Using the example of the Geff Alternative Site in Wayne County, Illinois, for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, this paper demonstrates, from a policy and public opinion perspective, the importance of accurately determining site stratigraphy. Complete and accurate characterization of geologic materials and determination of site stratigraphy at potential low-level waste disposal sites provides the frame-work for subsequent hydrologic and geochemical investigations. Proper geologic characterization is critical to determine the long-term site stability and the extent of interactions of groundwater between the site and its surroundings. Failure to adequately characterize site stratigraphy can lead to the incorrect evaluation of the geology of a site, which in turn may result in a lack of public confidence. A potential problem of lack of public confidence was alleviated as a result of the resolution and proper definition of the Geff Alternative Site stratigraphy. The integrity of the investigation was not questioned and public perception was not compromised. ?? 1991 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.