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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

JACKSON TOWNSHIP LANDFILL
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OCEAN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

Data tables 1 to 7 list the site contaminants of concern. NJDOH evaluates these contaminants in the subsequent sections of the Public Health Assessment and determines whether exposure to them has public health significance. NJDOH selects and discusses these contaminants based upon the following factors:

  1. Concentrations of contaminants on and off the site.
  2. Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design.
  3. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with background concentrations, if available.
  4. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarcinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints.
  5. Community health concerns.

In the data tables that follow under the On-site Contamination subsection and the Off-site Contamination subsection, the listed contaminant does not mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposures. Instead, the list indicates which contaminants will be evaluated further in the Public Health Assessment. When selected as a contaminant of concern in one medium, that contaminant will be reported in all media.

The data tables include the following acronyms:

    * CREG = ATSDR Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide

    * EMEG = ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide

    * RfD = USEPA Reference Dose

    * LTHA = USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory

    * EPA MCL = USEPA Maximum Contaminant Level

    * NJ MCL = New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Level

    * NJ SAL = New Jersey Soil Action Level

    * ppm = parts per million

Comparison values for public health assessments are contaminant concentrations in specific media that are used to select contaminants for further evaluation. These values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), and other relevant guidelines. CREGs are estimated contaminant concentrations based on a one excess cancer in a million persons exposed over a lifetime. CREGs are calculated from EPA cancer slope factors. Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) represent contaminant concentrations that the State or Federal regulatory agency deems protective of public health (considering the availability and economics of water treatment technology) over a lifetime (70 years) at an exposure rate of 2 liters of water per day. MCLs are regulatory concentrations. EPA Reference Doses (RfDs) are estimates of the daily exposure to a contaminant that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

A. On-Site Contamination

Soil (0 to 24 inches)

Soil samples were collected from soil borings between July 25 and 30, 1990 during the Phase I Remedial Investigation. All samples were collected and analyzed in accordance with NJDEPE procedures. Six soil borings (SL-1/SL-6) were installed in the former landfill areas along the western perimeter of the site, including in the vicinity of three potential liquid disposal pits. One shallow soil sample was collected from each boring at a depth of 0 to 24 inches. Three soil borings (SL-7/SL-9) were installed in the nonactive areas of the landfill to obtain background soil conditions. One soil sample was collected from each boring at a depth of 0 to 24 inches. Samples were analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, inorganic compounds, and total petroleum hydrocarbons. Figure 3 (Appendix A) shows all soil boring sampling locations.

Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHC) were detected in all shallow soil samples at levels above comparison values. TPHC was detected at levels above those found in background soil samples. Arsenic and chromium were found in shallow soil samples at levels below comparison values. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (BEHP) was detected in all shallow soil samples at levels below comparison values; levels were similar to background concentrations. BEHP was also detected in quality control samples (field blanks) suggesting that the presence of BEHP in soil samples may be the result of field or laboratory contamination. Table 1 reports the contaminants of concern and concentration range detected in shallow soil samples.

Insufficient surface soil samples (0 to 3 inches deep) were collected to completely delineate the extent of soil contamination at the site. Thus, a data gap exists in assessing the potential public health impact of exposure to contaminated surface soil.

Table 1. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in On-site Soil Samples (0 to 24 inches)

Contaminant Concentration Range
in parts per million
(ppm)
Comparison Value
ppm Source
Benzene ND 24 CREG
Chlorobenzene ND 14,000 RfD
BEHP 0.14 - 2.6 50 CREG
Antimony ND 10 NJSAL
Arsenic 2.4 210 RfD
Chromium 4.3 - 27.7 3500 RfD
TPHC 51.2 - 663 100 NJSAL
ND-not detected
Source: Phase I Remedial Investigation Summary Report for the Jackson Township Landfill, November 1990

Soil (6 inch interval above water table)

Soil samples were collected from soil borings between July 25 and 30, 1990 during the Phase I Remedial Investigation. All samples were collected and analyzed in accordance with NJDEPE procedures. Six soil borings (SL-1/SL-6) were installed in the former landfill areas along the western perimeter of the site, including in the vicinity of three potential liquid disposal pits. One deep soil sample was collected from each boring from the 6-inch interval above the water table. Samples were analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, inorganic compounds, and total petroleum hydrocarbons. Figure 3 (Appendix A) shows all soil boring sampling locations.

Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHC) were detected in all deep soil samples at levels above comparison values. TPHC was detected at levels above those found in background soil samples. Arsenic and chromium were found in deep soil samples at levels below comparison values. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (BEHP) was detected in all deep soil samples at levels below comparison values; levels were similar to background concentrations. BEHP was also detected in quality control samples (field blanks) suggesting that the presence of BEHP in soil samples may be the result of field or laboratory contamination. Table 2 reports the contaminants of concern and concentration range detected in deep soil samples.

Table 2. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in On-site Soil Samples (6 inch interval above water table)

Contaminant Concentration Range
in parts per million
(ppm)
Comparison Value
ppm Source
Benzene ND 24 CREG
Chlorobenzene ND 14,000 RfD
BEHP 0.36 - 3.4 50 CREG
Antimony ND 10 NJSAL
Arsenic 1.4 - 4.7 210 RfD
Chromium 9.9 - 73.2 3500 RfD
TPHC 106 - 1210 100 NJSAL
ND-not detected
Source: Phase I Remedial Investigation Summary Report for the Jackson Township Landfill, November 1990

Ground Water - Monitoring Wells

Groundwater samples were collected from twenty-two monitoring wells between August 21 and 29, 1990 during the Phase I Remedial Investigation. All monitoring wells were screened in the shallow Cohansey aquifer at depths ranging from 2 to 70 feet below grade. Twenty-two monitoring well samples were analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and inorganic compounds. Figure 4 (Appendix A) shows all monitoring well sampling locations.

Benzene was detected in two groundwater samples (including a duplicate sample) from one monitoring well location (101R), and chlorobenzene was detected in four groundwater samples (including a duplicate sample) from three monitoring well locations (101R, 206D, 214), at levels slightly above comparison values. Antimony was found in two groundwater samples (GW-202, GW-302S) at levels above comparison values. BEHP was detected in all monitoring well samples at levels above comparison values; however, BEHP was also detected in all corresponding quality control samples (method blanks) suggesting that the presence of BEHP in monitoring well samples may be the result of laboratory contamination. Chromium was detected in 10 monitoring well samples at levels below comparison values. Chromium levels were typical of background groundwater quality found within the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer System. Table 3 reports the contaminants of concern and concentration range detected in monitoring well samples.

Table 3. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in On-site Groundwater Monitoring Wells

Contaminant Concentration Range
in parts per million
(ppm)
Comparison Value
ppm Source
Benzene 0.002 - 0.003 0.001 CREG
Chlorobenzene 0.008 - 0.029 0.004 NJMCL
BEHP 0.004 - 0.063 0.0025 CREG
Antimony 0.032 - 0.034 0.004 RfD
Arsenic ND 0.011 RfD
Chromium 0.006 - 0.031 0.18 RfD
TPHC NA none none
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Source: Phase I Remedial Investigation Summary Report for Jackson Township Landfill, November 1990

Ambient Air

Ambient air monitoring for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was performed in December 1988 during the Preliminary Remedial Investigation. The air monitoring survey was conducted on a 100 foot by 100 foot grid over the entire site using a photoionization detector. Low depressions and all groundwater monitoring wells were also surveyed. No VOCs were detected during the air monitoring survey.

Additional ambient air monitoring for VOCs and ionizing radiation was performed on June 29, 1990 during the Remedial Investigation. The air monitoring survey was conducted in a grid pattern over the entire site using a photoionization detector, a flame ionization detector, and an ionizing radiation meter. No readings above background levels were obtained in breathing zone locations.

Air monitoring data may not be representative of conditions, such as seasonal and climatic changes, that may occur at the site. Insufficient data exist to evaluate the potential for past exposure to contaminants in ambient air, particularly during the years when the landfill was in operation.

B. Off-Site Contamination

Ground Water - Residential Wells

Residential well sampling was conducted by the OCHD and NJDEPE from March 1978 through February 1982. Potable well samples were collected from about 40 downgradient residential wells (at tap). In most cases, each well was sampled two or more times. Samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds and inorganic compounds. In 1978 and 1979, VOCs were detected in potable well samples at levels above comparison values. Subsequent sampling data suggest a general decrease in VOC concentrations over time. Table 4 reports the contaminants of concern and concentration range detected in potable well samples.

Residential well sampling was not conducted during the Phase I Remedial Investigation because property access to the four targeted shallow wells was denied and the two targeted deep wells could not be located. Jackson Township officials report that the shallow residential wells were abandoned and sealed when these homes were connected to the public water system in 1980. Those wells which could not be accessed are screened in the deep aquifer at depths of 400 feet and 500 feet.

Table 4. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Residential Water Supplies

Contaminant Date* Concentration
Range in parts
per million (ppm)
Comparison Value
ppm Source
Benzene 12-78 0.0004 - 0.22 0.001 CREG
Carbon Tetrachloride 6-80 0.002 - 0.006 0.0003 CREG
Chlorobenzene 10-78 0.0012 - 0.027 0.004 NJMCL
Chloroform 12-78 0.0007 - 0.05 0.0057 CREG
1,1,1-Trichloroethane 12-78 0.0007 - 1.36 0.2 LTHA
1,1,2,2- Tetrachloroethane 11-78 0.0154** 0.00018 CREG
Trichloroethylene 10-78 0.0007 - 1.078 0.0 MCLG
Tetrachloroethylene 6-80 0.0005 - 0.014 0.0007 CREG
Vinyl Chloride 11-81 0.003 - 0.004 0.0007 EMEG
*maximum concentration sampling date
**landfill trailer sample
Source: Remedial Action Master Plan, Jackson Township Landfill Site, Jackson Township, New Jersey, November 1984.

Indoor Air

Indoor air sampling was conducted by NJDOH in Legler area homes in August 1980. A group of 15 homes were randomly selected from those who were included in the 1980 NJDOH health survey. Of those homes, 5 were currently using residential wells for potable water. In February 1981, indoor air samples were collected in 10 randomly selected non-Legler homes located in a section of Jackson Township upgradient of the site. Basement samples were obtained using activated charcoal tubes and were analyzed for VOCs.

No significant differences in VOC concentrations were found between Legler and non-Legler households. However, data comparison is limited since air sampling for Legler and non-Legler homes were conducted during different seasons. Table 5 reports the contaminants of concern and concentration range detected in indoor air samples.

Table 5. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Indoor Air

Contaminant Concentration Range in
parts per billion (ppb)
Comparison Value
Legler homes Non-Legler homes ppb Source
Benzene <1.0 - 37.0 <10.0 - 80.0 0.03 CREG
Chloroform <1.0 ND 0.0086 CREG
Tetrachloroethylene <1.0 - 13.0 ND none none
Toluene 3.0 - 387.0 <10.0 - 80.0 none none
Xylene (total) 8.0 - 130.0 <10.0 - 50.0 none none
ND-not detected
< =less than
Source: Evaluation of Air Contamination in Basements of Legler and Non-Legler Residences, October 1981.

Surface Water

Surface water sampling was conducted on August 31, 1990 during the Phase I Remedial Investigation. Three surface water samples were collected from the Ridgeway Branch at one upstream location (SW-1), one downstream location (SW-4), and one location adjacent to the landfill (SW-2). One upstream surface water sample (SW-3) was collected from the Obhanan-Ridgeway Branch. Figure 5 (Appendix A) shows all surface water sampling locations. Samples were analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and inorganic compounds.

BEHP was detected in all surface water samples at levels above comparison values; however, BEHP was also detected in all corresponding quality control samples (method blanks) suggesting that the presence of BEHP in surface water samples may be the result of laboratory contamination. Chromium was detected in one surface water sample at levels below comparison values. Table 6 reports the contaminant of concern and concentration range detected in surface water samples.

Table 6. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Surface Water Samples

Contaminant Concentration Range
in parts per million
(ppm)
Comparison Value
ppm Source
Benzene ND 0.001 CREG
Chlorobenzene ND 0.004 NJMCL
BEHP 0.02-0.14 0.0025 CREG
Antimony ND 0.004 RfD
Arsenic ND 0.011 RfD
Chromium 0.0072 0.18 RfD
TPHC NA none none
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Source: Phase I Remedial Investigation Summary Report for the Jackson Township Landfill, November 1990

Sediment

Stream sediment sampling was conducted on August 31, 1990 during the Phase I Remedial Investigation. Four stream sediment samples were collected from surface water sampling locations at a depth of 0 to 6 inches. Samples were analyzed for volatile and semi-volatile organics compounds, pesticides, and inorganic compounds. Figure 5 (Appendix A) shows all sediment sampling locations.

Antimony was detected at levels slightly above comparison values in three sediment samples (including a duplicate sample) from one upgradient (SD-3) and one sidegradient (SD-2) sediment sampling location. Benzene was detected at levels below comparison values in one upgradient (SD-1) and one downgradient (SD-4) sediment sampling location. BEHP was detected in all sediment samples at levels below comparison values. BEHP was also found in a quality control sample (field blank) suggesting that the presence of BEHP in sediment samples may be the result of field or laboratory contamination. Chromium was detected in one upgradient location at levels below comparison values. Table 7 reports the contaminants of concern and concentration range detected in stream sediment samples.

Table 7. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Sediment Samples

Contaminant Concentration Range
in parts per million
(ppm)
Comparison Value
ppm Source
Benzene 0.011 - 0.014 24 CREG
Chlorobenzene ND 14,000 RfD
BEHP 0.4 - 2.2 50 CREG
Antimony 14.4 - 18.8 10 NJSAL
Arsenic ND 210 RfD
Chromium 4.3 3500 RfD
TPHC NA 100 NJSAL
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Source: Phase I Remedial Investigation Summary Report for the Jackson Township Landfill, November 1990

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this Public Health Assessment, NJDOH relied on the information provided in the referenced documents, and assume that adequate quality assurance and quality control measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures and data reporting. The validity of the analysis and conclusions drawn for this Public Health Assessment is determined by the availability and reliability of the referenced information.

Phase I environmental samples were analyzed under the USEPA Certified Laboratory Program. Analytical data were validated by NJDEPE data-validation personnel. While proper quality assurance and control measures were generally followed during sample collection and analysis, the quality of the data was affected by quality control sample contamination. Acetone and methylene chloride were found in several field, trip and method blanks in all media and may be the result of laboratory or field contamination. These compounds are not included in the discussion in the Environmental Contamination and Other Hazards section. BEHP was also detected in blank samples in some media; thus its presence in certain media samples may be the result of contamination in the field or laboratory.

The quality of residential well data (1978-1982) was affected by improper sample handling and preparation, data reporting errors, and inadequate information on exact residential well locations. Therefore, data interpretation, including the analysis of trends over time, is limited.

Quality assurance and quality control information was not available for the 1980-1981 indoor air sampling data. Seasonal differences occurred in air sampling episodes in Legler and non-Legler households limiting the comparability of the data.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

Subsurface methane gas monitoring was performed in December 1988 during the Preliminary Remedial Investigation. Methane monitoring was conducted every 50 feet across the former landfill areas and along the site perimeter adjacent to the landfill areas (See Appendix A; Figure 2 for approximate limits of former landfill areas). Positive readings of 10 to 100% of the lower explosive limit (LEL) were obtained along the site perimeter adjacent to the northwestern landfill area. Positive readings of 15 to 100% LEL were recorded adjacent to the southwestern landfill area. Methane monitoring performed adjacent to positive readings does not indicate off-site methane gas migration. Methane gas monitoring was also performed at monitoring wells located within landfill areas. A positive reading of 65 percent of the LEL was obtained from within a damaged monitoring well located near the northwestern corner of the site. The release of methane from the liquid waste disposal areas of the landfill presents a potential explosion or asphyxiation hazard in confined spaces to on-site workers during ground-intrusive remedial activities, such as digging.

Most methane gas migration may be occurring directly into ambient air through the existing porous sandy landfill cover. Although it does not appear that methane gas is migrating to off-site areas through the subsurface soil, the residence located immediately adjacent to the northwestern landfill area may be potentially impacted by methane gas migration. The potential for off-site methane migration may increase under certain weather conditions, such as during periods of heavy rain or extreme cold, when the vertical movement of soil gas is inhibited.

During the site visit, several steep sandy slopes within the mounded areas were observed on the site. These deep depressions present a physical hazard to site trespassers, particularly children.

E. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Data

To identify possible facilities that could contribute to the contamination of environmental media near the Jackson Township Landfill site, NJDOH conducted a search of the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) for 1987 through 1989. TRI is developed by the USEPA from the estimated annual releases of toxic chemicals to the environment (air, water, soil, or underground injection) provided by certain industries. TRI did not list any facilities located near the site that reported emissions of toxic chemicals for 1987 through 1989.


PATHWAYS ANALYSES

To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site, NJDOH evaluates the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. This pathways analysis consists of five elements: A source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of exposure, and an exposed population.

NJDOH categorizes an exposure pathway as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposure pathway cannot be eliminated. Completed pathways consist of the five elements and indicate that exposure to a contaminant has occurred in the past, is currently occurring, or will occur in the future. Potential pathways, however, have at least one of the five elements is missing, but could exist. Potential exposure pathways indicate that exposure to a contaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never be present. Table 8 identifies the completed exposure pathways. Table 9 identifies the potential exposure pathways. The discussion that follows these tables incorporates only those pathways that are important and relevant to the site. We also discuss some of those exposure pathways that have been eliminated.

Table 8. Completed Exposure Pathways

PATHWAY NAME EXPOSURE PATHWAY ELEMENTS TIME
SOURCE ENVIRONMENTAL
MEDIA
POINT OF
EXPOSURE
ROUTE OF
EXPOSURE
EXPOSED
POPULATION
Residential
Well
Jackson
Twp.
Landfill
Ground Water
(Residential
Wells)
Residences
(taps)
Ingestion,
Inhalation,
Skin Contact
Legler
Residents
Past

Table 9. Potential Exposure Pathways

PATHWAY NAME EXPOSURE PATHWAY ELEMENTS TIME
SOURCE ENVIRONMENTAL
MEDIA
POINT OF
EXPOSURE
ROUTE OF
EXPOSURE
EXPOSED
POPULATION
Soil Jackson Twp.
Landfill
Soil Landfill Ingestion,
Inhalation,
Skin Contact
Site Tres-
passers,
Jackson Twp.
Residents
Past
Present
Future
Ambient Air Jackson Twp.
Landfill
Ambient Air Landfill Inhalation Jackson
Twp.
Residents
Past
Indoor Air Jackson Twp.
Landfill
Indoor Air Residences Inhalation Legler
Residents
Past
Sediment Jackson Twp.
Landfill,
other unknown
sources
Stream Sediment Ridgeway
Branch,
Obhanan-
Ridgeway
Branch
Ingestion,
Skin
Contact
Jackson
Twp.
Residents
Past
Present
Future

A. Completed Exposure Pathways

Residential Well Pathways

Past exposure of Legler residents to VOCs in residential well water are likely to have occurred from 1978 through 1980, and may have occurred as early as 1972. Legler residents may have been exposed by drinking tap water, breathing air in the home that has been contaminated with VOCs released during the use of tap water for purposes such as showers and dishwashing, and through direct contact with VOCs in water during activities such as hand-washing. In the past, VOCs had migrated from the landfill through the shallow groundwater system. Residential well data documented the presence of VOCs in the potable water supply of Legler residents from 1978 through 1979. About 100 homes were found to be contaminated with VOCs. The quality of residential well data (1978-1982) was affected by improper sample handling and preparation, data reporting errors, and inadequate information on exact residential well locations. Therefore, the ability to assess the impact of the site on public health is limited. The Phase I Remedial Investigation indicates that sufficient time has elapsed for groundwater contaminants released during landfill activities to have reached the Ridgeway Branch. Based on Phase I ground-water monitoring, it does not appear that substantial contamination has extended beyond the Ridgeway Branch. Past exposure to VOCs in residential well water is evaluated further in the Public Health Implications section.

Although the Phase I groundwater monitoring results indicates that the landfill continues to be a source of residual contamination to the shallow aquifer, the affected Legler homes were provided with alternate sources of water in 1980. Since residents living near the site are currently receiving potable water from a public water system well screened within a confined deep aquifer, the potential for present or future exposure to contaminated ground water is unlikely. Therefore, NJDOH has eliminated this present and future pathway from further consideration in the Public Health Assessment.

B. Potential Exposure Pathways

Soil Pathways

Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHC) was found in soil samples (0 to 24 inches deep) from liquid disposal areas along the western portion of the site at levels above comparison values. Insufficient soil samples exist to determine the extent of surface soil contamination (0 to 3 inches deep) at the site. Although a heavy metal fence surrounds most of the site, the site is accessible along the western boundary adjacent to contaminated areas. Trespassers, particularly young children, are potentially at risk from exposure to contaminated soil on the site through eating soil, breathing in soil and dust, and skin contact.

TPHC readily bind to soil. The presence of sandy soil and limited vegetative cover at the site may result in off-site contaminant migration through airborne soil and dust. However, the potential for exposure of nearby residents to these contaminants through soil and dust generation is minimal since the extent of on-site soil contamination is limited to the northwestern portion of the site. Site contaminants are not likely to migrate to off-site areas through surface water runoff. Surface elevations are generally lower at the site than at residential and commercial properties immediately adjacent to the site, thus minimizing the likelihood of off-site soil migration. In addition, the presence of highly permeable surface soils promotes rapid downward movement of surface water at the site.

On-site workers and nearby residents may be potentially exposed to airborne soil and dust released during landfill closure/remedial activities. The number of people who may be potentially exposed to contaminated soil at or near the site is unknown. About 3,200 residents lived within 3 miles of the site during the late 1980's and U.S. census information reports that about 33,200 lived in Jackson Township in 1990. Since additional surface soil samples are needed to assess the public health impact of soil contamination, the NJDOH has categorized this pathway as a potential exposure pathway.

Ambient Air Pathways

Past exposure of Legler residents to VOCs in ambient air may have occurred prior to 1980. Legler residents may have been exposed in the past by breathing in VOCs in ambient air. Residents began reporting that odors were coming from the land-fill in 1972. The number of people who may have been exposed to contaminants in ambient air in the past is unknown. About 3,200 residents lived within 3 miles of the site during the late 1980's. Since air sampling data were not collected at the site during active landfill operations, the NJDOH has categorized this pathway as a potential exposure pathway.

Indoor Air Pathways

Past exposure of Legler residents to VOCs in indoor air may have occurred prior to 1980. Legler residents may have been exposed by breathing air in the home that had been contaminated with VOCs. VOCs may have been released into indoor air during the use of tap water for purposes such as showers and dishwashing. In the past, VOCs had migrated from the landfill through the shallow groundwater system. Residential well data documented the presence of VOCs in the downgradient potable water supply of Legler residents from 1978 through 1979. About 100 residential wells were found to be contaminated with VOCs. The contaminants detected in indoor air in 1980 were similar to those found in residential wells. Although it is possible that VOCs may have volatilized from potable water supplies into residential indoor air, it cannot be determined whether the presence of VOCs in indoor air is related to groundwater contamination since residential well samples were not collected from these homes for comparison.

The source of VOCs in indoor air may have been from volatilization of contaminants from the shallow ground water into the residential basements through the soil. However, no soil gas data was collected from residential areas to evaluate the potential for off-site migration of VOCs.

Since indoor air contaminants were detected in upgradient homes at concentrations similar to those found in Legler homes, the presence of VOCs in indoor air may not be the result of groundwater contamination emanating from the landfill. However, air sampling was conducted during different seasons (i.e., under closed house versus open house conditions), thus potentially concealing any significant difference in VOC concentrations in Legler homes as compared to upgradient homes. Past exposure to VOCs in indoor air is evaluated further in the Public Health Implications section.

In 1980, about 100 affected homes were provided with alternate sources of water. Since residents living near the site are currently receiving potable water from the public water system, the potential for present or future exposure to contaminants in indoor air through the household use of water is unlikely. Based on Phase I sampling results, it appears unlikely that VOCs are migrating to off-site areas through the soil gas or through the groundwater system, thus minimizing the potential for present or future exposure to contaminants in indoor air. Therefore, NJDOH has eliminated this present and future pathway from further consideration in the Public Health Assessment.

Sediment Pathways

Antimony was found in stream sediment samples from the Ridgeway and Ridgeway-Obhanan Branches at levels slightly above comparison values. However, antimony was detected in upgradient samples at similar concentrations to those found in sidegradient samples. Antimony was not found in the downgradient sediment sample suggesting that the migration of site contaminants to the Ridgeway Branch through the ground-water system is limited. Antimony was not detected in on-site soil samples or downgradient monitoring wells, thus further indicating a minimal ongoing impact of the site on stream sediment quality.

While it is suspected that the contaminants disposed of in the landfill may have impacted the sediments, the data appears to indicate that the landfill is most likely not a major contributor to sediment contamination. Other sources of contamination, such as the regional use of septic tanks for the disposal of septic and household wastes, may contribute to such contamination. Near the site, the Ridgeway and Ridgeway-Obhanan Branches are located in a heavily wooded area and is not easily accessible to residents. The number of people who may be potentially exposed to contaminated stream sediment is unknown. About 3,200 residents lived within 3 miles of the site during the late 1980's and U.S. census information reports that about 33,200 lived in Jackson Township in 1990. Since the likelihood of exposure of local residents to antimony in the Ridgeway Branch during recreational use is minimal, NJDOH has categorized this pathway as a potential exposure pathway.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. Toxicological Evaluation

Introduction

In this section, NJDOH will discuss the health effects in persons exposed to specific contaminants. To evaluate health effects, ATSDR has developed a Minimal Risk Level (MRL) for contaminants commonly found at hazardous waste sites. The MRL is an estimate of daily human exposure to a contaminant below which non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur. MRLs are developed for each route of exposure, such as ingestion and inhalation, and for the length of exposure, such as acute (less than 14 days), intermediate (15 to 364 days), and chronic (greater than 365 days). ATSDR presents these MRLs in Toxicological Profiles. These chemical-specific profiles provide information on health effects, environmental transport, human exposure, and regulatory status. In the following discussion, NJDOH used ATSDR Toxicological Profiles for the contaminants of concern at the site. NJDOH will use a USEPA Reference Dose (RfD) as a health guideline when a MRL is not available. The RfD is an estimate of daily human exposure to a contaminant for a lifetime below which (non-cancer) health effects are unlikely to occur.

Residential Well Pathways

Cancer estimates are based on an intake rate of 2 liters of water per day for a 70 kilogram adult for a lifetime (70 years). Since exposure to most Legler residents would most likely have occurred during the period from 1972 to 1980 rather than a lifetime, the risk of developing cancer from ingestion of residential well water for up to 8 years would be less than the risk for a lifetime of exposure. The following discussion of potential health effects does not address the issue of multiple exposure pathways. Legler residents may have also been exposed to VOCs in indoor air through volatilization from residential well water, thus potentially increasing estimated exposure doses and cancer risk.

Benzene and vinyl chloride are classified by USEPA as human carcinogens (cancer causing substances). Oral exposure to benzene at maximum concentrations found in residential well water for a lifetime may result in a low increased cancer risk. Studies show that animals fed low levels of vinyl chloride each day during their lifetime have an increased risk of getting cancer. It is not known whether human exposure to vinyl chloride at levels detected in residential well water will result in an increased cancer risk. The amount of vinyl chloride ingested by Legler residents (adults and children) exceeds the chronic oral MRL of 0.00002 mg/kg/day. Animal studies have shown that chronic oral exposure to low levels of vinyl chloride affected liver structure. Health effects in humans are unknown.

Carbon Tetrachloride is categorized as a probable human carcinogen. Oral exposure to carbon tetrachloride at maximum concentrations found in residential well water for a lifetime (70 years) is associated with a no apparent increased cancer risk. The amount of carbon tetrachloride ingested by Legler residents (adults and children) does not exceed the USEPA oral RfD (Reference Dose) of 0.0007 mg/kg/day. A chronic MRL is not available for comparison.

Chloroform and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) are categorized as probable human carcinogens. Oral exposure to chloroform at maximum concentrations found in residential well water would not be expected to result in an increased cancer risk. Although PCE is a animal carcinogen, it is not known whether PCE causes cancer in humans. Both chloroform and PCE exposure would not be expected to result in non-cancer health effects since ingested amounts do not exceed the chronic oral MRL of 0.01 mg/kg/day for chloroform and the intermediate oral MRL of 0.1 mg/kg/day for PCE.

1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane is categorized as a possible human carcinogen. Oral exposure to 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane at maximum concentrations found in residential well water would result in no apparent increased cancer risk. No MRL or RfD comparison value is available to evaluate the potential for non-cancer health effects.

The amount of chlorobenzene ingested by adults and children does not exceed the oral RfD of 0.02 mg/kg/day. No health guideline is available to evaluate the potential for cancer and non-cancer health effects from exposure to trichloroethylene. No MRL or RfD is available for 1,1,1-trichloroethane.

Indoor Air Pathways

Cancer estimates are based on an intake rate of 23 cubic meters of air per day for a 70 kilogram adult for a lifetime (70 years). Since indoor air samples were collected from the basements of Legler and non-Legler households, VOC concentrations may not accurately reflect residential exposure in actual living areas of the home. The risk of developing cancer from inhalation of VOCs in indoor air would likely be reduced for those residents who spent limited time in the basement. Likewise, indoor air sampling did not account for seasonal and temporal variations in VOC concentrations. As such, VOC concentrations may not represent typical yearly (average) exposure. The following discussion of potential health effects does not address the issue of multiple exposure pathways. Legler residents may have also been exposed to VOCs in residential well water, thus potentially increasing estimated exposure doses and cancer risk.

Benzene is classified by USEPA as a human carcinogen. The effects of long-term exposure to benzene in air comes from studies of workers exposed in the workplace at levels far greater than levels found in Legler and non-Legler basements. Based on these worker studies, inhalation exposure to benzene at maximum concentrations found in basement air near the site for a lifetime may result in a moderate increased cancer risk.

Based on animal studies, chloroform is classified as a probable human carcinogen. Inhalation exposure to chloroform at maximum concentrations found in indoor air for a lifetime may result in a low increased cancer risk.

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is categorized as a probable human carcinogen. Although PCE has been shown to cause liver and kidney cancer in animals exposed to levels much higher than those found in Legler and non-Legler basements, it is not known whether PCE causes cancer in humans.

The amount of toluene inhaled by adults and children does not exceed the intermediate inhalation MRL of 1 ppm. A chronic MRL is not available for comparison. Inhalation exposure to toluene at levels found in Legler and non-Legler residences would not be likely to result in non-cancer health effects.

No MRL or RfD is available to evaluate the potential for non-cancer health effects from exposure to xylene. Long-term exposure to low concentrations of xylene has not been well studied in animals. Based on available information, xylene levels found in indoor air would not be expected to cause adverse health effects.

Sediment Pathways

Local residents may potentially be exposed to low levels of antimony through ingestion and direct contact during recreational use of the Ridgeway and Obhanan-Ridgeway Branches adjacent to the site. Oral exposure to maximum concentrations of antimony found in stream sediment samples for a lifetime would not be expected to result in carcinogenic or non-carcinogenic health effects. Rabbits that had small amounts of antimony oxides placed on their skin for less than one day had mild skin irritation. Human health effects from skin contact with low levels of antimony are not known.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

Due to the small size of the exposed population and length of exposure, available health outcome databases could not be used to evaluate an association between exposures and certain health effects.

In January 1980, NJDOH conducted a health survey of 94 Legler households. A self-administered health questionnaire was mailed to each household. Each questionnaire contained a checklist of 148 signs, symptoms and conditions, as well as questions related to medications, occupation, chemical exposure, family history and maternal history. A total of 82 completed surveys were returned and analyzed. The most commonly reported health complaints were skin and eye irritation.

NJDOH and the OCHD conducted a health census of 162 Legler households from August through November 1980 to assess possible associations between reported adverse health effects and exposure to residential well water. A questionnaire was administered in the home by a trained interviewer. Each questionnaire was designed to gather information on all household members, including individual health, reproductive history, and exposure history. Exposure history was evaluated based on location of residence, depth of well, years of well use, and frequency of water usage. A total of 150 questionnaires were completed and analyzed. An association was found between exposure to well water and reports of skin problems, including itching, blisters, redness, and hives.

The relationship found between residential well water exposure and skin symptoms is consistent with the known effects of the contaminants found in Legler wells based on exposure studies of workers. However, the levels of contaminants found in Legler wells are much lower than those found in the workplace studies. Interpretation of the results is limited since past exposures to residential well water were estimated based on questionnaire responses. Since exposed individuals are likely to have a high level of awareness and concern, respondent bias may have resulted in the over-reporting of health effects and may have contributed to the results of the study.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

    Community health concerns are addressed as follows:

    * What health risks are associated with past exposure to VOCs in residential well water?

    Past exposure of Legler residents to VOCs in residential well water are likely to have occurred from 1978 through 1980, and may have occurred as early as 1972, through ingestion, inhalation, and direct contact. However, the ability to assess the impact of the site on public health is limited due to errors in well sampling procedures. Since residents living near the site are currently receiving potable water from a public water system well located within a confined deep aquifer, the potential for present or future exposure to contaminated ground water is unlikely.

    Based on available data and information, the site may have posed a public health hazard in the past since human exposure to VOCs in drinking water may have occurred at levels that may result in adverse health effects. Further details of the public health implications of past exposure to VOCs in residential well water are discussed in the Public Health Implications section.

    * What is the potential for exposure to soil contaminants through the ingestion of garden produce?

    The primary route of exposure from the landfill is through the ground water. Since area residents receive potable water through the public water system, it is unlikely that garden produce will come into direct contact with contaminated ground water through irrigation.

    Contaminant migration to off-site areas through airborne soil and dust is limited since the extent of on-site soil contamination is confined to a small portion of the site. Site contaminants are not likely to migrate to off-site areas through surface water runoff due to site topography and the highly permeable nature of site soils.

    * What is the potential for exposure to groundwater contaminants within the municipal water supply?

    Legler residents are connected to the Jackson Township Municipal Utility Authority (JTMUA) water system. The 1700 foot deep JTMUA well serving Legler residents draws water from a unaffected confined aquifer located about one-half mile to the southeast of the site. To assure drinking water quality, public water supplies must be sampled on a monthly basis for certain contaminants under the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act. Test results can be obtained from the local water company or from NJDEPE, Bureau of Safe Drinking Water at 609-292-5550.

    Public Comment Period

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) conducted a comment period for the Public Health Assessment for the Jackson Township Landfill from July 6, 1993 to August 6, 1993. The Public Health Assessment was placed in local repositories to facilitate commentary and reaction from the public at large. Additionally, the Public Health Assessment was circulated to the Ocean County Health Department for the purpose of soliciting commentary from local health officials.

A summary of commentary received by the NJDOH and associated responses are contained in Appendix C.

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