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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

GOLDEN STRIP SEPTIC TANK
SIMPSONVILLE, GREENVILLE COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA


SUMMARY

Golden Strip Septic Tank Services, Inc. (GSST), is a 55-acre tract of farm land located nearthetown of Simpsonville, Greenville County, South Carolina. The site consists of 25% of the 55-acretract of land and contains five inactive unlined lagoons. These lagoons received industrial wastesfrom a number of facilities from the adjoining five counties between 1960 and 1975. The wastesincluded inks, caustics, textile dyes, spin finish oil, septic tank wastes, metal plating liquids,dyestuffwastewater, electroplating sludge, and electroplating wastewater from a number of facilities fromthe adjoining five counties. Materials released into the lagoons were subject to evaporation andseepage. Available information indicates that wastes were deposited into the lagoon with themostcapacity. The GSST site was included on the NationalPriorities List (NPL) in July 1987.

The community expressed concerns about the possible health effects associated with usingtheirprivate drinking water wells. In 1990, these residents signed a petition requesting that the townofSimpsonville provide them with municipal water. Municipal water is now available in this area. The community has not expressed health concerns since the beginning of the site cleanup.

Site-related contaminants identifiedas being of concern include organic compounds, pesticides,Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), and metals. Contaminants of concern were detected in on-sitesoil, surface water and sediments in the lagoons, in the lagoon wastes, and groundwater. TheRemedial Investigation (RI) classifies the on-site area as the fenced lagoon area (25% of the totalproperty) within the 55-acre tract of farm land. Contaminants of concern were also detected inoff-site soil, sediments, and groundwater.

No completed exposure pathways wereidentified for the GSST site. Future potential exposurepathways were identified for exposures to on-site soils, groundwater, and the lagoons and foroff-sitesoil, sediments, and groundwater. However, the soil samples collected as part of the RI do notrepresent surface soil samples and this pathway cannot be fully evaluated. Human exposure byingestion, inhalation, or through dermal contact withcontaminated soil, groundwater, or lagoonwastes could occur if the site is developed in the future. The off-site contamination detected insoil,groundwater, and sediments is restricted to the 55-acre tract of farm land. No samples werecollected as part of the RI from areas beyond the 55-acre tract of land. These samples are neededto evaluate the potential human exposures to contamination from this site.

The GSST site is classified as being an indeterminate public healthhazard due to data gapsidentified. The available data do not indicate that humans are being or have been exposed tolevelsof contamination that would be expected to cause adverse health effects. However, groundwatersampling has not adequately characterized the extent of contamination on or near the site. Additional sampling is needed to better characterize the extent of contaminant migration and toevaluate the likelihood and possible extent of exposure.

This Public Health Assessment recommends: (1) that a private well survey be conducted toidentifythe location and use of private wells within a 1-mile radius of the site; (2) that restrictions beplacedon the future development and use of the site; (3) that the site security be maintained and thetrespassing access points be monitored and eliminated; (4) that additional groundwater samplingbeconducted to better characterize the extent of groundwater contamination and to determine theexisting groundwater plume; and (5) that theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) implementthe remediation plans of the on-site waste material.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's(ATSDR) Health ActivitiesRecommendation Panel reviewed this document and determined that ongoing communityeducationconcerning possible health effects associated with site-related contaminants is needed. No otherfollow-up health actions were indicated.


BACKGROUND

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), under acooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), willevaluate the public health significance of this site. SCDHEC will determine whether health effectsare possible and will recommend actions to reduce or prevent possible health effects. ATSDR, inAtlanta, Georgia, is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesandis authorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of1980 (CERCLA) toconduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites.

A. Site Description and History

Golden Strip Septic Tank Services, Inc. (GSST), is a 55-acre tract of farm land located offAdamsMill Road, approximately 6 miles northeast of Simpsonville (Figures 1 and 3, Appendix A). Thesite coordinates are 34 46' 58" north latitude and 82 14' 50" west longitude.

GSST is a former waste hauling and disposal company that began accepting industrial andsepticwastes in 1960. The site occupies approximately 25% of the central portion of the 55-acre farmtract and consists of five unlined and inactive lagoons. Access to the site is through the north by adirt road that opens into a truck turnaround area and from the southwest by Adams Mill Road. In1960 , the site consisted of two waste lagoons. By 1972, it expanded to five lagoons (Figure 3). When the lagoons were operable, their estimated capacity was 2.775 million gallons. Designcapacities for the lagoons ranged up to 840,000 gallons:

Lagoon (Impoundment)Capacity (gallons)
1640,000
270,000
3450,000
4840,000
5775,000

Lagoon #5 was built in late 1972 and early 1973. It was not filled to capacity when GSSTceasedoperations in 1975. Two of the lagoons were initially excavated and used for storage of industrialwastewater and sludge. Later, additional impoundments were excavated. Some of the industrialwastes that the lagoon received included inks, caustics, textile dyes, spin finish oil, septic tankwastes, metal plating liquids, dyestuff wastewater, electroplating sludge, and electroplatingwastewater from a number of facilities from the adjoining five counties. No data are available about the characteristics or volume of the disposed wastes.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) first beganinvestigating the site in 1972. In 1975, SCDHEC revoked the operating permits for the facility.

In 1978, GSST requested permission from SCDHEC to cover lagoons #2, #3, and #5 becausetheyhad dried up. These lagoons were covered with earth previously bermed around each lagoon. Nowastes were removed from these lagoons. Presently, these areas are covered with grasses andshrubs. Lagoons #1 and #4 remain uncovered. Materials released into the lagoons were subjecttoevaporation and seepage. Available information indicates that wastes were deposited into thelagoonwith the most capacity.

The original operator of the facility is deceased. His widow owns the property and resides inahouse on the southern portion of the farm. Several outbuildings (barns and storage buildings), arelocated near the house. There is a spring approximately 100 yards from the house, that is thesourceof an unnamed tributary that flows into Gilder Creek (Figures 1 and 2). This spring has been theprimary source of potable water for the property owner's home and for the livestock, for morethanthirty years.

In 1984, SCDHEC requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) perform a site-screening investigation. This investigation detected contamination in on-site lagoons, wastes,andsediments, and in the on-site springs and unnamed creeks (Superfund Fact Sheet,July 1989). In1986, EPA performed a Preliminary Assessment and Site Investigation (PA/SI) and proposed thatGSST be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). The site was added to the NPL in July1987. EPA issued an Administrative Order by Consent (Consent Order) that prompted a RemedialInvestigation (RI) of the site "...to determine the nature and extent of the threat to public health orwelfare, or the environment caused by the release or threatened release of hazardous substancesfrom the site."(28) To accomplish these objectives, the RI was divided into two efforts: (1)investigation of the nature and extent of waste constituents at GSST, and (2) assessment of thepotential human health and environmental effects associated with exposures to contaminantsidentified as being of concern.

In July 1987, concerned citizens contacted SCDHEC and EPA, and asked that the liquids andsludgefound in the lagoons be removed. This resulted in the issuance of an EPA Consent Order in 1988(88-26-C) requiring GSST and the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) to remediate the site. Asa result, the landowner and PRPs retained RMT, Inc., of Greenville, S.C. (RMT) as a contractortoconduct a remedial investigation (RI) for the site. RMT completed the initial investigation in1990.

In March 1991, RMT completed a supplemental round of sampling designed to characterizetheexisting contaminant plume. In June 1991, EPA conducted a public meeting to discuss preferredoptions for remediating the site. In 1991, the selected clean-up was outlined in the Record ofDecision (ROD). A ROD is a public document that records a brief history of the respective NPLsite, the results of the investigations, evaluation of all the remedial alternatives considered for thesite remediation, and EPA's final selection of a cleanup alternative.

B. Site Visits

On December 28, 1990, project staff consisting of Charles Lewis, Ed Gregory, and YanqingMoconducted a site visit. Due to the holiday schedule, RMT had no workers on the site. We gainedsite access with verbal permission from the property owner. We noted a chain-link fence, toppedby three strands of barbed wire (total height - 8 feet). This fence encloses the lagoon area. Allthegates were securely padlocked. We encountered a point of access on the northwest side of thesite,where a wet weather drainage ditch passes beneath the fence. The ditch was approximately 3-feetwide and 2.5-feet high. No water was flowing in the ditch. This ditch connects with the unnamedtributary, that flows into Gilder Creek (Figure 1).

RMT has stored approximately one hundred 55-gallon drums containing on-site wastes on thewestside of the fenced area. We did not inspect the lagoons or the drums. On-site vegetation is notstressed.

We also noted several middle and upper-middle class homes in various stages of construction. These homes were located to the north, east, and west of the site. We observed well waterhousesin the older homes, indicating these homeowners may utilize these wells. We estimated thatapproximately ten of these homes may still utilize private drinking water wells.

On January 16, 1991, Charles Lewis and Angela Gorman (SCDHEC), Craig Zeller (EPA),and RMTpersonnel conducted a lengthy walking tour of the site and discussed options for groundwatermonitoring. RMT representatives identified several small cultivated plots on the outer northeastedge of the farm indicating that homeowners had small gardens in this area. No information isavailable about what crops were grown or their consumption. Although these small gardens werelocated topographically upgradient of the surface water and groundwater flow, RMT contactedthehomeowners and requested that they stop growing crops.

Several days before the site visit, moderate rainfall resulted in water flow in the ditch. Therewasno water flow in the ditch during the previous site. The two open lagoons contained rainwaterandsurface runoff but did not appear to be in danger of overflowing. We noted a point of access tothesite, from the ditch beneath the fence. RMT agreed to secure the opening as soon as possible.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and NaturalResources Use

Demographics

The GSST site is located east of Mauldin and north of Simpsonville in Greenville County,SouthCarolina. Single-family homes surround the site. A number of middle- and upper middle-classhomes were built in the area during the 1980s. The homes to the southwest of the site arepredominantly lower middle-class homes. Table 1 presents the demographics for this area.

Portions of the site are forested. There are scattered trees in the southern portion of the site. thenortheast corner of the site was cleared of trees and is covered by thick scrub vegetation.

The topography at and near the site consists of gently rolling hills. An Elementary school islocatedapproximately two miles west of the site, and a middle school is located approximately two milessouth of the site. A church and a YMCA are located approximately one mile southwest of thesite. Another church is located approximately 1.75 mile north of the site. The nearest residence islocatedapproximately 100 yards to the northwest of the site. Homes surround the site to the north, east,and west.

TABLE 1.

GSST SITE DEMOGRAPHICS
A*.Demographics for 1-mile radius
Total Population: 2823

B*.Demographics for 2-mile radius
Total Population: 7838


%
White
%
Black
%
Other
%
<10
yrs
%
65+
yrs
%
Rental
Units
<$150/
month
**
%
Houses
<$25,000
%
Renter-
Occupied
A* 88 10 2 15 6 3 1 21
B* 90 9 1 15 9 2 1 25
** Percentages include all rentals; some subsidized housing includes those who pay no cashrent

Land Use

Land use in the vicinity of the site is primarily residential, although, the area to the southwestof thesite is primarily agricultural. Undeveloped land is heavily forested, while residential andagricultural areas are generally cleared of trees.

The GSST property owner reports that cattle used to graze on the farm during its years ofoperation. However, the cattle did not graze in the lagoon areas, as access to this area was restricted by afence. No cattle have been kept on the site since the beginning of the EPA intervention.

Natural Resources

The homes located near the site are serviced by a public water supply. Some private wellsstill existin the area; however, no information exists to indicate that these wells are being utilized asdrinkingwater sources. Most of the surrounding property is dedicated to real estate development.

Most residences and industrial/commercial enterprises within the area, obtain their drinkingwaterfrom surface water sources from the uplands of northern Greenville County.

A spring is located in the southwestern portion of the site. The resulting stream is anunnamedtributary of Gilder Creek. Gilder Creek flows west to east approximately 1,100 feet north of thesiteinto the Enoree River approximately eight miles downstream. Land surrounding the unnamedtributary is undeveloped. The unnamed tributary has insufficient flow to support fish.

D. Health Outcome Data

Since there are no known completed exposure pathways at the GSST site, evaluation ofhealthoutcome data is not warranted at this time.


COMMUNITYHEALTH CONCERNS

In July 1987, residents sent a petition to the South Carolina Commissioner of Health, askingforremoval of the remaining liquid wastes in lagoons #1 and #4. Residents were concerned about thepossible health effects associated with the use of their drinking water. In 1990, area residentssigneda petition requesting that the town of Simpsonville provide them with municipal water.

Concerned citizens reported two deaths caused by cancer prior to 1989. Project staffgatheredinformation from SCDHEC Vital Statistics and found that the deceased were males. Oneindividualdied of lung cancer, the other individual died from a non-specified lymphoma.

The GSST Public Health Assessment (PHA) was available for review and public comment fromDecember 11, 1992 to January 11, 1993. Copies of the PHA were available forcomment/interestedparties at the Greenville Public Library, Greenville City Hall, and the Division of Health HazardEvaluation at SCDHEC in Columbia. Additionally, news releases were sent to all weekly anddailynewspapers in the state, all television networks in the state, the Associated Press, and the SouthCarolina Radio network. This comment period was intended to give the public and/or interestedparties an opportunity to voice additional concerns or make comments pertaining to the GoldenStripSeptic Tank Public Health Assessment. The office of Health Hazard Evaluation of the SouthCarolina Department of Health and Environmental Control did not receive comments during thisperiod.



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