PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
FORT DIX (LANDFILL SITE)
WRIGHTSTOWN, BURLINGTON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
The tables listed above were not available in electronic format for conversion to HTML at the time of preparation of this document. To obtain a hard copy of the document, please contact:
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Attn: Chief, Program Evaluation, Records, and Information Services Branch, E-56
1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
- A chemical component of a sample to be determined or measured. For example, if the analyte is mercury, the laboratory test will determine the amount of mercury in the sample.
- A typical or average level of a chemical in the environment. Background often refers to naturally occurring or uncontaminated levels.
- Any substance that may produce cancer.
- The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, also known as Superfund. This is the legislation that created ATSDR.
- Estimated contaminant concentrations in specific media that are not likely to cause adverse health effects, given a standard daily ingestion rate and standard body weight. The comparison values are calculated from the scientific literature available on exposure and health effects.
- The amount of one substance dissolved or contained in a given amount of another. For example, sea water contains a higher concentration of salt than fresh water.
- Any substance or material that enters a system (the environment, human body, food, etc.) where it is not normally found.
- Referring to the skin. Dermal absorption means absorption through the skin.
- The amount of substance to which a person is exposed. Dose often takes body weight into account.
- The presence of hazardous substances in the environment. From the public health perspective, environmental contamination is addressed when it potentially affects the health and quality of life of people living and working near the contamination.
- Contact with a chemical by swallowing, by breathing, or by direct contact (such as through the skin or eyes). Exposure may be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic).
- A source of risk that does not necessarily imply potential for occurrence. A hazard produces risk only if an exposure pathway exists and if exposures create the possibility of adverse consequences.
- Swallowing (such as eating or drinking). Chemicals can get into or on food, drink, utensils, cigarettes, or hands where they can be ingested. After ingestion, chemicals can be absorbed into the blood and distributed throughout the body.
- Soil, water, air, plants, animals, or any other parts of the environment that can contain contaminants.
National Priorities List (NPL)
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list of sites that have undergone preliminary assessment and site inspection to determine which locations pose immediate threat to persons living or working near the release. These sites are most in need of cleanup.
No Apparent Public Health Hazard
- An ATSDR designation for sites where human exposure to contaminated media is occurring or has occurred in the past, but the exposure is below a level of health hazard.
- An area of chemicals in a particular medium, such as air or groundwater, moving away from its source in a long band or column. A plume can be a column of smoke from a chimney or chemicals moving with groundwater.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
- PCBs are very stable, non-flammable liquids used as heat insulation fluids in transformers. Because PCBs are very stable chemicals, they tend to persist in the environment. Several types of PCB mixtures exist; some commercial mixtures are known by their industrial trade name, Aroclor.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- PAHs comprise one category of base/neutral and acid extractable compounds and are a group of chemicals that are formed during the burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, or other organic substance. Some PAHs are contained in asphalt used for paving roads or runways. There are more than 100 different PAH compounds and they are found throughout the environment in air, water, and soil. Most PAHs do not appear alone in the environment but, rather, in complex mixtures of many individual PAHs, which may be carcinogenic or noncarcinogenic.
- The condition under which valid information, usually analytical environmental data, indicates the presence of contaminant(s) of a public health concern in one or more environmental media contacting humans (i.e., air, drinking water, soil, food chain, surface water), and there is evidence that some of those persons may have an identified route(s) of exposure (i.e., drinking contaminated water, breathing contaminated air, having contact with contaminated soil, or eating contaminated food).
Public Health Assessment
- The evaluation of data and information on the release of hazardous substances into the environment in order to assess any current or future impact on public health, develop health advisories or other recommendations, and identify studies or action needed to evaluate and mitigate or prevent human health effects; also the document resulting from that evaluation.
Public Health Hazard
- An ATSDR designation for sites that pose a public health hazard as the result of long-term exposures to hazardous substances.
Route of Exposure
- The way in which a person may contact a chemical substance. For example, drinking (ingestion) and bathing (skin contact) are two different routes of exposure to contaminants that may be found in water.
Semivolatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs)
- Compounds amenable to analysis by extraction of the sample with an organic solvent. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, such as naphthalene, phenanthrene, benzo(a)pyrene, and chrysene, comprise one category of SVOCs. The term SVOCs is used synonymously with base/neutral and acid extractable compounds (BNAs).
- Another name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), which created ATSDR.
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA)
- The 1986 legislation that broadened ATSDR's responsibilities in the areas of public health assessments, establishment and maintenance of toxicologic databases, information dissemination, and medical education.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Substances containing carbon and different proportions of other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, sulfur, or nitrogen; these substances easily become vapors or gases. A significant number of the VOCs are commonly used as solvents (paint thinners, lacquer thinner, degreasers, and dry-cleaning fluids).
APPENDIX B: COMPARISON VALUES
The conclusion that a contaminant exceeds the comparison value does not mean that it will cause adverse health effects. Comparison values represent media-specific contaminant concentrations that are used to select contaminants for further evaluation to determine the possibility of adverse public health effects.
Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs)
CREGs are estimated contaminant concentrations that would be expected to cause no more than one excess cancer in a million (10-6) persons exposed over lifetime. ATSDR's CREGs are calculated from EPA's cancer potency factors.
Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs)
EMEGs are based on ATSDR minimal risk levels (MRLs) and factors in body weight and ingestion rates. An EMEG is an estimate of daily human exposure to a chemical that is likely to be without noncarcinogenic health effects over a specified duration of exposure.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
The MCL is the drinking water standard established by EPA. It is the maximum permissible level of a contaminant in water that is delivered to the free-flowing outlet. MCLs are considered protective of public health over a lifetime (70 years) for people consuming 2 liters of water per day.
Reference Media Evaluation Guides (RMEGs)
ATSDR derives RMEGs from EPA's oral reference doses. The RMEG represents the
concentration in water or soil at which daily human exposure is unlikely to
result in adverse noncarcinogenic effects.
APPENDIX C: RESPONSES TO PUBLIC COMMENTS
The Fort Dix Public Health Assessment was available for public review and comment from June 23, 1999, through August 1, 1999. The public comment period was announced in a press release on June 29, 1999. Copies of the public health assessment were made available for review at the Burlington County Library, the Main Branch and the Browns Mill Branch, and the Fort Dix Library. The public health assessment was also sent to state and federal agencies and interested members of the general public.
- Comment: We request ATSDR's assistance in the evaluation of potential
human health effects due to lead contamination of sediments and surface water
in Hanover Lake, Mirror Lake, Pine Lake, and Rancocas Creek waterway. We also
request that airborne particulate lead emissions from current and future operations
be monitored. There are private residences within a relatively short distance
from the Fort Dix ranges. The public health assessment should include an evaluation
of newly identified lead contamination at active ranges as well as the surface
water bodies that may be impacted.
Response: Fort Dix is in the process of developing a remediation plan to address the lead contamination issues. ATSDR will review additional analytical data and make any appropriate recommendations based on the most recent information as soon as data become available and a course of action has been determined.
- Comment: The public health assessment should also include an evaluation
of contamination detected during removal of the underground storage tanks
Response: ATSDR has evaluated all the environmental data provided in the documents cited in this public health assessment.The removal of USTs is an ongoing process and ATSDR will continue to evaluate these sites as additional information becomes available. The text was amended in Table 1 to better reflect this ongoing process.
- Comment: In the report, results of the detected contaminants are
compared to the federal standards (e.g., Maximum Contaminant Levels). The
results of the detected contaminants should be compared to the most stringent
value of the federal standards, state standard, and the standards of the New
Jersey Pinelands Commission.
Response: ATSDR uses several media-specific comparison values (CVs) to select environmental contaminants for further evaluation. Appendix B describes these different CVs and explains their use as a screening tool. The results of detected contaminants are compared with the most stringent CVs that are listed in Appendix B. However, ATSDR does not use state derived CVs or CVs developed by other groups (e.g., New Jersey Pinelands Commission) for purposes of screening contaminants for further evaluation.
- Comment: A concern raised at the July 29, 1999, Fort Dix
public meeting was that the monitoring data that ATSDR used to evaluate past
air emissions at the Fort Dix incinerator only represented two points in time,
December 1997 and March 1998. It was recommended that ATSDR obtain additional
past monitoring data from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
As discussed during the meeting on July 29, 1999, at Fort Dix, potential risk
to human receptors, if any, should be evaluated via a pathway of emissions
from the former incinerator to the ambient air to soil. As discussed during
the meeting, this evaluation may require actual sampling of soil.
Response: ATSDR was able to obtain additional stack emissions data, November/December 1988, April 1995, April 1997, June 1997, and September 1997, from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Air Quality and Fort Dix. The mercury emissions did exceed the allowable limits on several occasions during the incinerator's period of operation. However, based on an air dispersion model that used the highest detected levels of mercury emitted from the incinerator's two stacks and very conservative assumptions, ambient air levels did not exceed ATSDR's comparison value. Based on the monitoring data that has been reviewed, ATSDR does not consider other potential pathways of exposure (e.g., soil and surface water) due to air emissions from the incinerator to be a past public health concern and does not recommend additional soil testing. ATSDR will review any additional monitoring data that is identified for the Fort Dix incinerator as soon as it becomes available.
- Comment: It was reported that children living in the Garden Terrace
housing area found two explosive-filled hand grenades and it was suspected
that the grenades were found in the wooded area south of the Cantonment Area.
This information appears to be based on the April 1997 Fort Dix Final Archives
Search Report (ASR) for Ordnance, Ammunition and Explosives. A more recent
memorandum dated September 25, 1997, however, reports that these grenades
were, in fact, Mark II practice hand grenades and were not explosive filled
as previously stated in the ASR.
Response: ATSDR supports Fort Dix's efforts to conduct extensive subsurface excavations when developing housing projects. Due to past military operations conducted at Fort Dix, ATSDR continues to recommend that the Army ensure that unexploded ordnance is identified and retrieved or that areas where removal is prohibited are made inaccessible. The public health assessment was modified to take into account this additional information.
- Comment: The last paragraph on page 15 refers to a 1991 site visit
and contact with the Pinelands Commission in 1991. Following this sentence
it is stated that ATSDR contacted RAB members at the time of both site visits
during the site visit process. The reader may interpret this to indicate that
ATSDR contacted the RAB members during the 1991 site visit. The Fort Dix RAB
was not established until 1996. Therefore, it is recommended that the paragraph
Response: The text has been changed accordingly.
- Comment: The PHA refers to the Pinelands Commission as a "local
organized citizens' group." This description does not appear to adequately
describe the Pinelands Commission. The Commission was established by the Governor
of New Jersey and includes one member appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the
Interior, seven members appointed by the Governor of New Jersey, and seven
members appointed by each county within the Pinelands. The Pinelands Commission
is responsible for developing and implementing the Comprehensive Management
Plan for the Pinelands National Reserve. It may be more appropriate to refer
to the Pinelands Commission as a regional planning and preservation agency.
Response: The reference to the Pinelands Commission has been changed to more accurately describe its function.