Industrial landfills greatly modify surrounding areas by affecting chemical, physical, and biological integrity. Few data quantifying contaminant levels near landfills in sediments or in the organisms living near landfills exist. We examined several indicators of the aquatic community to determine whether a relationship existed between proximity to an industrial landfill and a decrease in biological integrity. The purpose was to determine patterns in community compositions and concentrations of contaminants in organisms and to assess the effects of contaminants on several trophic levels in the Grand Calumet Lagoons and adjacent ponds. In most aquatic systems, it is difficult to establish causal relationships between contaminants and ecosystem health due to the many ecological factors that can influence the responses of organisms and communities to particular stressors.