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AQUA-TECH ENVIRONMENTAL, INCORPORATED
(GROCE LABORATORIES)
GREER, SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA


SUMMARY

The Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. (Aqua-Tech) site was used as a hazardous wastetreatment, storage, and disposal facility beginning in 1976. The site ceased operations inSeptember 1991 and Aqua-Tech filed for bankruptcy in October 1991. A portion of theproperty was previously used as a municipal landfill from 1963 until 1968. Prior to that time,part of the property was used for general dumping by local residents. The site was added tothe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1994.

ATSDR classifies sites as to their public health hazard category. Under ATSDR'sclassification system, the Aqua-Tech site currently represents no apparent health hazard. Thismeans that we currently have no information which indicates that area residents or others nearthe site are being exposed to any site-related chemicals above levels of concern. While inoperation, however, the Aqua-Tech site represented a public health hazard. There is anecdotalinformation which indicates that on-site workers and a firefighter were exposed to site-relatedchemicals in the past.

On-site groundwater is contaminated with very high levels of volatile organic compounds. However, we have no information that anyone, either children or adults, is drinking watercontaminated with chemicals from the site. Private wells closest to the site have been sampledseveral times and have not been impacted by contamination at the site. Exposures could occurin the future if the site is developed for industrial use and an on-site well is installed prior togroundwater remediation. Future exposures could also occur if groundwater contaminationmigrates off site and affects nearby private wells.

Trespassers and unprotected remediation or construction workers on the site could be exposedto chemicals present in soil at the site, but adverse health effects are not likely as long aspeople are not on the site every day. Since the site is fenced, exposure of the public to site-related chemicals in soil is unlikely to occur at levels that could cause adverse health effects.

On-site surface water and sediment samples contained a few chemicals above screening levels. However, exposures to the public are unlikely since the site is fenced. It does not appear thatthe site has adversely affected Maple Creek.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in several air samples at levels aboveambient air concentrations in the past (U.S. EPA, 1998). These samples were collected shortlyafter the site ceased operations. Since a source removal has since been completed, currentVOC levels in air should be much lower than those detected in the past. Therefore, exposureto site-related chemicals in air is unlikely to occur at levels of concern.

The following recommendations have been made: conduct a private well survey to determine ifany residents living near the site use private wells; sample downgradient private wells that areidentified near the site during the survey; conduct a biological survey of Maple Creek todetermine if water quality has been affected by former operations at the site; and ensure that access to the site is restricted.


BACKGROUND

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), under acooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR),evaluated the public health significance of the Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. (Aqua-Tech)site. SCDHEC's Division of Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) determined whether exposureto contaminants is likely to cause adverse health effects and recommended actions to reduce orprevent possible health effects. ATSDR is authorized by the Comprehensive EnvironmentalResponse, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites.

A. Site Description and History

Aqua-Tech is off of Robinson Road (State Highway 644) near its intersection with StateHighway 290. The 61.56 acre property is approximately 1 mile west of Duncan and 2 mileseast of Greer in Spartanburg County, South Carolina (Figures 1 and 2, Appendix A). Aqua-Tech is bordered by a Norfolk/Southern Railway line to the north, State Highway 644(Robinson Road) to the east, and undeveloped property to the south and west.

Local residents used a portion of the property for general dumping as early as the 1940's. TheCity of Greer owned 35 acres of the 61.56-acre property and used 20 acres as a municipallandfill from 1963 until 1968. The landfill was subsequently closed and capped with clay inthe early 1970's. In December 1974 William Groce purchased the 35 acres from the City ofGreer. He began accepting hazardous wastes as Groce Laboratories, Incorporated in 1976. Between 1982 and 1986, he purchased the remainder of the 61.56-acre property. Siteoperations consisted of state-permitted hazardous waste treatment, recycling, storage, anddisposal activities. In April 1987 Aqua-Tech purchased the facility and continued hazardouswaste operations at the site under the name of Aqua-Tech/Groce Laboratories. In 1990 Aqua-Tech changed the name of the facility to Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. The site alsoreceived bio-medical wastes and low-level radioactive wastes without obtaining the necessarypermits. Aqua-Tech's clients included manufacturing industries, federal agencies, highschools, universities, and hospitals. According to information obtained from the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), several parcels of the 61.56-acre property have beensold in county tax auctions since December 1996.

From 1981 through 1991, a history of mismanagement, violations, and non-compliance withstate and federal regulations occurred. SCDHEC and EPA frequently cited the facility forimproper management of hazardous waste containers, leaking and bulging drums, storageviolations, spills, unpermitted detonations, and other management deficiencies. Leaking andopen drums, deteriorated compressed-gas cylinders, spills, and discolored soils were observedat the site on several occasions. In an attempt to correct these problems, several administrativeconsent orders were issued.

According to records from the Spartanburg County Emergency Preparedness Department, a55-gallon drum fire was reported on March 4, 1990. The drum contained elementalphosphorous. One firefighter was reportedly overcome by the dense smoke and 90 peoplewere evacuated from the area. On April 19, 1990, an on-site explosion occurred whenworkers attempted to repack two drums containing ignitable mixtures. Two workers wereseriously injured. On July 10, 1990, a controlled explosion was used to destroy two additionaldrums containing ignitable mixtures. At that time, thirty-two nearby residents were evacuated. SCDHEC later informed Aqua-Tech that it must cease detonation activities.

During an August 1991 inspection, Aqua-Tech personnel reported that an employee hadrecently been overcome by fumes and seriously injured while unpacking lab packs. Theyindicated that the employee required medical treatment and was unable to return to work forseveral months. Following this inspection, SCDHEC issued an emergency and administrativeorder that concluded that the site was an uncontrolled hazardous waste site that constituted apublic health and environmental threat. The site was ordered to cease operations. InSeptember 1991, operations ceased at the Aqua-Tech facility. Aqua-Tech filed for bankruptcyon October 11, 1991.

On August 28, 1991, SCDHEC initiated activities to investigate and stabilize the site in orderto minimize the threat to human health and the environment. SCDHEC took control of the siteon September 4, 1991, and on September 12, 1991, requested assistance from EPA to addresscontamination at the site. When the facility was closed, EPA and SCDHEC estimated thatthere were 6,300 drums, 1,300 lab packs, and 500 gas cylinders on-site. At that time, it wasbelieved that drums may be buried at the site. A subsequent magnetic survey and trenching ofthe site provided no evidence of drums buried at the site (U.S. EPA, 1999). In November1991, EPA concluded that the site posed an imminent and substantial threat to public health,welfare, and to the environment. In January 1992, stabilization actions were completed. Aspart of these activities, a fence was installed around the site and 486 drums of phosphoroustrichloride were removed from the site with SCDHEC's approval.

On April 24, 1992, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to 108 potentiallyresponsible parties (PRPs), requiring that they conduct necessary removal actions to "abate animminent and substantial endangerment to the public health, welfare, or the environment thatmay be presented by the actual or threatened release of hazardous substances at or from theSite" (RMT, November 1993).

On May 4, 1992, the PRPs assumed responsibility for the site and hired contractors to remove1,273 compressed-gas cylinders; approximately 1,300 lab packs; approximately 5,700 drums;and approximately 100 tanks and vessels from the site. In 1993 the Aqua-Tech PRP Groupcontracted RMT, Inc. to conduct a Removal Evaluation at the site. On August 23, 1994, theEPA proposed Aqua-Tech for inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL); the site wassubsequently added to the NPL on December 16, 1994.

From 1981 through 1993, various environmental investigations were conducted at the site. On-site soil and concrete samples were collected during RMT's 1993 Removal Evaluation. On-site groundwater sampling was conducted in 1985, 1988, and 1990. Off-site residentialprivate wells were sampled by SCDHEC in 1990, 1991, and 1992; by EPA in 1992; and againas part of RMT's 1993 Workplan for Removal Evaluation. On-site and off-site surface waterand sediment sampling occurred as part of the 1981 field investigation, the 1990 groundwaterinvestigation, and the 1993 removal evaluation workplan. On-site air samples were collectedin 1990. The PRPs are currently conducting a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study tofully determine the extent of contamination at the site.

B. Site Visit

On April 24, 1995, Enayet Ullah and Eric Melaro from SCDHEC-HHE visited the site and thesurrounding community with the SCDHEC Project Manager. The entire 35-acre site issurrounded by an 8-foot-high, chain-link fence topped with 3 strands of barbed wire. Themain gate, along Robinson Road, was locked and "no trespassing" and EPA identifier signswere posted at the gate.

Ground cover throughout the site consists mainly of overgrown vegetation with little exposedsoil. Gravel was found on many of the internal roads and former storage areas. Severalconcrete pads (one of which is covered), buildings, and pieces of heavy equipment; adistillation tower; a large storage tank; and 2 bunkers exist on-site. A fiber-mat barrier,approximately 2 feet in height, was found west of the on-site drainage ditch.

The areas surrounding the site consist of sparsely populated residential, light commercial,agricultural, and light industrial properties. We noted signs of children (e.g.: playsets, toys,bikes, basketball hoops) and pets at several homes in the area. A pasture with several cows isnorth of the site across State Highway 290. An auto salvage yard and railway shippingcompany are immediately north of the site. The areas south and west of the site are generallyundeveloped wooded areas.

Eric Melaro again visited the site on April 11, 1996 with EPA and SCDHEC-Bureau of Landand Waste Management (BLWM) staff. Conditions at the site were much like those observedduring the previous visit. However, exposed landfill contents were noted in the drainage ditch. We also noted a large opening between the bottom of the fence and the drainage ditch on thesouth side of the site. No evidence of trespassing was observed.

Two additional site visits were made on April 20, 1998 and November 2, 1998 with EPAand/or SCDHEC-BLWM staff. Conditions at the site have not changed significantly from theearlier visits.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

The site is in Spartanburg County which had an estimated population of 247,458 in 1998 (U.S.Census Bureau, 1999). There are about 200 people living within one-half mile of the site. About 950 people live within one mile of the site. The population around the site isapproximately eighty percent white. Roughly twelve percent of the population around the sitelives below the poverty level. A larger percentage of non-white residents than white residentslive below the poverty level.

Land use around the site consists of sparsely populated residential, light commercial,agricultural, and industrial properties. Generally undeveloped wooded areas exist to the southand west of the site. North of the site across State Highway 290, we noted a small pasturewith several cows. Private homes are visible from the site. Local zoning restrictions prohibitfuture development of the site for residential or certain institutional (e.g.: schools, hospitals,and nursing homes) purposes. The site, however, could be developed for commercial orindustrial purposes (Lonon, 1997).

Surface water runoff at the site flows to the south-southeast and enters a drainage ditch thatcrosses the site from north to south. Some of the surface water is intercepted by the on-sitesedimentation basin. The ditch drains into Maple Creek, a perennial stream that flows about 1mile east and then runs into the South Tyger River (Figure 3, Appendix A).

Municipal water systems located within a 4-mile radius of the site provide most of the potablewater supply for residences surrounding the site. Private wells used within a 4-mile radius ofthe site were estimated to serve approximately 275 people. The 1990 census data identified 10private drinking water wells within a 1-mile radius of the site; however, current data todetermine well use are needed.

According to the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, recreationalfishing was known to occur in Maple Creek and the South Tyger River in the past (B&V,1991). No data are available about current fishing patterns in these water bodies.

D. Health Outcome Data

No health outcome data are readily available for review for the area around the Aqua-Tech site.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

HHE staff contacted the SCDHEC Bureau of Land and Waste Management, Appalachia I andII Environmental Quality Control Districts, and Appalachia I and II Health Districts for anycommunity health concerns which they were aware of. None of these offices have reports ofsite-specific health concerns.

During a September 1991 SCDHEC-sponsored public meeting, the community was concernedthat site contaminants may have affected private drinking water wells in the area (InternationalTechnology, 1992). In 1992 the EPA prepared a Community Relations Plan (CRP) as part ofthe removal activities at the site. At that time, residents were concerned about what may beburied or found at the site, what was released from the site, the former site operations, and theremoval activities. Some residents also asked whether city water lines could be extended tothose residences using private drinking water wells (EPA, 1992).

An earlier version of this Public Health Assessment (PHA) was available for public comment in early 1996. SCDHEC-HHE did not receive any comments during the public commentperiod. In June 1996 EPA conducted community interviews prior to beginning remedial workat the site. A summary of the interviews has not yet been finalized. However, EPA hasinformed us that the many of the community members thought that the site had already beenremediated and had no health concerns. Project staff attended an EPA-sponsored publicmeeting in December 1996. No health concerns were expressed at that time.

In August 2000, the draft public health assessment was released for public comment. There were no comments received during the 30-day comment period.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

Data presented in this section are from the various preliminary investigations conducted from1981 to 1993 and represent the latest available data for the Aqua-Tech site.

SCDHEC-HHE selects and discusses site contaminants based upon the following factors:

  1. Concentrations of contaminants,
  2. Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design,
  3. Comparison of contaminant concentrations with screening values for (1) non-carcinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints.

The listing of a contaminant in the data tables in Appendix B does not mean that it will causeadverse health effects from exposures. Instead, the list indicates which contaminants areevaluated further in this public health assessment.

Screening values for public health assessments are contaminant concentrations in specificmedia that are used to select contaminants for further evaluation. These values include U.S.EPA's maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) and action levels, South Carolina Water QualityCriteria, and those calculated by SCDHEC. MCLs are the maximum permissible levels ofcontaminants in public water. An action level is the level of a chemical which, if exceeded,triggers treatment or other action. The South Carolina Water Quality Criteria are themaximum permissible level of contaminants in surface water developed by the state of SouthCarolina for the protection of human health.

A. On-Site Contamination

Soil

In 1993, RMT, Inc. conducted a surface soil removal evaluation to determine the nature andextent of soil contamination requiring removal from waste storage areas, processing areas, andadministrative areas (Figure 3, Appendix A). As part of this evaluation, RMT collected 69surface soil samples from on-site locations. Surface soil samples were collected from 0" to 6"below the land surface.

The highest contaminant levels were detected primarily in soil from the former operational areas in the northwest corner of the site and along the northern site boundary. VOCs, semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and metals were detected in these areas. Arsenic, lead, and one PCB were the only chemicals found above screening levels (Table 1B, Appendix B).

Subconcrete Soil

As part of RMT's 1993 evaluation, 15 subconcrete soil samples were collected from on-sitelocations in August 1993. At each sampling location, a hole was bored through the concretepad. Subconcrete soil samples were then collected from the borings at a depth of 0" to 6"below the concrete pads. All boring locations were subsequently filled with concrete.

The highest contaminant levels in subconcrete soils were detected primarily in the former distillation, incineration, and tank storage areas of the site. Chemicals detected in these areas include VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, and metals. Only thallium and one PCB were detected above screening levels (Table 2B, Appendix B).

Concrete Pad

As part of RMT's 1993 evaluation, 15 concrete pad samples were collected from on-sitelocations in August 1993. Concrete pad samples were collected by coring 3" to 4" into theconcrete pads; cores were ground to dust and analyzed. All coring locations weresubsequently filled with concrete.

Contaminants were primarily identified in the concrete pad samples taken from the former distillation and shed areas located in the northwest corner of the site. VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, and metals were detected in these areas. Arsenic and lead were the only chemicals consistently detected at elevated levels (Table 3B, Appendix B).

Groundwater

The data included in this section represent data collected during several on-site groundwaterinvestigations at the site from 1981 to 1990. As part of these investigations, thirty-onemonitoring wells were installed and sampled at nineteen locations at the Aqua-Tech site(Figure 3, Appendix A). Three existing on-site production wells were also sampled duringthese investigations. Two of the production wells (PW-1, PW-2) were previously used forprocess water. PW-3 was used as the drinking water source at the facility (A.T. Kearney, Inc. 1988).

Contaminants have been consistently detected in the monitoring wells located in the areas of former site operations. Some of the highest contaminant levels have been found in the area of the former landfill. In some cases, higher contaminant levels were found in the deeper wells. Contaminants detected in on-site groundwater include VOCs, SVOCs, and metals. Several VOCs and SVOCs were detected above their screening values (Table 4B, Appendix B). Data indicate that PW-3 has not been affected by site-related contaminants.

Surface Water and Sediments

Surface water and sediment samples were collected from the on-site drainage ditch which runsfrom north to south across the site (Figure 3, Appendix A). As part of the 1990 investigation,one surface water sample was collected from the drainage ditch. During the completion ofRMT's 1993 Removal Evaluation Workplan, quarterly surface water and sediment sampleswere collected from the on-site drainage ditch. RMT also collected quarterly sediment samplesfrom the on-site sedimentation basin.

VOCs, SVOCs, and metals were detected in surface water and sediment samples collected from the on-site drainage ditch in 1993. Trichloroethene and vinyl chloride were found in surface water at levels above South Carolina's Water Quality Criteria (Table 5B, Appendix B). Arsenic and/or lead were found in sediment samples collected from the drainage ditch and sedimentation basin (Table 6B, Appendix B).

Air

International Technology Corporation collected six air samples in October 1991. However,exact sample locations can not be determined. Six VOCs were detected in one or more ofthese samples at levels above ambient air concentrations (U.S. EPA, 1998). 1,1,2-trichloroethane was detected in four samples above its screening value.

B. Off-Site Contamination

As part of the investigations conducted at this site from 1981 to 1993, off-site sampling waslimited to nearby private wells and Maple Creek.

Private Wells

From 1990 to 1993, thirty-two samples were collected from ten private wells near the site. Most of the wells were located east or northeast of the site. Some wells were sampled multipletimes during this period. Metals were detected inconsistently and at low levels in a few of thewells. One VOC was detected in 1991 in one well at a level well below its screening value. The VOC was not found in follow-up samples from the same well.

Maple Creek

Surface water and sediment samples were collected upstream and downstream of the site inMaple Creek as part of the 1990 Phase IV Groundwater Assessment and the 1993 RemovalEvaluation Workplan (Figure 3, Appendix A). While not detected in 1990, surface water andsediment samples collected in 1993 contained a few VOCs, SVOCs, and metals at lowconcentrations. Upstream and downstream levels were very similar. Many of these detectionswere estimated concentrations and were not found consistently.

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

The data in this section are from the various preliminary investigations conducted from 1981 to1993 and represent the latest available data for the Aqua-Tech site. In preparing this publichealth assessment, SCDHEC assumes that adequate quality assurance and quality controlmeasures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and datareporting. The validity of the analysis and conclusions drawn for this public health assessmentare determined by the completeness and reliability of the referenced information.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

During our site visits, SCDHEC staff noted several physical hazards at the Aqua-Tech site. The rusted and deteriorated remains of the former processing and distillation equipment,several trucks, a tanker, and other heavy equipment remain at the site. Three structures whichwere used as office and laboratory space have broken windows and are in varying states ofdecay. The formerly active 35-acre site is surrounded by an eight-foot-high, chain-link fencetopped by three strands of barbed wire which should limit access to the site. However, the equipment and structures could pose a physical hazard to site workers and trespassers.


PATHWAYS ANALYSES

This section contains discussions on how chemicals move in the environment and how peoplecan be exposed to those chemicals. Environmental monitoring data has shown that on-site soil,groundwater, and surface water are contaminated with site-related chemicals above screeningvalues.

There are two types of exposure pathways, completed and potential. For a completed exposurepathway, we are sure that someone has been exposed to site-related chemicals above levels ofhealth concern. For example, there must be: (1) a source of the chemical (the site), (2)contaminated media (soil), (3) a way for people to be exposed (people trespassing on site), and(4) a way for the chemical to get into/on a person (eating dirt). We do not believe that peopleare currently being exposed to any contaminated media at the site. Therefore, we haveconcluded that there are no completed exposure pathways at this time. There is anecdotalinformation which indicates that on-site workers and a firefighter were exposed to site-relatedchemicals while the site was in operation. However, data are not available to evaluate theconcentration of chemicals or the possible health effects associated with these exposures. Anexposure pathway may be eliminated if one of the elements listed above is missing and willnever be present.

The second type of exposure pathway is a potential exposure pathway. This means that we areuncertain about one of the four elements mentioned above. For example, if we know thatgroundwater at the site is contaminated and there is a water supply well nearby that could atsome point in the future become contaminated, it is called a potential exposure pathway. Thepotential exposure pathways for the Aqua-Tech site are shown in Table 1. We know that forthe Aqua-Tech site, groundwater and soil are contaminated with site-related chemicals. However, we believe that no one is being exposed at this time. We do not know if anyone hasbeen on the site frequently enough to have been exposed to site-related chemicals in the soil. We believe that it is possible that people who used to work at the site could have been exposed to chemicals in soil.

Table 1.

Potential Exposure Pathways
Exposure Pathways Elements Time
Source Environmental Medium Point of Exposure Route of Exposure Exposed Population
Aqua-Tech Groundwater Off-site Ingestion,
Inhalation,
Dermal Contact
Area Residents Future
Aqua-Tech Soil On-site Ingestion,
Inhalation,
Dermal Contact
Trespassers, Workers Past
Present
Future

Soil Pathway

Soil samples collected at the site contained a few chemicals above screening levels. Althoughboth shallow (0 - 6 inches deep) and subconcrete soil (0 - 6 inches below concrete pads) arecontaminated, contact with deep soils is unlikely to occur unless these areas are not remediatedand are dug up during future activities at the site. Since the site is fenced with limited access,exposure to site-related chemicals in shallow soil is also unlikely, except for the occasionaltrespasser or unprotected remediation or construction worker.

Prior to the site being fenced in late 1991 or early 1992, exposure to contaminants in soil mayhave occurred to on-site workers or to anyone who trespassed on the site. However, we haveno information to evaluate the length or frequency of exposures or whether protective clothingwas used by workers in the past.

Concrete Pad Pathway

Concrete pad samples collected at the site contained arsenic and lead at elevated levels. However, human exposure to the chemicals found in the concrete pads is considered extremelyunlikely unless the pads are disturbed during future activities at the site. Therefore, thispathway has been eliminated at this time.

Groundwater Pathway

Groundwater occurs under unconfined conditions at the site within both the shallow and deepaquifers (RMT, 1985). Based on available hydrogeological data, groundwater generally flowsto the south-southeast beneath the site toward Maple Creek (RMT, October 1988) (Figure 3,Appendix A). Variations in groundwater flow may occur locally and seasonally based onchanges in site topography and the groundwater recharge and discharge at the site. The watertable is approximately 20 feet below land surface throughout most of the site and becomesshallower near Maple Creek.

VOCs and SVOCs were found above screening levels in many of the groundwater samplescollected at the site. Contaminants present in soil may have leached into groundwater as aresult of physical, chemical, and biological processes. Shallow groundwater at the site maydischarge to the drainage ditch or Maple Creek. No off-site monitoring wells were installed aspart of the preliminary investigations at the site. However, thirty-two off-site private wellsamples were collected from 1990 to 1993. Based on that information, it did not appear thatsite activities had affected these private wells. Some local residents may still use private wells.

Currently, we do not believe that anyone is being exposed to contaminated groundwater. However, exposures could occur in the future if the site is developed for industrial use and awell is installed prior to groundwater remediation. Future exposures could also occur ifgroundwater contamination migrates off site and affects nearby private wells. However,information is not available to conclusively determine how many local residents still useprivate wells.

Surface Water/Sediment Pathway

Surface water runoff at the site flows to the south-southeast and enters a drainage ditch thatcrosses the site from north to south. The ditch drains into Maple Creek, a perennial streamthat flows about one mile east and then runs into the South Tyger River. Shallow groundwaterat the site may discharge to the drainage ditch or Maple Creek.

Surface water and sediment samples collected from the on-site drainage ditch andsedimentation basin contained a few chemicals above screening levels and below levels ofconcern. However, the fence around the site should prevent exposures to contaminated on-sitesurface water and sediments.

While it does not appear that the site has adversely affected Maple Creek, a general waterquality survey could provide additional information about the health of the creek. Thisinformation could be used to determine if further sampling of the creek is warranted in order toprotect public health. At this point in time, exposure to Maple Creek near the site should notresult in any adverse health effects. Therefore, this pathway has been eliminated. Aqua-Tech,Inc. ceased operations in 1991 and it is possible that higher contaminant levels were in thecreek when the site was in operation. However, we have no information to determine whethercontaminant levels in the creek were a problem at that time.

Air Pathway

VOCs were detected in several air samples at levels above ambient air concentrations in thepast (U.S. EPA, 1998). These samples were collected shortly after the site ceased operationsand prior to stabilization work being completed. Since the source removal has been completedand there are no longer any drums, cylinders, or lab packs on site, VOC levels in air should bemuch lower than those detected in the past. Therefore, exposure to site-related chemicals inair is unlikely to occur at levels of concern.

Prior to the source removal, exposure to contaminants in air may have occurred to on-siteworkers or to anyone who trespassed on the site. However, we have no information toevaluate the length or frequency of exposures or whether protective clothing was used byworkers in the past.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. Toxicological Evaluation

There is often little information about the health effects caused by low level environmentalexposures. Most human exposure studies use information from industrial exposures, where thedoses are much higher. Industrial exposure studies normally do not include precise informationabout the dose, the purity of the chemicals, their interactions with other substances, and theduration of the exposure. For some chemicals, there is no information available on the effects inpeople; therefore, we sometimes use data collected from studies using laboratory animals.Animals do not necessarily show the same responses that humans do when exposed to toxicsubstances. However in animal experiments using carefully controlled doses and time periods,researchers observe health effects that they believe may also occur in people.

Information is not available to be able to say with certainty that if a person were exposed tochemicals in soil or groundwater at the site they would become sick. Most information aboutthese chemicals is usually obtained from laboratory studies. The animals in these studies aretypically exposed at much higher levels than would be expected to occur at the Aqua-Tech Site. It is very difficult to know what levels of chemicals at the site can cause specific health effects. The kinds and severity of human health problems that can occur with exposure depend uponseveral factors: the amount of chemical exposure, duration of exposure, and route of exposure;body weight, age, sex, ethnic background, lifestyle factors, and genetic factors; general health ofthe person; individual reactions to chemicals; and interactions with other chemicals or drugs.

In order to compare the amounts of a substance that may be taken into the body to knownstandards, we use comparison doses. These doses are based on the amount of a substance that isconsumed per day (milligrams of chemical/kilogram of body weight/day, mg/kg/day). Comparison doses used in this section include ATSDR's Minimum Risk Level (MRL), whichrepresents an estimate of daily human exposure to a dose of a chemical that is likely to bewithout adverse effects (for noncancerous effects) over a specified duration of exposure, and theU.S. EPA Reference Dose (RfD), which is an estimate of the daily exposure of people to apotential hazard that is likely to be safe during a lifetime of exposure (that does not includecancer). These doses represent levels at which harmful effects are unlikely to occur. They arecalculated using safety factors for the most sensitive human populations, and if based uponanimal measurements, additional safety factors are used.

Consideration of Children's Health Issues

In preparing this public health assessment, we considered the fact that children probably live inthe area around the Aqua-Tech Site. However, our evaluation of the site does not indicate thatchemical exposures are occurring to anyone living near the site. As a result, there are no specialhealth concerns related to children at this site. If additional information becomes available whichindicates that human exposures are occurring, we will reevaluate the health risk to children.

Toxicological Evaluation

Groundwater at the site is contaminated with very high levels of VOCs (Table 4B, Appendix B). We have no information at this time that anyone, either children or adults, is drinking water contaminated with chemicals from the site. Private wells closest to the site have been sampled several times and have not been impacted by contamination at the site. These wells would have to become contaminated for a person to be exposed to groundwater from the site. Although there are quite a few chemicals listed in Table 4B above screening levels, only those chemicals above levels of concern are discussed in this section. Those chemicals above levels of concern at the site include benzene, carbon tetrachloride, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, trans-1,2-dichloroethene, phenols, and vinyl chloride. Exposure to the other chemicals would not result in doses above their respective U.S. EPA RfDs or ATSDR MRLs. Adverse health effects would not be expected to occur from exposure to these other chemicals because the doses are lower than the levels of concern.

A level of concern is an estimated dose, below which, adverse health effects are not expectedto occur. Levels of concern are normally U.S. EPA RfDs or ATSDR MRLs. This does notmean that if the estimated dose of the chemical is above these levels of concern a person willbecome sick, but that there is an increased risk that exposure could cause adverse healtheffects.

Exposure to 1,1-dichloroethene, 1,2-dichloroethene, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene,1,2-dichloroethane, and vinyl chloride may be associated with adverse affects on the liver andkidneys. Most of this information is based on results from laboratory studies and we do notknow if the same problems will occur in people. There is also limited evidence of a linkbetween heart, immunological, and developmental problems in people exposed totrichloroethene and tetrachloroethene. Exposure to other chemicals found on the Aqua-Techsite including 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethene,1,2-dichloroethane and phenols, have been associated with gastrointestinal upset either at highdoses or in laboratory animals. 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane,1,1,2-trichloroethane, and trans-1,2-dichloroethene have been associated with central nervoussystem effects in laboratory animals. Inhalation of 1,1,2-trichloroethane has been shown toaffect the liver, kidney, and central nervous system in laboratory animals (ATSDR, 1989).

Trichloroethene (TCE), and to some extent tetrachloroethene, in drinking water in combinationwith other VOCs has been associated with congenital mouth and nervous system defects andlow birth weight (Bove et al., 1992), childhood leukemia, deaths around the time of birth,childhood disorders, and congenital abnormalities (Lagakos, 1986). TCE has also beenassociated with respiratory problems, skin problems, cardiovascular effects, leukemia andrecurrent infections (Byers et al., 1988), and heart disease (Goldberg, 1990). These studies,however, did not provide sufficient evidence that just TCE causes these harmful health effectsbecause the people were exposed to more than one chemical at the same time. It is difficult todetermine which chemical or combination of chemicals would be associated with the variousadverse effects. Moreover, information on other risk factors that could cause the same adverseeffects was not included in this study. Exposure to TCE has also been associated with thedevelopment of hearing problems in children exposed through drinking water (ATSDR, 1994;Burg et al., 1995).

Although exposure to several of the chemicals (benzene, carbon tetrachloride, vinyl chloride,and 1,1-dichloroethane) found in on-site groundwater can increase the risk of developingcancer, none of the private wells has contained any of these chemicals. For any of thesechemicals to cause an increased cancer risk, a person would have to be exposed to the highestlevel found on site. The exposure would have to be over the person's lifetime and they wouldhave to drink a lot of water (more than two liters) every day. Continued monitoring of theprivate wells across from the site could ensure that they do not become contaminated at somepoint in the future.

On-site soil (0-6 inches), contained elevated levels of lead, arsenic, and PCBs. If an on-siteworker were exposed to contaminated soil 5 days a week for 30 years, the estimated doses forarsenic and PCBs would be below levels of concern. A trespasser would have to get onto thesite every day for 30 years for casual exposure to pose a risk. Most of the site is fenced andexposure to site-related chemicals in soil every day is not likely to occur. Since there is noU.S. EPA reference dose for lead it is difficult to determine what levels of exposure areharmful. Children are at greatest risk of adverse health effects from exposure to lead.Exposure to lead can result in elevated blood lead levels. Elevated blood lead has beenassociated with a decrease in intelligence (IQ) scores, slow growth, and hearing problems inchildren and infants. These effects can happen at low exposure levels and persist as thechildren get older. Adults do not absorb lead via the digestive tract as readily as children. Most absorbed lead is stored in bones. Lead is also distributed to the red blood cells, bloodplasma, kidney, liver, and brain. This storage is cumulative and the body's burden increasesover time.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

As no health outcome data are readily available for the area around the Aqua-Tech Site, we cannot evaluate health outcome data at this time.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

As part of EPA's 1992 Community Relations Plan and 1996 community interviews and publicmeeting, area residents have not expressed any specific health concerns related to the Aqua-Tech Site. In the past, residents were concerned about the site conditions, the former siteoperations, the removal activities at the site, the quality of water obtained from private wells,and what may be buried at the site.

Site operations were terminated in 1991 and stabilization activities were concluded in 1992;through these actions, the immediate threat from this site has been eliminated. Residents werealso concerned about the possible impact the site may have on their private drinking waterwells. Municipal water is available to local residents; however, some may continue to useprivate wells. Data collected from 1990 to 1993 indicate that private wells closest to the sitehad not been impacted. According to information provided by EPA, no evidence of drumsburied at the site was found during a magnetic survey and trenching of the site (U.S. EPA,1999).


CONCLUSIONS

The conclusions drawn and recommendations made in this public health assessment are basedon data collected at the site through 1993. As more data become available, additionalconclusions may be drawn and additional recommendations may be made.

ATSDR classifies sites as to their public health hazard category. Under ATSDR'sclassification system, the Aqua-Tech site currently represents no apparent health hazard. Thismeans that we have no information which indicates that area residents or others near the siteare being exposed to any site-related chemicals above levels of concern. While in operation,however, the Aqua-Tech site represented a public health hazard. There is anecdotalinformation which indicates that on-site workers and a firefighter were exposed to site-relatedchemicals in the past. Exposures could also occur in the future if the site is developed forindustrial use and an on-site well is installed prior to groundwater remediation. Futureexposures could also occur if groundwater contamination migrates off site and affects nearbyprivate wells. Continued monitoring of private wells across from the site could ensure that thewells are not used if they become contaminated at some point in the future. Information onprivate residential drinking water well use and current sampling data from these wells are notavailable. This information is needed to fully evaluate potential exposures to site-relatedcontaminants.

Trespassers and unprotected remediation or construction workers on the site could be exposedto chemicals present in soil at the site, but adverse health effects are not likely as long aspeople are not on the site every day. Lead is the only chemical that poses a health risk to aperson if they were exposed. Since the site is fenced, exposure to site-related chemicals in soilis unlikely to occur at levels that could cause adverse health effects.

While it does not appear that the site has adversely affected Maple Creek, a general waterquality survey could provide additional information about the health of the Creek. Thisinformation could be used to determine if further sampling of the Creek is warranted in orderto protect public health. At this point in time, exposure to Maple Creek near the site shouldnot result in any adverse health effects. Therefore, this pathway has been eliminated.

VOCs were detected in several air samples at levels above ambient air concentrations in thepast (U.S. EPA, 1998). These samples were collected shortly after the site ceased operationsand prior to stabilization work being completed. Since the source removal has beencompleted, VOC levels in air should be much lower than those detected in the past. Therefore, exposure to site-related chemicals in air is unlikely to occur at levels of concern.


RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Conduct a private well survey to determine if any residents living near the site use privatewells. The site's potentially responsible parties will conduct this survey as part of theRemedial Investigation/Feasibility Study that is being conducted.

  2. Monitor any downgradient private wells until such time that groundwater remediation has contained contamination.

  3. Conduct a biological survey of Maple Creek to determine if water quality has beenaffected by former operations at the site. SCDHEC-HHE and U.S. EPA will jointlyarrange for the completion of this activity.

  4. Ensure that access to the site continues to be restricted.

  5. SCDHEC-HHE will review additional environmental monitoring data collected at thesite.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Eric W. Melaro, M.S.
Environmental Health Manager
SCDHEC, Division of Health Hazard Evaluation

Tracy Shelley, M.S.
Program Manager
SCDHEC, Division of Health Hazard Evaluation

Bob Safay
ATSDR Regional Representative
Regional Operations - Region IV

Debra Gable
ATSDR Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, State Program Section


CERTIFICATION

This Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. Public Health Assessment was prepared by SCDHEC-HHE under a cooperative agreement with ATSDR. It is in accordance with approvedmethodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was begun.

Debra Gable
Technical Project Officer, SPS, DHAC
ATSDR


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

Richard Gillig
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC
ATSDR


REFERENCES

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public health assessment guidancemanual. 1992.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 1994, as seen in ATSDR ToxicologicalProfile for Trichloroethylene. 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft toxicological profile for arsenic. August 1998.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for benzene. September 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for carbontetrachloride. May 1994.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for chloroethane. December 1998.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for chloroform. September 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for chloromethane. December 1998.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,1-dichloroethane. December 1990.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,2-dichloroethane. May 1994.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,1-dichloroethene. May 1994.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,2-dichloroethene. August 1996.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft toxicological profile for lead. August 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft toxicological profile for manganese. September 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft toxicological profile for methylenechloride. September 1998.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for phenol. December 1998.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Draft toxicological profile forpolychlorinated biphenyls. December 1998.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile fortetrachloroethylene. September 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for thallium. July1992.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,1,1-trichloroethane. August 1995.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,1,2-trichloroethane. December 1989.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile fortrichloroethylene. September 1997.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for vinyl chloride. September 1997.

A.T. Kearney, Inc. Interim RCRA Facility Assessment Report. May 1988.

B&V Waste Science and Technology Corporation. Site Investigation for Aqua-TechEnvironmental, Inc. (Groce Laboratories). May 29, 1992.

B&V Waste Science and Technology Corporation. Telephone memorandum to RandyGeddings from Victor Blix concerning fishing patterns. November 21, 1991.

B&V Waste Science and Technology Corporation. Telephone memorandum to DianneStampley from Victor Blix concerning site employees. November 13, 1991.

B&V Waste Science and Technology Corporation. Telephone memorandum to RandyGeddings from Victor Blix concerning area fishing. November 21, 1991.

Blix, Victor. Field Observations. February 1992.

Bove et al. 1992, as seen in ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. 1997.

Burg et al. 1995, as seen in ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. 1997.

Byers et al. 1988, as seen in ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. 1997.

Dynamac Corporation. Technical Review of Existing Data. February 1990.

Ecology and Environment, Inc. Field Investigations of Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Sites. November 25, 1981.

Goldberg et al. 1990, as seen in ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. 1997.

Greenville-Spartanburg Airport Environs Commission. Greenville-Spartanburg AirportEnvirons Area Zoning Ordinance. March 29, 1996.

International Technology Corporation. Aqua-Tech/SCDHEC Final Report. October 1992.

Lagakos 1986a, as seen in ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. 1997.

McGill, Calvin. Letter to Kenneth Lapierre, US EPA. June 7, 1991.

National priorities list for uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Federal Register. August 23,1994;59:43314-43320.

RMT. Preliminary Hydrogeologic Investigation at Groce Laboratories, Inc. December 1985.

RMT. Phase II Ground Water Quality Assessment Results. January 1988.

RMT. Phase III Ground Water Quality Assessment Results and Remedial Action Alternative. October 1988.

RMT. Aqua-Tech Environmental Site Removal Action Project QA/QA Plan. June 1992.

RMT. Workplan for Investigating the Nature and Extent of Soil Contamination. August1993.

RMT. Surface Soil Removal Evaluation. November 1993.

Sirrine Environmental Consultants, Inc. RCRA Permit Application. December 31, 1989.

Sirrine Environmental Consultants, Inc. Phase IV Ground Water Assessment. April 1990.

Smith, Andrew G. Chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. In: Hayes, WA Jr. and Laws, ERJr., eds. Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology. San Diego: Academic Press, Inc., 1991:791-816.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to KeithCollinsworth from Tommy Hyde concerning private well sampling. June 11, 1990.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Letter to resident fromDavid Price concerning private well sampling. October 3, 1990.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Letter to Greer Tidwellfrom R. Lewis Shaw concerning site closure. September 12, 1991.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Aqua-Tech Environmental,Inc. Private Well Data. December 1991.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Letters to residents fromJudy Canova concerning private well sampling. February 13, 1992.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to LovystLuker from Eric Melaro and Enayet Ullah concerning site visit. May 8, 1995.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to LovystLuker from Eric Melaro concerning information provided by the EPA. May 8, 1995.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to LovystLuker from Eric Melaro concerning soil sampling at the Aqua-Tech site. May 10, 1995.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to LovystLuker from Eric Melaro concerning former landfill located at the Aqua-Tech site. May 19,1995.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to LovystLuker from Eric Melaro concerning information presented in the Aqua-Tech CommunityRelations Plan. June 30, 1995.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Memorandum to LovystLuker from Eric Melaro concerning information presented in the Aqua-Tech CommunityRelations Plan. June 30, 1995.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Record of PersonalCommunication with Yvonne Jones, EPA, concerning magnetometer survey. August 19,1999.

Spartanburg County Planning and Development Department. Letter to Eric Melaro from BillLonon concerning land use. March 14, 1997.

U.S. Census Bureau. County Population Estimates for July 31, 1998 Web Page. March 12,1999.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. Private Well Data. February 1992.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Final Community Relations Plan, Aqua-TechEnvironmental Site. December 23, 1992.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fact Sheet, Aqua-Tech Environmental Site. 1992.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fact Sheet, Aqua-Tech Environmental Site. January23, 1992.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Integrated Risk Information System. April 1, 1994.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Removal Action Fact Sheet, Aqua-TechEnvironmental Site. February 1992.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Unified Air Toxics Website. May 26, 1998.


APPENDIX A: FIGURES

Greer, South Carolina
Figure 1. Greer, South Carolina

Location Map
Figure 2. Location Map

Site Layout Map
Figure 3. Site Layout Map


APPENDIX B: DATA TABLES

TABLE 1B.

ON-SITE SOIL (0 - 6 inches in depth)
Chemicals Concentration (ppm) Screening Level (ppm)
Aroclor 1254 0.069 - 35 3.51
Arsenic 0.66 - 65.6 4.71
Lead 14.3J - 1,290J 4002

Data Source = RMT, Inc., 1993 Surface Soil Removal Evaluation
1 = Comparison value calculated by SCDHEC
2 = EPA Action Level
J = Estimated value


Table 2B.

ON-SITE SUBCONCRETE SOIL (0 - 6 inches below concrete pads)
Chemicals Concentration (ppm) Screening Level (ppm)
Aroclor 1242 0.070 - 19 3.51
Thallium 0.84 - 343 501

Data Source = RMT, Inc., 1993 Surface Soil Removal Evaluation
1 = Comparison value calculated by SCDHEC


Table 3B.

ON-SITE CONCRETE PADS (3 - 4 inches in depth)
Chemicals Concentration (ppm) Screening Level (ppm)
Arsenic 1.8 - 29.9 NA
Lead 1.6 - 6,690 NA

Data Source = RMT, Inc., 1993 Surface Soil Removal Evaluation
NA = None available


Table 4B.

ON-SITE GROUNDWATER
Chemicals Concentration (ppb) Screening Level (ppb)
Benzene 1.1 - 1,980 51
Carbon tetrachloride 14 - 46 51
Chloroethane 1 - 1070 NA
Chloroform 1 - 750 1001
Chloromethane 0.58 - 140 NA
1,1-dichloroethane 0.56 - 4,000J NA
1,1-dichloroethene 1.2 - 440 71
1,1,1-trichloroethane 1.1 - 3,600 2001
1,2-dichloroethane 3.2 - 300 51
1,1,2-trichloroethane 1 - 390 51
Lead 2 - 12 153
Methylene chloride 5.3 - 2,700 51
Tetrachloroethene 2.7 - 920 51
Total phenols 3.3 - 67,000 21,0002
Trans-1,2-dichloroethene 2.2 - 7,000 1001
Trichloroethene 1.2 - 12,300 51
Vinyl chloride 0.6 - 7,600 21

1 = EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
2 = Comparison value calculated by SCDHEC
3 = EPA Action Level
NA = None available
J = Estimated value


TABLE 5B. ON-SITE SURFACE WATER - DRAINAGE DITCH

Table 5B.

ON-SITE SURFACE WATER - DRAINAGE DITCH
Chemicals Concentration (ppb) Screening Level (ppb)
1,1-dichloroethane 4J - 10 NA
Manganese 5,890 - 6,720 NA
Trichloroethene 3J - 38 51
Vinyl chloride 2J - 9J 21

Data Source = RMT, Inc., 1993 Workplan
1 = South Carolina Water Quality Criteria
J = Estimated value
NA = None available


Table 6B.

ON-SITE SEDIMENTS
Chemicals Concentration (ppm) Screening Level (ppm)
Drainage Ditch Sediment Basin
Arsenic ND 4.2 - 7.6 NA
Lead 34.5 - 57.9 110 - 229 NA

Data Source = RMT, Inc., 1993 Workplan
ND = Not detected
NA = None available



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