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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ZSCHIEGNER REFINING
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, MONMOUTH COUNTY, NEW JERSEY


SUMMARY

This Public Health Assessment serves to evaluate the public health issues associated with the Zschiegner Refining Company (ZRC) site. The site was proposed for listing to the National Priorities List in September 1997.

The ZRC site is an area of approximately 6.1 acres located in a rural area of Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. From 1964 to 1992, this company was involved in a precious metals recovery operation located in the only on-site building. Company operations included the chemical stripping of precious metals from watch bands, film, and electrical components. Gold, silver, platinum and nickel, among other metals, were recovered by the company at the ZRC site. Poor "housekeeping" such as spills, leaks and runoff from the site over the years, in addition to poor waste management practices, are the probable causes of on-site contamination.

Sampling of on-site and off-site media at the ZRC site was conducted by a US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) contractor during August 24-25, 1995. At that time, the release of site related contaminants to surface water, soil, and sediments was documented. Data from the USEPA's investigations were used to evaluate possible human exposure pathways associated with the ZRC site. The ZRC site has not been fully characterized; the USEPA will be conducting a full Remedial Investigation (RI).

Analysis of surface soil samples showed the presence of numerous organic and inorganic contaminants at levels three times the levels detected in background samples. Only in surface soil samples were contaminants (e.g., arsenic, chromium and cyanide) found at levels above the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) soil health comparison levels.

Environmental data were evaluated within the context of human exposure pathways and relevant public health issues. In both adults and children, none of the calculated exposure doses exceed the No Observed Adverse Effect Levels (NOAELs) for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer) cited in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for these elements. Based upon data and information presently available to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) and the ATSDR, it was determined that adult and child trespassers would not be exposed to levels of contaminants that could be of public health concern.

While it is known that some unauthorized entry occurs inside the fence and the building, it is unlikely that there is human contact with on-site contaminated surface soil within the fenced area. Contact with on-site soils in the unfenced area is unlikely because of the inaccessible swampy, bog like nature of these contaminated areas and a heavy growth of underbrush.

Therefore, based on available information and under current site conditions, it would be unlikely that either adults or children would come in contact with these contaminants often enough or at levels great enough to result in an exposure dose of public health significance. The ATSDR and NJDHSS have concluded that the ZRC site currently constitutes no apparent public health hazard for exposure to on-site surface soil, surface water, and sediments.

The potential for off-site migration of site related contaminants through groundwater is currently under evaluation by the USEPA. Identification and testing of nine (9) down gradient private wells did not indicate the presence of site related contaminants.

Although the site is partially fenced, it is accessible to trespassers. Therefore, the ATSDR and the NJDHSS, in cooperation with the Monmouth County Health Department, will inform nearby residents of the importance of keeping children off the site.


PURPOSE AND HEALTH ISSUES

This Public Health Assessment evaluates the public health issues associated with the Zschiegner Refining Company (ZRC) site, which has recently been proposed for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL). NPL or "Superfund" sites represent those sites which are associated with significant public health concerns 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 comprehensively evaluates human exposure pathways associated with known contaminated environmental media within or associated with the ZRC site and takes action consistent with protection of the public health. The known contaminated media at the ZRC site include soil, sediments, and surface water. The possible impact of the site's contamination on area groundwater is also examined.

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 contribute a health component to proposed and ongoing remedial activities.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

Small map of site location and map coordinatesThe Zschiegner Refining Company (ZRC) site is an area of approximately 6.1 acres located in a rural area of Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey (inset). The property is bordered by the Maxim-Southard Road to the west/northwest, residential property to the south, southwest, and east. There is a sanitary sewer easement to the northeast. A small stream, the Haystack Brook, and its associated wetlands, run north to south across the eastern portion of the site. The manufacturing portion of the facility is a 230 by 30 foot single story building located on the eastern/southeastern portion of the property. There is a collapsed cesspool located between the building and Haystack Brook (Figure 1).

From 1964 to 1992, a precious metals recovery operation was located in the only on-site building. Operations included the chemical stripping of precious metals from watch bands, film, and electrical components. Gold, silver, platinum and nickel, among other metals, were recovered by the company, at the ZRC site.

Former employees of the ZRC have noted that spent acid solutions, too weak for "stripping" metals, were regularly decanted into floor drains or emptied by hose. Both of these methods directed fluids to the loading dock edge, which is now severely eroded, and into areas of stressed vegetation. The run off goes to the Haystack Brook, which flows through the property within 100 yards of the building. The Haystack Brook feeds into the Metedeconk River, approximately 4 miles from the site.

The owner of the site also began the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine at an unknown date. The site was subsequently raided on October 31, 1992 by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency. During the raid, federal agents found approximately 3,000 chemicals, including sodium peroxide, cyanide salts, caustic liquids, and acids, improperly stored throughout the site.

On November 2, 1992, the USEPA went to the ZRC site to conduct a site evaluation. As a result of the USEPA evaluation, a removal action was started. Remedial activities at the site have included segregating the materials (i.e., liquids and sludges); transferring the materials to different containers; detonation of potentially explosive/reactive materials; and removing hazardous materials from the site.

A limited amount of environmental sampling was conducted during the removal action. These samples indicated the presence of numerous organic and inorganic contaminants in on-site soils and sediments.

A USEPA contractor performed an on-site inspection of ZRC on July 19, 1995. Three distinct discharge areas, originating near the on-site building and leading through the wetlands to the Haystack Brook, were located. Dead and distressed vegetation was observed in the pathways of all three discharges. Two discharges were located on the northeast side of the main building and a third discharge was located on the eastern side of the building. An area of dead vegetation was also found on the southern side of the building

The first major sampling event of on-site and off-site media at the ZRC site was conducted by a USEPA contractor during August 24-25, 1995. At that time, the release of site-related contaminants to surface water, soil, and sediments was documented. Data from the USEPA's investigations were used to evaluate the human exposure pathways associated with the Zschiegner Refining site.

The ZRC site was proposed for the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1997. Additional site characterization of the ZRC site will occur during a RI to be conducted by the USEPA.


B. Demography and Land Use

The Zschiegner Refining Company site is located over the outcrop area for the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, and potable wells in the area can draw water from several aquifers. Wells within four (4) miles of the site that tap the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer serve a population of about 4,500 people. Wells within four (4) miles of the site that tap the Englishtown aquifer serve a population of about 2,600 people, and those wells utilizing the Vincentown aquifer serves a population of about 3,600 people. Most of the residents within four miles of the site obtain their water from public water supply systems. The nearest public well, owned by the Howell Township Water Department, is located 7,000 feet west (up gradient) of the site.

There is one potable surface water intake located approximately 6.5 miles downstream of the site, which serves approximately 47,800 people.

Three homes are located just southwest of the ZRC site. Two of these share a common property line with the site. The closest of the residences is within 50 yards of the facility. These homes, as with the site, obtain their potable water from private wells. The three off-site residential wells are up gradient of the site.

There are two housing subdivisions located near the site. The nearest home of the closest subdivision is within 200 yards of the site. Both subdivisions use municipal water. There are no school or day care facilities on or within 200 feet of the property. Two major highways in the state, Interstate 195 and US Highway 9, lie within a one mile radius of the site.

Population demographics based upon the 1990 census have been prepared by the ATSDR using area-proportion spatial analysis, and are presented in Figure 2 (see Appendix). Within a quarter mile radius there are approximately 500 homes with 2,000 to 3,000 people; within a mile radius there are approximately 1,500 homes with as many as 4,500 people.


C. ATSDR Involvement

Since November 2, 1992, when the USEPA began site evaluation and a removal action at the ZRC site, the ATSDR has conducted several site visits and issued nine (9) Records of Activity (AROA). Two of the AROA's dealt with specific citizen complaints. These issues were determined to be not related to the site. Five AROA's referenced site meetings and issues involving the Safety Committee for the site. The final two AROA's served as health consultations (5/7/93 and 8/16/94, respectively). These consultations stemmed from a request by the USEPA (Region 2) to evaluate soil data collected at the ZRC site and assist in determining on-site cleanup levels for chromium to protect the public's health.

The health consultations concluded that:

  1. chromium was the only contaminant detected at levels of health concern, and the most likely routes of exposure were ingestion and dermal exposure;


  2. long-term exposure to on-site soil contaminants could pose a human health threat.

The health consultations recommended the following:

  1. ATSDR consider the proposed cleanup level of 400 ppm hexavalent chromium protective of public health;


  2. during any removal activities, soil dust suppression techniques should be employed to prevent the off-site migration of airborne contaminants and to protect on-site removal personnel.

D. Site Visit

On June 19, 1998, J. Pasqualo, S. Kubiak and J. Winegar of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) visited the Zschiegner Refining Company site. The NJDHSS was accompanied by representatives of the USEPA and a representative the Monmouth County Department of Health. The following observations were made during the site visit:

  • The ZRC site continues to be a "run down" industrial area of about 6 acres which was densely wooded and overgrown. About two-thirds of the site was wooded wetlands, including a bog-like area between the building and the Haystack Brook.


  • The site remains inactive, with no on-site workers.


  • The southern third of the property is surrounded by a chain link fence, installed by USEPA, to prevent unauthorized access. Within the fenced area is a single metal building ( 30' X 230'). The fence appeared to be in good repair with the exception of the front gate which was unsecured. The gate was ajar and allowed trespassing on the site.


  • There was evidence of recent trespassing. Two of the plywood sealed doors on the metal building were torn open.


  • The metal building appears structurally sound but is in a dilapidated condition.


  • There was an occupied residence within 100 feet on the southern side of the site boundary.


  • There were several areas of apparent contamination outside of the fenced areas, e.g., dead and/or stressed vegetation was observed. Run off water from the area north of the building flows directly into the wetlands and the Haystack Brook. It should be noted that the areas of dead and/or stressed vegetation appear to be slowly recovering, as compared to earlier site visits (USEPA personal communication).


  • Southeast of the building, and within the fence, there were numerous pieces of equipment and metal debris which could pose a physical hazard. Any trespassers entering the area would be at physical risk due to the dilapidated condition of the structures. The rusted and deteriorated condition of some of the materials in and around the building could cause physical harm and/or injury to trespassers, particularly children.


  • 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.

DISCUSSION

This section contains discussion of the health effects in persons exposed to contaminated surface soil or sediments associated with on-site soils and sediments at the ZRC site. The health effects in adults and in children will be evaluated separately. 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 then 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 potentially 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 ATSDR's Minimal Risk Level (MRL) and the USEPA's Reference Dose (RfD). When exposure (or dose) is below the MRL or RfD then non-cancer, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur.

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

The toxicological effect of the contaminants detected in the environmental media have been considered singly. The cumulative or synergistic effects of mixtures of contaminants may serve to enhance their public health significance. Additionally, individual or mixtures of contaminants may have the ability to produce greater adverse health effects in children as compared to adults. This situation depends upon the specific chemical being ingested or inhaled, its pharmacokinetics in children and adults, and its toxicity in children and adults.

The contaminant levels used in this public health assessment are from a USEPA field sampling event, (August 24-25, 1995), of on-site soil contamination. As part of this sampling, USEPA collected seven surface water/sediment sample pairs and a total of ten soil samples. Eight surface soil samples were on-site and two were collected off-site to establish background levels. Three of the samples (S8, S9 and S11, all on site) were taken at depths of 0-3 inches, and the remaining 7 were collected at depths of 0-6 inches (Figure 1).


A. On-Site Surface Soil

Although there are presently no known completed human exposure pathways at the ZRC site, trespassers constitute a potential exposure pathway. The NJDHSS has determined that trespassers on the site, in particular children, could potentially be exposed to several contaminants in on-site surface soil. Under current site conditions, it is very unlikely that very young children would enter the site, mostly due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the area. It is likely that trespassers would be either adults or older children. While it is known that some unauthorized entry takes place in the building, it is also unlikely that there is much contact with the on-site contaminated surface soil because of the swampy, bog like nature of these contaminated areas and a heavy growth of underbrush, which makes the area inaccessible.

Analysis of on-site surface soil samples showed the presence of numerous organic and inorganic contaminants at levels three times the levels detected in background samples. Only in surface soil samples were contaminants found at levels above ATSDR soil comparison levels; specifically, arsenic (maximum level 20.6 mg/kg), chromium (maximum level 15,000 mg/kg) and cyanide (maximum level 6,380 mg/kg).

The results of the sampling are summarized below in Table 1.

Table 1. On-Site Soil Contamination, Zschiegner Refining, USEPA field sampling event, (August 24-25, 1995).

Contaminant Concentration (ppm)* Comparison Value
ppm Source
Arsenic 20.6 20 Child EMEG**
Chromium 15,000 300 Child RMEG for Cr+6***
Cyanide 6,380 1,000 Child RMEG
* Source: USEPA field sampling event , (August 24-25, 1995).
** EMEG: Environmental Media Evaluation Guide (ATSDR)
*** RMEG: Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide

Arsenic Exposure

Trespassers at the ZRC site may be exposed to arsenic in contaminated surface soils. To evaluate the public health significance of these data, exposure doses for inorganic arsenic and subsequent Lifetime Excess Cancer Risk estimates (LECRs) were calculated based upon the maximum concentration of 20.6 ppm (at 0-3 inches) in surface soil. This concentration is slightly above the ATSDR soil comparison value of 20 ppm (child, environmental media evaluation guide or EMEG). The toxicological evaluation of the potential soil exposure pathway at the site is based upon an adult exposure duration of forty (40) years, and a duration of ten (10) years for children. Exposure dose calculations were based upon the maximum concentrations detected, thus representing a worst case exposure scenario. The human exposure pathway is assumed to be the ingestion of arsenic contaminated soils by an occasional trespasser. Soil ingestion can occur through the inadvertent consumption of soil on hands or food items, or through the deliberate ingestion of non-food items (pica).

To estimate exposure doses of persons utilizing the site, the following assumptions were made: adults had a body weight of 70 kg, the site was visited 2 times per week for a period of eight months per year, and an ingestion rate of 100 mg/day. For children, the following assumptions were made: that the site was visited by children with a weight of 10 kg, 2 times per week for a period of eight months per year, and that they would ingest 200 milligrams (mg) of soil during each visit.

ATSDR has established a minimal risk level (MRL) for chronic oral exposure to arsenic (duration > 1 year) of 3.0 X 10-4 mg/kg/day, which is equivalent to the USEPA chronic oral reference dose (RfD). The estimated exposure doses for both adults and for children are well below the chronic oral MRL. Estimated exposure doses do not exceed the No Observed Adverse Effects Levels (NOAELs) for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer) cited in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for this element.

Studies have shown that arsenic is a human carcinogen, and is so classified by the USEPA. Based upon the maximum soil concentration found outside the fenced areas at the site, the Lifetime Excess Cancer Risk (LECR) associated with oral exposure to arsenic presents an insignificant or no increased risk of cancer for adults. For children, the LECR associated with oral exposure to arsenic present no apparent increased risk of cancer.

Chromium Exposure

Trespassers at the ZRC site may be exposed to chromium in contaminated surface soils. The public health significance of exposure doses for chromium was calculated based upon the maximum concentration of 15,000 mg/kg. The human exposure pathway is assumed to be the ingestion of chromium contaminated soils. It has been assumed as a "worst case" that all of the chromium is hexavalent, however, it would be unlikely that this was the case. Toxicological estimates used were the same as those used for arsenic exposure (see above).

The estimated exposure doses for both adults and for children are above USEPA's chronic oral RfD of 0.005 mg/kg/day for chromium (hexavalent). These exposure doses, however, do not exceed the No Observed Adverse Effects Levels (NOAELs) for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer) cited in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for this element.

Studies have shown that chromium, via the inhalation pathway, is a human carcinogen , and is so classified by the USEPA. Chromium is not known to be a human carcinogen by the oral route of exposure.

Cyanide Exposure

Trespassers at the ZRC site may be exposed to cyanide in surface soils. The public health significance of exposure doses for cyanide was calculated based upon the maximum concentration of 6,380 mg/kg. The human exposure pathway is assumed to be the ingestion of cyanide contaminated soils. Toxicological estimates used were the same as those used for arsenic exposure (see above).

The estimated exposure doses for adults are below the chronic oral RfD of 0.02 mg/kg/day. The estimated exposure doses (0.023 mg/kg/day) for children, however, was slightly above the RfD. Calculated exposure doses for both adults and for children do not exceed the No Observed Adverse Effects Levels (NOAELs) for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer) cited in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for this element.

No studies were located regarding carcinogenic effects of cyanide exposure in humans or animals following any route of exposure.


B. Surface Water and Sediments

The site has been contaminated, as documented by a history of spills, poor housekeeping practices, illegal disposal and unpermitted wastewater discharges. Analysis of surface water/sediment samples indicated the presence of inorganic contaminants in the downstream samples at levels three times the levels in upstream samples.

As previously noted, surface water runs off the site into the Haystack Brook and its associated wetlands. In addition, there is documentation of hazardous chemicals being dumped directly on the ground and into a non-functioning cesspool which then discharged into the brook.

Surface water and sediments of the Haystack Brook have been adversely affected by the site. However, none of the samples collected from the USEPA field sampling event (August 24-25, 1995) show contaminant levels above the ATSDR comparison levels. At this time, there will be no further analysis of these media.


C. Ground Water

Ground water contamination at the ZRC site has been partially evaluated. Sampling of down gradient potable wells has been initiated by the USEPA (July 1998), and results have been reviewed by NJDHSS and the ATSDR. The USEPA sampling of 9 residential wells did not indicate the presence of site-related or other contamination in these wells. However, the detection limit utilized for arsenic (10 ppb) may not have been adequate in the context of ATSDR's Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide (CREG) of 0.02 ppb. Based on the limited available information that USEPA has concerning ground water movement at the site, on- site ground water contamination moves toward the Haystack Brook. Additional groundwater investigations will occur during the impending Remedial Investigation.

Several other residential wells near (up-gradient) to the site and the one potable well on-site have been tested and found to meet New Jersey drinking water standards. Two of the nearby residences had detectable levels of arsenic (1.0 ppb and 2.0 ppb). This concentration is above the ATSDR drinking water comparison value of 0 .02 ppb (CREG). Due to their location (e.g., up gradient) the contamination in these wells does not appear to be site related. However, because these wells are currently being used by these residents, the public health significance will be examined. To evaluate the public health significance of these data, exposure doses for inorganic arsenic and subsequent Lifetime Excess Cancer Risk estimates (LECRs) were calculated based upon the maximum concentrations detected (2.0 ppb) in drinking water, thus representing a worst case exposure scenario. The human exposure pathway is assumed to be the ingestion of arsenic contaminated water by residents.

To estimate exposure doses of persons utilizing the site, children were evaluated because they are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to contaminants. The following assumptions for children were made: that water was ingested at a rate of one (1) liter per day for a period of 365 days per year and the children weigh 10 kg.

ATSDR has established a minimal risk level (MRL) for chronic oral exposure to arsenic (duration > 1 year) of 3.0 X 10-4 mg/kg/day, which is equivalent to the USEPA chronic oral reference dose (RfD). The estimated exposure doses for children are slightly below the chronic oral MRL. Estimated exposure doses approach (or slightly exceed for gastrointestinal and dermal/ocular effects) the No Observed Adverse Effects Levels (NOAELs) for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer) cited in the ATSDR Toxicological Profile for this element.

Studies have shown that arsenic is a human carcinogen, and is so classified by the USEPA. Based upon the maximum concentration found in residential well water, the LECR associated with oral exposure to arsenic presents a no apparent increased risk of cancer.


D. Health Outcome Data

There are multiple sources of health outcome data in New Jersey. State and local data for heath outcome information include the New Jersey State Cancer Registry, Birth Defects Registry, Vital Statistics Records, Renal Dialysis Network, and Hospital Discharge Reports. Federal databases such as those maintained by the agencies within the US Department of Health and Human Services (i.e. National Cancer Institute, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and ATSDR) are not site-specific, but may be used for comparison or evaluation purposes.

Due to the fact that there are no known completed pathways at the site, no health outcome data were evaluated.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The NJDHSS spoke with the Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) and its Environmental Health Division to gather information on community health concerns at the Zschiegner Refining Company site. Conversations with these local officials (6/19/98) indicate that community concerns have been minimal, possibly due to the site's remoteness and the limited number of residents living near the site.

Some residents living next to the site have made complaints to the MCHD. One person in particular complained about difficulty in selling her house because it is located so close to the site. Nearby residents' concern about contamination of their potable wells have been addressed. On November 5-6, 1992, the MCHD tested the wells of the three homes in the immediate vicinity of the site as well as the on-site potable well at the ZRC site. All four of these residential wells were found to be within New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Standards; however, low levels of arsenic were detected in two of the residential wells. Residents using these wells were informed of the testing results.

The ATSDR and the NJDHSS will review and evaluate any community health concerns which may arise. Current remedial work at the site and the release of this public health assessment may generate interest among the public during the public comment period. Any comments received will be addressed in a subsequent responsiveness summary.


CONCLUSIONS

Evaluation of Nature and Magnitude of Health Risks

Based on available data and current site conditions, the Zschiegner Refining Company site currently constitutes no apparent public health hazard for exposures to on-site surface soil, surface water and sediments due to an absence of completed human exposure pathways. However, this hazard determination is based on limited sampling data and does not apply to the site if land use were to change in the future. Moreover, the levels of contamination in surface soils and sediments are at levels of public health concern if land use were to change or if contaminated areas were to become more accessible.

Trespassers may sustain exposure to soil. Although this media is not yet fully characterized, there are areas of documented on-site soil contamination. Surface soils were contaminated at levels above ATSDR soil comparison levels; specifically, arsenic (maximum level 20.6 mg/kg), chromium (maximum level 15,000 mg/kg) and cyanide (maximum level 6,380 mg/kg). Health risks can be estimated for the potential exposure pathway associated with ingestion of contaminated surface soil. Using the highest level of contamination as a worst case scenario and conservative exposure factors, the NJDHSS has determined that trespassers on the site, in particular children, would not be exposed to contaminants at levels of public health significance. For arsenic exposure, the estimated exposure doses for both adults and for children are well below the chronic oral MRL. Estimated exposure doses do not exceed the No Observed Adverse Effects Levels (NOAELs) for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer).The Lifetime Excess Cancer Risk (LECR) associated with oral exposure to arsenic present an insignificant or no increased risk of cancer for adults. For children, the LECR associated with oral exposure to arsenic presents no apparent increased risk of cancer.

For chromium exposure, the estimated exposure doses for both adults and for children are above the USEPA's chronic oral RfD for chromium (hexavalent). These exposure doses, however, do not exceed the NOAELs for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer). Chromium is not known to be a human carcinogen by the oral route of exposure.

For cyanide exposure, the estimated exposure doses for adults are below the chronic oral RfD. The estimated exposure doses for children, however, were slightly above the RfD. Calculated exposure doses for both adults and for children do not exceed the NOAELs for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer). No studies were located regarding carcinogenic effects of cyanide exposure in humans or animals following any route of exposure.

While it is known that some trespassing takes place in the building, it is also unlikely that there is significant exposure to the on-site contaminated surface soil within the fenced area. Contact with on-site soils in the unfenced area is similarly unlikely because of the swampy, bog like nature of these contaminated areas and their inaccessibility due to a heavy growth of underbrush. Based on available information and under current site conditions, it would be unlikely that either adults or children would come in contact with these contaminants at high enough levels or often enough to result in an estimated exposure dose of public health significance.

Surface water and sediments of the Haystack Brook have been adversely affected by the site; however, none of the samples collected from the USEPA show contaminant levels above the ATSDR comparison levels.

The potential for off-site migration of site related contaminants through groundwater is currently under evaluation by the USEPA. Identification and testing of 9 down gradient private wells have been conducted and relevant data were reviewed for public health significance. Site related contaminants were not detected. Based on current site conditions, it is believed by the USEPA that the site related ground water contamination has not moved from under the site to off-site areas. However, additional groundwater delineation will occur in the RI.

It is known that the residential wells nearest to the site and the one potable well on-site have been tested and found to meet New Jersey drinking water standards. Two of the nearby residences had detectable levels of arsenic (1.0 ppb and 2.0 ppb). Due to their location (i.e., up gradient) the contamination in these wells does not appear to be site-related. These residential wells were last tested in 1992. The estimated exposure doses for children are slightly below the chronic oral MRL. Estimated exposure doses approach (or slightly exceed for gastrointestinal and dermal/ocular effects) the NOAELs for chronic exposure in animals (for effects other than cancer). Based upon the maximum concentration found in residential well water, the calculated LECR associated with oral exposure to arsenic presents a no apparent increased risk of cancer. Therefore, exposure to these levels in potable drinking water samples does not constitute a public health hazard.


RECOMMENDATIONS

A. Cease/Reduce Exposure

  1. Inform the public about Zschiegner Refining Company site and its potential hazards because it would be prudent to keep trespassers off the site.


  2. The fenced area surrounding the building needs to be made secure against trespassers.


  3. Continue to identify and sample all private well water potentially impacted by the site.


  4. The nearby (up gradient) wells need to be periodically monitored to confirm the low level contamination with arsenic.


  5. Utilization of optimal dust control measures during site remediation is desirable due to the nature and extent of soil contamination.

B. Site Characterization

The following information is needed to fully and adequately evaluate the public health impact of the ZRC site:

  1. Conduct hydrogeologic investigations, as part of the Remedial Investigation, of off-site ground water to characterize the direction and extent of contaminant migration from the site.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

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

A. Public Health Actions Taken

  1. Environmental data have been evaluated within the context of human exposure pathways and relevant public health issues.


  2. The Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) had been contacted by letter (July 28, 1998) to offer NJDHSS' assistance in preparing a short informational write-up and/or fact sheet for the site.

B. Public Health Actions Planned

  1. ATSDR and the NJDHSS will coordinate with the appropriate environmental agencies to develop plans to implement the cease/reduce exposure and site characterization recommendations contained in this health assessment.


  2. The ATSDR and the NJDHSS will review data generated during the Remedial Investigation and, if necessary, evaluate these data for public health significance.


  3. In cooperation with the MCHD, the ATSDR and the NJDHSS will prepare a write-up and/or fact sheet concerning the site. The document(s) will be distributed to nearby residents to inform them about contamination and physical hazards at the site, and of the importance of keeping children off the site.


  4. 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.

ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) when needed. New environmental, toxicological, health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.


ATSDR CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

ATSDR's Child Health Initiative recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand special emphasis in communities faced with contamination in their environment. Children are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to hazardous substances emitted from waste sites. They are more likely to be exposed because they play outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. They are shorter than adults, which means they breathe dust, soil, and heavy vapors closer to the ground. Children are also smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. The developing body systems of the growing child can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Most importantly, children depend completely on adults for risk identification and management decisions, housing decisions, and access to medical care.

The NJDHSS and the ATSDR evaluated the likelihood for children living near the Zschiegner Refining Company site to be exposed to contaminants at levels of public health concern. Children are not likely to be exposed at levels where adverse health effects would be expected. In addition, the areas of contaminated soil are inaccessible, making contact with contaminated surface soil unlikely.


PUBLIC COMMENT

This document was released for Public Comment during the period April 20, 1999 to May 20, 1999. No comments were received by the NJDHSS.


CERTIFICATION

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


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


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


Richard Gillig
Acting Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Preparer of Report:

Jeffrey J. Winegar
Research Scientist; ATSDR Project
Consumer and Environmental Health Services
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services


ATSDR Regional Representative:

Arthur Block
Senior Regional Representative; Region II
Regional Operations
Office of the Assistant Administrator


ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Environmental Health Engineer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


Any questions concerning this document should be directed to:

James Pasqualo
ATSDR Project Manager
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
Consumer and Environmental Health Services
210 South Broad Street
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360


REFERENCES

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region II, Final Site Inspection, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, March 18, 1996 updated May 2, 1996.


  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region II, Final Hazard Ranking System Evaluation, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, December 1996.


  3. Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Assessment Guidance Manual. Chelsea, Michigan: Lewis Publishers, 1992.


  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure Factors Handbook. Washington, D.C.: Office of Health and Environmental Assessment. March 1989.


  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Cyanide. Atlanta: ATSDR, August 1995.


  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Atlanta: ATSDR, April 1993.


  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. Atlanta: ATSDR, April 1993.


  8. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Letter from Sharon Kubiak to Jerzy Chojnacki (MCHD), July 28, 1998.


  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, November 6, 1992.


  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, November 12, 1992.


  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, November 13, 1992.


  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, November 25, 1992.


  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, December 18, 1992.


  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, January 29, 1993.


  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, April 19, 1993.


  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA Health Consultation, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, May 7, 1993.


  17. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, AROA Health Consultation, Zschiegner Refining, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, August 16, 1994.


  18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region II, Results of Residential Water Sampling, Zschiegner Refining Company, Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey, September 16, 1998.

FIGURES

Site Map and Site Locations
Figure 1. Site Map and Site Locations

Intro Map
Figure 2. Intro Map

Table of Contents

  
 
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