PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
SADDLE BROOK TOWNSHIP, BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
Curcio Scrap Metal, Inc. is a one acre site located at 16 Lanza Avenue, Upper Saddle Brook Township, Bergen County, New Jersey containing two active scrap metal recycling businesses, Curcio Scrap Metal, Inc. (CSMI) and Cirello Iron and Steel Company (CISC). Curcio Scrap Metal started its salvaging operations in the early 1950's recycling paper and rags and then expanded into copper and aluminum recycling. The area around the property is mixed with light industry, commercial businesses and residences. The site is subdivided into the East, West and South Lots. The West and the South Lots are paved. In January 1994, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) removed the contaminated soil from the East Lot, backfilled it with clean fill and then sealed it with a concrete cap. The East Lot, prior to being remediated, was subject to soil contamination. Salvage operations take place at the East Lot. The site is above a shallow aquifer. Below this aquifer is a deep fractured bedrock aquifer which supplies water to public and private wells in the area. The site was investigated on October 27, 1982, by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEP) following a citizen's complaint that electrical transformers were being stored and cut up at the property. Analytical sampling revealed the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) from transformers that had been cut up. The USEPA, in September 1984, found three different PCB's, lead, copper, nickel and trichloroethylene in on-site soil samples. Several oil spills have been reported. The USEPA divided the site into two Operable Units. The first Operable Unit, issued on February 8, 1991, addressed the contaminated soil in and around the East Lot. The Record of Decision (ROD) for the first Operable Unit was signed in June 1991. The second Operable Unit will address surface and groundwater contamination. Community concerns focused on the public health impacts of the site, remediation of the site, and of worker health and safety. On June 21 and 22, 1993, at the request of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sampled the blood of Curcio workers for PCB's and lead. PCB levels were found to be similar to the general population while lead levels ranged from 4 to 39.8 µg/dl. This indicated that exposure to lead has occurred at the site. The ATSDR and the NJDOH consider the site to be a public health hazard in the past via the ingestion pathway to on-site workers, scrap metal haulers and trespassers, based upon the chronic oral exposure to contaminated soil between the early 1950's to 1994. They risk loss of memory, anemia, brain and kidney damage and weakness in extremities due to lead exposure and risk contracting cancer due to PCB exposure. Current exposure to any remaining contaminants on-site is considered to be no apparent public health hazard. Sufficient data is not available to determine the potential for exposure to residents who live near the site. Thus, Curcio Scrap Metal is considered to be an indeterminate public health hazard off-site. The NJDOH conducted a public comment period for the Public Health Assessment for the Curcio Scrap Metal site from September 23, 1994 to October 28, 1994--no comments were received.
A. SITE DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY
Curcio Scrap Metal, Inc. is a one acre site located at 16 Lanza Avenue, Upper Saddle Brook Township, Bergen County, New Jersey (Appendix A--Figure I). The site has two active scrap metal recycling businesses, Curcio Scrap Metal, Inc. (CSMI) and Cirello Iron and Steel Company (CISC). Curcio Scrap Metal started its salvaging operations in the early 1950's. The East and West lots, which were once used for dairy farming, were purchased in 1975. The South Lot was purchased in 1981. Curcio Scrap Metal initially recycled paper and rags and then expanded into copper and aluminum recycling.
The site is bordered by Lanza Avenue to the north, Walther Avenue to the south, commercial businesses and residential properties to the west and a concrete company, P. Michellotti and Son, to the east. The area around the property is mixed with light industry, commercial businesses and residences (Appendix A--Figure II). Residential and commercial businesses are in high density adjacent to the western side of the property. About 30,000 people live within three miles of the site.
The site is subdivided into the East, West and South Lots, each measuring approximately 10,000 square feet (Appendix A--Figure III). The West Lot was paved in 1977, after the original structures on the lot were demolished. The South Lot, which was purchased in 1981, was paved in 1985 and then a warehouse was erected. The East Lot was unpaved until January 1994, and was, thus, subject to soil contamination. CSMI and CISC have administrative buildings on the west and south lots. Salvage operations take place at the east lot.
An East Lot drainage ditch leads from the property into a small pipe that runs in a north-easterly direction under the property. The drainage pipe empties into Schroeder's Brook several hundred feet away from the property. The brook flows for about 800 feet prior to entering a pipe leading to a nearby lake.
The site is above a shallow aquifer that is two to six feet below the surface. Starting approximately 16 feet below the surface is a deep fractured bedrock aquifer, the Brunswick Formation, which supplies water to public and private wells in the area.
The East Lot contains piles of scrap metal in various stages of salvage. In the center of this lot is a large crane with a magnet to move the scrap metal to the various piles and containers. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment are also used to move the scrap metal. Two roll-off containers are usually located in the southeastern section of the east lot and are replaced when they are full.
The site was investigated on October 27, 1982, by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEP) following a citizen's complaint that electrical transformers were being stored and cut up at the property. The NJDEP found oily black fluid in the drainage ditch and in puddles and ditches under and adjacent to the transformers. Analytical sampling revealed that the fluid contained two polychlorinated biphenols (PCB's): Arochlor 1260 and Arochlor 1242, at maximum concentrations of 462.4 and 47 ppm, respectively. Cirello Iron and Steel was directed to remove and dispose of all contaminated soil. The company complied but a follow-up inspection discovered that some contamination remained indicating that they did not sufficiently remove the contaminants.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) performed a Preliminary Assessment (PA) of the site in April 1984, followed by a Site Inspection in September 1984. The USEPA found three different PCB's, lead, copper, nickel and trichloroethylene in on-site soil samples.
Oil was found in a nearby pond 200 feet east of the property on May 15, 1985. The property was inspected in June 1985, by the NJDEP who determined that CISC had a spill of approximately 200 gallons of hydraulic fluid that flowed off-site. On August 8, 1989, CIS had a PCB-contaminated oil spill of undetermined quantity which also probably flowed off-site into surface waters.
Following a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) search in 1986, the USEPA identified five PRP's responsible for contamination of the site: Mr. Frank Curcio, Curcio Scrap Metal, Cirello Iron and Steel, Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Ed) and SECO Corp. On May 27, 1988 the USEPA entered into an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) with Con Ed, Curcio Scrap Metal and SECO Corp. They were required to perform a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) of the site, which was initiated on July 19, 1989. The USEPA, on December 29, 1989, issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to CISC and CSMI due to the unauthorized moving of contaminated soil within the property and the damaging of two on-site monitoring wells by their employees.
The Phase I investigation, conducted from July to August 1989, concentrated mainly on soil and groundwater sampling of the site. Phase II of the Remedial Investigation was performed in July 1990, to determine the extent of the soil contamination and on-site groundwater contamination. These investigations revealed that the soil and groundwater on-site was contaminated (8).
The USEPA performed a Risk Assessment for the site in December 1990, to determine the potential risk posed by the site to the public. It was determined that the Lifetime Excess Cancer Risk (LECR) to be five in a hundred for on-site workers, primarily due to the contaminated soil.
The site was divided into two studies (Operable Units). The first Operable Unit Remedial Plan, issued on February 8, 1991, addressed the contaminated soil in and around the East Lot. The Record of Decision (ROD) for Curcio Scrap Metal was signed in June 1991 (9). The second Operable Unit will address surface and groundwater contamination. ATSDR issued a preliminary health assessment on July 7, 1988, which considered the site to be a potential public health concern (Appendix B).
The USEPA was in contact with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from July 1990 to March 1991 regarding the worker conditions. OSHA sampled the air and soil at various locations on the site from November 1991 to March 1992. From the sampling results OSHA concluded that a citation could not be issued because the results did not exceed OSHA limits. Bulk, and wipe samples were taken and analyzed for lead, PCB's, and mercury
ATSDR sent a Letter of Concern (Appendix C) to OSHA for the screening of workers at the Curcio site because of possible employee exposure to lead and PCB's resulting from exposure to contaminated soil. A the request of the NJDOH, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) medical investigator came to the facility and took blood samples from a total of 17 workers of Curcio Scrap Metal and Cirello Iron and Steel on June 21-22, 1993 (Appendix D). The blood samples were analyzed for lead and PCB's.
On November 17, 1993, NIOSH issued a Health Hazard Evaluation report that recommended: 1) Workers use good personal hygiene practices, keep the facility clean, and control dust; 2) Educate workers about the potential for exposing family members, identification of other hazardous substances, and making workers aware of their presence; 3) Workers should only eat, drink or smoke in designated areas; 4) Outdoor faucets not protected from contamination should not be used for drinking water; 5) Further industrial hygiene evaluations should be conducted to further characterize work-related lead exposure; and 6) Airborne lead concentrations should be monitored during extremely windy, dry conditions to determine if respiratory protection is needed under these environmental conditions.
On January 20, 1994, The USEPA excavated the contaminated soil from the East Lot to a depth of six feet. Then, they installed a new drainage system, backfilled with clean soil, added two layers of steel rebars, and then placed a concrete cap.
On January 28, 1991, Jonathan Savrin, Research Scientist, of the NJDOH and the Technical Coordinator from the NJDEP conducted a site visit at Curcio Scrap Metal. On July 14, 1992, Howard Rubin, Research Scientist, of the NJDOH and a representative of the Bergen County Health Department made a site visit. All sections of the site were paved except for the East Lot which consisted of compacted soil. This section of the site is the focal point because it is unpaved, and is the location of the recycling activities. The only outstanding features on the East Lot were a truck scale and the scale building at the northern end, and the metal cutting area in the northeastern section. Catch basins were at the northeastern and southwestern ends of the East Lot.
A drainage pipe extends from the East Lot and drains into Sheffield Brook, which is actually a drainage ditch for the railroad. There was no evidence of recreational use of the brook near the site.
There was some evidence of trespassing. In fact, Curcio had placed metal sheets around portions of the East Lot to deter trespassing.
The workers appeared to be unaware of the potential adverse health effects associated with the site as evidenced by their lack of protective clothing and the lack of appropriate emergency equipment. Also, they used inadequate noise and eye protection.
All observations made were before USEPA's remediation of the East Lot and NIOSH's health hazard evaluation.
Arthur Block, ATSDR Senior Regional Representative, assisted NIOSH during the visit to the site and taking of blood samples from workers (June 21-22, 1993).
C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE
Curcio Scrap Metal is located in a densely populated area in Saddle brook Township, Bergen County, New Jersey. The site is close to the residential areas of Garfield, Saddle Brook and Elmwood Park. Approximately 30,000 people reside within a three mile radius of the site. Between 1,000 and 3,000 people live within a one-mile radius of the site. Elementary schools, parks and a hospital are within 0.5 mile of the site. The closest residence is approximately 300 feet from the edge of the site.
There are residential streets and private homes mixed with commercial businesses on the western
side of the site. Residences are supplied with water by either the Hackensack or the Passaic
Valley Water Companies. On the southern side of the site are residential and light industrial
areas. To the north are residential and light industrial areas and Route 46. To the east of the site
is a light industrial area and a New Jersey Transit railway line.
There are multiple sources of health outcome data in New Jersey. State and local data for health outcome information include the New Jersey State Cancer Registry, Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Registry, Vital Statistics Records, Renal Dialysis Network and hospital discharge reports. Federal databases such as those maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services (National Cancer Institute and NIOSH) are not site-specific, but may be used for comparison and evaluation purposes. Health outcome data for the Curcio Scrap Metals has not been evaluated. The reasons for not evaluating health outcome data are discussed in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation section.
In order to gather information on community health concerns, the NJDOH attended a public meeting held by the USEPA in Saddle Brook on February 21, 1991 to present and discuss the preferred remedial alternative for the Curcio Scrap Metal site. The concerns of the community focused upon the public health impacts of the site, the remediation of the site and worker health and safety, as obtained by the local health officer and from the public meetings. These concerns are addressed in the Community Concerns Evaluation section.