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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

MARTIN AARON, INCORPORATED
CCAMDEN CITY, CAMDEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


DISCUSSION

Environmental Contamination and Remedial History

Remedial Investigations (RI) at the site were conducted in two phases. During Phase I (May to September 1997), soil samples were collected from 15 locations inside the buildings and 25 exterior on-site locations, and 1 exterior off-site location. In addition, two rounds of groundwater samples were collected from 7 new monitoring wells. Hydropunch groundwater samples were also collected from 12 on-site locations.

During the Phase II investigation, (September to November 1998), soil samples were collected from 3 locations inside the building, 54 exterior on- and off-site locations, and from borings taken during the installation of 5 monitoring wells. One round of groundwater samples was collected from 7 existing monitoring wells, and 7 new monitoring wells. (1) The monitoring wells are located on-site and off-site; the off-site monitoring wells are located close to the site boundary.

       On-Site Contamination

        Soils

The primary contaminants of concern within on-site near-surface (0 to 2 feet) and subsurface (below 2 feet) soils include chlorinated and aromatic volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals.

The contaminants detected above the ATSDR comparison values or NJDEP cleanup criteria in near-surface soils included tetrachloroethylene (for child), trichloroethylene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, polychlorinated biphenyls, 4,4-DDE, aldrin, dieldrin (for child), arsenic, cadmium (for child), and lead. Table 1 (see Appendix) reports the maximum concentrations of contaminants detected in near-surface soil samples (0 to 2 feet). (1)

Subsurface soils (below 2 feet) exhibited similar contamination. The contaminants detected above the ATSDR comparison values or NJDEP cleanup criteria in subsurface soils included 1,2-dichloroethylene (for child), tetrachloroethylene (for child), trichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethane, benzene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, polychlorinated biphenyls, aldrin (for child), arsenic, cadmium, and lead. Table 2 (see Appendix) reports the maximum concentrations of contaminants detected in subsurface soil samples (below 2 feet).(1)

The near-surface and subsurface soils have been removed by the USEPA from the site and replaced with clean fill materials. The clean fill layer ranges from 2 to 7 feet in thickness. (2)

       Groundwater

The contaminants detected above the ATSDR comparison values or NJDEP primary drinking water standards in groundwater samples from the "shallow" zone of the upper aquifer included 1,2-dichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethane, benzene, chromium, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. (1)

The contaminants detected above the ATSDR comparison values or NJDEP primary drinking water standards in groundwater samples from the "deep" zone of the upper aquifer included tetrachloroethylene and arsenic.(1)

Table 3 (see Appendix) presents a summary of maximum contaminant levels detected in groundwater samples from the shallow and deep zones of the upper aquifer. (1)

Shallow upper aquifer groundwater contamination identified at the site extends across the property and beyond the property borders to the east, south, and west. Based on the sampling results, groundwater contamination appears to be more prevalent in the shallow zone near the water table surface as opposed to deeper zones of the aquifer. The shallow upper aquifer groundwater contamination is of high concern because of the possibility of the migration of contaminants to the deeper groundwater (the deeper portions of the aquifer are used in the region as a source of water for the public water supply systems). Deeper groundwater in the middle and lower aquifers beneath the site is evaluated by the USEPA as not presently impacted by the site. As part of an overall remedial investigation of the site, additional groundwater data is being collected to further characterize the site, including the off-site migration of groundwater contamination beyond the present study area.(1)

       Off-Site Contamination

Other than groundwater contamination, there are no data or information describing off-site migration of site-related contaminants associated with any environmental media.

Pathways Analysis

This section contains discussion of the exposure pathways at the site and their public health implications. An exposure pathway is the process by which an individual is exposed to contaminants that originate from some source of contamination. The ATSDR and the NJDHSS classify exposure pathways into three groups: (1) "completed pathways," that is , those in which exposure has occurred, is occurring, or will occur; (2) "potential pathways," that is, those in which exposure might have occurred, may be occurring, or may yet occur; and (3) "eliminated pathways," that is, those which can be eliminated from further analysis because one of the five elements is missing and will never be present, or in which no contaminants of concern can be identified. (5) To determine whether residents of Camden City were or are exposed to contaminants related to the site, the ATSDR and the NJDHSS evaluate the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. This pathways analysis consists of five elements: (1) a source of contamination; (2) transport through an environmental medium; (3) a point of human exposure; (4) a route of human exposure; and (5) a receptor (exposed) population.(5)

Under current site conditions, and based upon data and information available to the ATSDR and the NJDHSS, no completed human exposure pathways associated with the site were identified. The only two potential exposure pathways related to the site are discussed below:

       On-site Soil-Related Exposure Pathway

Currently, on-site surface soils have been remediated and are not accessible to either adults or to children because of the presence of 24-hour security at the site. Furthermore, past exposures to the non-worker public, although not impossible, were not likely because the site was an active facility until 1998, and 24-hour security has been in place at the site since the closing of the MAI. Therefore, the NJDHSS and ATSDR believe that exposures to contaminated soils to the non-worker public has probably not occurred at levels of health concern. For this reason, this pathway has been eliminated and will not be discussed further.

       Groundwater-Related Exposure Pathways

Based on NJDHSS and ATSDR's evaluation of the Remedial Investigation and other site-related information, the primary potential exposure pathway associated with the site pertains to groundwater contamination and its impact on the PRM aquifer which is a significant source for public water supplies in the area. As previously indicated, there are several public water supply wells located within 4 miles of the site, the nearest of which is approximately 1 3/4 miles away. Although the exact extent of the off-site movement of site-related contaminants has not been defined, data from a review of routine sampling of water from the public water systems in the area indicate that the site is currently not impacting these systems. (1) However, there is a concern that if the groundwater is not remediated, then these public water systems, especially the closest Camden City well, may become contaminated, thus, increasing the potential for exposure. According to the NJDEP, (1,9) no private potable wells exist withing a 5-mile radius of the site.

Public Health Implications

There are no past or current completed exposure pathways at the site which warrant evaluation. However, the levels of some groundwater contaminants, especially 1,2-dichloroethene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethane, benzene, chromium, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead have been detected in monitoring well samples in concentrations above ATSDR health comparison values or NJDEP primary drinking water standards. Therefore, to prevent future exposures to site-related contamination at levels of public health concern, additional investigation of the potential for the contamination of public supply wells is necessary.

ATSDR Child Health Initiative

ATSDR's Child Health Initiative recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand special emphasis in communities faced with contamination in their environment. Children are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to hazardous substances emitted from waste sites. They are more likely exposed because they play outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. They are shorter than adults, which means they breathe dust, soil, and heavy vapors closer to the ground. Children are also smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. The developing body systems of the growing child can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Most importantly, children depend completely on adults for risk identification and management decisions, housing decisions, and access to medical care. There were no completed exposure pathways associated with the MAI site. Therefore, the NJDHSS and the ATSDR have determined that children are not presently exposed to site-related contaminants. If site conditions change that result in potential exposures to children or pregnant women, the NJDHSS and the ATSDR will re-examine childhood health issues.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

In order to gather information on community health concerns at the site, NJDHSS contacted the Camden County Health Department, the USEPA, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. No community concerns regarding the MAI site were identified.


PUBLIC COMMENT

Public comment was solicited from September 18 to October 18, 2000. No comments were received.

       Health Outcome Data Evaluation

Health outcome data were not reviewed because there are no completed human exposure pathways associated with the MAI site. In addition, no community health concerns have been expressed related to adverse health effects from exposures to site-related contaminants.

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