PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
POLLUTION ABATEMENT SERVICES (PAS)
CITY OF OSWEGO, OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK
The Pollution Abatement Services (PAS) site is in an industrial and commercial area on the northeastern edge of the City of Oswego in Oswego County, New York. The site was listed on the National Priority List (NPL), also known as Superfund, in September 1983. Pollution Abatement Services, Inc. (PAS) operated a chemical waste incinerator at the site from 1970 to 1977.
Between 1977 and 1982, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) completed several removal actions and clean-up activities at the site. A remedial investigation (RI) and feasibility study (FS) was completed between November 1982 and January 1984. A record of decision (ROD) was issued by the US EPA in June 1984 and provided for excavation and removal of contaminated soil, subsurface tanks and drums; construction of a perimeter slurry wall; capping; groundwater recovery and leachate collection, with on-site treatment and groundwater monitoring. Installation of the slurry wall and cap was completed in 1986. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has overseen long-term monitoring at the site since 1989.
In September 1988, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed a health assessment for the PAS site. The health assessment evaluated public health concerns, on- and off-site contamination, physical hazards, environmental and human exposure pathways and associated public health implications.
The US EPA completed a supplemental remedial investigation (SRI) and FS at the site in August 1993. In December 1993, the US EPA signed a ROD for the third part (i.e., operable unit) of site remediation. This ROD addressed contamination outside the existing containment system. The primary objectives of this ROD were to control the source of contamination at the site as well as minimize migration of contaminants in groundwater, thereby increasing the effectiveness of earlier remedial actions at the site. The ROD called for a well survey, extending public water to those residents using private wells in the Smith's Beach area downgradient of the site, and institutional controls on groundwater use through deed restrictions. The ROD also called for a supplemental pre-remedial design study (SPRDS) to investigate the bedrock aquifer; investigate pesticide and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in surface water and sediments in the adjacent creeks and wetlands; and evaluate potential leachate treatment processes. Based on the findings of the SPRDS, the US EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) in June 1996 which addresses changes to the preferred remedy in the 1993 ROD.
Past community health concerns have included inquiries about the health implications of exposure to contaminants at the site, as well as possible contamination of nearby residential properties. In response to community concerns, the NYS DOH completed a study of cancer incidence among workers at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant. Findings of this study did not show a statistically significant excess of cancer incidence among workers at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant. This public health assessment (PHA) addresses past community health concerns about the site. There are no known new community health concerns about the site.
Based on the information reviewed and ATSDR's criteria for classifying sites (Appendix E), the site currently poses no apparent public health hazard. Past remedial actions, including installation of a slurry wall, an impermeable cap and fencing, have eliminated the potential for current and future exposures to site contaminants in soil gas, on-site soils and air. As outlined in the December 1993 ROD, those homes in the Smith's Beach area that were still using private wells for drinking were connected to public water in July 1995. Although volatile organic compounds have been detected in groundwater in the bedrock aquifer off-site, groundwater monitoring data collected in May 1996 show a decrease in contaminant levels within the bedrock aquifer since the SRI was completed. There are no known potable supply wells downgradient of the existing groundwater contaminant plume and the area is served by public water.
The PAS site posed a public health hazard in the past. Prior to August 1977, when the US EPA initiated cleanup activities at the site, numerous physical and chemical hazards existed at the site. On-site workers, residents and people working near the site are believed to have been exposed to contaminants in air, although there is insufficient information to characterize these past exposures. Workers at the site were most likely exposed to on-site wastes, leachate and contaminants in surface soil at levels of public health concern. Past remedial actions have eliminated the potential for exposure to contaminants on-site.
It is not known if people eat fish from White and Wine Creeks or wetland areas near the site. However, the potential for exposure to site contaminants through ingestion of fish is limited, given that the creeks are small and intermittent. The NYS DOH issues advisories on eating sportfish from waters in New York State and a copy of the 1996/1997 Health Advisory is presented in Appendix C of this PHA.
ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel has reviewed this PHA to determine appropriate follow-up public health actions. The NYS DOH will continue to conduct community health education as indicated.
Under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) will evaluate the public health significance of the Pollution Abatement Services (PAS) site. More specifically, ATSDR and NYS DOH will determine whether health effects are possible and will recommend actions to reduce or prevent possible health effects. ATSDR is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is authorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986, to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites proposed for the National Priorities List (NPL).
The Pollution Abatement Services (PAS) site occupies 15.6 acres on East Seneca Street in an industrial and commercial area on the northeastern edge of the City of Oswego in Oswego County, New York (refer to Figure 1, Appendix A). The site was listed on the National Priority List (NPL), also known as Superfund, in September 1983.
In the early 1900's, a concrete dam was built across White Creek, which borders the site to the north, to pond water for a private ice mill. Oswego County later assumed ownership of the property because of unpaid taxes. During the late 1950's demolition debris was disposed at the site. In the 1960's, ownership of the property was transferred to a group of local businessmen for the construction and operation of a high temperature liquid chemical waste incinerator. Pollution Abatement Services, Inc. (PAS) operated a chemical waste incinerator at the site from 1970 to 1977 and records indicate that numerous organic and inorganic chemicals were handled at the site during this time period (refer to Table 1, Appendix B). Liquid wastes were collected and stored on-site in drums, open lagoons and above-ground storage tanks.
In the past, the site consisted of three waste lagoons containing over one million gallons of oil and mixed hydrocarbons, several large storage tanks containing contaminated waste oils and more than 15,000 leaking and deteriorating drums (refer to Figure 2, Appendix A). An office building, loading dock, and waste incinerator were also at the site. A drainage ditch, which originated on an adjacent commercial property to the west (i.e., a radio station), flowed northwest, through the central portion of the site. Between 1973 to 1976, the facility experienced operational problems and was cited for numerous air and water quality violations by state and federal agencies. Lagoon overflows and releases of liquid waste into White and Wine Creeks were common and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) completed several temporary clean-up actions at the site. In 1974, a 20,000 gallon waste oil lagoon on the site overflowed, resulting in the release of waste oil to White and Wine Creeks and Lake Ontario. In 1976, the US EPA constructed a dike to prevent overflow of one of the on-site lagoons. In 1977, PAS abandoned the site leaving about 12,000 drums and more than 100,000 gallons of bulk chemical wastes on-site.
In August 1977, the US EPA conducted clean-up activities at the site including treatment and disposal of all liquids in the lagoons, closing, capping and grading of all of the lagoons, installation of a leachate filter system, drainage and disposal of two aboveground storage tanks, drainage of one underground storage tank and overpacking of deteriorating 55-gallon drums at the site. In 1978, a contractor for the NYS DEC characterized the wastes in 14,000 drums at the site. In 1980, about 2,600 drums were removed from the site for off-site disposal. In 1981, the PAS site was selected as one of the first sites in the nation to receive funding for clean-up actions through the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Trust Fund (i.e., "Superfund"). The PAS site was ranked seventh on the original NPL in priority for cleanup. Later in 1981, a removal action was initiated and about 500 leaking drums were remediated and a seep pit was lined to control leachate.
In January 1982, a cooperative agreement between the State of New York and the US EPA was developed to address contamination at the PAS site. The main goals under this agreement were to clean up the abandoned facility, control surface and groundwater pollution and safeguard public health. A removal action was initiated in March 1982 which included demolition of above-ground structures and facilities at the site, removal of the remaining drums and drainage of 80,000 gallons of liquid chemical waste from 10 bulk storage tanks.
In November 1982, the US EPA initiated a remedial investigation (RI) and feasibility study (FS) at the PAS site. This initial RI/FS included investigation of areas within the existing containment system and downgradient areas. The RI evaluated continuing sources of contamination, defined geological and hydrogeological conditions at the site and identified the extent of contamination at the site. As part of the RI, an aquatic and biological survey was completed for the site. The RI was completed in January 1984 and a Record of Decision (ROD) was issued by the US EPA in June 1984 for operable unit 2 of site remediation. This ROD included provisions for excavation and removal of contaminated soil, subsurface tanks and drums to an approved landfill; construction of a perimeter slurry wall down to lodgement till or bedrock; site grading, followed by installation of an impermeable cap; groundwater recovery and leachate collection, with on-site groundwater and leachate treatment and groundwater monitoring. Remedial construction began in November 1985 and installation of the slurry wall and site cap was completed in the spring of 1986. However, an on-site treatment plant was not constructed to treat the collected leachate and groundwater. As part of the 1984 ROD, a long-term monitoring and maintenance plan (LTMP) was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the containment system.
Figure 3 (Appendix A) shows the existing remedial systems at the site. The perimeter leachate collection system consists of gravel-filled collection drains, three collection wells, a leachate holding tank, and a network of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) forcemains. The leachate collection trench is about 20 feet inside the slurry wall along the downgradient end of the containment system. The leachate collection wells (LCW-1, LCW-2 and LCW-3) are equipped with permanent submersible pumps for transferring the leachate to a leachate collection tank. Leachate is pumped from the collection wells through PVC pipes which discharge into a concrete storage tank. The leachate collection system is designed to be operated either automatically or manually, but historically, has been operated manually. The groundwater recovery system consists of four (4 feet wide) gravel-filled ditches, which meet at a common point in a cross pattern. A single 14-inch diameter groundwater recovery well (LCW-4) at the center of the collection system pumps and discharges groundwater into the on-site collection tank.
Under the NYS DEC, an environmental assessment was conducted at the site between 1984-1986 to characterize the amount of contamination in Wine and White Creeks and to evaluate the human health and environmental risks to site-related contaminants in the creek. This study was conducted based on recommendations of the RI/FS and included sampling of surface water, sediment, fish and other organisms in White and Wine Creek. In 1987, the US EPA conducted down-hole camera investigations of existing monitoring wells. Findings of these photo-investigations showed possible contamination in wells outside of the slurry wall and in the bedrock aquifer. Also in 1987, 500,000 gallons of contaminated groundwater were pumped from the site and disposed of off-site for treatment as part of the US EPA removal actions.
In September 1988, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed a health assessment for the PAS site. This health assessment was completed, in part, to address community health concerns about the site. The health assessment evaluated public health concerns, on- and off-site contamination, physical hazards, environmental and human exposure pathways and public health implications of site contaminants. Contaminated media identified in the public health assessment included surface water, groundwater and soil. Contaminants were also found in fish tissue from off-site streams. The contaminants of concern identified at the site in the health assessment included arsenic, benzene, cyanide, 1,2-dichloroethane, dieldrin, ethylbenzene, lead, methylene chloride, nickel, PCBs, phenol, selenium, toluene, trichloroethene, vinyl chloride and xylenes. The ATSDR determined that the threat to public health posed by possible groundwater contamination could not be evaluated since residential wells had not been sampled and exposures to incinerator stack emissions could not be evaluated based on available data. The ATSDR concluded that human exposure to site contaminants may have occurred via ingestion, inhalation and direct contact to wastes, contaminated soil, air and water prior to remediation of the site; however, there was no documented exposure to site contaminants. Other possible exposures included ingestion of contaminants through the foodchain by hunters, fishermen and people who eat garden grown vegetables. Inhalation exposures to airborne site contaminants were determined not to be a public health concern because the site cap should be successful in controlling airborne releases. The ATSDR recommended that (1) well surveys be conducted to identify all private wells near the site and that these wells be sampled to determine if they are contaminated; (2) residents downgradient of the site be supplied with municipal water; (3) groundwater within the confines of the slurry wall should not be used for any purpose; (4) on-site workers handling contaminated groundwater should use appropriate protective equipment; (5) existing air data should be reviewed to evaluate possible past human exposures to contaminants in air; (6) additional soil samples should be collected if it is determined that areas next to the site received measurable fallout from past incinerator operations; (7) the potential for ingestion of contaminated game such as deer, fish and livestock or contaminated plants should be investigated; (8) the hydrology of the PAS site should be characterized to determine if the slurry wall and White and Wine Creeks are successfully intercepting groundwater contamination; and 9) the site be re-evaluated following completion of additional site characterization.
In the fall of 1988, a series of groundwater monitoring wells were installed to supplement the existing wells; additionally, five surface water and sediment monitoring locations were established and incorporated into the long-term monitoring program. Since 1989, the NYS DEC has conducted oversight of long-term monitoring at the site, including collection of groundwater, surface water and sediment samples as well as water level measurements. The NYS DEC operated and maintained the leachate collection system at the site between 1986 and October 1991. In May 1991, 50,000 gallons of leachate were removed and between July and December 1991, about 10,000 gallons per month of leachate were removed. Since February 1992, leachate recovery has been operated by a contractor for the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and about 20,000 gallons of leachate per month were removed through March 1993. In April 1993, the rate of leachate removal increased to 30,000 gallons per month and leachate removal has continued at this rate. A summary of leachate removal activities is presented in Table 2 (Appendix B).
Prior to, during and after completion of the remedial actions described in the June 1984 ROD, contamination was suspected to exist outside the containment system to the north. To characterize this contamination and evaluate the effectiveness of the existing containment system and other possible remedial alternatives, the US EPA initiated a supplemental remedial investigation (SRI) and feasibility study (FS) at the site in 1990. Between August 1991 and March 1992, field activities were conducted for the SRI, including drilling of soil borings, installation of monitoring wells and collection of soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water and sediment samples. As part of the SRI/FS, an ecological assessment was completed for the site in 1992 which included the PAS site, the run of White Creek which passes through the fenced area of the site, Wine Creek, the on-site wetlands and the wetlands between the site and Lake Ontario to the north. Findings of this assessment indicated that the PAS site did not appear to be adversely affecting the environment and no further ecological assessments were needed.
An evaluation of the existing containment system's integrity and effectiveness was also reviewed as part of the SRI. Prior to May 1991, periodic overflows of the slurry wall occurred near slurry walls wells (SWW) 11 and 12. These overflows were controlled by increasing pumping rates of the leachate collection and groundwater recovery systems. Results of this evaluation showed that under current operation of the containment system there did not appear to be a breach or compromise in the slurry wall, overflows of the slurry wall were not occurring and upward vertical hydraulic gradients had been established over the part of the containment system where the lodgement till is thinnest (near leachate collection well LCW-4). It was also determined that the cover is reducing infiltration and the existing containment system provides hydraulic control of the contained area. The SRI/FS was completed in August 1993.
On December 12, 1993, the US EPA signed a ROD for the third operable unit of site remediation. This ROD was developed to address contamination detected outside the existing containment system. The primary objectives of this ROD were to control the source of contamination at the site and minimize migration of contaminants in groundwater, thereby increasing the effectiveness of earlier remedial actions. In addition to incorporating all of the components of the existing site remedy, this ROD also provided for (1) extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater in the bedrock aquifer; (2) enhancing the present source control system; (3) providing residents who are using private wells in the Smith's Beach area downgradient of the site with public water; and (4) recommending institutional controls on groundwater use through deed restrictions at the PAS site and in the Smith's Beach area.
A supplemental pre-remedial design study (SPRDS) was initiated in July 1994 by the US EPA to (1) further investigate the bedrock aquifer; (2) evaluate possible methods for development of hydraulic controls outside the containment system; (3) perform a flood plain delineation; and (4) determine if the PAS site is the source of pesticides detected in sediments in adjacent creeks and wetlands. The investigation of the bedrock aquifer was performed, in part, to determine the extent of contamination in the bedrock aquifer. Phase 1 of this study was completed in January 1995 and addressed items 1, 2 and 3 as listed previously. Based on the results of the phase 1 investigation, the US EPA determined that pumping of groundwater in the bedrock aquifer would not be an effective means of remediation without adversely affecting the existing containment system, creeks and wetlands. However, the components of the existing groundwater remedy, as discussed previously in this PHA, will continue, with enhancement to control groundwater flow directions in the upper and lower aquifers within the containment system. Groundwater contamination in the bedrock aquifer is not known to be affecting any private wells. The area near the site is served by public water and was extended to four homes in the Smith's Beach area in July 1995. Phase 2 of the SPRDS was completed in April 1996 and included an investigation of sediment and surface water quality in the nearby creeks and wetlands. Findings of this investigation determined that pesticide contamination in surface water was limited to Wine Creek and likely attributable to an upstream source. It was also determined that while the PAS site is not a current source of PCBs in sediments at the adjacent creeks and wetlands, the site was a likely source of PCB contamination prior to 1986, when the existing containment system was completed. Additionally, it was determined that there are sources of PCB contamination upstream of the site. As part of the SPRDS, a leachate treatability study was also conducted in September 1995. This study was completed to evaluate potential leachate treatment processes and provide information for the preferred treatment and disposal option of leachate and contaminated groundwater at the City of Oswego's Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant, as outlined in the December 1993 ROD. Findings of the leachate treatability study indicated that this option was not viable and that the contingent option, construction of an on-site treatment system with discharge to White or Wine Creek or groundwater, was too costly.
In June 1996, the US EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to address changes to the final remedial action plan as outlined in the December 1993 ROD. Based on the findings of the SPRDS, the current system for collection and off-site treatment and disposal of leachate and groundwater will continue. Contamination in the bedrock aquifer will be addressed by enhancing the leachate and groundwater extraction rate and other parameters to achieve inward horizontal gradients within the upper (overburden) aquifer and upward vertical gradients in the lower (bedrock) aquifer, toward the containment system. Additionally, a focused feasibility study will be conducted to evaluate appropriate remedial alternatives to address the PCB-contaminated sediments in the creeks and wetlands adjacent to the PAS site.
The public health assessment (PHA) process was initiated when the PAS site was proposed for listing on the NPL in October 1981. Since that time, a number of actions have occurred at the site, many of which are summarized in the Site Description and History (subsection A) of this PHA. Other actions that have occurred since 1981 include the following:
- In February 1984, the NYS DEC held a public meeting to present the findings of investigations at the PAS site.
- In 1986, the NYS DOH completed a study of cancer incidence among workers at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant in the city of Oswego. This study was completed in response to community concerns about the number of cancers among relatively young male employees at the sewage treatment plant. The primary concern was the possibility of a cancer excess among these workers that might be due either to the processing of industrial wastes or the proximity of the plant to the PAS site. A discussion of this cancer incidence investigation and the findings of the study are presented in subsection E (Health Outcome Data) of the Background section and subsection B (Health Outcome Data Evaluation) of the Public Health Implications section of this PHA, respectively.
- On September 8, 1988, the US EPA held a public meeting to present the findings of the RI/FS.
- On September 8, 1993, the US EPA held a public meeting to present the findings of the SRI/FS and the proposed plan for operable unit 3 of remediation at the site. Representatives of the NYS DEC, NYS DOH and the Oswego County Health Department (OCHD) were also present.
- In July 1995, four residences in the Smith's Beach area were connected to the existing public water supply.
Numerous visits to the PAS site have been conducted by representatives of the NYS DOH since 1979.
In March 1979, several representatives of the NYS DOH visited the site on different occasions to evaluate site conditions. The site was poorly secured and there were about 2,500 55-gallon drums stored on-site. Many of the drums were neatly stacked, while others were scattered across the site. Some of the drums had been punctured; other drums were not sealed and chemical odors were noted. Leachate was visible and oil slicks in Wine Creek were flowing past existing booms, discharging downstream of the site. Public health concerns included the potential for flammable vapors to be ignited by trespassers, possibly resulting in the release of toxic vapors and a major chemical fire.
On April 4, 1979, six representatives of the NYS DOH and one representative of the NYS DEC visited the site. Barrels were strewn across the site, many of which were deteriorated and leaking. Other barrels had been punctured for testing and were unsealed or had been tipped over and drained. Many of the spilled materials were comprised primarily of paints and resins and had solidified. Strong odors were noted on-site.
On July 23, 1987, Mr. James Madigan of the NYS DOH inspected the PAS site and surrounding area. Representatives of the NYS DEC and OCHD were also present. The purpose of the inspection was to establish a post-monitoring sampling plan to address the NYS DOH's concerns about possible contamination of White and Wine Creeks downgradient of the site. Surface water bordering the site was stagnant due to beaver activity. Iron rich leachate was observed in the beaver pond. After the site visit, NYS DOH and NYS DEC representatives met with a resident of the Smith's Beach area to determine if any construction activity had altered the course of White and Wine Creeks. It was determined that Wine Creek was formerly connected to a small pond in the Smiths Beach area, possibly during the period that PAS was operating.
On September 13, 1991, Ms. Claudine Jones Rafferty and Mr. John Sheehan of the NYS DOH inspected the PAS site. A representative of the NYS DEC was also present. At the time of the site visit, soil sampling and installation of monitoring wells were occurring as part of the ongoing SRI. The site was surrounded by a six foot high chain link fence with a locked access gate. In several places along the western site boundary, security of the fence had been compromised and there was evidence that deer had accessed the site. However, there was no evidence of trespass at the site. The site was well vegetated and the grasses were about two feet high. The on-site leachate collection tank was still operating and secure. The NYS DOH personnel also visited Hollidays Landing, a restaurant with outdoor barbecue and recreational areas about one-half mile north of the site. The shoreline along Lake Ontario in this area is at the point where the confluence of White and Wine Creek flows into Lake Ontario.
On June 23, 1994, Ms. Claudine Jones Rafferty, Mr. John Sheehan and Ms. Susan VanPatten of the NYS DOH visited the PAS site. At the time of the site visit, leachate was being pumped from the on-site leachate collection tank into a tanker truck for off-site disposal. The site is entirely surrounded by a fence. The site is well-vegetated and grasses on the site cap were about two feet high; some deer were seen in the northern portion of the site. Site conditions have not changed significantly since 1991. After the site visit, staff met with two residents who own properties in the Smith's Beach area, about one-half mile north of the site. One of these residents has an existing private well that is still used for household purposes and the NYS DOH staff collected groundwater samples from this water supply. Most of the other homes in the area are served by public water. The NYS DOH representatives also visited the area known as Hollidays Landing, west of the Smith's Beach residential development and northwest of the site.
The NYS DOH estimated from the 1990 Census that 2,302 people live within one mile of the PAS site. The racial distribution of the population within one mile of the site is 98.3 percent white, less than one percent black, and less than one percent of other races. The age distribution of this population includes 7.8 percent under 5 years of age, 21.4 percent between 5-20 years of age, 54 percent between 21-64 years of age and 16.8 percent that are 65 years or older. The site is in census tract 216.05 and the median household income in 1989 for this census tract was $24,256, with 10.9 percent of the families with incomes below the poverty level.
Immediately west of the site, along East Seneca Street, there is an abandoned property which was the site of a former radio station; to the east, beyond White Creek, is a union hall; both of these facilities are served by public water. Other commercial properties near the site include a county-operated waste transfer station and business offices. There are about 25-30 residences one-half mile north of the site in a residential community known as Smith's Beach and there are five residences on Mitchell Street, one-third mile north of the site (refer to Figure 3, Appendix B). Many of the homes at Smith's Beach are seasonal residences and are mostly used for about three months each year during the summer. However, some homes are now permanent residences. The site is about one-half mile south of the southern shore of Lake Ontario. White and Wine Creeks flow past the site to the east and west, respectively (refer to Figure 4, Appendix A). These two streams converge northwest of the site and flow north, draining to Lake Ontario, west of Hollidays Landing, a restaurant with outdoor barbecue and recreational areas. St. Paul's Cemetery is west of the confluence of White and Wine Creeks and borders Lake Ontario.
The Niagara Mohawk Fire Training School and Oswego Casting are two facilities which are listed on the NYS DEC Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal sites (refer to Figure 1, Appendix A). The Niagara Mohawk Fire Training School is about 750 feet southeast of the site on the south side of East Seneca Street. This facility is actively used for training Niagara Mohawk personnel in fire fighting and emergency response techniques. A RI was done and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were detected at this facility in soils, groundwater, as well as the surface water and sediment of White Creek. Runoff from this facility appears to have contributed to PCB contamination in White Creek which runs along the western and southern border of the facility.
The Oswego Casting facility is about 2,500 feet northeast of the site near the intersection of East Seneca Street and Middle Road. This facility is an inactive specialty aluminum casting plant which operated from 1953-1986. PCBs were detected at the Oswego Castings site in 1986.
Across from the PAS site, to the south, is a former sand and gravel operation. This area, known as the East Seneca Street Dump, was operated by Niagara Mohawk and later by the City of Oswego as a municipal landfill. In 1976, Oswego County acquired ownership of the property and has since operated the site as a solid waste transfer station. This facility was previously listed on the NYS DEC Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste sites. PCBs were detected in soils and sediment next to the East Seneca Street Dump which were attributed to the adjacent Niagara Mohawk Training School. Leachate at the East Seneca Street Dump contained volatile organic compound (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and metals. Groundwater beneath the dump contained metals and VOCs. The site was delisted from the state's inactive hazardous waste site registry in January 1993.
Natural Resource Use
The area in which PAS is situated has been characterized as having an abundance of surface water. The site is bounded by wetlands to the east, north and west. These wetlands formed along the stream channels of White and Wine Creeks, which are perennial streams that originate south of the site, converge northwest of the site, and drain into Lake Ontario. An open marsh, about five acres, borders the residential community of Smith's Beach and is directly connected to Wine Creek by a drainage channel (URS, 1984).
Lake Ontario is the source of water for the City of Oswego public water supply and also for the Metropolitan Water Board which serves portions of Onondaga County. The Oswego municipal water treatment plant has a surface water intake system about one mile west from the point where White and Wine Creeks converge and discharge into Lake Ontario. The location of this water intake is not likely to be affected by contamination at the PAS site. Within one mile of the site, to the northeast, there is a large wetland which extends north along the Lake Ontario shoreline. The area across from the PAS site was previously operated as a sand and gravel operation.
Wildlife near the site includes deer, rabbits, beavers, raccoons and migratory birds, many of which live in the wetland areas at and near the site. Several fish species, including rainbow and brown trout reportedly migrate up White and Wine Creeks during the spring spawning season. The Oswego County Environmental Management Council reported that no rare or endangered animals live in the area near the PAS site (URS, 1984).
There are two aquifer units underlying the site: an unconsolidated sand and gravel unit (upper aquifer) and a deeper sandstone unit (bedrock aquifer). These two aquifer units are separated by an impermeable till layer. Near the site, groundwater flow in both the upper and bedrock aquifers is to the north, toward Lake Ontario. Groundwater north of the site was previously used as a source of drinking water for some homes. However, these homes were connected to public water in July 1995.
The NYS DOH maintains several health outcome data bases which could be used to generate site-specific data, if warranted. These data bases include the cancer registry, the congenital malformations registry, the heavy metals registry, the occupational lung disease registry, vital records (birth and death certificates) and hospital discharge information.
In 1986, the NYS DOH completed a cancer investigation among workers at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant in Oswego, New York. This investigation was completed in response to community concerns about the occurrence of cancer in young male employees of the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant. Specifically, concern was expressed about the possibility that cancer occurrence among workers at the Eastside Plant might be due to either processing of industrial wastes or the location of the plant near the PAS site. The study compared the population of employees at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant to workers at the Westside Sewage Treatment Plant, who were not exposed to the contaminants of concern at the Eastside Plant but might be expected to be similar in most other ways to the Eastside Plant workers, and also to the male population of upstate New York. The analyses were restricted to males since all of the active and inactive workers at the Eastside Plant were males and only three of the 39 workers at the Westside Plant were females. The findings of this study are discussed under the Health Outcome Data Evaluation section of this PHA.
In March 1979, residents near the site reported the occurrence of odors to the NYS DOH.
Because of concerns about the health implications of NPL sites in Oswego County, the Fulton Safe Drinking Water Action Committee (FSDWAC) petitioned the ATSDR in 1986 to perform a health assessment of the PAS site.
Citizens attending a public meeting held by the NYS DEC in February 1984 expressed concern about possible contamination of their properties and related health effects.
In 1984, the Mayor of the City of Oswego expressed concern about the incidence of cancer among young male employees at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant in the City of Oswego. Specifically, concern was expressed about the possibility that the occurrence of cancer among workers might be due to processing of industrial wastes at the plant or the location of the plant near the PAS site.
Citizens attending a public meeting held by the US EPA in September 1993, inquired about the
health risk associated with exposure to contaminants at the site and the threat to the Smith's
Beach area. Non-health or exposure-related community concerns were also expressed by citizens
attending this meeting, but are not included in this PHA. Following the public meeting, written
comments were received from the FSDWAC which expressed concern that the US EPA had not
taken actions to confirm if all residents in the Smith's Beach area were connected to public water.