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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CARDINAL LANDFILL
FARMINGTON, STRAFFORD COUNTY, NEW HAMPSHIRE


VI. CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Cardinal Landfill Site was a public health hazard in the past because groundwater contamination with VOCs resulted in significant exposures for the residents of five homes along Watson Corner Road. The most serious exposures were for the residents of Lot 7 (Tax map R-19) where exposure to vinyl chloride could potentially cause non-cancerous effects on the liver and a low to moderate theoretical risk of cancer. For the other four wells, the known exposures were unlikely to result in non-cancer health effects for adult residents, but could have affected young children or developing fetuses. Also, there would be a low theoretical risk of cancer from long-term (i.e., 10-year) exposures to PCE, TCE, and 1,2-DCE in the wells serving lots 9, 11, and 18 (Tax map R-19). Currently, all of the homes near the landfill either receive water from the town supply or are served by a well where any contamination is below levels of health concern.

  2. Currently, there are no exposures to site contaminants in the indoor air; therefore, this pathway is considered no public health hazard.

  3. In the recent past (1999), exposures to the contaminants measured in the indoor air of homes were unlikely to result in adverse health effects for the residents, except for perhaps reversible irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes caused by formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is not exclusively a "site contaminant" because it is an expected constituent of indoor air of homes with pressed wood products (e.g., manufactured homes) [68]. Therefore this pathway is considered no apparent public health hazard for the recent past (1999).

  4. In the previous decade (particularly 1989-1997), groundwater contamination near homes in the mobile home park was more severe, which could have resulted in higher concentrations of contaminants in the indoor air. Therefore, indoor air exposures before 1999 may well have been higher than those observed in 1999-2000, but are uncertain and, thus, are classified as an indeterminate public health hazard.

  5. Exposures to contaminants in ambient (outdoor) air, on-site surface water and soils, Cocheco River surface water and sediments, and Cocheco River fish are not expected to result in adverse health effects. Consequently, these pathways have been classified as no apparent public health hazard.

  6. Elevated concentrations of methane in groundwater beneath the site indicate the potential for an explosive hazard on the landfill proper.

  7. Due to the proximity of wastes next to the swale between the old and new sections of the mobile home park, it is possible that puddles that seasonally form in this area could have been contaminated in the past or could become contaminated in the future.

  8. Anaerobic conditions created by the landfill have released arsenic and manganese from minerals, causing concentrations of these metals in the groundwater greater than health comparison values.

  9. For the period between 1987 and 1997, the rates of 21 out of 23 cancer types in Farmington, New Hampshire, were within their expected ranges at the 95% confidence level. The two types of cancer with significantly elevated rates were cervical cancer in females and lung cancer in females. The primary risk factors for these types of cancer are behavioral in nature. Therefore, the elevated rates are not likely to be related to exposures to site contaminants.

VII. RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. All drinking water wells in the future groundwater management zone should be permanently removed from service to prevent inadvertent use of the contaminated water. Furthermore, all private wells around the perimeter of this zone should be tested yearly. The well serving Lot 24 should be tested quarterly because site contaminants were detected in April 2000 close to, but still below, health comparison values. Finally, the source of trace groundwater contamination in the vicinity of GP-2 should be discovered and removed.

  2. Soil gas on the site, along Watson Corner Road, in the buffer zone, and, if necessary, in the mobile home park should be frequently monitored. The monitoring program should be capable of identifying any future exposures due to migration of contaminated soil gas into developed areas. A contingency plan for indoor air testing should be implemented if potential indoor air exposures are identified by the soil gas testing. The soil gas testing program should also define the extent of the small gasoline spill in the mobile home park, even though it appears to be unrelated to the Cardinal Landfill.

  3. Potential on-site sources of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde as well as their fate and transport on the site should be better characterized by, at a minimum, groundwater tests for these chemicals and their hydrolysis products.

  4. The site should remain fenced and should be posted to prevent the public from entering.

  5. The water and sediment quality of the river should continue to be monitored until discharges of chemicals from the site are eliminated. The results should be screened for potential risks to people who use the river to swim, wade, or fish.

  6. Explosive hazards on the site should be characterized. All future soil gas tests should record methane gas concentrations. Workers undertaking any projects in subsurface, confined spaces should take appropriate precautions to avoid asphyxiation or explosive hazards.

  7. The extent of waste in the vicinity of the swale area of the mobile home park and its potential effects on the water quality in the swale should be unambiguously determined. Specifically, the following investigations are needed: (1) Determine if any landfill wastes are outside the perimeter fence; (2) Survey the elevations of the buried waste, the water table (yearly maximum elevation), and the lowest topographic point in the swale; and (3) Test ponded water in the swale and continue to test groundwater and soil gas in the vicinity.

  8. Private wells near the site should be tested for arsenic and manganese to ensure that current or future exposures to these metals do not occur.

  9. DHHS' Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and Tobacco Prevention Program should provide health education and outreach to the Town of Farmington to reduce the rates of cervical and lung cancer for this community.

VIII. PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies any current and potential exposure pathways and related health hazards, but also provides a plan of action to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposures to hazardous substances in the environment. The first section of the Public Health Action Plan contains a description of completed and ongoing actions taken to mitigate environmental contamination. In the second section there is a list of additional public health actions that are planned for the future.

(A) Completed or Ongoing Actions

  1. In 1981, the State of New Hampshire's Office of Waste Management inspected the Textron facility in Farmington and ordered that hazardous wastes no longer be disposed in the Cardinal Landfill.

  2. Starting in 1982 and continuing to the present, DES and its antecedents have tested drinking water wells near the site for contamination. DHHS has advised homeowners about the results of the tests, and provided recommendations to DES regarding health risks from other exposures to site contaminants (e.g., in soil gas).

  3. In 1985, Textron paid for a municipal water line to be extended down Watson Corner Road so that contaminated drinking water wells in this area could be abandoned.

  4. Between 1985 and 2000, Textron purchased five properties abutting the site along Watson Corner Road to prevent exposures from contamination on these properties.

  5. In December 1999, at the request of DES, Textron extended a fence around the entire perimeter of the site.

  6. In 1999, Textron purchased an easement on a thin strip of land along the east side of the landfill to create a buffer zone between the landfill and the developed portion of the Peaceful Pines Mobile Home Park.

  7. In October and November 1999, DHHS distributed a needs assessment survey to the residents of the mobile home park and held a public availability session at the Farmington Town Hall. These actions gave the community an opportunity to discuss health concerns and questions about the Cardinal Landfill in a confidential setting.

  8. In May 2000, ATSDR completed a Health Consultation on the health effects associated with dioxin exposure to address community concerns.

  9. In September 2000, DHHS released a draft Public Health Assessment for the Cardinal Landfill site. The recommendations in the report were presented to Textron and DES who have authority or regulatory jurisdiction over site activities. DHHS also notified the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and Tobacco Prevention Program of the elevated rates of cervical and lung cancer that were observed for the Town of Farmington.

  10. In October 2000, DHHS and DES conducted a site visit to investigate reports of worker exposures during the installation of the site perimeter fence in 1999.

  11. On October 18, 2000, DHHS held a public availability session at the Farmington Town Hall to discuss the findings of the Public Health Assessment with residents and other interested parties. Approximately 50 residents attended the session.

  12. In November 2000, at the request of OSHA, DHHS completed a Health Consultation on occupational exposures during the fence installation in 1999 [112]. DHHS concluded that workers installing the fence around the site were not likely exposed to site contaminants at levels that would result in adverse health effects. However, DHHS recommended additional data be collected to confirm this conclusion.

  13. In November 2000, DHHS and ATSDR submitted combined comments [113-114] to Textron on the proposed soil vapor management system for the landfill.

(B) Planned Actions

  1. Textron will take the following actions in response to the recommendations of this report:

    • temporary groundwater management zone (GMZ) is anticipated that will extend beyond the landfill to the Cocheco River. A final GMZ that will encompass only Textron property is anticipated within approximately five to ten years after remedy implementation. Groundwater usage within both GMZs will be controlled to prevent unacceptable exposures. Drinking water wells outside of either GMZ may be tested on a regular basis, depending on distance and orientation to site and well use and construction (overburden vs. bedrock)
    • Thirteen (13) permanent monitoring points were installed in September 2000, and will be monitored periodically to assess trends in soil gas concentrations. Textron intends to construct a soil vapor management system along the landfill boundary in late 2000 / early 2001 to eliminate any further migration of soil gas at the boundary of the community. The SVM system will actively remove and treat soil gas migrating from the landfill. Based on the results of the soil gas monitoring program, direct sampling of indoor air at residences abutting the landfill could be performed as a contingency if necessary.
    • Limited groundwater testing for formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and their hydrolysis products will be performed to assess for their presence in the vicinity of the landfill.
    • The landfill will remain fenced and posted.
    • The current semi-annual water quality sampling and analysis program will be expanded to include Cocheco River surface water and sediment. It is anticipated that analysis will include VOCs and metals (including arsenic and manganese).
    • Any work in confined spaces will include air monitoring and controls to address potential explosive conditions.
    • Future characterization of the extent and potential impact of landfill material in the vicinity of the swale will include periodic surface water and soil gas sampling and analysis.
    • Any private water supply wells included in the monitoring program will be tested for arsenic and manganese, as well as VOCs. The monitoring of these private wells will initially be at least once per year.

  2. DHHS will review the protocol for private well tests near the landfill to ensure that the wells to be tested and the frequency of testing are sufficient to protect the public from exposure.

  3. DHHS will review plans and offer comments on the proposed soil gas monitoring program and soil vapor management system (see ATSDR Health Consultation [113,114]) to ensure that they are capable of detecting and preventing any future exposures due to migration of contaminated soil gas into developed areas.

  4. DHHS will review any new plans for testing metals in onsite soils and the analytical results from these tests.

  5. DHHS will present the recommendations from this document and other Health Consultations for this site to Textron, DES, and other agencies with authority or regulatory jurisdiction over site activities and request that they all be implemented or addressed. The recommendations that have not been addressed as of December 2000 are:
    • The source of trace groundwater contamination in the vicinity of GP-2 should be discovered and removed.
    • The presumed gasoline spill in the Peaceful Pines Mobile Home Park should be investigated.
    • Explosive hazards on the site should be characterized. All future soil gas tests should record methane gas concentrations.
    • The extent of waste in the vicinity of the swale area of the mobile home park and its potential effects on the water quality in the swale should be unambiguously determined following the specific investigations listed in Recommendation 7: (1) Determine if any landfill wastes are outside the perimeter fence; (2) Survey the elevations of the buried waste, the water table (yearly maximum elevation), and the lowest topographic point in the swale; and (3) Test ponded water in the swale and continue to test groundwater and soil gas in the vicinity.
    • Soils on the site, including the rust-colored soils near SW105, should be tested for metals. The number and location of the soil samples should be sufficient to confirm that the concentrations of metals on the site are not elevated. DHHS should review the sampling plan in advance.

  6. DHHS will continue to advise DES on any new questions of health risk at the site. In particular, DHHS will review any new drinking water and soil gas test results.

  7. If conditions on the site change from those evaluated in this Public Health Assessment, DHHS will revisit its conclusions regarding the public health hazards at the site.

IX. PREPARERS OF REPORT

Report Authors

Phil Trowbridge, Environmental Health Risk Analyst
Stephanie Miller, Assistant State Epidemiologist
Kerran Vigroux, Health Promotion Advisor
Dennis Pinski, Supervisor

Bureau of Health Risk Assessment
Office of Community and Public Health
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
6 Hazen Drive
Concord, New Hampshire 03301

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Greg Ulirsch

Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1600 Clifton Avenue, Mailstop E-32
Atlanta, Georgia 30333

ATSDR Regional Representatives

William Sweet, Ph.D., DABT, Senior Regional Representative
Elizabeth Timm, Regional Representative

Office of Regional Operations, Region I
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
One Congress Street, Suite 1100
Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2023


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  111. Goldberg SJ, et al. An association of human congenital cardiac malformations and drinking water contaminants. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 16(1): 155-164. 1990.

  112. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation, Occupational Exposures During Fence Installation of 1999, Cardinal Landfill. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Atlanta, GA. November 13, 2000.

  113. New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Letter from Phil Trowbridge to James Thomas, Regarding Design Report, Soil Vapor Management System, Cardinal Landfill. Bureau of Health Risk Assessment, Concord, NH. November 20, 2000.

  114. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation, Comments on Soil Vapor Management System, Cardinal Landfill. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Atlanta, GA. November 16, 2000.

CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the Cardinal Landfill Site was prepared by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services 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 the Public Health Assessment was begun.


Gregory V. Ulirsch, M.S.
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 Assessmentand concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
Acting Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR



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