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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT ADDENDUM

ROCKAWAY BOROUGH WELLFIELD
ROCKAWAY BOROUGH, MORRIS COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


SUMMARY

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued a Health Assessment for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site on April 17, 1989. This public health assessment addendum supplements the April 1989 health assessment and includes information gathered during the Phase II Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site.

As part of the Phase II RI/FS for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site, ground water and soil samples were collected throughout the northeastern portion of Rockaway Borough in Morris County, New Jersey. Soil sampling locations included an area that may have once been used as a municipal landfill. Based on the sampling program conducted during the RI/FS, three ground-water contamination source areas (Klockner and Klockner property; Roned Realty; and the Wall Street/East Main Street area) and one potential source area (Pettit Paints) were identified. Organic and inorganic compounds were detected in both ground water and subsurface soil.

The installation of the ground-water carbon treatment system in July 1981 has reduced the likelihood of human exposure to organic contaminants in municipal water supplies. However, tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) were detected in treated municipal water supplies at levels above health comparison values. Complete (past and present) exposure pathways exist from PCE and TCE contamination of municipal water supplies during periods of contaminant breakthrough within the ground-water treatment system. The proposed addition of an air stripper to the treatment system should help to further mitigate human exposures to TCE and PCE in the future by reducing the likelihood of contaminant breakthrough. Potential (past, present, future) human exposure pathways exist from contaminated residential drinking wells and surface soil through ingestion, inhalation and skin contact. Community health concerns have been minimal since the installation of the carbon treatment system.

Based on the information received, ATSDR and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) have determined that this site is a public health hazard since human exposure to TCE and PCE has occurred in the past and may occur in the future through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact at levels that may result in adverse health effects. ATSDR and NJDOH recommend that actions be taken (1) to reduce and prevent exposure to contaminants; and (2) to better characterize the extent and degree of ground-water and soil contamination.

The information and data developed in the Public Health Assessment Addendum for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site, Morris County, New Jersey, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. The HARP determined that further review of cancer incidence be performed in the future. In addition, the Panel determined that community health education be performed if public comments on this public health assessment addendum indicate the need for this follow-up health activity. NJDOH will evaluate the need for community health education after the public comment period has ended.

The NJDOH has reviewed and evaluated the comments received during the public comment period. Since no public comments were received from individual community members, no community health education is indicated at this time. The NJDOH is completing its epidemiological investigation of 75 townships in four Northern New Jersey counties, including Rockaway Borough, analyzing the association between cancer incidence (leukemias/non-Hodgkin's lymphomas) and organic drinking water contaminants during the 1979-1987 period.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

In accordance with the September 29, 1986, Record of Decision (ROD), the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) initiated a Phase II Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) of the Rockaway Borough Well Field Site. The purpose of the Phase II RI/FS was to positively identify the source(s) of ground-water contamination, further delineate the full extent of that contamination, and evaluate additional remedial action alternatives to address those sources. The selected ground-water remediation activities include the extraction of contaminated ground water (Klockner and Klockner, and Wall Street/Main Street areas), treatment of chemical precipitation/air stripping, reinjection of treated ground water, and a performance monitoring program.

The Final Remedial Investigation Report for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site was issued on July 18, 1991. The Final Feasibility Study Report for Rockaway Borough Well Field site was issued in August 1991.

Site description and history are found in the Site Description subsection of the original health assessment (Appendix B).

B. Site Visit

Ms. Laurie A. Pyrch of the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), and Ms. Lisa Voyce, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Regional Representative, visited the site area on July 8, 1991. ATSDR and NJDOH personnel were accompanied by the Superintendent of Public Works and an Operations Foreman from the Rockaway Borough Department of Public Works, and a Senior Sanitarian from the Randolph Township Health Department. An Environmental Engineer from Atlantic Environmental Inc., a contractor for Rockaway Borough, was also present. The information obtained from these officials concerning the site has been incorporated into appropriate sections of this public health assessment addendum.

The ground-water carbon treatment system and municipal well #5 are situated within the Rockaway Borough Department of Public Works Municipal Garage. This facility serves as a general purpose yard which houses a variety of maintenance equipment and supplies. Access to the facility is restricted by a fence with a front and rear entrance gate. The treatment system is contained within a locked building as is well #5. Several large mounds of sand and dirt used for road maintenance were located near well #5. Empty drums were stacked on-site near the rear entrance gate. No physical hazards were observed in association with the treatment system or well #5.

Municipal wells #1 and 6 located are located within 1/8 mile from the public works facility. Each well is located within a locked containment building. Well #6 was not operating during this site visit. An open can of lubricating oil was observed on the floor near well #6. Oil stains were visible on the cement floor. A floor drain was located in close proximity to the well. The former Old Morris Canal is located about 20 feet from well #6. During our visit, the Canal contained some standing water. Well #1 was located near a railroad bed. No physical hazards were observed with regard to either well. According to public works officials, there have been no incidences of vandalism to any of the municipal wells.

Accompanied by the Rockaway Borough Operations Foreman, a visual inspection of the industrial area located within 1/2 mile of the Well Field site was conducted and the following observations made:

  • Each facility appeared to be surrounded by a fence.


  • At least one bulging drum was present on the property of one facility.


  • A vegetable garden and a small pond were present on the property of one facility.

During the visual inspection, three elementary schools and a playground were observed within 1/2 mile of the Well Field site and the industrial area. The one private well used as a source of potable water in the area is located within 1/2 mile of the well field site and downgradient of one contamination source area (Roned Realty).

Many single-family residences were observed within close proximity to the industrial areas. One residential area built between 1940 and 1950 is situated on the site of a suspected former municipal landfill.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

Rockaway Borough occupies an area of 2.1 square miles in Morris County, New Jersey. Figures 1-3 (Appendix A) show the general location and street map of Rockaway Borough. As of January 1989, the population consisted of approximately 6,600 people. Based on Morris County Planning Board estimates, the population is expected to reach 8,801 by the year 2000.

Land Use

Rockaway Borough consists of a mixture of residential, business, commercial and industrial areas. Most of the industrial district is situated on a one square mile area in the northeast portion of the Borough.

A variety of residential areas, and several business and commercial/industrial districts, are being planned for future development.

Natural Resource Use

Ground water is the sole source of drinking water in Rockaway Borough. Three municipal water supply wells are located in the eastern section of the Borough. The municipal wells are between 54 to 84 feet deep.

According to the Rockaway Borough Department of Public Works, the municipal wells currently provide drinking water to approximately 2,800 residences and businesses in part of Rockaway Township, including all of Rockaway Borough, and in part of Denville Township. The ground-water carbon treatment system is currently treating about 1 million gallons of raw water per day pumped from the Borough's three municipal wells. Carbon filters are being replaced about every 6 to 9 months.

The Rockaway River is located approximately 1,200 feet to the west of the Well Field.

One residential well is known to exist in Rockaway Borough. This well is being used for drinking water purposes.

D. Health Outcome Data

Using New Jersey State health databases, it may be possible to determine whether cancer is higher than expected in Rockaway Borough. Cancer incidence information is available in the New Jersey State Cancer Registry for Rockaway Borough and the State of New Jersey. The evaluation of Cancer Registry information occurs in the Public Health Implications section.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

In order to determine community health concerns, NJDOH spoke with the Health Officer of the Randolph Township Health Department (RTHD) and the Rockaway Borough Clerk. During the site visit, community health concerns were discussed with representatives of the Department of Public Works and the RTHD Senior Sanitarian. NJDOH also contacted a RTHD Sanitary Inspector, a Rockaway Borough Councilperson, the Rockaway Borough Mayor and two members of the Rockaway Borough Board of Health. Several of these officials reported having regular contact with community members.

According to our conversations with local officials, community health concerns have been minimal since the installation of the ground-water carbon treatment system in July 1981. However, several individuals discussed their concerns about the number of cancers in the community. This concern will be addressed in the Public Health Implications section.

Other concerns expressed include the inability of the Borough to obtain federal funds for the installation, operation and maintenance of the ground-water treatment system, and the difficulty in obtaining site-specific information from state and federal regulatory agencies. Questions were also raised about the aesthetic quality of the water since the installation of the treatment system. Since the focus of the public health assessment is on public health, NJDOH will refer these issues to the appropriate regulatory agency for follow-up.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

To identify possible facilities that could contribute to the contamination of environmental media near the Rockaway Borough Well Field site, ATSDR and NJDOH searched the 1987 through 1989 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). 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. One facility located near the site reported emissions of toxic substances during 1987 and 1988 that are similar to site contaminants of concern. The McWilliams Forge Company reported the following land releases of toxic substances: 11,400 pounds of chromium and 17,000 pounds of nickel in 1987; and 6,175 pounds of chromium and 8,265 pounds of nickel in 1988.

The following data tables (1-6) list the contaminants of concern. Contaminants of concern are selected by comparing contaminant concentrations to health assessment comparison values. These values include ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs) and Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), USEPA Reference Doses (RfDs), and other relevant guidelines. Selected contaminants will be further evaluated in subsequent sections of the public health assessment addendum to determine whether exposure to them are likely to result in harmful health effects in humans. When selected as a contaminant of concern in one medium (i.e., water, soil, air), that contaminant will be reported in all media.

A. On-Site Contamination

USEPA collected on-site data in October 1989 and again in September 1990 for ground water from municipal wells #1, 5 and 6, and from the ground-water carbon treatment system during its Phase II Remedial Investigation (RI). The Borough of Rockaway Water Department supplied ground-water monitoring data (January 1990-May 1991) for the Rockaway Borough Municipal Water Supply.

Ground Water - Municipal Wells (#1, 5, 6)

USEPA collected a total of 6 ground-water samples from municipal wells #1, 5, and 6. The three wells range in depth from 54 to 84 feet. Figure 4 (Appendix A) shows the location of these municipal wells (GW-1, GW-5, GW-6). One sample was collected from each well in October 1989 and again in September 1990. Each sample was analyzed for volatile organic compounds only.

Table 1 reports the contaminants and concentration range detected in municipal well samples. Tetrachloroethene (PCE) concentrations exceeded comparison values in two municipal wells (GW-1, GW-6) and trichloroethene (TCE) concentrations exceeded comparison values in one municipal well (GW-6).

Municipal well samples were not analyzed for the presence of inorganic compounds during the Phase II RI. However, the Rockaway Borough Water Department periodically analyses municipal water supply samples for metals to satisfy requirements of the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act. These data are presented in Table 6.

Municipal well samples were not analyzed for the presence of semi-volatile organic compounds. Thus, a data gap exists in assessing whether ground water contaminants, particularly bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, have reached the municipal wells.

Table 1. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in On-site Ground-water Municipal Wells #1, 5, 6

Contaminant Range of Levels (ppm)
Date
Comparison Value*
ppm
Source

Arsenic NA
---
0.01
EMEG
Benzene ND
10/89-9/90
0.001
CREG
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate NA
---
0.0025
CREG
Chromium NA
---
0.05**
EMEG
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene ND
10/89-9/90
0.01
MCL
Ethylbenzene ND
10/89-9/90
0.7
DWHA
Nickel NA
---
0.2
EMEG
Tetrachloroethene ND-0.120
10/89-9/90
0.00069
CREG
Trichloroethene ND-0.015
10/89-9/90
0.001
MCL

*chronic EMEG values and chronic, adult DWHA values are used for comparison values
**hexavalent chromium
ppm-parts per million
EMEG-ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
CREG-ATSDR Carcinogenic Risk Evaluation Guide
MCL-New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Level
DWHA-USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Source: Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, March 25, 1991.

Ground Water - Municipal Wells (Ground-Water Carbon Treatment System)

USEPA collected a total of 4 municipal well samples from the ground-water carbon treatment system. One pre-treatment and one post-treatment sample were collected in October 1989 and again in September 1990. Each sample was analyzed for volatile organic compounds only.

Table 2 reports contaminants and concentration range for pre-treatment and post-treatment samples. PCE and TCE concentrations exceeded comparison values in both pre-treatment and post-treatment samples.

The Borough of Rockaway Water Department provided New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act monitoring data for untreated and treated water (January 1990 through May 1991). Samples are collected from the ground-water carbon treatment system monthly and are analyzed for volatile organic compounds. Table 2 reports the contaminants and concentration range for pre-treatment and post-treatment samples. PCE and TCE were detected in untreated water samples at levels above comparison values. PCE and TCE were detected in treated water samples (September, October, and November 1990) at levels above comparison values.

Pre-treatment and post-treatment samples were not analyzed for inorganic compounds. However, the Rockaway Borough Water Department periodically analyses municipal water supply samples for metals to satisfy requirements of the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act. These data are presented in Table 6.

Pre-treatment and post-treatment samples were not analyzed for semi-volatile organic compounds. Thus, a data gap exists in assessing whether ground water contaminants, particularly bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, have entered the municipal water supply.

Table 2. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in On-site Ground-water Municipal Wells, Pre-treatment and Post-treatment

Contaminant
Range of Levels (ppm)
Date
ComparisonValue*
Pre-treatment
Post-treatment
ppm
Source

Arsenic
NA
NA
---
0.01
EMEG
Benzene
ND
ND
10/89-9/90
0.001
CREG
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
NA
NA
---
0.0025
CREG
Chromium
NA
 
---
0.05**
EMEG
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene
ND
ND
10/89-9/90
0.01
MCL
Ethylbenzene
ND
ND
10/89-9/90
0.7
DWHA
Nickel
NA
NA
---
0.2
EMEG
Tetrachloroethene
0.024-0.08
0.002-0.006
10/89-5/91
0.00069
CREG
Trichloroethene
0.004-0.011
0.001-0.003
10/89-5/91
0.001
MCL

*chronic EMEG values and chronic, adult DWHA values are used for comparison values
**hexavalent chromium
ppm-parts per million
EMEG-ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
CREG-ATSDR Carcinogenic Risk Evaluation Guide
MCL-New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Level
DWHA-USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Source: Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, March 25, 1991; Rockaway Borough Water Department Monitoring Results.

B. Off-Site Contamination

USEPA collected off-site data for subsurface soil (April-June 1990), and for monitoring wells and residential wells (October 1989-September 1990) during its Phase II Remedial Investigation. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (NJDEPE), formerly the Department of Environmental Protection, provided additional ground-water data (March 1986-June 1989) for monitoring wells. The Rockaway Borough Water Department supplied ground-water monitoring data (April 1988 and May 1991) for the Rockaway Borough Municipal Water Supply.

Subsurface Soil

USEPA collected a total of 17 subsurface soil samples from 5 soil boring and 9 monitoring well locations from April through June 1990. Soil boring locations were established throughout the northeastern portion of the Borough including an area that may have once been a municipal landfill. Figure 4 (Appendix A) shows soil boring (SB-1 through SB-5) and monitoring well locations (RBW-1 through RBW-8, RBW-7A). One to two soil samples were selected at each sampling location and analyzed for full Target Compound List (TCL) parameters.

Table 3 reports the contaminants and concentration range detected in the subsurface soil samples. Arsenic and chromium were detected in all 17 samples; however, levels exceeded chronic EMEG values at only one sampling location (RBW-5) at a depth of 10 to 12 feet. Nickel was detected at levels below comparison values.

Since surface soil samples (0-3 inches deep) were not collected, a data gap exists in assessing the extent of soil contamination in off-site areas.

Table 3. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-Site Subsurface Soil

Contaminant Range of Levels (ppm)
Depth (feet)
Date
ComparisonValue*
ppm
Source

Arsenic 0.27-121
4-24
4/90-6/90
20
NJSAL
Benzene ND
---
4/90-6/90
1**
NJSAL
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate 0.47-2.4
4-14
5/90-6/90
500
EMEG
Chromium 3.5-1570
4-24
4/90-6/90
100
NJSAL
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene ND
---
4/90-6/90
1000
RfD
Ethylbenzene ND
---
4/90-6/90
5000
RfD
Nickel 4.1-17.9
4-24
4/90-6/90
100
NJSAL
Tetrachloroethene ND
---
4/90-6/90
1**
NJSAL
Trichloroethene ND
---
4/90-6/90
1**
NJSAL

*chronic EMEG values and chronic RfD values are used for comparison values
**for total volatile organic compounds
ppm-parts per million
EMEG-ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
RfD-USEPA Reference Dose
NJSAL-New Jersey Soil Action Level
ND-not detected
Source: Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, March 25, 1991.

Ground Water - Monitoring Wells

USEPA collected ground-water samples in October 1989 and again in September 1990 during the Phase II Remedial Investigation. The first sampling round consisted of sampling 26 existing monitoring wells (MW1-S through MW7-S, MW1-D through MW6-D, DGC-2 through DGC-7, SAI-1 through SAI-7). One sample was collected from each location (except for SAI-2 which was damaged). Each sample was analyzed for volatile organic compounds only. Figure 4 (Appendix A) shows all monitoring well locations.

During the second sampling round, USEPA collected ground-water samples from 38 existing monitoring wells. Monitoring well locations included those sampled during the first sampling round as well as additional existing wells (SMC-1 through SMC-5, PP-1 through PP-6, FG-1). One sample was collected from each location. Each sample was analyzed for volatile organic compounds only. USEPA also collected a total of 11 ground-water samples from newly installed monitoring wells (RBW-1 through RBW-8, RBW-1A, RBW-7A, RBW-8A). One sample was collected from each location and analyzed for full TCL parameters. Figure 4 (Appendix A) shows all monitoring well locations.

NJDEPE provided additional sampling data for 22 of the existing sampling locations (MW1-S through MW3-S, MW1-D through MW3-D, DGC-2, DGC-3, DGC-5 through DGC-7, SAI-1 through SAI-7, SMC-1, SMC-3 through SMC-5) collected in March 1986, June-August 1987, February 1989, and June 1989. Each sample was analyzed for volatile organic compounds only.

Sampling locations were established throughout the northeastern portion of the Borough at suspected contaminant source areas (including the Klockner and Klockner property, Pettit Paints, Roned Realty and the Wall Street/East Main Street area). Ground-water samples were collected from shallow, intermediate, and deep monitoring wells.

Table 4 reports the contaminants and concentration range detected in ground-water samples from monitoring wells. Benzene, trans-1,2-dichloroethene, ethylbenzene, tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene were detected at concentrations above comparison values.

Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (BEHP) was the only semi-volatile organic compound detected at concentrations above comparison values; however, concentrations were similar to levels detected in background monitoring wells. While BEHP remains a contaminant of concern, it is unlikely that it is coming from ground-water contaminant source areas in Rockaway Borough.

Chromium was detected at concentrations that exceeded chronic EMEG values at 7 sampling locations (RBW-1 through RBW-4, RBW-7, RBW-7A, RBW-8A); nickel levels were above chronic EMEG values at three locations (RBW-1, RBW-3, RBW-7). Concentrations of chromium and nickel were above the concentrations detected in background monitoring wells. Arsenic was not detected in monitoring well samples.

Since only eleven monitoring well samples were analyzed for inorganic compounds, a data gap exists in assessing the extent and degree of inorganic contamination of ground water.

Table 4. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Monitoring Wells

Contaminant Range of Levels (ppm)
Date
Comparison Value*
ppm
Source

Arsenic ND
9/90
0.01
EMEG
Benzene ND-0.015
3/86-9/90
0.001
CREG
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate ND-0.07
9/90
0.0025
CREG
Chromium 0.052-1.17
9/90
0.05**
EMEG
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene ND-0.15
3/86-9/90
0.01
MCL
Ethylbenzene ND-7.0
3/86-9/90
0.7
DWHA
Nickel 0.194-0.403
9/90
0.2
EMEG
Tetrachloroethene ND-0.51
3/86-9/90
0.00069
CREG
Trichloroethene ND-5.9
3/86-9/90
0.001
MCL

*chronic EMEG values and chronic, adult DWHA values are used for comparison values
**hexavalent chromium
ppm-parts per million
EMEG-ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
CREG-ATSDR Carcinogenic Risk Evaluation Guide
MCL-New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Level
DWHA-USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory
ND-not detected
Source: Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, March 25, 1991.

Ground Water - Residential Well

USEPA collected one ground-water sample from a residential well in October 1989 and again in September 1990. Figure 4 (Appendix A) shows the residential well location (GW-8). Each sample was analyzed for volatile organic compounds only.

Table 5 reports the contaminants and concentration range detected in the residential well samples. Tetrachloroethene was the only volatile organic compound detected in one ground-water sample; however, the level was below comparison values.

Although residential well samples were analyzed for the presence of volatile organic compounds during the Phase II RI, a data gap exists in assessing the potential for past exposure of residential well users to volatile organic compounds in drinking water supplies.

Residential well samples were not analyzed for the presence of inorganic compounds. Thus, a data gap exists in assessing whether ground water and subsurface soil contaminants, particularly arsenic, chromium and nickel, have reached the residential well.

Residential well samples were not analyzed for the presence of semi-volatile organic compounds. Thus, a data gap exists in assessing whether ground-water contaminants, particularly bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, have reached the residential well.

Table 5. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Residential Well

Contaminant Range of Levels (ppm)
Date
Comparison Value*
ppm
Source

Arsenic NA
---
0.01
EMEG
Benzene ND
10/89-9/90
0.001
CREG
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate NA
---
0.0025
CREG
Chromium NA
---
0.05**
EMEG
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene ND
10/89-9/90
0.01
MCL
Ethylbenzene ND
10/89-9/90
0.7
DWHA
Nickel NA
---
0.2
EMEG
Tetrachloroethene ND-0.0002
10/89-9/90
0.00069
CREG
Trichloroethene ND
10/89-9/90
0.001
MCL

*chronic EMEG values and chronic, adult DWHA values are used for comparison values
**hexavalent chromium
ppm-parts per million
EMEG-ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
CREG-ATSDR Carcinogenic Risk Evaluation Guide
MCL-New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Level
DWHA-USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Source: Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, March 25, 1991.

Ground Water - Municipal Water Supplies (at tap)

The Rockaway Borough Water Department and NJDEPE provided ground-water monitoring data for Rockaway Borough municipal water supplies (at tap). Rockaway Borough periodically analyses the municipal water supply to satisfy requirements of the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act. Samples were collected at two locations (Rockaway Borough Town Hall and Rockaway Borough Water Department maintenance building) and were analyzed for volatile organics compounds, PCBs, and chlordane (1987 through 1989, May 1991). Samples were also analyzed for inorganic compounds (April 1988).

Table 6 reports the contaminants and concentration range detected in municipal water supply samples. Tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene concentrations exceeded comparison values at both sampling locations. Chromium was detected at levels below comparison values.

Methyl tert-butyl ether was detected (0.048 ppm) in municipal water supply samples during one sampling round (May 1991) at concentrations exceeding USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisories. Additional ground-water sampling data are needed to assess the degree and extent of contamination in ground water and soil.

Municipal water supply samples were not analyzed for the presence of semi-volatile organic compounds. Thus, a data gap exists in assessing whether ground-water contaminants, particularly bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, have reached the municipal water supply.

Table 6. Range of Contaminant Concentrations in Off-site Municipal Water Supplies (at tap)

Contaminant Range of Levels (ppm)
Date
Comparison Value*
ppm
Source

Arsenic ND
4/88
0.01
EMEG
Benzene ND
1/87-5/91
0.001
CREG
Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate NA
---
0.0025
CREG
Chromium 0.04
4/88
0.05**
EMEG
trans-1,2-Dichloroethene ND
1/87-5/91
0.01
MCL
Ethylbenzene ND
1/87-5/91
0.7
DWHA
Nickel ND
4/88
0.2
EMEG
Tetrachloroethene 0.0012-0.01
1/87-5/91
0.00069
CREG
Trichloroethene 0.0005-0.004
1/87-5/91
0.001
MCL

*chronic EMEG values and chronic, adult DWHA values are used for comparison values
**hexavalent chromium
ppm-parts per million
EMEG-ATSDR Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
CREG-ATSDR Carcinogenic Risk Evaluation Guide
MCL-New Jersey Maximum Contaminant Level
DWHA-USEPA Drinking Water Health Advisory
ND-not detected
NA-not analyzed
Sources: Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, March 25, 1991; Rockaway Borough Water Department Monitoring Results

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

Subsurface soil and ground-water samples collected during the Phase II RI/FS were analyzed under the USEPA Certified Laboratory Program (CLP). Analytical data were validated by certified data-validation personnel. Analytical results of one subsurface soil sample (RBW-8) were rejected since they did not satisfy the requirements of CLP data validation for semi-volatile organics. Monitoring results supplied by NJDEPE and Rockaway Borough were prepared by CLP laboratories.

In preparing the public health assessment addendum, ATSDR and NJDOH relied on the information provided in the referenced documents and assumed 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 the public health assessment is determined by the completeness and reliability of the referenced information.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

During the site visit, no physical hazards specifically associated with the Well Field were observed. However, several large piles of dirt and sand covered with plastic and some empty drums were found on the public works facility. Although there was no evidence of trespass observed during the site visit, these obstacles represent a potential physical hazard, particularly to children.

Bulging drums observed at one off-site industrial facility represent a physical hazard to workers or trespassers from explosion.


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: (1) a source of contamination; (2) transport through an environmental medium; (3) a point of human exposure; (4) route of human exposure; and (5) an exposed population.

NJDOH classifies 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 that 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.

The following pathways analyses are based on the Phase II RI/FS. Additional pathways analyses are found in the Environmental Pathways and Human Exposures Pathways subsections of the original health assessment (Appendix B).

A. Completed Exposure Pathways

Municipal Water Supply Pathways

Past and present exposure of municipal water supply users (at tap) to organic contaminants through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact has occurred during periods of contaminant breakthrough in the ground-water carbon filtration system. Organic compounds, primarily TCE and PCE, were detected in ground-water monitoring well samples emanating from three contamination source areas in the northeast portion of Rockaway Borough: Klockner and Klockner; the Wall Street/East Main Street areas; and Roned Realty, with the most extensive contamination present near the Klockner and Klockner property. Contaminants found in monitoring wells located in the area of the Pettit Paints facility were not detected in the municipal wells; therefore, this facility was identified as a potential source area. Ground-water flow beneath Rockaway Borough moves towards the Borough Well Field due to the cone of depression created by ground-water pumping activity. A PCE and TCE ground-water contamination plume in the Klockner and Klockner area and a PCE ground-water contamination plume in the Wall Street/East Main Street area is impacting the Rockaway Borough Well Field. A TCE plume is also emanating from the Roned Realty industrial area; however, natural processes (i.e., flushing and attenuation) are expected to reduce volatile organic levels within the aquifer prior to the completion of ground-water remediation activities.

TCE and PCE were detected in untreated municipal well samples collected at the treatment plant indicating that organic compounds have reached the municipal well field. TCE and PCE were also detected in treated municipal water supply samples collected at the treatment plant and at the tap, most likely resulting from contaminant breakthrough. The planned addition of an air stripper to the treatment system and more frequent carbon filter replacement should reduce the likelihood of contaminant breakthrough. However, improper operation and maintenance of the treatment system may result in exposure of municipal water supply users (at tap) to organic compounds in the future.

Past and present exposure of municipal water supply users to methyl tert-butyl ether through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact is possible. Methyl tert-butyl ether was detected in treated municipal water supply samples (at tap). According to the Rockaway Borough Board of Health, the contamination source has been identified as a leaking underground gasoline storage tank located on the property of the Department of Public Works Municipal Garage. Well #6 has been contaminated and is not being used. Based on ground-water flow beneath Rockaway Borough, ground-water contamination may migrate towards wells #1 and #5. Storage tank excavation and soil removal should eliminate the likelihood of exposure in the future.

B. Potential Exposure Pathways

Residential Well Pathways

The potential exists for the future exposure of residential well users to volatile organic compounds through ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. Volatile organic compounds, primarily PCE and TCE, were detected in ground-water monitoring well samples collected in the Klockner and Klockner, Roned Realty, and the Wall Street/East Main Street areas, with the most extensive contamination present near the Klockner and Klockner property. Due to their moderate solubility in water and low propensity for binding to organic matter, PCE and TCE are likely to migrate freely through ground water. There is one residential well currently being used for drinking water purposes in Rockaway Borough. PCE was detected in the residential well at levels below comparison values. The residential well is located within 1/2 mile of the Well Field site and downgradient of one contamination source area (Roned Realty). Contaminant migration may impact the residential well in the future. However, the planned remediation of ground water should eliminate the likelihood of human exposure to volatile organic compounds in the future.

The potential exists for the past, present, and future exposure of residential well users to semi-volatile compounds and inorganic compounds through ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. Semi-volatile compounds, primarily BEHP, and inorganic compounds, primarily chromium and nickel, were detected in ground-water monitoring well samples at levels above comparison values. These contaminants are expected to migrate to a limited degree through ground water. Residential well samples were not analyzed for the presence of semi-volatile and inorganic compounds. Additional residential well sampling data are needed to determine whether exposure of residential well users is occurring at levels of health concern.

Municipal Water Supply Pathways

The potential exists for future exposure of municipal water supply users (at tap) to inorganic contaminants through ingestion and dermal contact. Inorganic compounds, particularly chromium and nickel, were detected in ground-water monitoring well samples in the northeast portion of Rockaway Borough at levels above comparison values. The highest level of chromium was detected in the Wall Street/Main Street area. Based on municipal water supply monitoring data, it does not appear that ground water and subsurface soil contaminants, particularly arsenic, chromium and nickel, have reached the municipal water supply. Chromium was detected in one municipal water supply sample (at tap) at levels similar to background concentrations. Although chromium levels in the water supply sample were not found to be at a level of public health concern, additional ground-water sampling is needed to determine the degree and extent of inorganic contamination in Rockaway Borough. Regular monitoring of municipal water supplies by Rockaway Borough, as required by the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act, should help to minimize the likelihood of exposure to inorganic compounds in the future.

Soil Pathways

The potential exists for the past, present, future exposure of residents and workers to inorganic contaminants through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Inorganic compounds were detected in subsurface soil samples collected in the former Morris Canal located near the Wall Street/East Main Street area, and in the former Dye Pit area located near the S.S. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church. Arsenic and chromium were detected above comparison values in the Dye Pit area at a depth of 10 to 12 feet. The Dye Pit area is located adjacent to the church parking lot and a private residence. Since soil contaminants were detected at depth, the potential for exposure to residents (i.e., church attendees) at levels of health concern is unlikely. However, surface soil sampling data are needed at contamination source areas to adequately characterize the degree and extent of soil contamination and to determine whether exposure is occurring at levels of health concern.

Numerous residences and businesses are in close proximity to the identified ground-water contaminant source areas (Klockner and Klockner, Roned Realty, and the Wall Street/East Main Street areas). Surface soil sampling data are needed from these ground-water source areas to adequately characterize the degree and extent of soil contamination and to determine whether exposure is occurring at levels of health concern.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

In this section, or the respective section of the 1989 Health Assessment, we will discuss the health effects in persons exposed to specific contaminants, evaluate state and local databases, and address specific community health concerns. Health effects evaluations are accomplished by estimating the amount (or dose) of those contaminants that a person might come in contact with on a daily basis. This estimated exposure dose is than compared to established health guidelines. People who are exposed for some crucial length of time to contaminants of concern at levels above established guidelines are more likely to have associated illnesses or disease.

Health guidelines are developed for contaminants commonly found at hazardous waste sites. Examples of health guidelines are the ATSDRs Minimum Risk Level (MRL) and the USEPAs Reference Dose (RfD). When exposure (or dose) is below the MRL or RfD than non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur.

MRLs are developed for each route of exposure, such as acute (less than 14 days), intermediate (15 to 364 days), and chronic (365 days and greater). ATSDR presents these MRLs in Toxicological Profiles. These chemical-specific profiles provide information on health effects, environmental transport, human exposure, and regulatory status.

A. Toxicological Evaluation

Municipal Water Supply Pathways

The maximum concentration of TCE (0.004 ppm) and PCE (0.01 ppm) detected in treated municipal water supplies exceeds comparison values. Acute or chronic oral exposure to these levels of TCE and PCE in drinking water would not typically result in non-carcinogenic effects. Although oral exposure of municipal water supply users may pose a slight increase in carcinogenic risk over a lifetime, it is extremely unlikely that long-term exposure to TCE and PCE in the municipal water supply will result in any cases of cancer. Human exposure to TCE and PCE through ingestion of municipal well water may be occurring during periods of contaminant breakthrough. Therefore, proper operation and maintenance of the carbon treatment system (i.e., replacement of carbon filters), and the installation of an air stripper, is necessary to reduce contaminant levels.

Past exposure to TCE and PCE in municipal water supplies is discussed in the Public Health Implications section of the original health assessment (Appendix B).

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

New Jersey Cancer Registry Evaluation

In 1989, NJDOH performed a cancer incidence investigation that compared the observed number of total cancer cases (1979-1986) in Rockaway Borough to the expected number of cases for this population based on State rates. The investigation found no increase in the rate of cancer for residents of Rockaway Borough when compared to State rates for 1982.

It is worth noting that this type of analysis can neither attribute, nor rule out, any causal relationship between cancer incidence and environmental causes of cancer. The population of the entire Borough may not be the exposed population of interest, thus concealing any potential effect of environmental exposures on cancer rates in a smaller subpopulation. Furthermore, personal information was not available, including other risk factors such as smoking. Lastly, cancer latency (the period of time between exposure and onset of cancer) could not be considered.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

Community health concerns are addressed as follows:

  1. Is there an increased rate of cancer in Rockaway Borough?
  2. A 1989 NJDOH cancer incidence investigation found that the rate of cancer incidence in Rockaway Borough is similar to that which is expected based on State rates. The investigation concluded that there was no increase in cancer rates in Rockaway Borough. The limitations of this type of analysis are discussed in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation section.

    Public Comment Period

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) conducted a comment period for the Public Health Assessment Addendum for the Rockaway Borough Wellfield site from July 6, 1993 to August 6, 1993. The Public Health Assessment Addendum was placed in local repositories to facilitate commentary and reaction from the public at large. Additionally, the Public Health Assessment Addendum was circulated to the Borough of Rockaway, Department of Health for the purpose of soliciting commentary by local health officials.

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


CONCLUSIONS

The following conclusions are based on the information contained in this public health assessment addendum. Additional conclusions are listed in the Conclusions and Recommendations section of the original health assessment (Appendix B).

  1. Based on the Phase II RI/FS and Rockaway Borough monitoring data, NJDOH and ATSDR have concluded that this site is a public health hazard because of the risk to human health resulting from past, present and future exposure to hazardous substances at concentrations that may result in adverse health effects. As indicated in the Pathways Analyses and Public Health Implications sections, human exposure to elevated concentrations of TCE and PCE in the municipal water supply are occurring intermittently through ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact during episodes of contaminant breakthrough within the treatment system.


  2. The planned addition of an air stripper to the treatment system should mitigate future exposures to TCE and PCE in the municipal water supply by decreasing the likelihood of contaminant breakthrough within the treatment system.


  3. Residential well water is being used by one household in Rockaway Borough for drinking water purposes. Residential well sampling data indicate that PCE levels detected in the residential well are not at a level of public health concern. Although residential well samples were analyzed for the presence of volatile organic compounds during the Phase II RI, no residential well data exists to evaluate the potential for past exposure of residential well users to volatile organic compounds in drinking water supplies though ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact. The planned remediation of ground water should eliminate the likelihood of human exposure to volatile organic compounds in the future.


  4. Chromium and nickel were detected in ground-water monitoring well samples at levels of public health concern. Chromium was also detected in one municipal water supply sample (at tap) at levels similar to background concentrations. Although chromium levels in the water supply sample were not at a level of public health concern, ground-water sampling was inadequate to determine the degree and extent of inorganic contamination in Rockaway Borough. Human exposure to metals in drinking water (municipal wells and residential wells) may occur in the future through ingestion and dermal contact as a result of contaminant migration. However, regular monitoring of municipal water supplies should reduce the likelihood of future exposure to metals.


  5. Arsenic and chromium were detected in subsurface soil samples at levels of public health concern. Soil sampling was inadequate to assess the degree and extent of inorganic contamination in Rockaway Borough. Additional surface soil data is needed to determine whether human exposure to metals in surface soil may have occurred or may be occurring through ingestion, inhalation and dermal contact.


  6. Methyl tert-butyl ether was detected in municipal well supplies during one sampling round in May 1991. Removal of the damaged underground storage tank located on the property of the Department of Public Works Municipal Garage and contaminated soil should reduce the likelihood of human exposure in the future.


  7. A 1989 NJDOH cancer incidence investigation found that the rate of cancer incidence in Rockaway Borough is similar to that which is expected based on State rates. The investigation concluded that there was no increase in cancer rates in Rockaway Borough. The limitations of this type of analysis are discussed in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation section.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations are based on the information contained in this public health assessment addendum. Additional recommendations are listed in the Conclusions and Recommendations section of the original health assessment (Appendix B).

  1. Monitor treated municipal water supplies for volatile organic compounds on a monthly basis, as required by the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act.


  2. Conduct proper operation and maintenance of the carbon treatment system (i.e., replacement of carbon filters) as necessary to reduce contaminant levels. Implement remedial actions (i.e., air stripper) to further reduce the likelihood of contaminant breakthrough within the carbon treatment system.


  3. Obtain water samples from treated municipal water supplies to characterize the extent and degree of semi-volatile contamination in Rockaway Borough.


  4. Obtain ground-water samples from monitoring, residential, and municipal wells to characterize the extent and degree of semi-volatile and inorganic (metal) contamination in Rockaway Borough.


  5. Maintain existing institutional controls to prevent future use of the contaminated ground water for drinking water purposes through the installation of private residential wells. Controls should be maintained until remediation has reduced contaminant concentrations in ground water to levels below health concern.


  6. Inform the one household with a residential well of the need to monitor drinking water for volatile organic compounds at least on a quarterly basis. Provide resource materials to the residential well owner(s) on certified testing laboratories and proper testing procedures.


  7. Obtain surface soil (0-3 inches deep) and subsurface soil (more than 3 inches deep) samples from contaminant source areas to characterize the extent and degree of inorganic (metal) contamination in Rockaway Borough.


  8. Obtain on-site soil and ground water samples to characterized the extent and degree of contamination resulting from the leaking underground storage tank located on the property of the Department of Public Works Municipal Garage. Well #6 should remain closed until the contamination source is eliminated.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP) RECOMMENDATION

The information and data developed in the Public Health Assessment Addendum for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site, Morris County, New Jersey, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities. The HARP determined that further review of cancer incidence be performed in the future. In addition, the Panel determined that community health education be performed if public comments on this public health assessment addendum indicate the need for this follow-up health activity.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Actions (PHA) plan contains a description of actions to be taken for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site by ATSDR and NJDOH at and in the vicinity of the site following the completion of this public health assessment addendum. The purpose of the PHA plan is to ensure that this public health assessment addendum 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. ATSDR and NJDOH are committed to follow up on these activities to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions to be implemented are as follows:

  1. The NJDOH has reviewed and evaluated the comments received during the public comment period. Since no public comments were received from individual community members, no community health education is indicated at this time.


  2. NJDOH will complete its epidemiological investigation of 75 townships in 4 Northern New Jersey counties, including Rockaway Borough, analyzing the association between cancer incidence (leukemias/non-Hodgkin's lymphomas) and organic drinking water contaminants during the 1979-1987 period. (Note: Data from individual townships were not separately analyzed in this investigation since leukemia and lymphoma incidence rates are too low to yield statistically significant results.)


  3. ATSDR will provide an annual follow up to this PHAP, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this health assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it.

NJDOH will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Actions plan, when needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.


CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the Rockaway Borough Well Field site was prepared by the New Jersey Department of Health 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 initiated.

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC


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

Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Laurie A. Pyrch, M.Ed.
Research Scientist II
New Jersey Department of Health


ATSDR Regional Representatives:

Arthur Block
Senior Regional Representative
Regional Services
Office of the Assistant Administrator


ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Environmental Health Engineer
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


Any questions concerning this document should be directed to:

ATSDR Project Manager
New Jersey Department of Health
Environmental Health Service
CN 360
Trenton, NJ 08625


REFERENCES

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Health Assessment Guidance Manual. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, February 1991; DHHS, (PHS).


  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethene. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991.


  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethene. Atlanta, Georgia: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, October 1991.


  4. Environmental Protection Agency Region II. Draft Remedial Investigation Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, Rockaway Borough, Morris County, New Jersey. New York, NY: Environmental Protection Agency, March 25, 1991.


  5. Environmental Protection Agency Region II. Draft Feasibility Study Report, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, Rockaway Borough, Morris County, New Jersey. New York, NY: Environmental Protection Agency, June 5, 1991.


  6. Environmental Protection Agency Region II. Draft Proposed Plan, Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, Rockaway Borough, Morris County, New Jersey. New York, NY: Environmental Protection Agency, July 1991.

APPENDIX A: FIGURES

Location Map
Figure 1. Location Map

General Location Map
Figure 2. General Location Map

Site Map
Figure 3. Site Map

Soil Boring, Groundwater Monitoring Wells
Figure 4. Soil Boring, Groundwater Monitoring Wells


APPENDIX B: ORIGINAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT FOR ROCKAWAY BOROUGH WELLFIELD


HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ROCKAWAY BOROUGH WELLFIELD
ROCKAWAY BOROUGH, MORRIS COUNTY, NEW JERSEY
EPA FACILITY ID: NJD980654115

April 17, 1989


TABLE OF CONTENTS

SUMMARY

BACKGROUND

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND PHYSICAL HAZARDS

DEMOGRAPHICS OF POPULATION NEAR SITE

EVALUATION

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

PREPARERS OF REPORT

REFERENCES



SUMMARY

The Rockaway Borough Well Field is a National Priorities List (NPL) site located in the Borough of Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey. Because of yet unidentified source(s) of TCE and PCE in ground water, municipal wells of the Borough of Rockaway have been contaminated sometime prior to 1980, when this well water was found to contain high concentrations of these volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since 1981, an activated carbon filtration system has been treating raw well water before distribution to an estimated 11,000 users of the Borough of Rockaway's municipal water system. Since the installation of the activated carbon treatment system, elevated concentrations of TCE and PCE were detected in the water supplied by the distribution system only once, because the activated carbon in the treatment unit was not replaced on time (i.e., the breakthrough of the contaminant occurred). It is not likely that breakthrough will occur again because of the remedial action provided by the Environmental Protection Agency's Record of Decision. Based on information received, ATSDR has concluded that this site is of a potential public health concern because of the risk to human health resulting from possible exposure to hazardous substances at concentrations that may result in adverse health effects. As noted in the Human Exposure Pathways Section below, human exposure to elevated concentrations of TCE and/or PCE may occur, be occurring, or have occurred via oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to contaminated municipal drinking water (only in the unlikely event that breakthrough occurs) or private well water (i.e., residential potable water or industrial process water use).


BACKGROUND

A. SITE DESCRIPTION

Rockaway Borough Well Field is a National Priorities List (NPL) site located in the Borough of Rockaway, Morris County, New Jersey. The site has been defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as three municipal wells, which are the sole source of potable water for the Rockaway Borough, and portions of nearby Denville and Rockaway Townships. Eight other wells previously used for potable water supply by the Borough were abandoned because of their lack of productivity.

Volatile organic compounds, primarily trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE), were first detected in these wells in 1980. On February 28, 1981, an emergency was declared, and the residents supplied by the distribution system were advised not to use their tap water for drinking and cooking. Temporary drinking water supplies were made available to the public in tank trucks provided by the National Guard. The Borough of Rockaway installed an activated carbon water treatment system in July 1981 to reduce contaminant concentrations. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Borough of Rockaway have been monitoring the water for VOCs on at least a monthly basis since the installation of the activated carbon treatment system. The exact source of the ground water contamination in these municipal wells is not known; however, several sources are suspected. The exact source of the ground water contamination will be investigated by the EPA during Phase II of the Remedial Investigation. The length of time, before 1980, that ground water in these municipal wells was contaminated is not known.

A Record of Decision (ROD) for the site was signed on September 29, 1986. The remedial actions selected in the ROD are:

1. The Borough should operate and maintain the existing granular activated carbon treatment system. Operations should be modified to ensure compliance with current Safe Drinking Water Act standards. The EPA advised that the spent carbon should be regenerated off-site.

2. EPA will continue the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study to positively identify the contaminant source(s), further delineate the full extent of contamination, and evaluate additional remedial action alternatives to address those sources.

In addition, the Borough of Rockaway was directed by the EPA to monitor their wells for VOC levels on a monthly basis.

The Draft Final RI and Feasibility Report (RI/FS) was issued in May 1986.

B. SITE VISIT

An adequate site description was obtained from the Remedial Investigation Report and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Regional Representative. Therefore, no site visit was conducted.


 

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND PHYSICAL HAZARDS

A. ON-SITE CONTAMINATION

The contaminants of concern, found in the raw water from these municipal wells, and in finished treated water, are considered on-site contamination. (Table I). The monitoring data represents a summary of sampling results conducted by the Borough of Rockaway, the NJDEP, and the EPA (RI) between the years 1980 and 1986. The NJDEP and EPA were the lead agencies for Phase I and Phase II of the RI, respectively. The water samples obtained from the municipal wells during the RI were analyzed for the Priority Pollutant List (PPL) compounds. Other samples were analyzed for VOCs because of problems encountered at the laboratory.

B. OFF-SITE CONTAMINATION

The contaminants of concern, found in the samples other than those from municipals wells, are considered off-site contamination (Table II). Samples collected were from surface water and sediment (Rockaway River and Beaver Brook), soil gases, ambient air, ground water monitoring wells, three residential water wells, and three industrial water wells. Except for the first round of sampling, where the samples were analyzed for the PPL VOCs and heavy metals, total phenols, and cyanide, all samples (except soil gas and ambient air analyses) were analyzed for the complete PPL compounds.

The surface water and sediment samples from the Rockaway River and the Beaver Brook did not indicate the presence of any appreciable concentrations of the contaminants of concern. Only one of the residential wells is used as a source of potable water. Lead (52 ug/L) and TCE (4.1 ug/L-estimated value) were found in the water from one of the residential wells and is currently not used for any purpose. Contaminants of concern were not found in the water from the one residential well used as a source of potable water supply (GW-9). In addition, one industrial well (GW-2) showed elevated concentrations of heavy metals which may be associated with use of pumps at the well head.

Soil gas monitoring results showed PCE and TCE at a maximum value of 3,100 ppb and 19 ppb, respectively. The maximum value for PCE was encountered in a sample from soil covered by pavement. Ambient air monitoring data did not indicate any appreciable concentrations of the contaminants of concern at the site.

C. PHYSICAL HAZARDS

No site-specific physical hazards were reported in the information reviewed by ATSDR.


TABLE I: RANGE OF ON-SITE CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN

CONTAMINANT UNBLENDED RAW WATERa
(ug/L)
BLENDED RAW WATERb
(ug/L)
TREADED WATER
(ug/L)
Trichloroethene (TCE) 0.5-172 1.0-41.2 ND-14.8C
Tetrachloroethene (PCE) 2.0-678 1.5-335 ND-25.4C

a- Combined contaminant concentration range for municipal wells 1, 5, and 6.
b- contaminant concentration range for blended water from all municipal wells.
c- TCE and PCE concentrations in treated water resulting from improper operation and maintenance of the activated carbon in the treatment facility.
ND-Not detected.
NR-Not reported.
ug/L- Micrograms per liter.


TABLE II: RANGE OF OFF-SITE CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN

CONTAMINANT GROUND WATER MONITORING WELLS
(ug/L)
Trichloroethene (TCE) 253a
Tetrachloroethene (PCE) 4.8-1,170

a-Detected in only one sample
ug/L- Micrograms per liter.


DEMOGRAPHICS OF POPULATION NEAR SITE

The site is located in a suburban residential setting and is surrounded by homes, businesses, and municipal property. An estimated 6, 383 persons lived in the Borough of Rockaway in 1980. In addition, the Borough of Rockaway's municipal wells supply potable water to about 11,000 persons (ROD, 1986).


EVALUATION

A. SITE CHARACTERIZATION (DATA NEEDS AND EVALUATION)

1. Environmental Media

The conclusions and recommendations made in this Health Assessment are based on the information and monitoring data provided. The following information and monitoring day, as detailed in this section, are needed to characterize the site and to evaluate the public health concerns completely. The recommendations based on these data needs are presented in the Conclusions and Recommendations Section. Additional information and monitoring data, as it becomes available, may necessitate a reevaluation by ATSDR of the public health concerns associated with the Rockaway Borough Well Field NPL Site.

Ground water monitoring VOCs, at least on a quarterly basis, for private water wells (residential or industrial) identified in the area is needed in order to evaluate any future significant human exposure to TCE and/or PCE through oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to drinking water from the private residential well or inhalation exposure to volatilized VOCs from industrial well water used in manufacturing.

2. Land Use and Demographics

Adequate information is available to evaluate the land use and demographics of the Rockaway Borough WELL Field NPL site.

3. Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)

QA/QC was performed on all of the RI data reviewed for this Health Assessment. It is not known if the NJDEP and the Borough of Rockaway monitoring results have passed QA/QC standards. The EPA data reviewed for this Health Assessment passed the QA/QC requirements. Conclusions contained in this Health Assessment are based on the information received by ATSDR. The accuracy of these conclusions is determined by the availability and reliability of the data.

B. ENVIRONMENTAL PATHWAYS

GROUND WATER

As previously stated, the source(s) of the TCE and PCE plumes have not been definitively established. This will be investigated by EPA during the Phase II RI. Soil gas and ground water monitoring have identified several potential sources of TCE and PCE contamination in the area of the well field.

Two aquifer systems exist in the subsurface formations underlying the site. The upper aquifer is composed of sand and gravel with layers of till, and the lower aquifer is composed of a mixture of metamorphic, igneous, and metasedimentary bedrock. The lower bedrock aquifer is the most productive of the two; therefore, most wells, including the Borough of Rockaway's wells, are completed in this hydrogeological unit.

The natural direction of ground water flow in the area is not well established (RI, 1986). However, the Borough of Rockaway's highly productive wells have a significant effect on localized ground water flow direction because of the cone of depression they produce. In addition, given the highly fractured nature of the lower aquifer, the potential for contaminant migration in any direction exists. Based on information provided in the RI, the Rockaway River, which is located within about 1,000 feet south of the Borough of Rockaway's wells, may recharge the aquifers in some areas of the site, and in other portions of the site the ground water only partially discharges to the river.

Until the source(s) of the ground water contamination in the area are identified and mitigated, and until the ground water contamination is remediated, the potential exists for contamination of the Borough of Rockaway's well water or the private well water (i.e., residential or industrial) in the area. Monitoring data from 1985 does not indicate any appreciable concentrations of VOCs in these private wells.

SURFACE WATER (SURFACE RUNOFF)

Based on soil gas and ambient air monitoring data, it appears that most of the contamination is confined to the subsurface soil zones; hence, the potential for surface runoff of contaminants is unlikely. However, this cannot be definitively established until the source(s) of the ground water contamination have been identified and the appropriate subsurface and surface soils in these areas(s) are characterized. Surface water and sediment monitoring data from the Rockaway River or the Beaver Brook (located about 2,000 feet east of the well field) did not indicate appreciable concentrations of the contaminants of concern.

AIR

Based on ambient air monitoring, it appears that appreciable concentrations of VOCs are not present in the air. When the source(s) of the contamination is found, additional ambient air monitoring in these areas, especially in potentially affected enclosed spaces, would be needed to confirm or deny the presence of appreciable concentrations of VOCs at potential exposure points.

CONSUMABLE BIOTA

Because most of site-related contaminants (i.e., VOCs) are believed to be confined to subsurface zones, and significant contamination of the Rockaway River or the Beaver Brook does not appear to have occurred, the potential for bioaccumulation of site-related contaminants in consumable biota (i.e., terrestrial animals or fish, respectively) is unlikely. Furthermore, TCE and PCE are not known to bioaccumulate to a significant extent in terrestrial animals or fish.

C. HUMAN EXPOSURE PATHWAYS

The contamination of the environmental media previously identified in the Environmental Pathways Section constitute the following potential human exposure pathways of concern:

(1) Potential oral (ingestion) exposure to elevated concentrations of TCE and PCE in the finished municipal well water for the population using the Borough of Rockaway's municipal water supplies. This potential significant exposure can occur if the activated carbon treatment system, employed by the Borough of Rockaway, fails to reduce contaminant concentrations because of improper operation or maintenance. However, it is not likely that breakthrough will occur because of the remedial action provided by the Environmental Protection Agency's Record of Decision.

(2) Potential oral (ingestion), dermal, or inhalation exposure to elevated concentrations of TCE an/or PCE in private residential drinking water as a result of future contaminant plume migration.

(3) Potential inhalation exposure to elevated concentration of TCE and/or PCE in private industrial wells as a result of volatilization of these contaminants during the use of well water for industrial purposes. Current concentrations of VOCs in the private industrial well water do not constitute a significant human exposure pathway; however, future appreciable contamination of these wells, and subsequent significant human exposure, may occur as a result of plume migration.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

The public health implications, resulting from potential human exposure to contaminants at the Rockaway Borough Well Field NPL site, are discussed below according to potential human exposure pathways and the contaminants of concern for each of those pathways. TCE and PCE were the major contaminants of concern to human health at the site.

1. Ingestion of TCE and PCE-contaminated municipal well water

TCE is a volatile organic contaminant detected in the finished municipal well water. This contaminant is slightly water soluble and is quite stable in ground water for a period of several months to years; however, TCE can be bacterially degraded by anaerobic microbes to form vinyl chloride. This degradation process does not necessarily mitigate the problem, as the degradation product, vinyl chloride, is also an oral carcinogen, and has been estimated to be more than two orders-of-magnitude more toxic than TCE. The maximum level of TCE detected in finished municipal well water is higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 ug/l (USEPA (1987). However, exposure to the TCE levels detected in the municipal wells would not typically result in noncarcinogenic health effects. TCE has also been designated as a probable human carcinogen (Group B2) by the USEPA. The mechanism of carcinogenicty proposed is that TCE is metabolized to a toxic epoxide, which directly interacts with DNA and subsequently, exerts carcinogenic effects (USHEW, 1978). The maximum TCE level, detected in finished municipal well water (14.8 ug/l) is unacceptable and may pose a significant carcinogenic risk to human health with long-term oral exposure.

Based on numerous carcinogenic studies in laboratory animals, PCE has been designated as a probable human carcinogen (Group B2) by the USEPA. Long-term exposure to PCE, at the maximum level present in finished municipal well water (25.4 ug/l), may pose a significant carcinogenic risk to users of municipal well water through long-term exposure.

The human exposure pathways and subsequent potential health effects from ingestion and inhalation exposure to TCE and PCE-contaminated finished municipal well water are of present concern to human health, if the current activated carbon is not replaced and the treatment system fails to reduce contaminant concentrations because of improper operation and maintenance (i.e., breakthrough of the contaminant). Since the likelihood of breakthrough is not currently probable (as a result of the remedial action provided by the EPA ROD), ingestion and inhalation of TCE and PCE-contaminanted municipal well water are not of current probable concern to human health. Past exposure (intermittent) of municipal well users is probable, as a result of breakthrough (once), indicated the need for filter replacement.

2. Ingestion, inhalation, and dermal exposure to TCE and/or PCE-contaminated residential drinking water (future concern)

TCE and PCE were detected at levels of concern to human health in off-site ground water monitoring wells. These contaminants were not detected at levels of concern to human health in off-site residential wells (as discussed in the narrative on Off-Site Contamination). However, the prevalence of these contaminants in off-site ground water monitoring wells and the potential for future plume migration, poses a threat to ground water in off-site private residential wells. Ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption would be the human exposure pathways of concern to human health. Long-term oral exposure to levels of TCE and PCE-contaminated ground water (off-site) may result in significant carcinogenic effects and is described in the narrative above. Long-term exposure to maximum levels of PCE, detected in off-site ground water (1.17 mg/l), may also result in noncarcinogenic health effects via oral exposure. PCE is readily absorbed via the lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract (Arena, 1974). Particularly susceptible individuals may be those with liver, kidney, nervous system, and blood pressure disorders. Alcohol reacts synergistically with PCE, and heavy alcohol consumers may be particularly at risk from PCE exposure (General Electric Co., (1978). PCE is also a probable human carcinogen (Group B2) via inhalation exposure. Long-term inhalation of PCE-contaminaed vapors during domestic use of ground water may also be of concern to human health. Ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure would be the possible exposure routes of concern from future domestic use (e.g., drinking water, showering, bathing) of TCE and/or PCE-contaminated residential ground water. There is no appreciable bioaccumulation of these volatile contaminants in the food chain; thus, the irrigation of garden crops with TCE and PCE-contaminated ground water is not a probable concern to human health.

3. Inhalation of elevated TCE concentrations in private industrial wells (future concern)

Inhalation of elevated TCE and/or PCE levels in private industrial wells, during the use of well water for industrial purposes, may be of concern to human health; however, adverse human health effects would result primarily from long-term exposure. The health effects from long-term inhalation exposure (i.e., significant carcinogenic risk) would be concern to human health, if elevated levels of these VOCs continued to contaminate ground water taken from industrial wells for a significant period of time.


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the public health concerns associated with the Rockaway Borough Well Field site, the following conclusions and recommendations are warranted:

Based on information received, ATSDR has concluded that this site is of a potential public health concern because of the risk to human health resulting from possible exposure to hazardous substances at concentrations that may result in adverse health effects. As noted in the Human Exposure Pathways and Public Health Implications Sections above, human exposure to elevated concentrations of TCE and/or PCE may occur, be occurring, or have occurred via oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to municipal drinking water (only in the unlikely even that breakthrough occurs) or private well water (residential or industrial).

The ROD remedial measures should mitigate exposure to VOCs from municipal waters as long as appropriate operation and maintenance procedures are implemented to ensure that VOCs do not "breakthrough" the activated carbon water treatment system. Furthermore, if monitoring indicated that VOCs have entered the distribution system, then appropriate measures to reduce exposure should be implemented.

Ground water monitoring for VOCs should be performed, a least on a quarterly basis, for private water wells (residential or industrial) identified in the area. This monitoring is needed in order to evaluate any future significant human exposure to TCE and/or PCE thorough oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to drinking water from the private industrial well water used in manufacturing.

Institutional controls should be implemented to prevent future use of contaminated aquifers for drinking water supplies in the areas of known ground water contamination, until remediation of all known contaminant sources has reduced concentrations below levels of concern to human health.

In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, the Rockaway Borough Well Field site has been evaluated for appropriate follow-up with respect to health effects studies. Although there are indications that human exposure to site-related contaminants may have occurred in the past, this site is not being considered for follow-up health studies at this time because there are no indication of ongoing exposure and no test is available to evaluate possible past exposures. If data become available suggesting that human exposure to significant levels of hazardous substances in currently occurring, ATSDR will reevaluate this site for any indicated follow-up.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Environmental Reviewer:

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Environmental Health Engineer
Environmental Engineering Branch

Health Effects Reviewer:

Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D.
Toxicologist
Health Sciences Branch

Typist:

Charlotta V. Gavin
Clerk Typist
Environmental Engineering Branch


ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Regional Reviewer:

Denise Johnson
Public Health Advisor
Field Operations Branch
Region II


REFERENCES

ATSDR Files.

Draft Final Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Report for Rockaway Borough Well Field Site, Rockaway Borough, Morris County, New Jersey, May 1986. Prepared by Science Applications International Corporation for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Geyer, H., Kraus, A.G., and Kline, W. "Relationship Between Water Solubility and the Bioaccumulation Potential of Organic Chemicals in Rats". Chemosphere 9: 277-291 (1980).

Neely, W.B., Environmental Science and Technology 8: 1113-1115 (1974).

Sitting, M., 1985. Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens. Noyes Data Publications, Park Ridge, New Jersey.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1986. Superfund Public Health Evaluation Manual. Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Drinking Water Health Advisory—Trichloroethene (1987).

U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health). Special Occupational Hazard Review of Trichloroethene, Washington, D.C., 78-130 (1978).

Arena, J.M. and Drew, R.H. Poisoning—Toxicology, Symptoms, Treatments; 3rd ed., p. 185 (1974).

General Electric Company. Material Safety Data Sheet #313 (1978).

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APPENDIX C: RESPONSE SUMMARY

This response summary represents those comments and reactions to the Public Health Assessment Addendum received during the Public Comment Period described in the Community Concerns Evaluation section. In some cases, similar commentary was received from various sources, while other concerns are specific to individuals or groups. Comments and concerns have been grouped by content where possible and are followed by the consequent response.

The following comments were received from the Borough of Rockaway:

Comment:

A comment was received concerning data gaps identified in the Public Health Assessment Addendum.

Response:

Presently, health assessments utilize environmental data collected by remedial agencies. As new environmental data becomes available they are reviewed and evaluated in context of their public health significance. If necessary, the conclusions and recommendations of the health assessment will be revised.

Comment:

A comment was received concerning the 1989 NJDOH Cancer Investigation, which showed no increase in cancer rates in the Borough of Rockaway when compared to NJ State cancer rates. The respondent requested the study be updated and include the incidence of leukemias and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

Response:

A recent NJDOH study, May 1993, investigating drinking water contamination and the incidence of cancer, has been completed and published. This study, available from the NJDOH, included the Borough of Rockaway and reviewed incidence of leukemias and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas.

Comment:

The Borough of Rockaway expressed concerned regarding the frequency of water sampling, which have indicated the presence of contaminants in treated water. They requested guidance on a testing schedule for this water.

Response:

Questions regarding the quality and monitoring schedule of drinking water are the responsibility of the NJDEPE. These concerns will be forwarded to the NJDEPE.

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