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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

TABERNACLE DRUM DUMP
TABERNACLE TOWNSHIP, BURLINGTON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND PHYSICAL HAZARDS

A. ON-SITE CONTAMINATION

1. On-site Groundwater Contaminants of Concern From Monitoring Well Samples (see Table 1 below and see Appendix, Figure 2 for locations).

2. Concentrations of Inorganic compounds in Surface Soils Samples (see Table 2 below).

B. OFF SITE CONTAMINATION

Residential wells most likely to be affected were sampled in July 1985 and December 1986. Data presented in Table 3 below indicates the contaminant levels associated with residential wells sampled in December 1986 (see Appendix, Figure 3 for locations).

TABLE 1

On-site Groundwater Contaminants of Concern
From Monitoring Well Samples
December 1986

Monitoring Well
Location

Chromium
Total
(ug/l)
Lead
Total
(ug/l)
Cadmium
Total
(ug/l)
TCA
(ug/l)
DCE
(ug/l)
           

MW-1

19 ND 7 68 ND

MW-2

28 ND ND 220 ND

MW-3

26 ND 7 130 ND

MW-3D

72 7 ND ND ND

MW-3D (duplicate)

68 5 ND ND ND

MW-4

13 8 13 180 3J
MW-5 15 19 ND 35 ND

MW-6

29 42 5 920 20J

MW-7

35 -- 10 ND ND

MW-7 (duplicate)

36 ND 8 ND ND

ug/l-microgram per liter
J-estimated Value.
ND-not detected.


TABLE 2

Inorganic Compounds in Surface Soils
December 1986

Compound Concentration (min/max) (mg/kg)

 

 
Lead 13/71

Chromium

2.2/23

Cyanide

0.57/2.88

 

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp mg/kg-milligrams per kilogram

TABLE 3

Residential Wells Contaminants
December 1986

Residential Well Chromium
Total
ug/l
Lead
Total
ug/l
     

RW1

- -

RW2

- 7
RW3 - 31

RW4

- 14

RW5

- 5

RW6

12 -
RW7 - -

RW8

- 8

RW9

- -

RW10

10 -

RW10 Duplicate

- -

C. PHYSICAL HAZARDS

No physical hazards were reported for the Tabernacle Site.


DEMOGRAPHICS

The Tabernacle Site is in an area designated as the Pinelands Agricultural Production Area. This area is normally used for agricultural purposes along with adjoining lands that have soils suitable for farming activities. Various land uses are authorized in the Pinelands Agricultural Production Areas. Single family residential units are allowed at a density of one unit per ten acres. Units are allowed on pre-existing lots that are greater than one acre. The Preservation Area District borders the Pinelands Agricultural Production Area to the north, east, and south. There are approximately 100 residences within a one-mile radius of the site. About 25 residences are within one-half mile of the site.


EVALUATION

A. SITE CHARACTERIZATION (DATA NEEDS AND EVALUATION)

1. Environmental Media:

Hydrologic, and geologic investigations were conducted for the site and the results were included as a part of the Draft Remedial Investigation (DRI). Sampling efforts were concentrated on groundwater and soil sampling on and off the site. No ambient air monitoring data was available for ATSDR review. No overland surface water flow was identified at the site since the porous, sandy soil tended to minimize surface runoff.

Lead, chromium, cadmium, TCA, and DCE were chosen as contaminants of concern for on-site groundwater. The TCA contaminant plume appears to be sufficiently defined horizontally but not vertically. The plume was estimated to reach residential wells in 14 years. DCE was found in two of eight monitoring wells but no residential wells. It is not known at this time if the lead and chromium levels in the residential wells result from site contamination. However, the potential for site-related groundwater contamination exists because of the area soil conditions. Additional sampling would be needed to determine the sources of the lead and chromium contamination and further monitoring of the residential wells is advised to determine if the lead and chromium concentrations are increasing.

2. Demographics and Land Use:

Detailed demographic data was unavailable for our evaluation. Information is needed on the number of children under five years of age, the median age, the number of elderly persons over 62 years of age, the occupations of employed persons, the locations of schools and hospitals, and the sex, scioeconomic status, and ethnic background distribution of the population.

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

This health assessment was based on compiled data from the DRAFT REMEDIAL INVESTIGATION REPORT FOR THE TABERNACLE DRUM DUMP SITE, BURLINGTON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, VOLUMES 1 AND 2, MAY 29, 1987. From the information provided, it appears that the samples were handled properly per established protocol and prepared, labeled and shipped with appropriate EPA and DT documentation. All analyses were conducted through the EPA Contract Laboratory Program (CLP).

B. ENVIRONMENTAL PATHWAYS

The Cohansey Sand is the principal aquifer in the Tabernacle area. This aquifer can be described as having fine to coarse sand intermixed with small lenses of cohesive clay and gravel. There are approximately 80 to 100 wells within a one-mile radius of the site that obtain water from the Cohansey aquifer for potable and agricultural purposes. The average well depth is about 80 feet. The environmental media that have been influenced by the site contamination are as follows:

Groundwater: The primary contaminants of concern in the groundwater are chromium, cadmium, lead, TCA, and DCE. An evaluation of the residential well data indicated that the site contaminants, TCA and DCE, currently were not found in these wells. However, the TCA contamination plume is spreading south and southeast and some residential well contamination by TCA is anticipated in the future. The TCA contamination plume was calculated in the RI to migrate at the rate of approximately 94 feet per year and was estimated to reach the nearest residential wells in 14 years. Lead and chromium from the site may have influenced some of the residential wells downgradient from the site. The background (upgradient) residential well did not indicate the presence of lead, cadmium or chromium. Cadmium was detected in on-site monitoring wells but not in residential wells.

The Tabernacle soils have low clay content, an acid character, and are highly permeable. Chromium and lead salts are expected to be retained poorly in these soils.

Currently, only two out of ten residential wells show detectable levels of chromium in the water (maximum-12 ug/l). Five out of ten residential wells show detectable levels of lead (maximum-31 ug/l). These chromium and lead concentrations are below the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) established as regulatory limits for contaminants in public drinking waters. Several residential wells currently exceed the MCL for silver (50 ug/l). The concentration of silver in one residential well sample analyzed in December 1986 was 78 ug/l. However, this may not be site-related since silver was not found in the on-site monitoring wells. Reference 13 reported that resampling of the residential wells by the State and EPA which occurred in January 1988 did not reveal the presence of silver.

Surface Water: The RI indicated that the highly porous, sandy soil at the site would minimize surface runoff. No overland surface flow was identified at the site. The contaminated groundwater flowing southeast beneath the site will eventually flow and discharge into a surface water body. There are cranberry bogs approximately three-quarters of a mile south/southeast and approximately a half mile east/southeast of the site.

Soils: Currently, the site soils are contaminated with chromium, cyanide, and lead. Chromium appears slightly above background in 2 out of 10 samples (19 and 23 mg/kg with background of 8.4 mg/kg). Cyanide, although not detected in background levels, were at fairly low levels (2.88 mg/kg maximum). Lead appears in one soil sample at 71 mg/kg, with most sample values appearing around 20-30 mg/kg. Background soil concentrations for lead were about 14 mg/kg.

Air: Data was not available on ambient air monitoring for our review. However, because of the low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the soil and groundwater, air contamination is not expected to be significant. The site has been described as having an adjacent wooded area and a coarse fraction of surface materials. Under current conditions, the generation of fugitive dust would be minimal.

C. HUMAN EXPOSURE PATHWAYS

Inhalation of Volatile Emissions and Fugitive Dust: Under current conditions, the inhalation of contaminated fugitive dust would be minimal. If the site is developed or remediated in the future, the off-site nearby population, on-site construction and remedial workers would be exposed to contaminated fugitive dust by inhalation.

Since the site is not fenced, trespassers may also be exposed if dust generation occurs. However, this exposure route is not expected to be of major concern.

Soil Ingestion and Dermal Contact: Currently, trespassers could be exposed by ingestion and dermal exposure to contaminated soils since the site is not fenced. In the future, if the site is remediated or developed, remediation and construction workers could also be affected.

Ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption of Groundwater and Surface Water: The potential exists in the future for human exposure to contaminated ground and surface waters. The nearest surface water body is approximately three quarters of a mile away but is not expected to experience any significant impacts from the contaminated groundwater. Presently, the TCA contaminated groundwater plume has not affected residential wells. Lead and chromium in the residential wells may nor may not be associated with the Tabernacle Site. Silver, if present, may be due to local aquifer conditions. Inadvertant ingestion and inhalation of soil (dust) and ingestion of groundwater would be the most significant routes of exposure for the heavy metals. Ingestion of groundwater plus inhalation from groundwater volatilization of TCA during household uses of contaminated water would be the most significant routes of exposure for TCA.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

Currently, the Tabernacle Drum Dump Site poses a potential public health threat. TCA, DCE, chromium, cadmium, and lead are the contaminants of concern. Populations at risk of exposure to the site are trespassers (including children), remedial and construction workers and residents living nearby. Sensitive subpopulations who may be associated with the site are children, pregnant women, and individuals with preexisting liver and kidney disorders.

On-site contamination:

1. Groundwater.

On-site groundwater is contaminated with TCA, DCE, lead, cadmium and chromium at levels which may cause adverse health effects (Table 1). The levels of TCA present in several on-site monitoring wells may pose a health concern. In humans, most of the toxic effects associated with TCA occurred after exposure via the inhalation route. Central nervous system (CNS) depression is the predominant effect of TCA in humans. CNS effects include impairment of coordination, changes in psychophysiological functions such as perceptual speed, reaction time and manual dexterity. TCA is also a mild hepato-renal toxicant. Prolonged and repeated contact with the skin may result in transient erythema. Accidental ingestion of one ounce of TCA (0.6 g/kg) caused minimal hepato-renal injury (Stewart and Andrews, 1966).

DCE was found in on-site groundwater monitoring wells at a maximum of 20 ug/l. Chronic ingestion of water contaminated with 20 ug/l of DCE may result in adverse health effects. DCE is a hepato- and nephro-toxicant and a CNS depressant. The hepatotoxicity depends on the level, route, and duration of exposure, and may range from fatty vacuolization to necrosis. Since both TCA and DCE are hepato- and CNS toxicants, exposure to on-site groundwater may cumulatively affect these organ systems. There is insufficient information on DCE to adequately assess its carcinogenic potential. At present, there are no known receptors of the on-site groundwater contaminants.

2. Soil.

Populations potentially exposed to on-site soil are trespassers, construction and remedial workers. Since access to the site is presently unlimited, trespassers, including children, may be exposed to contaminated on-site soils. Exposure to lead, chromium and cyanide that are currently present in the surface soil at the levels mentioned in Table 3 may not pose a major health concern by itself but may cumulatively add to the existing exposure of lead and chromium caused by contaminated groundwater.

Off-site contamination:

1. Groundwater.

Current residential well contamination.

At present, five of the ten residential wells sampled were contaminated with lead (Table 3).

Lead.

Lead was present in one of the five wells (RW3) at 31 ug/l. Long-term ingestion of water obtained from this well may result in adverse health effects. The U.S. EPA has proposed a revised MCL for lead at 5 ug/l. The endpoints most sensitive to exposure to this level of lead are neurobehavioral toxicity, impairment of heme synthesis and erythropoiesis, and cardiovascular and developmental toxicity.

Neurobehavioral toxicity.
In two different populations of children, significant inverse linear associations have been reported between cognitive ability and blood lead, with no evident threshold down to the lowest blood lead level of 6 ug/dl (Hawk et al., 1986; Fulton et al., 1987).

Heme synthesis and erythropoiesis.
Low level lead exposure is associated with inhibition of erythrocyte d-aminolevulinic acid dehydrogenase (ALAD) activity. This inverse correlation of blood lead level with ALAD is seen at very low blood lead levels (3-5 ug/dl) and occurs in adults as well as children (Chisolm et al., 1985).

Cardiovascular effect.
Several occupational and general population studies have been conducted on possible relationships between blood lead levels and hypertension. Data from the National Health And Nutritional Examination Survey II (NHANES II), (Harlan et al., 1985; Pirkle et al., 1985) and the British Regional Health Study (Pocock et al., 1984, 1985) indicated small but significant direct associations between blood lead levels and blood pressures in middle aged men (40-59 years old) with no apparent threshold through levels less than 10 ug/dl.

Developmental toxicity.
Prenatal exposure to lead may produce toxic effects in the human fetus, including reductions in gestational age and birth weight and impairment of mental development. These effects may occur at relatively low blood lead levels. Significant inverse correlations between maternal blood lead levels and gestational age and birth weight have been reported (Dietrich et al., 1986, 1987a). The effects on birth weight and gestational age were apparent at blood lead levels as low as 12 ug/dl.

Residential well water also contained silver at a maximum level of 78 ug/l. Long-term ingestion of silver may lead to argyrosis, a permanent blue-gray discoloration of the skin. In the industrial setting, gradual accumulation of 1-5 grams of silver may lead to generalized argyria (Hill and Pillsbury, 1939.) Long-term ingestion of residential well waterat 78 ug/l, therefore, poses a minimal public health concern. Since silver was not detected in on-site monitoring wells, the presence of this inorganic chemical may not be site related. In addition, it was reported that recent sampling (January, 1988) by U.S. EPA and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection did not reveal the presence of silver in the residential wells (SRC, May 24, 1988; SRC, June 8, 1988).

Potential future residential well contamination.

If the site's groundwater remains unremediated, migration of the on-site groundwater contamination plume may result in residential well contamination with lead, cadmium, chromium, DCE and TCA at levels comparable to those currently present in the on-site groundwater (Table 1). As mentioned in the on-site contamination section, long-term exposure through ingestion, inhalation, dermal absorption and food chain contamination to these levels of lead, cadmium, chromium, DCE and TCA may pose a greater health threat than the potential adverse health effects associated with exposure to residential well water in its current state.

Development of the site for residential, industrial or commercial purposes with use of the contaminated groundwater without adequate remediation may considerably affect human health. Future residents would be cumulatively exposed to levels of lead, chromium, DCE and TCA in the groundwater and potentially exposed to food (garden vegetables) which then may become a health concern. Specifically, the exposure of children living on the site to contaminants would significantly increase in intensity and frequency.

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