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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

QUANTA RESOURCES CORPORATION
EDGEWATER, BERGEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


SUMMARY

The Quanta Resources Corporation site is located at 163 River Road, Edgewater, Bergen County, New Jersey. The site covers approximately 16 acres and is located in a mixed industrial, commercial, and residential zoned area. From 1896 through 1974, the site was the location of a coal tar distillation plant. Beginning in 1974, recycling of waste oil occurred at the site. Quanta Resources Corporation leased the site on July 15, 1980 and conducted storage, reprocessing, reclamation, and recovery of waste oil. As a result of site operation activities, poor housekeeping, improper disposal practices, recurring spills, discharges, flooding, and rainwater overflows at the site, on-site soils, sediment, and groundwater were contaminated with tar materials and oils containing hazardous substances which included polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile and semi-volatile aromatic compounds, and metals.The Quanta Resources Corporation filed for bankruptcy on October 6, 1981. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, the United States Environmental Protection Agency assumed the lead responsibility for the control of the site; the site was proposed to be added to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites on January 11, 2001.

The area surrounding the Quanta Resources Corporation site is currently undergoing extensive commercial and residential redevelopment. These surrounding construction projects, as well as the Quanta Resources Corporation site itself, have led to community concerns about the safety of the air, soil, and sediment at nearby homes and workplaces.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, in conjunction with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, have not identified completed human exposure pathways associated with the Quanta Resources Corporation site. Moreover, based on limited data available for review and analysis, there are no discernible completed human exposure pathways currently at the Quanta Resources Corporation site. However, on-site soil and sediment contamination is present at levels of potential public health concern. It is conceivable that this may change with any future remediation and/or construction activities at the site or the implementation of a more comprehensive environmental monitoring program. If this occurs, a route of exposure to contamination may be established resulting in completed human exposure pathways.

Therefore, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry consider the Quanta Resources Corporation site an "Indeterminate Public Health Hazard". As site conditions change with any future remediation and/or construction activities at the Quanta Resources Corporation site, public health implications and the potential for completed human exposure pathways will be reevaluated. Furthermore, additional investigation of neighboring properties is advisable. If additional data become available to indicate that there are completed human exposure pathways attributable to the Quanta Resources Corporation site, the current designated hazard category for the site will be reconsidered.


PURPOSE AND HEALTH ISSUES

On January 11, 2001, the United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed to add the Quanta Resources Corporation site, Edgewater, Bergen County, New Jersey, to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. Subsequent to the publication of an April 18, 2001 Health Consultation for the site, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, in cooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, prepared the following Public Health Assessment to review environmental data obtained from the site, define potential human exposure to contaminants, and to determine whether the exposures are of public health concern.


BACKGROUND

Demography and Land Use

Map of Quanta Resources Corporation locationThe Quanta Resources Corporation (QRC) site is located at 163 River Road, Edgewater, Bergen County, New Jersey (see inset and Figure 1). The QRC site covers approximately 16 acres and is located in a mixed industrial, commercial, and residential zoned area, much of which is in the process of being redeveloped. The site is bordered to the north by the former Celotex Industrial Park, to the east by the Hudson River (roughly opposite West 93rd Street, Manhattan), to the south by the former Spencer Kellogg property, and to the west by "old" River Road (a local commercial thoroughfare). "New" River Road is located east of its former location and cuts across the western portion of the QRC site. Residential housing overlooks the site from atop the New Jersey Palisades cliffs which are located west of the site at a distance of approximately 500 yards. Geographic Information System (GIS) spatial analysis technology, in conjunction with 1990 United States Census data, were used by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to estimate that there are approximately 33,000 individuals residing within a one mile radius of the QRC site (see Figure 2).

Geologically, the QRC site is located within the Newark Basin of the Piedmont Physiographic Providence of New Jersey. The site has a surficial layer of fill ranging from approximately 11 to over 25 feet in thickness (Melick-Tully and Associates 2000) containing fine to medium grained sand, silt, cinders, brick, wood, gravel gypsum, cobbles, boulders, and concrete debris. The fill is underlaid by estuarine and saltmarsh deposits (primarily silty/sandy material and organic clayey silts as discontinuous layers or lenses) overlying bedrock. The clay consists of gray to black semiplastic-like soil with areas containing traces of silt, roots, and shell fragments.

According to 1990 United States Census data, there are no reported private drinking water wells located in Edgewater. The primary sources of potable water for portions of Bergen (including Edgewater) and Hudson counties are the Oradell and Woodcliff Lake reservoirs in Bergen County, New Jersey, and Lake Tappan and Lake DeForest reservoirs in Rockland County, New York (United Water New Jersey 1999). Groundwater flow is from west to east discharging to the Hudson River. The Hudson River and groundwater at the site are tidally influenced.

Site History

From 1896 through 1974, the current QRC site, as well as the southern portion of the former Celotex Industrial Park property, was the location of a coal tar distillation plant (NJDEP 2000) as well as various other manufacturing operations (R. Hayton, NJDEP, personal communication, 2002). Beginning in 1974, recycling of waste oil occurred at the site. QRC leased the site on July 15, 1980 and conducted storage, reprocessing, reclamation, and recovery of waste oil. The QRC site had 61 above ground storage tanks (ASTs) with a total capacity of approximately nine million gallons, about 10 underground storage tanks (USTs) with an estimated capacity of 40,000 gallons, and numerous underground transfer lines and pipes. The ASTs were used to store coal tar, oil, tar, asphalt, sludge, process water, and other liquids. Many of the ASTs had wooden roofs which were partially or totally collapsed, which allowed rain water to enter and overflow. About 50 drums containing oils, sludges, contaminated absorbent materials, debris, and uncharacterized materials were staged on the site.

On July 2, 1981, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) stopped all oil recycling activities at the QRC site when it was discovered that the storage tanks contained nearly 266,000 gallons of waste oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in excess of 50 parts per million (ppm), the limit set forth by the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (NJDEP 1983). PCBs were detected at levels as high as 265 ppm. Inspections at waste oil recycling facilities have been conducted to determine if hazardous wastes were deliberately being mixed with waste oils to avoid regulations set forth by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and to determine the use of the resulting blend (USEPA 1983). Principal operating personnel for QRC were charged with hazardous waste violations in several states resulting in two convictions. The QRC filed for bankruptcy on October 6, 1981.

Subsequent to the bankruptcy action, upkeep of the QRC site essentially ceased. Freezing and thawing caused by temperature extremes, as well as rusty valves and seams, resulted in AST leaks and spills. Underground transfer lines were not tested for integrity or destination and provided a spill pathway to the Hudson River. Large areas of the site were frequently flooded for extended periods of time by the tidally influenced Hudson River (USEPA 1984). A containment boom installed along the Hudson River failed to keep oil from entering the river with out-going tides since accumulated oil was not collected and properly disposed (USEPA 1984). No containment structures to control spills or runoff were reported to be present on the site. Temporary emergency clay diking was eventually constructed around the perimeter of the site.

As a result of site operation activities, poor housekeeping, improper disposal practices, recurring spills, discharges, flooding, and rainwater overflows at the QRC site, on-site soils were contaminated with tar materials and oils containing hazardous substances which included polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile and semi-volatile aromatic compounds, and metals. When a November 1983 NJDEP Administrative Consent Order failed to force QRC responsible parties to perform major cleanup and stabilization of the site, and no steps were taken to eliminate the existing threat to the public health and environment, the NJDEP requested that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) help to address the PCBs and other hazardous substances through the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Subsequent to the USEPA issuance of an Administrative Consent Order in April 1985 which named 88 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) including owners, operators, generators, and transporters in an effort to "prevent immediate and significant risk of harm to human health and the environment" (USEPA 1985a), an Administrative Order on Consent was signed with the site's property owners (USEPA 1985b).

Under USEPA supervision, removal action activities were conducted at the QRC site from 1984 through 1988. These activities primarily involved the cleaning and removal of the ASTs and USTs. Approximately 1.35 million gallons of PCB-contaminated oil were removed, and over 1.5 million gallons of coal tar were removed from storage tanks and recycled. Underground pipes and shallow soils containing coal tar residues and oil were also removed from the site. Figure 3 provides a representation of on-site conditions in 1999, subsequent to removal action activities.

Beginning in 1992, the USEPA assessed the removal activities performed by a PRP by collecting soil, ground and surface water, and sediment samples from the site. Analytical results indicated elevated concentrations of PAHs and metals. Pursuant to a USEPA Administrative Consent Order, AlliedSignal, a PRP, contracted with GeoSyntec Consultants, Atlanta, Georgia to conduct a Removal Site Investigation (RSI). The RSI was conducted in 1998 through 1999, and included the collection of surface and sub-surface soil samples from the QRC site and neighboring properties, sediment samples from the Hudson River, and groundwater monitoring.

Past ATSDR Involvement

In the fall of 1998, the USEPA requested that the ATSDR review soil sampling data obtained at the former Celotex Industrial Park site, located on the northern boundary of the QRC site, to determine if a health threat existed to workers performing sub-surface activities at the Celotex Industrial Park site. The ATSDR advised that work be conducted by individuals trained in hazardous materials operations, following all requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard, 29 CFR 1910.120 (T. Mignone 1998).

Site Visit

Photograph of the QRC site, near the foot of the Palisades to the westOn January 19, 2001 representatives of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), ATSDR, NJDEP, and USEPA conducted a site visit of the QRC site. NJDHSS representatives were James Pasqualo, Julie Petix, Sharon Kubiak, Narendra P. Singh, and Steven Miller; Thomas Mignone represented the ATSDR. Weather conditions at the time of the inspection were freezing rain with temperatures in the lower 30s. Winds were from the northeast at approximately 15 mph, and the ground was covered with snow and ice.

The area surrounding the QRC site is currently being redeveloped for residential and commercial use. The QRC site is surrounded by a chain link perimeter fence, although a gate was observed to be open, and a hole in the fence allowed for site access. No construction activity at the QRC site was observed on the day of the site visit. Physical hazards were present at the site which included sharp metal objects, holes, and debris. Additionally, areas of the site near the river's edge were physically unstable. Strong petroleum and sulfurous odors were noted. Evidence of individuals walking their dogs was present particularly on the southern portion of the site.

North of the QRC site is the former Celotex Industrial Park property. A three-story development, referred to as "The Promenade," has been constructed on this property. It contains 162 units of luxury condominiums and apartments located on an 800 foot pier extending over the Hudson River. An inactive landfill (containing primarily gypsum wallboard debris), located on the former Celotex Industrial Park property between the QRC site and The Promenade pier, is now covered by paving bricks which allows for vehicular access. Multiplex Cinemas is located on the former Lustrelon property north of the QRC site beyond the former Celotex Industrial Park property. PAH sheen on the Hudson River adjacent to the QRC siteBordering the QRC site to the east is the Hudson River. The Hudson River is a major commercial waterway serving ports in both New Jersey and New York. It also has been cited as a significant striped bass habitat and is fished. Located to the south of the site is the former Spencer Kellogg property. A large brick building on this property has been renovated and is currently being used for office suites and a parking garage. Palisades Child Care Center (115 River Road) is one of the businesses located in this building. The child care center provides day care for children six weeks of age through kindergarten. Licensed for 112 children (five classrooms), the center provides services for 70 to 80 children daily. There is an outside play area available for use by the children. Part of the base of this outdoor play area is covered with asphalt while the remainder is covered with four to six inches of shredded rubber tires (R. Ho, USEPA, personal communication, 2002). Managerial staff of the child care center have been advised to keep children indoors on days when area odors are strong (R. Montgomery, USEPA, personal communication, 2001). Located west of the site are the Waterford Towers (190 River Road), a 378 unit, two building rental community for active senior citizens. Waterford Towers began occupancy in April 2001. Located northwest of the site (beyond the former Celotex Industrial Park property) is Sunrise Assisted Living, located at 351 River Road, a 70-unit assisted living facility which opened in October 2000.

The region of the Hudson River adjacent to the QRC site is tidally influenced and at the time of the site visit (low tide), patches of PAH sheens could be observed along the mud flats. The grade of the site is approximately nine feet above the low water mark of the river. According to the NJDEP, a public access river walk along the banks of the Hudson River may be planned as part of future area redevelopment activities.

A second site visit of the QRC site was conducted on May 15, 2001. Present were Sharon Kubiak, Narendra P. Singh, Steven Miller, and Julie Petix. The purpose of the visit was twofold: 1) to determine whether odors which were evident during the January 2001 site visit were stronger in warmer ambient temperatures commensurate with the seasonal change; and 2) to observe whether there were additional outdoor activities occurring among area residents and visitors. The site visit commenced at approximately 11 am. Weather conditions at the time of the site visit were sunny, clear, blue sky, breezy (variable winds), with temperatures in the mid 60's. Odors were evident, described by those present as "foul river," "sewage, decaying smell," and "asphalt, tar smell." About 15 - 20 children were observed playing outside of the Palisades Child Care Center (southern exit). Plastic playground equipment was available for the children's use in the play area. Edgewater Pediatrics was also noted as one of many other businesses operating in the building complex.

No activity was occurring at the QRC site although footprints in the sand along the shoreline of the site were noted. At the former Celotex Industrial Park site, construction activity was ongoing. Two cranes, an excavator, bulldozers, and drills were among the heavy equipment in use. Construction workers and surveyors were present. All wore hard hats; some wore Tyvek suits, booties, and hearing protection. No respirators were observed in use among any of these individuals. Several cars drove in and out of The Promenade parking area, and there was no pedestrian traffic observed at the time of the site visit.

On July 26, 2001, staff of the NJDHSS met with two Edgewater Borough public health nurses. The NJDHSS discussed and provided a variety of health information on contaminants detected at the QRC site and neighboring properties. The nurses described reports of human exposures to area surface water and river sediment, which included an incident involving individuals wading in the Hudson River to observe a holiday fireworks display.

Community Concerns

The USEPA reported to the NJDHSS that some Edgewater Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) workers were concerned about long term exposures to area contaminants entering the sewer system. Alleged exposures to these workers occur when they perform sewer maintenance activities. The Edgewater MUA is actively addressing worker concerns regarding potential contamination of the sewer system and alleged worker exposures to contaminants. Additionally, Edgewater Borough is developing and implementing health and safety programs for borough emergency response employees who may respond to potential emergency events that arise during area redevelopment activities.

During the month of May 2001, several unions representing heavy construction workers contacted the NJDEP to voice their concern over an insufficient and unimplemented worker health and safety plan at the former Celotex Industrial Park. A number of worker health complaints were described, including rashes around the mouth and ears, headaches, nausea, and legs burning after being splashed with on-site water. Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in air were also detected at the property (R. Hayton, NJDEP, personal communication, 2001). On May 17, OSHA inspected the property and issued an informal order to "Cease and Desist." During the work shutdown, the on-site workers were provided with requisite training, appropriate personal protective equipment, and a proper health and safety plan. Additionally, the NJDEP was provided with both soil management and perimeter sampling plans for the site as was requested. Work activities recommenced during the last week of June 2001.

Increasing news media coverage has piqued public concern and interest about the QRC site and neighboring properties (Dwyer 2001). On August 16, 2001, staff of the NJDHSS attended a USEPA meeting with residents of The Promenade and other interested parties. Representatives of the NJDEP were also present. The NJDHSS discussed and responded to questions regarding health concerns from potential exposures to area contaminants. Individuals were particularly concerned about health effects from potential arsenic exposures.

The public was invited to review the draft Public Health Assessment during an extended public comment period which occurred from July 10 through September 10, 2002. Attachment B summarizes the comments received from interested parties on the Public Comment Draft of the Quanta Resources Corporation (QRC) site Public Health Assessment, and the subsequent responses of the NJDHSS and the ATSDR. Questions regarding this summary or any aspect of this Public Health Assessment may be addressed to the NJDHSS at (609) 588-3120.


DISCUSSION

The general method for determining whether a public health hazard exists to a community is to determine first whether there is a completed exposure pathway from a contaminant source to a receptor population. It is then determined whether levels of contamination are high enough to be of public health concern. This is done by making comparisons to established health comparison values to screen for contaminants which may be at levels of potential health concern. Environmental data available for the QRC site were obtained and reviewed for this purpose.

A compilation of environmental sample results for the QRC site and neighboring properties dating from March 1992 through June 1999 were provided in a Removal Site Investigation report (GeoSyntec Consultants 1999). Media evaluated included soil, river sediment, and groundwater. These data were organized by the NJDHSS as on-site (QRC) versus off-site (neighboring properties), categorized as surface versus sub-surface (soil and sediment sample data), and analyzed. There were no outdoor air monitoring data in this report. In a separate report, limited indoor air samples and one outdoor soil sample were collected at the Palisades Child Care Center (Lockheed Martin/USEPA/ERTC 2001).

On-Site Contamination

On-site contamination is defined as those data limited to the QRC site property boundary.

Soil

On-site data were categorized as surface soil samples (0 - 0.5 foot depth) and sub-surface soil samples (> 0.5 foot depth). Two samples collected at 0 - 1 foot depth were included among the surface soil samples. The deepest soil sample collected was at 31 - 32 feet below ground surface.

Ranges of results (minimum versus maximum concentration of contaminants detected) are summarized in Tables 1 and 2. Results do not include concentrations for which depth of sampling was not indicated (i.e., test pits). ATSDR Health Comparison Values and NJDEP Soil Clean-up Criteria (N.J.A.C. 7:26D) are provided for comparison purposes. NJDEP Soil Clean-up Criteria are based on human health impacts but also take into consideration environmental impacts. Maximum surface soil concentrations included: 17 ppm of arsenic; 4.8 ppm of chromium; 4,540 ppm of lead; 14,700 ppm of PAHs; and 74 ppm of PCBs (Table 1). Maximum sub-surface soil concentrations included: 67.2 ppm of arsenic; 35 ppm of chromium; 553 ppm of lead; 31,600 ppm of PAHs; 0.14 ppm of PCBs; and 187 ppm of VOCs (Table 2).

VOCs consist of a variety of compounds which were not specified in the sampling data provided in the 1999 Removal Site Investigation Report. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) are the primary VOCs reported in soil.

Sediment

Data from Hudson River sediment within the QRC site border (the QRC site property deed extends about 700 feet off the bulkhead into the Hudson River, R. Hayton, NJDEP, personal communication, 2001) were categorized as surface sediment samples (0 - 1 foot depth) and sub-surface sediment samples (> 1 foot depth). The deepest sediment sample was collected at 25 - 26 feet below surface. Ranges of results (minimum versus maximum concentration of contaminants detected) are summarized in Tables 3 and 4. Results do not include concentrations for which depth of sampling was not indicated. NJDEP Guidance for Sediment Quality Evaluations for both fresh and saltwater (November 1998) are provided for comparison purposes although they are based upon ecological rather than human health risk. The maximum concentrations of contaminants detected in surface sediment included: 19.1 ppm of arsenic; 83.7 ppm of chromium; 130 ppm of lead; 728 ppm of PAHs; and 0.91 ppm of PCBs. Maximum sub-surface sediment concentrations included: 100 ppm of arsenic; 270 ppm of chromium; 362 ppm of lead; 12,600 ppm of PAHs; 2.5 ppm of PCBs; and 0.82 ppm of VOCs.

Off-Site Contamination

Pursuant to the 1999 RSI, environmental samples were collected from the QRC site as well as neighboring properties. These properties included the former Celotex Industrial Park property, the former Lustrelon property, the former Spencer Kellogg property, and the former Lever Brothers property. The Celotex Industrial Park contained portions of the coal tar distillation plant that existed on the QRC site, a chemical plant, then later a gypsum wall board manufacturer. The former Lustrelon property (located north of the former Celotex Industrial Park property) housed a lacquer spray paint/parts cleaning operation and raw materials warehouse. Spencer Kellogg was a linseed oil manufacturer. The former Lever Brothers property (located south of the former Spencer Kellogg property) is now occupied by Unilever Research US and their laboratories, administrative offices, and pilot plants. Limited air and soil sample results from the Palisades Child Care Center are also presented.

Soil

Off-site data were categorized as surface soil samples (0 - 0.5 foot depth) and sub-surface soil samples (> 0.5 foot depth). The deepest soil sample collected was at 24 - 25 feet below ground surface. Ranges of results (minimum versus maximum concentration of contaminants detected) are summarized in Tables 5 and 6. Results do not include concentrations for which depth of sampling was not indicated. Maximum surface soil concentrations included: 27.5 ppm of arsenic; 80.4 ppm of chromium; 408 ppm of lead; 1,150 ppm of PAHs; and 14.6 ppm of PCBs (Table 5). Maximum sub-surface soil concentrations included: 3,370 ppm of arsenic; 676 ppm of chromium; 10,800 ppm of lead; 23,400 ppm of PAHs; 6,810 ppm of PCBs; and 392 ppm of VOCs (Table 6). Sub-surface soil concentrations of 65,700 ppm of arsenic and 46,000 ppm of lead have been detected at the former Celotex Industrial Park site (Environmental Waste Management Associates 2000).

Sediment

Data from Hudson River sediment adjacent to the borders of the neighboring properties to the north and south of the QRC site were categorized as surface sediment samples (0 - 1 foot depth) and sub-surface sediment samples (> 1 foot depth). The deepest sediment sample was collected at 20 - 20.8 feet below surface. Ranges of results (minimum versus maximum concentration of contaminants detected) are summarized in Tables 7 and 8. The maximum concentrations of contaminants detected in surface sediment included: 2,150 ppm of arsenic; 160 ppm of chromium; 1,540 ppm of lead; 1,140 ppm of PAHs; and 3.5 ppm of PCBs (Table 7). Maximum sub-surface sediment concentrations included: 1,860 ppm of arsenic; 270 ppm of chromium; 780 ppm of lead; 21,500 ppm of PAHs; 6.5 ppm of PCBs; and 28.2 ppm of VOCs (Table 8).

Indoor Air and Soil: Palisades Child Care Center

In an effort to assess the potential for exposure to hazardous substances associated with the QRC site among children attending the Palisades Child Care Center, the USEPA performed limited air monitoring and soil sampling. Indoor air samples were collected from the Palisades Child Care Center and analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and PAHs; outdoor air samples were collected to evaluate concentrations of arsenic in fugitive dust.

A variety of trace (parts per billion by volume) VOCs were detected in indoor air samples collected from the Palisades Child Care Center; all but three substances were estimated below or slightly above the method detection limit. Toluene was detected at levels similar to that of normal ambient air where exhaust emissions from cars are near the sample location (Lockheed Martin/USEPA/ERTC 2001). D-limonene is a common constituent of household cleaning products while n-nonanal is a constituent of petroleum products. No PAHs were detected in the indoor air samples. No arsenic was detected in four outdoor ambient air samples collected at the property's fenceline; 5.3 ppm of arsenic was detected in one soil sample collected from the outdoor play area. The background level of arsenic in soil is considered to be 5 ppm (ATSDR 2000). The NJDEP residential Soil Clean-up Criteria for arsenic is 20 ppm; this concentration is not health-based but rather is the average number that has been found naturally occurring in New Jersey (R. Hayton, NJDEP, personal communication, 2002).

Combined QRC Site and Neighboring Properties

Groundwater

Groundwater monitoring was conducted during November 1998 and July 1999 utilizing 27 monitoring wells. Table 9 provides the minimum and maximum concentration of contaminants detected as compared with established New Jersey Groundwater Quality Criteria. New Jersey drinking water Maximum Contaminant Levels were also provided for informational purposes. Groundwater Quality Criteria were exceeded for arsenic, lead, and total VOCs. The maximum concentration of total PAHs detected in groundwater were 30,900 parts per billion (ppb). There is currently no established groundwater criteria for total PAHs.

Pathways Analysis

An exposure pathway is the process by which an individual is exposed to contaminants from a source of contamination and consists of the following five elements:

(1) source of contamination;
(2) environmental media (e.g., air, groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment, biota);
(3) point of exposure (i.e., location of potential or actual human contact with a contaminated medium);
(4) route of exposure (e.g., inhalation, dermal contact/absorption, ingestion); and
(5) receptor population.

Potential exposure pathways for which the QRC site constitutes the source of contamination are depicted in the following chart:

Potential Human Exposure Pathways Associated with the Quanta Resources, Inc. Site

Pathway Name Environmental Medium Point of Exposure Route of Exposure Exposed Population
surface soil and dust surface soil and dust Quanta Resources, Inc. site, nearby buildings and yards skin contact, inhalation, ingestion workers, trespassers, nearby residents (includes children and mature populations), passersby
ambient air air nearby buildings and yards inhalation, skin contact workers, nearby residents (includes children and mature populations), consumers who frequent the nearby commercial businesses
sediment sediment Hudson River skin contact, ingestion workers, residents, users of a conceivable public access river walk

The potential exposure pathways described above include: 1) incidental ingestion of contaminants in soil and sediment; 2) inhalation of contaminants in air and dust; and 3) dermal contact with contaminants in surface water, soil, dust, and sediment.

A completed exposure pathway exists when the five elements of a pathway link the contaminant source to a receptor population. ATSDR Health Comparison Values (HCV), which include Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), are used to determine which contaminants detected may be at levels of potential health concern. The concentrations of contaminants found in various environmental media that a person might come in contact with on a daily basis are compared to a HCV. In general, if a HCV is exceeded, the exposure is of potential concern and the contaminant should be further evaluated. HCVs, however, should not be used as predictors of adverse health effects or for setting clean-up levels. On the other hand, exposures below HCVs may be of concern due to the interactive effect of multiple-media exposures. Hypersensitive (i.e., allergic) individuals must be taken into consideration as well.

For each of the potential pathways delineated in the above table (i.e., surface soil and dust, ambient air, sediment), there is presently no route of exposure element to complete the human exposure pathway at the QRC site. This is due to the fact that the site is currently closed to entry, portions of the site are covered with asphalt, and no work activity is occurring at the site at the present time. During both site visits, however, there were indications of trespassers at the QRC site (e.g., footprints, evidence of individuals walking their dogs). The potential for exposure to these individuals on a routine basis is unlikely and does not justify a completed exposure pathway designation.

Based upon available information and observation at the QRC site, potential human exposure routes may include dermal contact with and/or incidental ingestion of contaminated on-site soils and river sediments. Although site-specific air data were not available for review for this Public Health Assessment, general concerns regarding odors at the site may suggest a localized potential air pathway, especially during any future remediation and/or construction activities which disturb on-site soils and river sediments. Additionally, these activities may produce fugitive dust exposures for the nearby community. Activities associated with the Hudson River (i.e., fishing, boating, ingestion of biota) may be associated with an exposure pathway linked to the QRC site, however, there are other well known sources of PCB and other contaminants in the Hudson River (K. Johnson 2001). There are no data currently available that establish a completed exposure pathway to nearby human populations.

Results of air and soil sample data from the Palisades Child Care Center do not indicate a health concern. However, they are limited and may not adequately characterize possible exposures, especially if any future work activities which disturb QRC site soils and river sediments commence.

Public Health Implications

There were no identified completed exposure pathways associated with the QRC site to be evaluated since, at the present time, no remediation and/or construction activities are being conducted at the site.

Since residents and nearby workers have expressed concern about area site-related hazards, general health information for the contaminants detected at the QRC site and neighboring properties is provided in Appendix A. This information has been compiled by the ATSDR and is available in full from the sources identified in the Appendix.

Child Health Considerations/Potentially Sensitive Populations

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 because they eat and breathe more than adults (on a pound for pound basis). They also play outdoors and 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 children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Most important, children depend completely on adults for risk identification and management decisions, housing decisions, and access to medical care.

Children, such as those attending the Palisades Child Center, may be at risk of potential exposures to contaminants detected at the QRC site. Mature individuals residing in the vicinity of the site (e.g., Waterford Towers and the Sunrise Assisted Living facility) may also be considered sensitive populations at risk of potential exposures.


CONCLUSIONS

Hazard Category for the QRC Site

The Public Health Hazard Category recommended for the QRC site is "Indeterminate Public Health Hazard".

  1. Current conditions indicate that there are no apparent completed human exposure pathways at the QRC site. Dermal exposures to workers, trespassers, nearby residents, and passersby from contaminated surface soil, sediment, and fugitive dust is a potential human exposure pathway if groundbreaking activities commence at the QRC site.


  2. General concerns regarding odors at the site may suggest a localized potential pathway, especially during heavy construction and/or remediation activities which disturb on-site soils and river sediments. Digging or working in the soil may cause inhalation exposures due to volatilization. Area odors may indicate a possible exposure pathway although there were no measurements to support this observation at the time of report preparation.


  3. Visible contamination and tidal fluctuations of the Hudson River adjacent to the QRC site make wading and/or swimming unattractive and a potential health hazard. However, there are reports that individuals waded in the river sediment to observe holiday fireworks, indicating that this exposure pathway is possible and has occurred in the recent past.


  4. Redevelopment of contiguous properties to the QRC site is continuing at this time. Neighboring properties had contaminant levels comparable to and sometimes higher than those detected on the QRC site.

Recommendations

  1. In the event of future remediation and/or construction activities at the QRC site, appropriate environmental monitoring should be implemented.


  2. Environmental regulatory agencies should ensure that neighboring properties are investigated and, if necessary, remediated to protect the health of workers, residents, and the general public. Serious consideration should be given to expanding the current boundary of potential concern and public health risk.


  3. Results of limited environmental sampling conducted at the Palisades Child Care Center do not indicate exposures at levels of public health concern. However, additional samples, including ambient air, interior dust wipes, and outdoor soil samples for lead, should be obtained during hours of normal building occupancy in order to quantify maximum potential contaminant exposures. Further environmental monitoring of other off-site businesses and residences should be considered to ensure there are no completed human exposure pathways from on-site sources of contamination.


  4. Signs should be posted to better inform the community that the QRC site is a designated Superfund site.


  5. Individuals should adhere to information provided in "A Guide to Health Advisories for Eating Fish and Crabs Caught in New Jersey Waters" (NJDEP and NJDHSS 1997) for the Hudson River. Widespread water and sediment quality problems affect the Hudson River although these problems cannot be solely attributed to any one particular source.

Public Health Action Plan

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the QRC site contains a description of the actions to be taken by the NJDHSS and/or ATSDR at or in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this Public Health Assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of the NJDHSS and ATSDR to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions to be implemented by NJDHSS and ATSDR are as follows:

Public Health Actions Taken

  1. Available environmental data and other relevant information for the QRC site have been reviewed and evaluated to determine human exposure pathways and public health issues.


  2. The NJDHSS has prepared a site specific public health Citizen's Guide for the QRC site which will be made available to the Bergen County Department of Health Services and other interested parties.


  3. On July 26, 2001, NJDHSS staff met with two public health nurses for Edgewater Borough and provided a variety of health information on contaminants detected at the QRC site and neighboring properties.


  4. On August 16, 2001, staff of the NJDHSS attended a USEPA meeting with residents of The Promenade and other interested parties in an effort to learn of community health concerns. NJDHSS staff answered health-related questions regarding potential exposures to contaminants. The NJDHSS is actively working in conjunction with the USEPA and NJDEP to address concerns specifically related to public health issues.


  5. On July 24, 2002, the NJDHSS held two public availability sessions to discuss the results of the public comment draft of this public health assessment with the community.

Public Health Actions Planned

  1. As warranted, the NJDHSS will work to complement community outreach activities performed by the USEPA and NJDEP.


  2. Commensurate with future remediation and/or construction activities at the QRC site, public health implications and the potential for completed human exposure pathways will be re-evaluated. If additional data become available to indicate that there are completed human exposure pathways attributable to the QRC site, the current designated hazard category for the site will be reconsidered.

REFERENCES

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000 August.

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000 September.

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Lead. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1999 July.

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Polychlorinated Biphenyls. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000 November.

ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1995 August.

ATSDR. ToxFAQs. Available from: URL: www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaq.html; downloaded 2001 October.

Dwyer, Jim. "Above, $700,000 Riverfront Condos; Below, a Toxic Question Mark." The New York Times; 2001 July 26.

Environmental Waste Management Associates. Remedial Investigation Report. Volume I of II. Property Know as the Former Celotex Industrial Park, River Road, Edgewater, Bergen County, New Jersey. Parsippany, New Jersey; 2000 September.

GeoSyntec Consultants. Removal Site Investigation Report (Revision 0), Quanta Resources Site, Edgewater, New Jersey. Project Number: GL0520-105. Atlanta, GA; 1999 October.

Johnson, Kirk. "EPA to Proceed with Dredging Plan for Hudson PCBs." New York Times. August 1, 2001.

Lockheed Martin Technology Services Group, Environmental Services REAC/USEPA/ERTC. Quanta Resources Site, Edgewater, New Jersey, Work Assignment #0-216 - Trip Report. Edison, NJ; 2001 June 21.

Melick-Tully and Associates, P.C. Report: Soils and Foundation Investigation. Proposed Glenwood Mall Promenade, Edgewater, New Jersey, G. Heller Enterprises, Inc. South Bound Brook, NJ; 2000 October 19.

Mignone, Thomas. ATSDR Regional Information System 2.6 Record of Activity. Quanta Resources. Action Date: 10/13/1998.

NJDEP. Letter to Kevin Ford, Esq., attached for signature of clients, Administrative Consent Order - Quanta Resources Corporation, October 25, 1983.

NJDEP. Quanta Resources Corporation NPL Proposal Memorandum to Governor Christine Todd Whitman. Trenton, NJ; September 5, 2000.

NJDEP and NJDHSS. A Guide to Health Advisories for Eating Fish and Crabs Caught in New Jersey Waters. June 1997 Edition.

NJDHSS. Lead Advisory Bulletin. Renovation and Remodeling in Schools: You May Disturb Lead-Based Paint. Trenton, New Jersey; 1999 Fall.

Roy F. Weston, Inc. Hazard Ranking System Documentation Package, Quanta Resources, Edgewater, Bergen County, New Jersey. CERCLIS ID No. : NJD000606442. Volume 1 of 1. USEPA Contract No. 68-W7-0026. Work Assignment No.: 053-HRHR-02ZZ. Work Order No.: 20064-053-100-2022. Prepared for USEPA Region II. Edison, NJ; December 2000.

Toxicology, Occupational Medicine and Environmental Series (TOMES) ChemKnowledge plus LOLI. MICROMEDEX, Englewood, Colorado (Edition expires October 31, 2000).

USEPA, National Enforcement Investigations Center, Denver, Colorado. Summary of Waste Oil Recycling Facility Investigations, Regions II and V; 1983 October.

USEPA, Emergency Response Branch. Planned Removal Request for the Quanta Resources Corporation, Edgewater, New Jersey - ACTION MEMORANDUM. 1984 May.

USEPA, 1985a. Proposed CERCLA Consent Order for Quanta Edgewater Facility. 1985 April 3.

USEPA, 1985b. Order on Consent, Index No. II-CERCLA-50108. 1985 September 26.

USEPA, undated. Planned Removal Request for the Quanta Resources Corporation, Edgewater, New Jersey - Action Memorandum.

United Water New Jersey. 1999 Consumer Confidence Report. Harrington Park, New Jersey.


CERTIFICATION

This Public Health Assessment was prepared by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the Public Health Assessment was begun.

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.

Lisa C. Hayes
for Roberta Erlwein
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors of this report gratefully acknowledge Mr. Robert Hayton, Bureau of Federal Case Management, NJDEP for his time, sharing his knowledge of the site, and access to files for review and photocopying.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Julie R. Petix, M.P.H., C.P.M., H.O.
Health Assessor

Steven Miller, M.S., Ph.D.
Environmental Scientist

Narendra P. Singh, M.D., M.S., C.I.H.
Health Assessor

Sharon Kubiak
Health Educator

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Arthur Block, M.P.H.
Senior Regional Representative

ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

Gregory V. Ulirsch, M.S.
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Any questions concerning this document should be directed to:

James Pasqualo, M.S.
Health Assessment Project Manager
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health
Consumer and Environmental Health Services
P.O. Box 369
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0369

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