples said.
Test wells cost $1,500 to $2,000 each to drill, and an average of four per landfill are required, said Brown. In addition, laboratory testing of the samples taken from the wells costs about $2,000 per well per year, Brown said.
Hiring engineers and preparing access roads for drilling equipment can increase first-year costs. Haddonfield Borough administrator Richard Schwab said Haddonfield spent about $15,000 to install its wells and an access road last spring, and that DEP permit fees and water analyses will cost about $6,000 a year.
When the DEP instructs its computer to list all of the state's known active and inactive solid waste sites, the resulting printout is about an inch thick. It lists more than 1,000 sites, including 59 in Burlington County, 45 in Camden County and 40 in Gloucester County. Seventy-six of those 144 sites are inactive.
Eighty-five of the 144 sites are owned by government entities, including 43 of the 76 inactive ones.
Burlington County has 28 inactive sites, of which 19 are government-owned; Camden has 26 inactive sites, of which 15 are government-owned, and Gloucester has 22 inactive sites, of which nine are government-owned.
DEP's Brown said well drillers, environmental engineers, and testing labs ''are doing quite well" as concern about potential threats to the ground water grows.
One driller, J. E. Fritts, who has offices in Voorhees and a staging area in Westville, said his business has boomed since he began drilling test wells for landfills in 1978. He said he now has enough business to keep 11 drilling rigs busy.
Fritts noted that his firm drilled the test wells for the notorious Lipari toxic waste dump in Pitman in 1981 and 1982 - a job for which his men wore breathing aparatus and protective clothing that resembled space suits. "There are a lot of things down there that we don't know about," he said, referring to buried waste in general.
Although DEP approves the drilling plans, municipalities must hire engineers to develop the plans, so business is brisk for some environmental engineers.
"Ground water is the environmental problem of the '90s," said Robert Gallagher, director of engineering for the Haddon Heights firm of Kaselaan & D'Angelo. "It's a time bomb ticking. When you consider that South Jersey sits on ground water, pollution can have a tremendous impact."
DEP'S LIST OF AREA INACTIVE LANDFILLS
Cherry Hill - Maine Avenue, Route 70 and Cuthbert Boulevard, Rhode Island and McGill Avenues.
Collingswood - Harrison and Champion Avenues.
Evesham - Tomlinson Mill Road.
Haddonfield - End of East Atlantic Avenue.
Haddon Heights - Devon Avenue and Route 295.
Pennsauken - River Road.
Maple Shade - Haverford Avenue and Pennsauken Creek, Roland Avenue next to sewage plant, Route 73 near Stiles Avenue.
Moorestown - Creek Road.