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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

GSX LANDFILL
PINEWOOD, SUMTER COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA


CONCLUSIONS

  1. After reviewing the available information for the site, ATSDR considers the GSX landfill to be an indeterminate public health hazard. ATSDR uses this category for sites with incomplete information. However, available evidence is not sufficient to conclude that people have or have not been exposed to contaminants related to the GSX landfill at levels that could cause illness or disease. ATSDR did not identify completed human exposure pathways for this site. The potential human exposure pathways represent either an indeterminate public health hazard, no apparent public health hazard, or no public health hazard.
  2. Nearby residents and on-site employees could have been exposed to air contaminants potentially released when waste oils were burned in an on-site rotary kiln. This past potential exposure pathway will always represent an indeterminate public health hazard because no information documents exposure levels or duration. The kiln was shut down in 1990 and removed from the site in 1991, thus this source of air contamination no longer exists.
  3. On-site air has been found in the past to contain VOCs. Respirable dust has also been detected above OSHA PELs. However, the past potential human exposure pathway represents an indeterminate public health hazard because available data do not adequately characterize past on-site air contamination. Based on the site's implementation of engineering controls (the use of protective clothing and equipment and the recent construction of a waste treatment area containment building mitigate this exposure), present and future potential human exposure pathways should be eliminated.
  4. Off-site air represents an indeterminate public health hazard. ATSDR cannot determine if air contaminants migrated off site due to the lack of off-site air monitoring data. However, air monitoring is a requirement of the landfill's 1994 operating permit and an Ambient Air Monitoring Plan is under review by regulators and ATSDR. ATSDR will review air monitoring results when they become available and update the findings of this petitioned public health assessment.
  5. Human exposure to toxic substances in air, water, or soil may have occurred in the past from accidental releases of toxic substances during waste transportation activities. These past releases represent a no apparent public health hazard because no evidence is available to indicate that humans have been exposed contaminants from such releases. In addition, if human exposure occurred, it is unlikely that the duration of the human exposure or the levels of the contaminant levels have been sufficient to result in adverse health effects.
  6. On-site groundwater represents a no apparent public health hazard. SCDHEC routinely samples the well and no contamination has been detected. While on-site workers may have used the well for drinking water purposes in the past, workers are supplied bottled water for drinking water purposes.
  7. Off-site groundwater contamination does not, at present, extend beyond the property boundary to nearby water wells and represents a no public health hazard. An array of downgradient monitoring wells are sampled quarterly.
  8. Although VOCs have been detected in on-site surface water, it represents a no apparent public health hazard.
  9. There is no evidence of VOC contamination of off-site surface water, sediment, or fish tissue from previous sampling and monitoring and it currently represents a no public health hazard.
  10. The chemicals detected in blood and hair analyses of residents cannot be attributed to the GSX Landfill because many of the detected compounds are widespread in the environment. Levels seen in the area were consistent with those seen in general population studies.
  11. There are no community-specific health outcome data to indicate that the site has had an adverse impact on physical health. The overall poor health status in the community is consistent with the rural, agricultural, lower-socioeconomic character of the area. Some evidence exists that concerns about waste management activities at the landfill have resulted in stress for some members of the community. The magnitude and extent of stress within the community is not known.
  12. Trucks transporting hazardous waste to the GSX Landfill present a physical hazard to othermotorists when the trucks travel in excess of the posted speed limit. Speeding alsoincreases the chance of a motor vehicle accident, with subsequent release of hazardoussubstances to the environment.

RECOMMENDATIONS

A. Recommendations and HARP Statement

Recommendations

  1. Perimeter or off-site compound-specific air monitoring should be conducted to determine whether airborne contaminants are migrating off-site. When available, those analytic data should be reviewed to ensure that air particulate and contaminant concentrations are at levels that will not endanger public health. An air monitoring plan is currently under review by regulators.
  2. Corrective action to extract and treat contaminated on-site groundwater should continue. Quarterly monitoring of on-site groundwater quality should continue, to ensure that site-related contaminants are identified before they can migrate off site. State and federal regulators should continue to review these monitoring reports. With approval from EPA and the SCDHEC, Laidlaw will complete a Corrective Measure Study (CMS) of on-site contamination. ATSDR will review the environmental data generated by the CMS when it becomes available, and will determine whether public health actions are necessary.
  3. The existing on-site water well should not be used for drinking water purposes. Water samples from this well should continue to be collected and analyzed.
  4. Monitoring on-site surface water before its release off-site should continue. On-site monitoring will detect on-site contaminant migration to off-site surface water.
  5. Speed limits on highways and roads leading to the GSX Landfill should be obeyed and strictly enforced to reduce the potential for motor vehicle accidents involving waste transporters.
  6. Federal and state agencies with authority to regulate transportation of hazardous wastes should ensure that wastes are securely carried to the GSX Landfill.
  7. Additional follow-up activities should be considered if data become available suggestingthat people have been or are being exposed to site-related contaminants.

HARP Statement

The data and information developed in the GSX landfill petitioned public health assessment havebeen evaluated by the Health Activities Recommendation Panel for appropriate public healthactions. Currently information is insufficient to indicate whether residents living off site havebeen, are being, or will be exposed to hazardous substances at concentrations and for durationsthat would likely cause illness or injury in relation to the GSX landfill. Potential exposurepathways continue to exist through groundwater, air, and surface water. The Health ActivitiesRecommendation Panel has determined that members of the potentially exposed population needassistance in understanding their potential for exposure and in assessing any possible adversehealth effects in their community. To prevent further stress to nearby residents, informationshould be distributed to them on the precautions taken by landfill operators and federal and stateagencies to ensure integrity of the landfill and to prevent off-site contamination. Anenvironmental health education program is also needed to advise public health professionals andthe local medical community on the nature and possible consequences of exposure tocontaminants at the GSX site. The value of obtaining complete and accurate exposure historieswill be stressed as part of this program. In addition, information provided on the contaminants ofconcern may include, but not be limited to, the physical nature of the contaminant, potentialexposure pathways (i.e., soil, water, air, food) and exposure routes (i.e., inhalation, ingestion,dermal), potential health effects, symptoms of exposure and testing and treatment, if known. TheATSDR Division of Health Education and Promotion (DHEP) will conduct these activities inconjunction with the local medical community. In addition, ATSDR will determine the need andfeasibility for a health study involving residents living adjacent to the landfill. Furthermore,ATSDR will evaluate any new data or information it receives about this site to determine whetheradditional public health actions are appropriate.

B. Public Health Action Plan

The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan is to ensure that this petitioned public healthassessment not only identifies public health hazards but also provides a plan of action designed tomitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardoussubstances in the environment.

Actions Undertaken

ATSDR held a public availability session on March 28, 1991, in the community of Rimini, SouthCarolina. ATSDR staff discussed community health concerns associated with the GSX landfill.

Actions Planned

There is some evidence that concerns about waste management activities at the landfill haveresulted in stress for some members of the community. In order to assist community memberswith stress, ATSDR will provide information to the local community about hazards that may bepresent, and the likelihood of exposure, and will assist the community in assessing possibleadverse health outcomes associated with exposure to hazardous substances. The GSX PetitionedPublic Health Assessment will serve as a major tool in conveying this information to thecommunity.

At SCDHEC's request, ATSDR will review the Ambient Air Monitoring Plan for the landfill. After SCDHEC approves this plan and air samples are collected, ATSDR will review the data andupdate the findings of this Petitioned Public Health Assessment as necessary.

When exposure data become available, the ATSDR Division of Health Education and Promotionwill consider an environmental health education program to advise public health professionals andthe local medical community of the nature and possible consequences of exposure to contaminantsat the GSX site.

As more data on offsite exposures become available, the ATSDR Division of Health Studies willconsider the need for and feasibility of a health study of the community around the site.

ATSDR will contact the SCDHEC to ensure that SCDHEC is aware of ATSDRrecommendations regarding environmental sampling on and around the GSX site.

ATSDR will forward a copy of the GSX Petitioned Public Health Assessment to the SouthCarolina Department of Highways and Traffic to inform them of ATSDR recommendationsregarding enforcement of speed limits and regulation of transportation of hazardous wastes onhighways and railways leading to the GSX Landfill.

ATSDR will contact appropriate federal and state officials to obtain additional data or new dataas it becomes available. In addition, ATSDR will collaborate with appropriate federal, state, andlocal agencies to pursue the implementation of the recommendations outlined in this public healthassessment.

ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. Newenvironmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the aboveproposed actions, may determine the need for additional actions at this site.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Environmental Reviewers:

Maureen Kolasa, RN, MPH
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR

Joe Hughart, MS, MPH, PG
Deputy Director
Office of Federal Programs, ATSDR

Health Effects Reviewer:

Virginia Lee, MD, MPH
Medical Officer
Division of Health Studies, ATSDR

Health Assessment Reviewers:

Maurice C. West, P.E., DEE
Section Chief
Petition Response Branch, ATSDR

William T. Going III, M.P.H.
Environmental Health Scientist
Petition Response Branch, ATSDR

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Robert Safay
Senior Regional Representative
ATSDR Region IV

Carl Blair
Regional Representative
ATSDR Region IV


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ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

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(133) Wallace LA, et al. The TEAM study: personal exposures to toxic substances in air,drinking water, and breath of 400 residents of New Jersey, North Carolina, and North Dakota. Environ Res 1987;43:290-307.

(134) SCDHEC, Memorandum from Jacqueline Dickman, Assistant General Counsel andElizabeth Levy, Staff Counsel to Douglas E. Bryant, Commissioner et al., re: Hearing officer'sreport in the GSX case, September 24, 1993.

(135) ERG, Letter from Naida Gavrelis, Senior Public Health Scientist, Eastern Research Groupto Maurice West, Section Chief, Petition Response Branch, ATSDR, re: GSX Landfill, August15, 1997.

(136) SCDHEC, Letter from Jack P. Pettit, District Engineer, to Todd Going, EnvironmentalHealth Scientist, Petition Response Branch, ATSDR, re: Drinking water well at Laidlaw,September 9, 1997.


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