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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ROUTE 561 DUMP

AND

UNITED STATES AVENUE BURN
GIBBSBORO, CAMDEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


SUMMARY

This Public Health Assessment serves to evaluate the public health issues associated with the Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site. The two sites were proposed for listing to the National Priorities List on September 29, 1998 and July 28, 1998, respectively.

The Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site are two related sites in Gibbsboro, Camden County, New Jersey. The Route 561 Dump site is situated on approximately 2.9 acres located in an area of mixed commercial and residential uses. The closest residence is less than 200 feet northeast. The site is reported to have been used, in the past, as an area to dump paint wastes and paint sludges. A portion of the United States Avenue Burn site was previously used for disposal and burning of paint wastes, while another portion was used for the storage of sludge from a former paint manufacturing facility's wastewater system. The burn and landfill portions of the United States Avenue Burn site occupy approximately 8 acres. The Railroad Track Area of the United States Avenue Burn site encompasses approximately 7,200 square feet centered around an abandoned railroad track. The Railroad Track Area of the United States Avenue Burn site, which is currently an abandoned railroad line, was previously used to transport materials to and from the former paint manufacturing facility. The total quantity of paint waste dumped or burned on the site is unknown. In May 1994, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) analyzed samples of soil from the area with visible burned waste, and found the area to be heavily contaminated by lead. In addition, it has been reported that municipal trash may have been brought to the site and used as fill.

In September of 1995 the USEPA entered into an Administrative Order of Consent with Sherwin-Williams to conduct a removal action investigation at the burn area of the United States Avenue Burn site. On May 1, 1997, a Unilateral Administrative Order was issued to the Sherwin-Williams Company by USEPA to conduct a removal action at the Railroad Track Area of the United States Avenue Burn site. On November 12, 1997, USEPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent for Removal Action at the Rt. 561 Dump site to the Sherwin-Williams Company. Sampling conducted at these sites confirmed the presence of paint wastes and heavy metal contamination, and helped delineate the extent of the sites' contamination.

Environmental media contamination, resulting from the dumping, storage and/or burning, has been present at these sites for at least 40 years. Site sampling has been performed to characterize the extent of the contamination, in particular of surface soil, at both sites.

On the basis of the information reviewed, the ATSDR and NJDHSS have concluded that surface soil contamination at the Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site exists at levels of public health concern if young children were to gain access to contaminated areas. However, the sites currently represent no apparent public health hazard for exposures to on-site surface soil due to a lack of completed human exposure pathways. It is important to note, however, that there were completed exposure pathways at the United States Avenue Burn site in the past. The United States Avenue Burn site represented a public health hazard in the past, based on available information and an analysis of exposure dose and duration. Adults utilizing the site were not likely to have been exposed to lead contamination at concentrations sufficient to constitute a public health hazard. Children, however, may have been exposed to levels of lead that may pose a public health hazard.

Surface water, sediments and groundwater at the two sites have been shown to be adversely affected by the dumping, storage and/or the burning of paint and paint sludges. It is possible that, associated with these two sites, and the newly discovered Hilliard's Creek site, there is a widespread problem of heavy metals transport off-site via surface water, sediments and/or groundwater. Therefore, these environmental media must be considered to be potential human exposure pathways. The potential for off-site migration of site-related contaminants through these environmental media has not been thoroughly examined.

There is at least one home near each of the sites that uses a private well for potable water. These wells were last checked in 1994 and both were found to be free of site-related contamination; however, the current quality of the water is unknown. The depth of the groundwater from which these residences draw water is also unknown. The direction of groundwater flow in the area needs to be discerned.

The NJDHSS and the ATSDR have recommended the following: 1) periodically monitor the fences surrounding the two sites to keep them secure against trespassers; 2) identify and sample all private well water potentially impacted by the site; and, 3) monitor nearby surface water features (creeks and lakes) periodically to determine if off-site migration of contamination has or is occurring. In addition, a hydrogeologic investigation of area groundwater is needed to characterize the direction and extent of contaminant migration from the site.


PURPOSE AND HEALTH ISSUES

This Public Health Assessment serves to evaluate the public health issues associated with the Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site. The two sites were proposed for listing to the National Priorities List (NPL) on September 29, 1998 and July 28, 1998, respectively. NPL or "Superfund" sites represent those sites which are associated with significant public health concern in terms of the nature and magnitude of contamination present and the potential to adversely impact the health of populations in their vicinity.

This document will comprehensively evaluate human exposure pathways associated with known contaminated environmental media within or associated with the Route 561 Dump Site and the United States Avenue Burn site and recommend actions consistent with protection of the public health. At the Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site, the known contaminated media include soils, sediments, groundwater, and surface water.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) will collaborate with environmental agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to develop and implement a health component to proposed and ongoing remedial activities.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

The Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site location

The Route 561 Dump site and the United States Avenue Burn site are two related sites in Gibbsboro, Camden County, New Jersey (inset).

Route 561 Dump Site (1)

The Route 561 Dump site is situated on approximately 2.9 acres located in an area of mixed commercial and residential uses. (Figure 1). The closest residence is less than 200 feet northeast. There is a commercial establishment on the northern border of the site, and a lake is located approximately 200 feet northeast of the site. The site is reported to have been used, in the past, as an area to dump paint wastes and paint sludges.

United States Avenue Burn Site (2,3,4,14)

The United States Avenue Burn site was owned and operated by the Sherwin-Williams Company, Inc. The burn and landfill portions of the site occupy approximately 8 acres and were previously used to dispose of and burn paint wastes, as well as storage of sludge from a former paint manufacturing facility's wastewater system. The Railroad Track Area of the United States Avenue Burn site encompasses approximately 7,200 square feet centered around an abandoned railroad track (Figure 2). The Railroad Track Area of the United States Avenue Burn site, which is currently an abandoned railroad line, was previously used to transport materials to and from the former paint manufacturing facility. There are historical reports that note the use of paint thinners for the burning of these paint wastes and materials at the site. The total quantity of paint waste dumped, stored or burned on the site is unknown. In May 1994, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) analyzed samples of soil from the area with visible burned waste, and found the area to be heavily contaminated with heavy metals. In response to NJDEP's findings, the Sherwin-Williams Company installed a chain-link fence around this area. The resulting enclosure, installed in July 1995, was approximately 60' by 60'.

In an area just south of the burn area the Sherwin-Williams Company constructed a bermed storage area. It is thought that the company stored sludge from their wastewater system. This activity took place between approximately 1950 and 1977. In addition, it has also been reported that municipal trash may have been brought to the site, and used as fill prior to the construction of the sludge pits.

Remedial History

In September of 1995, the USEPA entered into an Administrative Order of Consent with Sherwin-Williams to conduct a removal action investigation at the burn area of the United States Avenue Burn site. On November 12, 1997 USEPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent for Removal Action at the Rt. 561 Dump site to the Sherwin-Williams Company. On May 1, 1997, a Unilateral Administrative Order was issued to the Sherwin-Williams Company by USEPA to conduct a removal action at the Railroad Track Area of the United States Avenue Burn site. Sampling conducted at these sites confirmed the presence of paint wastes and heavy metal contamination and helped delineate the extent of the sites' contamination.

Soil contamination, resulting from the dumping, storage and burning, has been there for at least 40 years. Site sampling has been performed to characterize the extent of the contamination at both sites. The full extent of the contamination, however, is not known.

Additional chain-link fencing was installed in 1997, which encompasses the fencing installed in July 1995, to surround the contaminants in the burn and landfill areas of the United States Avenue Burn site. According to the USEPA, the fence currently encloses all known soil lead contamination above 400 mg/kg.

There is a section of the site located on the other side of United States Avenue from the burn site known as the "Railroad Track Area." In the final conclusion of a recent data review (December 18, 1996), ATSDR found the surface soil in the Railroad Track Area to have levels of lead contamination that presented a public health threat. According to the USEPA, this area has undergone a removal action for contaminated soil. Contaminated "hot spots" have been excavated and these areas were covered with clean soil.

B. Demography and Land Use

Route 561 Dump Site

The Route 561 Dump site is a vacant property in a mixed residential/commercial area. A small shopping plaza borders the property's northern side. The shopping plaza includes a convenience store and a pizzeria.

An estimated total population of 5,280 people live within one mile of the site (Figure 1). Approximately 200 of these people are within one-quarter mile. There are two homes near the site, one of which is within 200 feet. At least one of these homes draws potable water from a residential well.

There is a wetlands area located to the east and southeast. Adjacent to the wetland is a small lake, Clement Lake. Clement Lake is used for boating and swimming.

The aquifers below the site provide potable water to an estimated 28 public water supply wells within four miles of the site.

United States Avenue Burn Site

The United States Avenue Burn site is in a mixed commercial and residential area. The site is not currently in use; however, it has been used in the past for the disposal and burning of paint wastes, and, for a period of time, a municipal landfill.

The site is bordered on three sides by woodlands and wetlands. The north side is bordered by a single residence, which is less than 200 feet from the burn site. The USEPA has indicated that the residents of this home obtain their potable water from a private well. There are no school or day care facilities on or within 200 feet of the property.

Population demographics based upon the 1990 census have been prepared by the ATSDR using area-proportion spatial analysis, and are presented in Figure 2. Within a one mile radius there are approximately 1,406 homes with as many as 4,465 people.

C. Past ATSDR/NJDHSS Involvement

The ATSDR/NJDHSS have completed two (2) previous Public Health Consultations at the United States Avenue Burn and/or the Route 561 Dump sites, dated July 25, 1995 and December 4, 1997. ATSDR also completed two (2) data reviews, dated September 20, 1996 and December 18, 1996. The following is a review of these documents:
1995 Health Consultation (5)

In the 1995 Health Consultation of the United States Avenue Burn site, the ATSDR evaluated USEPA sampling data for sediments (June 30, 1993) and for surface soils and sediments (May 20, 1994). In the first round of sampling, sediments from Haney Run were evaluated for metals. Arsenic levels ranged from 261 to 1,560 parts per million (ppm). Barium levels ranged from 534 to 17,600 ppm. Cadmium levels ranged from 8 to 15.6 ppm. Lead levels ranged from 1,270 to 2,330 ppm.

In subsequent testing (5/20/94) for heavy metal contamination, four surface samples (0-6 inches) and six sediment samples (from Haney Run and White Sand Branch) were taken at the site. Antimony levels ranged from non- detected (ND) to 41.9 ppm. Arsenic levels ranged from 5.0 to 43.7 ppm. Cadmium levels ranged from 79.1 to 607 (ppm). Barium levels ranged from 1,470 to 4,800 ppm. Total chromium ranged from 599 to 3,000 (ppm) and lead levels ranged from 8,140 to 134,000 ppm. The sediment samples were also shown to be contaminated. Arsenic levels ranged from non-detected (ND) to 235 ppm. Barium levels ranged from ND to 397 ppm. Cadmium levels ranged from ND to 3 ppm and lead levels ranged from 3.4 to 2,510 ppm.

ATSDR concluded the following:

  1. Sediments and surface soils at the site were contaminated with metals (e.g., lead, arsenic and cadmium) at concentrations that pose a public health hazard;
  2. Humans, in particular children, might be exposed to contaminants, while visiting or playing on the site, through the ingestion or inhalation of surface soils.

The Health Consultation recommended the following:

  1. Determine the extent of contamination in surface soil and sediment at the site;
  2. Restrict access to contaminated areas until contamination is remediated;
  3. Test water from nearby private wells, to determine if they have been impacted by the site.

Data Review (September 20, 1996) (6)

The above referenced data review was performed by ATSDR following a request by USEPA to evaluate the public health significance of one specific area of the site. The specific area evaluated was the Railroad Track Area, which is located on the opposite side of United States Avenue from the burn and landfill areas of the site currently surrounded by a chain link fence.

In this ATSDR data review, three surface soil (0-6 inches) samples from the Railroad Track Area were evaluated. Levels of lead detected were 1,020 ppm, 5,470 ppm and 251,000 ppm. ATSDR concluded that these levels of lead contamination presented a public health threat. It was also recommended that access to the area be restricted and that the soil should be further characterized.

Data Review (December 18, 1996) (7)

The above referenced data review was performed by ATSDR following a request by USEPA to further evaluate the public health significance of the Railroad Track Area following the collection of 8 additional surface soil samples. This request was a response to the ATSDR recommendation in the September 20, 1996, Data Review that the soils in this section be further characterized. The additional sampling confirmed lead contamination in surface soil (0-6 inches). Lead levels were detected in surface soil at concentrations ranging from 443 ppm to 56,100 ppm (average concentration = 23,800 ppm).

ATSDR concluded that with this additional sampling, the Railroad Track Area of the site has been adequately characterized. In addition, lead contamination was noted to present a continuing public health threat.

1997 Public Health Consultation (13)

The above referenced Public Health Consultation was performed by the ATSDR and NJDHSS following a request by USEPA to evaluate the public health significance of exposure pathways at the United States Avenue Burn and the Route 561 Dump sites. The pathway specifically examined in this Public Health Consultation concerned the ingestion or inhalation of lead contaminated soil by trespassers.

At the Route 561 Dump site, ATSDR/NJDHSS concluded that there were no documented ongoing human exposures to site-related contaminants. Past exposures to contaminated soil could not be ruled out, but because it would be difficult to define a contaminant dose or identify an exposed population, no toxicological evaluation of this pathway was performed.

Regarding the United States Avenue Burn site, the ATSDR/NJDHSS concluded that the site represented a public health hazard in the past and present, based on available information and an analysis of exposure dose and duration. Adults utilizing the site were not likely to have been exposed to lead contamination at concentrations sufficient to constitute a public health hazard. Children, however, may have been exposed to lead at levels of public health concern.

ATSDR/NJDHSS further concluded that both sites had not been adequately characterized to completely determine public health implications. The ATSDR/NJDHSS requested additional sampling of surface soil and area groundwater, including potable wells, for contamination.

ATSDR/NJDHSS recommended that public access to contaminated areas of the United States Avenue Burn site be restricted and the perimeter of the site should be posted to warn potential site trespassers of the hazards of entering the site. The ATSDR/NJDHSS further recommended delineation of the extent of contamination in groundwater, surface soil and sediment at the Route 561 Dump and the United States Avenue Burn sites and the testing of potable water from private wells adjacent to the sites to determine if they have been impacted.

As a follow-up to the 1997 Public Health Consultation, the ATSDR/NJDHSS prepared a fact sheet concerning the two sites (January, 1998).(17) A draft of this document was distributed to the Camden County Health Department (CCHD).

D. Site Visit

On July 2, 1999, S. Kubiak and J. Winegar of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) visited the Route 561 Dump and the United States Avenue Burn sites. The NJDHSS was accompanied by representatives of the USEPA. The following observations were made during the site visit:

Route 561 Dump Site

  • The Route 561 Dump site is an area of about 2.9 acres. The site was largely wooded and sloped toward a small stream. The lower portion, about one-third of the site, was swampy wetlands with very dense understory growth. The entire area was surrounded by a new chain link fence installed by the Sherwin-Williams Company under a USEPA 1997 Administrative Order on Consent for Removal Action. The fence appeared to be in excellent condition and would make trespassing in this section difficult. In fact, there was no evidence of trespassing at the site.


  • A security system was also installed, in addition to the new fence, at the site under the USEPA 1997 Consent Order. The security system included three cameras on the northern perimeter, and a sensor on the front gate.


  • The site is in a mixed commercial/residential area with the closest residence less than 200 feet northeast. There is a group of commercial establishments (a strip mall) bordering the site on the north.


  • Staining was observed along a cut made by drainage water from the commercial parking lot. Pigments of several colors were also noticed at various locations in the swampy area near the center of the site.


  • Several of the most contaminated surface soil "hot spots" within the Route 561 site have been stabilized as an interim measure. Some of the contaminated surface soil areas were covered with membrane, clean soil and then seeded in 1997.

United States Avenue Burn Site

Landfill/burn sub-site

  • The site is located in a mixed residential / commercial area and is approximately 8 acres in size. It is bordered on three sides by woodlands and wetlands. The closest residence is less than 200 feet from the site.


  • A very large area of the site is now surrounded by a new chain link fence installed by the Sherwin-Williams Company under a USEPA 1997 Administrative Order on Consent for Removal Action. The fence appeared to be in excellent condition and would make trespassing in this area difficult. A small portion of the original burn site is still surrounded by a chain link fence which is entirely within the new fence. The rusted remnants of paint cans were observed. Many of the cans appeared to have solidified paint attached.


  • The open central area of the site is no longer readily accessible to trespassers.


  • There are two small creeks, White Sand Branch and Haney Run, which converge at the site and flow through a culvert beneath United States Avenue. The creek then empties into a small lake (Bridgewood Lake).


  • According to the USEPA, most of the site's contaminated surface soil lies inside the fenced area. However, some areas of contaminated soil may still be outside the fenced area.


  • There are no known or suspected radiological or biological hazards associated with the site.


  • Several private residences in the vicinity of the site use private wells as their source of potable water.

Railroad Track Area sub-site

  • According to the USEPA, a removal action was conducted to limit the existing public health hazard and environmental impacts from the Railroad Track Area sub-site.

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