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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

POLLUTION ABATEMENT SERVICES (PAS)
CITY OF OSWEGO, OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

To evaluate if a site poses an existing or potential hazard to the exposed or potentially exposed population(s), the site conditions are characterized. This site characterization involves a review of sampling data for environmental media (i.e., soil, surface water, groundwater, air) both on- and off-site and an evaluation of the physical conditions of the contaminant sources or physical hazards near the site which may pose an additional health risk to the community or receptor population(s).

Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified based upon consideration of the following factors:

  1. Concentrations of contaminant(s) in environmental media both on- and off-site;
  2. Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design;
  3. Comparison of on-site and off-site contaminant concentrations in environmental media with typical background levels;
  4. Comparison of contaminant concentrations in environmental media both on- and off-site with public health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarcinogenic endpoints, and (2) carcinogenic endpoints. These comparison values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards and other relevant guidelines. Contaminant concentrations which exceed a comparison value do not necessarily pose a health threat; and
  5. Community health concerns.

The selected contaminant(s) are evaluated in the Public Health Implications section (Toxicological Evaluation) of this PHA to determine whether exposure to these chemicals is of public health significance.

The On-site Contamination and the Off-site Contamination subsections include discussions of sampling data for environmental media; summary tables of sampling data are presented in Appendix B. If a chemical is selected for further evaluation in one medium (i.e., soil, sediment, surface water, groundwater, air), that contaminant will also be reported in all other media, if detected. A listed contaminant does not necessarily mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposure.

For the purpose of evaluating environmental sampling data and site conditions in this PHA, "on-site" refers to the area within the property boundary (i.e., the fenceline) as indicated on Figures 1 and 7 (Appendix A) and "off-site" refers to all areas outside of this property boundary. No figures of locations sampled during the RI are included in this PHA. Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7 (Appendix A) show the locations of sampling points for surface water, sediment, groundwater, soil borings and leachate samples collected during the environmental assessment, the SRI and as part of the LTMP.

For this PHA, the data reviewed includes historical data generated as part of initial remedial efforts at the site, data generated during the RI, the SRI, SPRDS and other past investigations at the site. Analytical data generated during the LTMP (as summarized in the August 1993 SRI report and monthly progress reports), analytical results of leachate samples collected by the NYS DOH from the site and analytical results of private water supply samples collected by the OCHD and the NYS DOH were also reviewed.

A. On-site Contamination

Wastes

A summary of contaminants detected in samples collected by the US EPA in 1977 from on-site waste lagoons is presented in Table 3 (Appendix B). Tables 4 and 5 (Appendix B) summarize contaminants detected in liquid waste and sludge samples collected from underground storage tanks at the site by US EPA. These samples were collected during early clean-up activities at the site between December 1985 and August 1986.

Leachate

In 1977 and 1978, the NYS DOH collected limited samples of leachate from the site. Analytical results showed that the leachate contained toluene at 50 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) and benzene at 50 mcg/L. As part of the LTMP, samples were collected from LCW-2 (refer to Figure 3, Appendix A) in May and November of 1991 for analysis of VOCs and SVOCs and results are summarized in Table 6 (Appendix B). Two leachate samples were collected from on-site leachate collection wells (LCW-2 and LCW-4) in September 1992. Results are summarized in Table 7 (Appendix B).

Subsurface Soils

As part of the initial RI for the PAS site, 146 soil samples were collected and analyzed for VOCs and PCBs. Twelve of the soil samples were collected for analysis of priority pollutants. These data are summarized in Table 8 (Appendix B). The depth from which these samples were collected ranged from 2 feet to greater than 30 feet deep.

During the SRI, 110 subsurface soil samples were collected from nine borings at the site (refer to Figure 6, Appendix A). These soil borings were all situated outside of the existing slurry wall at the site. Subsurface soil samples were collected at depths ranging from 2-23 feet and were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals and cyanide. The analytical results for the inorganic chemicals (metals and cyanide) detected in these subsurface soil samples are summarized in Table 9 (Appendix B). The only VOC reported above the detection limit was 4-methyl-2-pentanone (0.076 mg/kg); this compound was detected in soil boring 22 (B-22) at a sample interval of 21-23 feet. The only SVOC detected in subsurface soil samples at levels above the detection limit was bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (0.072 mg/kg).

Surface Water

During the RI, surface water samples were collected from seven on-site locations along White Creek during two sampling events in December 1982. These data are summarized in Table 10 (Appendix B).

During the environmental assessment following the RI, surface water samples were collected from one on-site location (sample location number 3) in the run of White Creek which passes through the site (refer to Figure 7, Appendix A). Surface water samples were collected in November 1984 and 1985 and May 1985 and 1986. Results are summarized in Table 11 (Appendix B).

As part of the LTMP, surface water samples were collected in November 1990 and November 1991 from one on-site sampling point (SW-3) in White Creek (refer to Figure 8, Appendix A). Samples were analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs and no compounds were detected.

During the SRI, surface water samples were collected from one sample location in the run of White Creek that flows through the site (refer to Figure 8, Appendix A). Samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, metals and cyanide. Analytical results for inorganic parameters (metals and cyanide) are summarized in Table 12 (Appendix B). No VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides or PCBs were reported above the detection limit in on-site surface water samples collected during the SRI.

Sediment

Sediment samples were collected from seven on-site locations along the course of White Creek during the RI in December 1982. These data are summarized in Table 13 (Appendix B).

During the environmental assessment following the RI, on-site sediment samples were collected from one location in the run of White Creek which passes through the site (refer to Figure 7, Appendix A). Results are summarized in Table 14 (Appendix B).

As part of the LTMP, sediment samples were collected from the same on-site location as the surface water samples (SS-3). Samples were collected in November 1990 and 1991 and were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, metals and cyanide. The only VOC detected was toluene (0.9 mcg/kg) and the only SVOCs reported above the detection limit were bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (200 mcg/kg) and di-n-butylphthalate (130 mcg/kg and 940 mcg/kg). However, all of these compounds were also found in the associated laboratory blank used for quality control and are attributed to laboratory-introduced contamination. The only pesticide detected was aldrin (730 mcg/kg); PCB Aroclor 1254 was detected at 3,100 mcg/kg and PCB Aroclor 1248 was found at 1,900 mcg/kg (this concentration is calculated from secondary dilution). Analytical results of the inorganic chemicals (i.e., metals and cyanide) are summarized in Table 15 (Appendix B).

During the SRI, sediment samples were collected at the same location as surface water samples and also analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, metals and cyanide. No VOCs were detected in any samples; all SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, metals and cyanide were reported at estimated concentrations or below the detection limit.

Groundwater

During the RI, groundwater samples were collected from nine on-site monitoring wells in March 1983; analytical results are summarized in Table 16 (Appendix B).

As part of the LTMP, groundwater data was collected from nine overburden monitoring wells on-site including LD-4, LD-5, LS-6, LD-6, LD-8, SWW4, SWW6, SWW10 and SWW12. Groundwater was also collected from two bedrock monitoring wells on-site (LR6 and LR8) and LCW-2; the locations of these wells are shown on Figure 5 (Appendix A). Samples were analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs and results are summarized in Table 17 (Appendix B).

During the SRI, groundwater samples were collected from on-site monitoring well (MW) 22 (refer to Figure 5, Appendix A) and analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, metals and cyanide. This well is within the site boundary but outside of the slurry wall. The analytical results for inorganic chemicals (metals and cyanide) are summarized in Table 18 (Appendix B). No VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs or pesticides were reported at levels above the detection limit in groundwater samples collected from on-site monitoring well MW-22.

During the supplemental pre-remedial design study, groundwater samples were collected from on-site monitoring wells LR6, OD3, LR8 and MW22. The contaminant concentrations that were detected and the extent of groundwater contamination are shown on Figure 5A (Appendix A).

As part of operations and maintenance (O&M) for the PAS site, groundwater samples were collected from on-site groundwater monitoring wells LD-4, LD-5, LS-6, LR-6, LD-6, LR-8 and LD-8 in May 1996. The samples were analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs. No SVOCs were found in any of the samples and no VOCs were detected in the samples from LD-4, LS-6, LR-6 and LD-8. 1,1-Dichloroethane was found at 18 mcg/L in LD-5; benzene was detected at 7 mcg/L in LD-6; and chlorobenzene was detected at 5.0 mcg/L in LR-8.

B. Off-site Contamination

Groundwater

During the RI, groundwater samples were collected from eight off-site monitoring wells (refer to Table 19, Appendix B) in March 1983.

As part of the LTMP, groundwater was collected from six off-site overburden monitoring wells (LS-2, LD-2, LD-3, LS-9, SWW-8, SWW-1) and two off-site bedrock monitoring wells (LR-2 and LR-3); the locations of these wells are shown on Figure 5 (Appendix A). Samples were collected in November 1990, May 1991 and November 1991. Samples were analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs and results are summarized in Table 17 (Appendix B).

During the SRI, groundwater samples were collected from two off-site monitoring wells, MW-21 and MW-23 (refer to Figure 5, Appendix A). Samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, metals and cyanide. No PCBs or pesticides were detected at levels above the detection limit in either well and no VOCs or SVOCs were reported above the detection limit in MW-23. Results of organic contaminants in MW-21 are summarized in Table 20 (Appendix B). Analytical results of metals are summarized in Table 18 (Appendix B).

During the supplemental pre-remedial design study, three additional monitoring wells were installed north (downgradient) of the site to further define the extent of groundwater contamination in the bedrock aquifer (refer to Figure 5A, Appendix A). Groundwater samples were collected from off-site monitoring wells OD4, MW21, MW23, MW24, MW25 and MW26. No contaminants were detected in MW23, MW24, OD4 or in the furthest downgradient monitoring well (MW-26). The inferred extent of the contaminant plume and VOC concentrations are shown on Figure 5A (Appendix A).

In May 1996, groundwater samples were collected from off-site groundwater monitoring wells M-21, M-25, M-26, LR-2, LD-2 and LS-9 (refer to Figure 5A, Appendix A) and analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs as part of the O&M for the PAS site. SVOCs were not found in any of the samples and no VOCs were detected in LR-2, LD-2, LS-9 or MW-26; benzene was detected at 5.0 mcg/L in MW-21 and at 9.0 mcg/L in MW-25. No other VOCs were found at concentrations above the sample quantitation limit.

Surface Water

During the RI, surface water samples were collected from six off-site locations along White and Wine Creeks during two sampling events in December 1982. These data are summarized in Table 21 (Appendix B).

During the environmental assessment, surface water samples were collected from seven locations in White and Wine Creeks, both upgradient and downgradient of the site (refer to Figure 7, Appendix A). Samples were also collected from two sample points in the wetland area which borders the Smith's Beach residential area, north of the site. Samples were collected in November 1984 and 1985 and also in May 1985 and 1986. Results are summarized in Table 11 (Appendix B).

As part of the LTMP, two rounds of off-site surface water samples were collected from White and Wine Creeks in November 1990 and November 1991. Sampling points are shown on Figure 8 (Appendix A) and included SW-1, SW-2, SW-5, SW-4, SW-4A and SW-4B. Samples were analyzed for VOCs and SVOCs and no compounds were detected.

During the SRI, surface water samples were collected from seven off-site sampling locations (refer to Figure 8, Appendix A). Two of these sampling points are upgradient of the PAS site, one in White Creek and the other in Wine Creek. Results of the metals analysis are summarized in Table 12 (Appendix B). No VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs or pesticides were reported at levels above the detection limit.

Sediment

Sediment samples were also collected from six off-site locations along the course of White and Wine Creeks during the RI in December 1982. These data are summarized in Table 22 (Appendix B).

During the environmental assessment following the RI, sediment samples were collected from seven locations along White and Wine Creeks, both upgradient and downgradient of the site (refer to Figure 7, Appendix A). Samples were also collected from two points in the wetland area which borders the Smith's Beach residential area, north of the site. Samples were collected in November 1984 and also in 1985 and 1986. Results are summarized in Table 14 (Appendix B).

Sediment samples were collected from the same off-site locations as surface water samples during the LTMP (refer to Figure 8, Appendix A). Samples were collected in November 1990 and 1991 and analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, metals and cyanide. The only VOCs detected were reported at estimated concentrations below the detection limit or qualified as being found in the associated quality control laboratory blank and these data were not included in this evaluation. Analytical results of the SVOCs, PCBs and pesticides detected in off-site sediment samples are summarized in Table 23 (Appendix B). Results of the metals analysis are summarized in Table 15 (Appendix B).

During the SRI, sediment samples were collected from the same locations as surface water samples. Sediment samples were collected from seven off-site sampling points (refer to Figure 8, Appendix A) and analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, metals and cyanide. No VOCs were detected in any samples; PCB Aroclor 1254 was reported in one sample at 56 mcg/kg at sample location S-6. All other values for PCBs, SVOCs and pesticides were reported as estimated concentrations or below the detection limit and have not been included in this evaluation. Results of metals analysis are summarized in Table 24 (Appendix B).

Private Wells

In the past, private wells in the Smith's Beach area and on Mitchell Street north of the site were sampled to evaluate if contaminants from the PAS site had affected drinking water quality. Five residential wells were sampled in 1976 by the OCHD for various chemicals, including gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil and lubricating oil and no contaminants were detected. In August 1978, one private water supply was sampled by the NYS DOH for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and no contaminants were detected.

In July 1984, the OCHD sampled three private water supplies in Smith's Beach. The samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, pesticides, metals and cyanide. Trace levels of methylene chloride were detected in one sample, but its presence was attributed to laboratory contamination as this compound was also found in the quality control laboratory blank. No SVOCs, VOCs, pesticides or PCBs were detected. Selenium was detected in one sample at 20 mcg/L, zinc was detected in two of the residential well samples at 2.0 mcg/L and 230 mcg/L and mercury was detected at 0.5 mcg/L and 0.6 mcg/L in two of the samples.

In June 1994, the NYS DOH collected a sample from an existing private well in Smith's Beach. The resident reported that this well is not used for drinking but is used for other household purposes. The sample was analyzed for VOCs, ketones and inorganic chemicals including metals. Acetone was detected at 11 mcg/L, which is slightly above the detection limit of 10.0 mcg/L. Sodium was detected at 259 milligrams per liter (mg/L), and iron and manganese were detected at 4,440 mcg/L and 1,900 mcg/L, respectively. Resampling of this well was conducted by the OCHD in August 1994 for the NYS DOH. The sample was analyzed for ketones and inorganic chemicals. Acetone was not detected and the original finding may have been a laboratory artifact. Sodium was reported at 283 mg/L, iron at 3820 mcg/L and manganese was reported at 2090 mcg/L. Iron and manganese occur naturally in groundwater. The presence of these chemicals at elevated concentrations in this private well is attributed to local geologic conditions.

Biota

Findings of the aquatic and biological survey completed as part of the RI in 1984, showed reduced fish populations in areas downstream of the PAS site as well as stressed vegetation in areas bordering the site. However, it is not known if these findings can be attributed solely or partially to contaminant migration from the PAS site as runoff from other nearby facilities may have contributed to contamination in White Creek.

During the environmental assessment, fish and other organisms were collected from nine sampling points both upgradient and downgradient of the site (refer to Figure 7, Appendix A). Whole fish, collected in May and November of 1985 and in May 1986, were analyzed and the results are summarized in Table 25 (Appendix B).

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this health assessment, the ATSDR and the NYS DOH rely on the information in the referenced documents and assume that adequate quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures and data reporting, unless otherwise noted. The validity of analysis and conclusion drawn for this health assessment is determined by the completeness and reliability of that information.

The amount of a chemical in a sample can change with time due to various factors including chemical instability, degradation, and volatilization. The analytical method used requires that environmental samples are analyzed within a certain time from the time of collection; these are known as holding times. If the specified holding time is exceeded, the data may not be valid.

Samples can become contaminated by sources that are not site-related. Quality assurance blanks, including method, trip, field, rinse and water blanks are prepared and used to identify any contamination that may have been introduced into the samples during sample preparation, field activities or laboratory analysis. Method blanks measure laboratory contamination, trip blanks measure cross-contamination of samples that can occur during shipment and field blanks measure cross-contamination of samples that can occur during field activities.

During the environmental assessment of the site, all data was analyzed in accordance with the US EPA contract laboratory protocols and a QA/QC data review was completed. For data collected during the RI, LTMP and other historical sampling events, the data is assumed to be reliable for development of this PHA.

Data collected during the SRI underwent extensive data validation, including an evaluation of units, holding times, raw data, calibration procedures, laboratory blanks, laboratory and field duplicates, instrument detection limits, data completeness, surrogate recovery, matrix spikes, tentatively identified compounds, standards data, and quantitation limits. All organics data were found to be valid and acceptable except those results which are qualified by the following notations: J (estimated), U (not-detected), R (unusable), JN (presumptive evidence for the presence of the material at an estimated value based on comparison to reference charts). The holding times of several soil samples were exceeded for VOCs, SVOCs and pesticide and PCBs analyses and these results were qualified as estimated concentrations. Validation of PCBs and pesticides data for soil and groundwater samples collected during the SRI were determined using existing guidelines and best professional judgement as approved by US EPA. All of the data for PCBs and pesticides in subsurface soil samples collected during the SRI that were reported at levels above the detection limit were flagged by one or more laboratory qualifiers, indicating that the level detected was an estimated concentration that was not confirmed. These data have not been included for evaluation in this PHA. Most of the data for PCBs, pesticides and SVOCs in sediment samples collected during the SRI were flagged by laboratory qualifiers and these data were not used in this evaluation. Data qualified by the laboratory as being found in the associated method blank was attributed to laboratory-introduced contamination and not included in this PHA. Although some of the data were qualified or rejected, the data were determined to be of appropriate quality for the SRI/FS. In general, the reliability and quality of data generated during the SRI are considered suitable for this PHA.

Groundwater sampling data collected as part of the spring 1996 Environmental Monitoring Report were validated and reviewed for completeness. Although some of the samples for SVOC analysis exceeded the appropriate holding times and there were slight differences in the daily calibration check standard for acetone, the data were qualified and found to be useable as reported. Data reported as "J" (i.e., below the sample quantitation limit) are not included in this PHA.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

In the past, physical hazards existed at the site. The site was poorly secured and about 12,000 drums were stored at the site, some of which were stacked, and others which were strewn across the site. Possible fire and explosion hazards existed because of the mix of chemicals that were stored at the site.

Currently, the only possible physical hazards at the site are associated with access to the marsh area (i.e., water hazard) in the northern portion of the site and working near the on-site leachate collection tank. However, the site is completely fenced with a locked access gate to prevent access by unauthorized personnel.

E. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI)

To identify other facilities that could possibly contribute to site-related contaminants in soil, air, groundwater, and/or surface water at or near the PAS site, the NYS DOH searched the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI has been developed by the US EPA from chemical release information provided by those industries that are required to report contaminant emissions and releases on an annual basis. The earliest year for which TRI data is available is 1988. The NYS DOH is using TRI data submitted by industrial facilities identified to be within a 2.5 mile radius of the site for the reporting year 1992.

The NYS DOH uses a simple mathematical model to estimate if potential contaminant concentrations resulting from air emissions at a facility may be contributing to community (receptor population) exposures to contaminants at a site. This model uses information about the facility location (distance from the exposed population) and annual air emission data to evaluate what portion, if any, of the population living within this distance from the manufacturing facility may also be exposed to contaminants originating at the site.

Three manufacturing facilities within a 2.5 mile radius of the site were identified as filing TRI data. These facilities are Oswego Wire, Inc., Specialty Minerals, Inc. and Alcan Rolled Products Company. A map identifying the locations of these facilities is provided on Figure 9 (Appendix A). The only facility which reported contaminant releases to the TRI is the Alcan Rolled Products Company, which is 2.0 miles northeast of the PAS site. Table 26 (Appendix B) summarizes contaminant air releases reported to TRI for the year 1992. The Alcan Rolled Products Company also reported a release of 11-499 pounds (lbs.) of chlorine to surface water for 1992. For the years 1988 to 1991, Alcan Rolled Products Company did not report any contaminant releases to surface water, groundwater or land. Past total emissions of aluminum, chlorine, and hydrochloric acid have decreased since 1988. Emissions of chromium and copper were not reported prior to 1990. Past emissions of manganese have varied since 1988, but have not exceeded reported emissions for 1992. In 1988, Alcan Rolled Products Company reported total emissions of non-fibrous aluminum oxide to be 45,880 lbs/year. Neither Oswego Wire, Inc. or Specialty Minerals, Inc. reported any releases to air, surface water, groundwater or land for the years 1988-1992.

Results of the screening evaluation indicate that air emissions from the Alcan Rolled Products Company would not increase contaminant levels in ambient air near the Pollution Abatement Services site to levels above the screening criterion of 0.1 microgram per cubic meter of air (mcg/m3) for chromium, 0.4 mcg/m3 for manganese or above the screening criterion of 1 mcg/m3 for other compounds. Based on the results of this screening evaluation, the public health significance of contaminant emissions from TRI facilities as an additional source of community exposures at the PAS site will not be evaluated further in this PHA.

PATHWAYS ANALYSES

This section of the PHA identifies potential and completed exposure pathways associated with past, present and future use of the site. An exposure pathway is the process by which an individual may be exposed to contaminants originating from a site. An exposure pathway is comprised of five elements, including: (1) a contaminant source; (2) environmental media and transport mechanisms; (3) a point of exposure; (4) a route of exposure; and (5) a receptor population.

The source of contamination is the source of contaminant release to the environment (any waste disposal area or point of discharge); if the original source is unknown, it is the environmental media (soil, air, biota, water) which are contaminated at the point of exposure. Environmental media and transport mechanisms "carry" contaminants from the source to points where human exposure may occur. The exposure point is a location where actual or potential human contact with a contaminated medium may occur. The route of exposure is the manner in which a contaminant actually enters or contacts the body (i.e., ingestion, inhalation, dermal adsorption). The receptor population is the person or people who are exposed or may be exposed to contaminants at a point of exposure.

Two types of exposure pathways are evaluated in the PHA. A completed exposure pathway exists when the criteria for all five elements of an exposure pathway are documented; a potential exposure pathway exists when the criteria for any one of the five elements comprising an exposure pathway is not met. A suspected exposure pathway is considered to be eliminated when any one of the five elements comprising an exposure pathway has not existed in the past, does not exist in the present and will never exist in the future.

A. Completed Exposure Pathways

Wastes and Leachate

People who worked at the site between 1970 and 1977, when the site was operated by PAS, are believed to have been exposed to on-site wastes and leachate through dermal contact and inhalation of volatile compounds. Worker exposures likely occurred during waste handling and transfer operations at the site. Table 1 (Appendix B) summarizes some of the contaminants known or suspected to be at the site between 1970 and 1977. Tables 3, 4 and 5 (appendix B) summarize contaminants found in on-site waste lagoons and also in liquid and sludge samples from on-site underground storage tanks. It is not known how many people worked at the site or may have been exposed to on-site wastes during past site operations.

Surface Soil

In the past, it is likely that people working at or visiting the site were exposed to contaminants in surface soil. Historical information suggests that drummed wastes were spilled on the ground and that numerous releases of liquid wastes at and near the site occurred between 1973 and 1976. However, no surface soil samples were collected prior to capping and remediation of the site and the public health significance of past exposures to contaminants in surface soil can not be evaluated.

Air

In the past, people working at and living near the site were probably exposed to VOCs in ambient air through inhalation. Numerous reports of chemical odors at and near the site have been documented by the NYS DOH personnel, particularly during 1979. It is likely that people working at and near the site, as well as nearby residents, were exposed to VOCs in ambient air from on-site waste lagoons and on-site wastes between 1969, when operations at the site began, and 1986, when remedial activities as described in the 1984 ROD were completed. It is likely that on-site workers and people working or living near the site may have also been exposed to residual contamination in air emissions from the on-site incinerator which operated between 1970 and 1977. As discussed previously, it is not known how many people worked at the site. The number of people who worked nearby at commercial facilities in the past is not known. Current population estimates (based on 1990 census data) indicate that 2,302 people live within one mile of the site. Historical air sampling data do not exist and an evaluation of the public health significance of past exposures to contaminants in air can not be completed.

B. Potential Exposure Pathways

Wastes and Leachate

Trespassers (i.e., unauthorized persons) and others who may have accessed the site before 1986, when the initial phase of site remediation was completed, could have been exposed to on-site wastes and leachate via dermal contact and inhalation of volatile compounds. It is not known how many people may have trespassed at the site. These possible exposures were most likely infrequent in occurrence and for short periods of time.

Surface Water and Sediment

In the past, people who may have used White and Wine Creeks or wetland areas adjacent to the site for recreational purposes could have been exposed to contaminants in surface water and sediment from the PAS site. The confluence of White and Wine Creeks discharges to Lake Ontario, just north of Holliday's Landing restaurant. There is a path from the restaurant to Lake Ontario and this area is reportedly used for fishing and other recreational activities. The number of people who used or are using the creeks, lake and wetland areas for recreational purposes is not known. People who currently use White and Wine Creeks or nearby wetland areas for recreational purposes can be exposed to residual levels of contaminants in surface water and sediment. These exposures are likely to be infrequent in occurrence and for short periods of time.

Available data suggest that contaminants in surface water and sediment may be from sources upgradient of the PAS site. Through the US EPA, a phase II supplemental pre-remedial design study was completed in April 1996 to evaluate the source of contaminants in surface water and sediments of nearby creeks and wetlands. The findings of this study showed that pesticide contamination in surface water was limited to Wine Creek and likely attributable to an upstream source. Other findings of this study showed that there are sources of PCBs upstream of the site. However, it was determined that the PAS site was a likely source of PCB contamination in sediment, prior to 1986, when the site was capped.

Air

The site has been remediated and is capped and fenced. Possible exposure to contaminants in air at the site is limited. However, on-site workers who sample the on-site monitoring wells and monitor and maintain the on-site leachate collection system may be exposed to contaminants that can volatize to air during these activities. Use of appropriate personal protective equipment and safe work practices in accordance with the site-specific health and safety plan will minimize possible exposures to VOCs in air by on-site workers who monitor and maintain the on-site leachate collection system and sample monitoring wells.

C. Eliminated Exposure Pathways

Air

Capping and other remedial measures that were completed at the PAS site since 1986 have eliminated the potential for off-site receptors to be exposed to contaminants in air currently and in the future.

On-Site Surface Soil

Past remedial actions at the site, including fencing and installation of an impermeable cap, have eliminated the potential for present and future exposures to contaminants in on-site surface soils.

Soil Gas

Past remedial measures at the site, including removal of contaminated soil, installation of a slurry wall and an impermeable cap, have eliminated the potential for off-site migration of contaminants in soil gas from areas within the confines of the existing containment system. During the SRI, VOCs were detected in groundwater in the bedrock aquifer and subsurface soils in areas outside (i.e., north) of the existing containment system at the site. No soil gas samples were collected during the SRI. However, because the site is remotely located and surrounded by undeveloped areas to the north, east and west, the potential for VOCs to migrate in soil gas to areas where human exposure may occur in the future is considered unlikely.

Biota

The City of Oswego has an ordinance prohibiting hunting within the limits of the City of Oswego, including the wetlands bordering the PAS site and to the north in the Smith's Beach area. Exposure to site contaminants through ingestion of wild game that is hunted is not an exposure pathway of concern at or near the PAS site.

Private Water Supplies

In July 1984, the OCHD sampled three private wells in Smith's Beach. Selenium is the only metal that was detected (20 mcg/L) above the current maximum contaminant level (MCL). The MCL for selenium in public water supplies is 10 mcg/L; this standard is used as a guidance value to evaluate water quality in private wells. The residence whose well contained selenium above the MCL has since been connected to public water.

The NYS DOH sampled the water supply of one seasonal home in the Smith's Beach area in June 1994. The sample was analyzed for VOCs and metals; acetone was detected at 11 mcg/L, iron at 4,440 mcg/L, manganese at 1,900 mcg/L, and sodium at 259 milligrams per liter (mg/L). This well is not used for drinking but is used for other household purposes only. This well was resampled by representatives of the OCHD for NYS DOH on August 15, 1994. Acetone was not detected, iron was reported at 3,820 mcg/L, manganese at 2,090 mcg/L and sodium at 283 mg/L. All other metals tested were below detection limits, applicable guidelines or within expected background ranges. This home was connected to the existing public water supply in July 1995.

During the SRI, groundwater contamination was found in the bedrock aquifer, outside of the existing containment system and downgradient of the site. The contamination is attributed to the downward migration of contaminants in groundwater from the overburden aquifer to the bedrock aquifer at areas where the till layer is thinnest within the confines of the containment system and where downward vertical gradients exist. During the SPRDS, additional investigations of the bedrock aquifer were conducted to define the extent of VOC contamination. Available data showed that the extent of the contaminant plume had not affected existing private wells. As indicated in the ESD, which was issued in June 1996 for this site, contamination in the bedrock aquifer will be addressed by modifying hydraulic conditions within the existing containment system, so that groundwater flow is directed toward and captured by the on-site leachate and groundwater collection system. Groundwater sampling data collected in May 1996 shows lower contaminant concentrations in the bedrock aquifer.

Groundwater at the site is contaminated, but East Seneca Street and the area near the site including Mitchell Street is served by public water. Past sampling of residential wells in the Smith's Beach area, north of the site, did not show evidence of site contaminants in private water supplies. Public water was extended to the Smith's Beach area in 1979; however, not all homes were connected. In July 1995, the four remaining homes were connected to public water. The private wells were abandoned by filling the wells with concrete, cutting the well casing to 12 inches below grade and covering the area with fill material. There are no known potable water supply wells downgradient of the existing groundwater contaminant plume and the area is served by public water. The December 1993 ROD recommends institutional controls on groundwater use through deed restrictions.

D. Data Gaps

Soil Gas

There is insufficient information to evaluate possible exposures that may have occurred in the past to contaminants in soil gas at and near the site. Before the site was remediated, no samples of soil gas were collected at or near the site to evaluate possible off-site migration of VOCs to adjacent properties, including the former radio station which bordered the site to the west.

On-Site Surface Soil

There is insufficient information to evaluate the public health significance of exposures that could have occurred in the past to contaminants in on-site surface soils. Information about past ground surface conditions at the site was not available for review during development of this PHA. Furthermore, no surface soil samples were collected prior to remediation and capping of the site and an evaluation of past exposures to contaminants in on-site surface soils that could have occurred through dermal contact, incidental ingestion and inhalation of soil particulates can not be completed.

Air

There is insufficient information to evaluate the public health significance of exposures that may have occurred before the site was remediated to contaminants in air at and near the site. Based on documented reports of chemical odors at and near the site by NYS DOH personnel, particularly in 1979, NYS DOH believes that people were exposed to contaminants in air originating at the PAS site. However, there are no historical air sampling data to characterize these past exposures.

Biota

Whole Creek Chub were sampled during the environmental assessment and contain some chemicals (Table 25, Appendix B). However, these data can not be used to evaluate possible exposure to fish that is filleted and eaten. Reportedly, several fish species, including rainbow and brown trout, migrate up White and Wine Creeks during the spring spawning season. The NYS DOH issues annual advisories on eating sportfish and wildlife caught in New York State (refer to Appendix C for the advisory). 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 from areas near the site is limited, given that the creeks are small and intermittent.

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. Toxicological Evaluation

An analysis of the toxicological implications of the human exposure pathways of concern is presented below. To evaluate the potential health risks from contaminants of concern associated with the PAS site, the NYS DOH has assessed the risks for cancer and noncancer health effects. The health effects are related to contaminant concentration, exposure pathway, exposure frequency and duration. For additional information on how the NYS DOH determined and qualified health risks applicable to this health assessment, refer to Appendix D.

  1. Past potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure of workers and trespassers at the PAS site to waste leachate and waste lagoons.

    In the past, workers and trespassers at the site could have come in contact with contaminated leachate seeps and waste lagoons for a period of about 16 years (from 1970, when PAS went into service, to 1986, when remedial measures were taken). Among the organic contaminants selected for further evaluation (see Table 3), several are human or animal carcinogens. Benzene is a known human carcinogen (ATSDR, 1993a), whereas carbon tetrachloride, 1,1-dichloroethene, dimethylaniline, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethene (or tetrachloroethylene) and trichloroethene (or trichloroethylene) are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1989; 1991; 1992; 1993c,d; US EPA, 1993). Chronic exposure to dimethylaniline at the highest concentration found in waste lagoons could pose a high increased cancer risk, whereas, exposure to the other contaminants could pose a low increased cancer risk. The potential health risk to workers and trespassers from past exposures to these chemical contaminants would most likely be less because contact would have probably been infrequent and for short periods of time.

    Contaminants in the former on-site leachate and waste lagoons that have been selected for further evaluation of noncarcinogenic toxic effects are benzene, dimethylaniline, trichloroethene and chromium. Benzene is known to cause damage to blood-cell forming tissues and to the immune system (ATSDR, 1993a). Trichloroethene can produce noncarcinogenic toxic effects, primarily to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system (ATSDR, 1993d). The primary toxic effects associated with ingestion of large amounts of chromium have been kidney damage, birth defects and adverse effects on the reproductive system (ATSDR, 1993b). Exposure to dimethylaniline is associated with central nervous system depression (Sax, 1989). Chronic exposure to benzene and dimethylaniline could pose a moderate risk of adverse noncarcinogenic health effects, whereas chronic exposure to trichloroethene and chromium could pose a low risk of adverse health effects. Again, the potential health risk to workers and trespassers would most likely be less because exposures would have probably been more infrequent than the assumptions we used in our evaluation as described in Table 28 (Appendix B).

  2. Potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure of persons engaged in recreational activities in White and Wine Creeks.

    People who use White and Wine Creeks for recreational purposes may be exposed to surface water contaminants (see Tables 11 and 21). In addition, trespassers on the PAS site also may have been exposed to surface water contaminants (see Tables 10 and 11). The potential adverse health effects from exposure to these contaminants would probably be minimal, since contact is likely to be infrequent in occurrence and for short periods of time.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

Evaluation of health outcome data may present a general picture of the health of a community and may confirm the presence of adverse health outcomes. However, elevated rates of a particular disease may not be due to hazardous substances in the environment. Similarly, a contaminant may still have caused adverse health effects even if elevated rates are not found. Pre-existing health outcome data are usually reported for much larger population units, such as counties, than are likely to be affected by the contaminants associated with a particular site. Any evidence of adverse health effects on the smaller population may be hidden within the larger population. Also, when populations are small, the number of people who have a particular adverse health effect is also small. Small changes in the number of affected people from year to year can cause a large change in the rate, so the rate is considered "unstable". For those reasons, health outcome data must be evaluated with caution.

Findings of the 1986 cancer incidence investigation by the NYS DOH did not detect a statistically significant excess in cancer incidence among workers at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant when compared with either Westside Sewage Treatment Plant workers or the general population. Four different types of cancer were observed, two of which are quite common among men in the age group examined. The remaining two types of cancer have no known risk factors in common. Furthermore, the occurrence of all four cancers arose in relatively short intervals from the beginning of employment at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant to the time of diagnosis of cancer (all less than 10 years). This is inconsistent with what is known about the long latency period for most adult cancers (10 to 20 years).

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

In response to past odor complaints reported by residents near the site, the NYS DOH investigated the site area and determined that strong, nauseating odors from the site were migrating to nearby residential properties. The NYS DOH determined that air sampling would be conducted when the odors were next reported.

In response to community concerns about possible health risks associated with the PAS site, the ATSDR completed a health assessment of the site in September 1988. A discussion summarizing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the 1988 health assessment is presented in the Background section of this PHA (subsection A, Site Description and History). This PHA updates information about site conditions, investigation and remedial activities at the site, site contamination, exposure pathways and community concerns related to the PAS site. This PHA was distributed to the public for review and includes a Summary of Public Comments and Responses (Appendix F).

In response to concerns about the occurrence of cancer in young male employees at the Eastside Sewage Treatment Plant who might be exposed to industrial wastes during plant processing or contaminants at the nearby PAS site, the NYS DOH completed a cancer incidence investigation in 1986. Results of this investigation are discussed in the Public Health Implications section (Subsection B, Health Outcome Data Evaluation) of this PHA.

Representatives of the US EPA, NYS DEC, NYS DOH and OCHD have addressed questions and concerns from citizens about the PAS site at past public meetings. Specific questions and community health concerns raised at the September 8, 1993 public meeting were addressed at the time of the meeting and also in a responsiveness summary (Appendix V) of the December 29, 1993 ROD for the site. There are no known new community health concerns about this site.

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