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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CARROLL & DUBIES SEWAGE DISPOSAL
PORT JERVIS, ORANGE COUNTY, NEW YORK

SUMMARY

The Carroll and Dubies site contains seven former waste water lagoons which received wastefrom septic tanks and industries (primarily two cosmetic manufacturers). The site is in DeerPark, Orange County, New York, about 1 mile northeast of the City of Port Jervis. On-siteshallow soil, subsurface soil, lagoon surface water and sludge, and groundwater are contaminatedwith volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and metals at levels exceeding public healthassessment comparison values. Off-site groundwater samples taken near the site, in the directionof groundwater flow, contain volatile organic compounds at levels exceeding public healthassessment comparison values. There are no past or current exposures to site-related chemicalsat levels that are a public health concern; therefore, the site is categorized as no apparent publichealth hazard as long as the site is properly remediated. Volatile organic compounds and lead arepresent in on-site groundwater at levels which could cause adverse health effects if the site is notremediated and the affected aquifer is developed as a source of drinking water. In addition,organic compounds and metals are present in on-site surface and subsurface soils and sludges atlevels which could cause adverse health effects if the site is not remediated and the site isdeveloped for residential use.

Residents in the area around the site have expressed concerns about possible health effects fromthe site. However, there is no information to indicate that exposure to toxic chemicals from thesite has occurred. For this reason there are no community health studies planned at this time.

The New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) has recommended that remedial work bedone at the site to reduce potential human exposures through direct contact with lagoon surfacewater and sediments and surface soil, and ingestion, dermal, and inhalation exposure through useof groundwater for household water supply. In addition, the NYS DOH has recommendedadditional investigations to define groundwater and surface soil contamination to ensure that allareas of the site are appropriately remediated. In August 1994, the United States EnvironmentalProtection Agency (US EPA) proposed a plan to remediate the lagoons and surrounding soils.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) Health ActivitiesRecommendation Panel has determined that community health education is indicated. Moreover,the panel determined that the education already performed by the NYS DOH was appropriate. Public health actions taken and/or planned include the following: 1) the NYS DOH has surveyedprivate wells in the area and collected samples to assure that human exposures are not occurring,2) the US EPA will direct further investigations to define contaminated areas for remedialpurposes, 3) the US EPA will direct remedial work to assure that the potential for humanexposures in the future are reduced or eliminated, 4) the NYS DOH will periodically sampleprivate wells to evaluate whether remedial measures have adequately prevented humanexposures, and 5) the NYS DOH will continue to provide health education to the localcommunity through public meetings and personal contact.

BACKGROUND

In cooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the NewYork State Department of Health (NYS DOH) will evaluate the public health significance of thissite. More specifically, the ATSDR and NYS DOH will determine whether health effects arepossible and will recommend actions to reduce or prevent possible health effects. The ATSDR,located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices and is authorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, andLiability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites.

A. Site Description and History

All figures and tables in this public health assessment are in Appendices A and B, respectively.

The Carroll and Dubies site is in Deer Park, Orange County, New York, about one mile north ofthe City of Port Jervis (Figure 1). The site is at the end of Canal Street, which accesses theformer City of Port Jervis landfill and the existing Orange County solid waste transfer station. The site is along the former Delaware and Hudson Canal; the old canal towpath (a roadway alongthe edge of the canal) is the southern border of the site. The 2.5-acre property is about 500 feetabove mean sea level on the north side of the Neversink River Valley. The site is at the bottomof an escarpment which meets the former canal, where the topography slopes gently toward theNeversink River. Gold Creek is about 1200 feet southeast of the site and the Neversink River isabout 3,500 feet southeast of the site.

The Carroll and Dubies site is a series of seven waste water lagoons which received septic tankpumping waste and cosmetic manufacturing waste (Figure 2). Five of the lagoons have beencovered up and are no longer visible. Two of the most recently active lagoons have not beencovered and collect rain water and surface water seasonally. The two uncovered lagoons aresurrounded by a snow fence. All of the lagoons are within the former canal bed.

Also on-site are two storage trailers, a building which is an office and a truck storage garage,several junk cars, and stored portable toilets.

The site operated between 1971 and 1989. Since 1989, the septic waste disposal business hascontinued to use the site as an office and storage area; however, wastes are disposed of at a wastewater treatment plant off-site. Between 1971 and 1979 manufacturing waste and septic tankwaste was deposited at the site. After 1979 only septic tank waste was accepted. Themanufacturing waste was reportedly from two local cosmetic companies. In 1978, one of thelagoons was set fire as practice for the City of Port Jervis fire department, but the fire reportedlycontinued to burn for a full day afterward.

In 1979, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) denied thesite a permit for disposal of manufacturing waste. Information regarding the site, including asingle sludge and water sample collected in 1982, was compiled in a report prepared for the NYSDEC and submitted in June 1983. A limited environmental investigation of the site was done in1987 and submitted to the NYS DEC. Groundwater and lagoon sediments were sampled andwere contaminated sufficiently to warrant additional study. The site was added to the UnitedStates Environmental Protection Agency's (US EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990. InJuly 1992, the US EPA divided the site investigation into two units, one for the source area(lagoons) and one for the groundwater. A preliminary remedial investigation (RI) report wassubmitted to the US EPA in October 1992. Additional data needs were identified, and a sourcearea remedial investigation report was completed in December 1993. Off-site groundwater datawas collected and presented in a draft February 1994 report. The US EPA presented a proposedplan to remediate the source areas (lagoons) in a public meeting held August 23, 1994 at the PortJervis High School.

A Preliminary Health Assessment was prepared by the New York State Department of Health incooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and wasreleased in July 1991.

B. Actions Implemented During the Public Health Assessment Process

The NYS DOH has surveyed private wells in the area and collected drinking water samples fromprivate wells to assure that human exposures are not occurring because of groundwatercontamination. The US EPA directed the development of a treatability study in September 1993and a preliminary screening of remedial alternatives in October 1993. These documents relate tothe lagoon sediments and do not address groundwater contamination.

C. Site Visit

New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) staff inspected the site in January 1986. Donald Miles of the NYS DOH revisited the site in November 1991 and July 1993. At theentrance to the site on Canal Street there is an informal police shooting range which is used bythe City of Port Jervis police department for target practice. Access to the site is somewhatlimited because it is at the end of a private road. The driveway which accesses the Carroll andDubies office and the two existing lagoons is blocked by a locked gate. The gate does not have afence attached to it, however, these two lagoons are surrounded by a snow fence. One of theselagoons had standing water at the time of the site visit. No specific evidence of trespass onto theCarroll and Dubies site was noted along the entire perimeter of the property. Trespass may occuroccasionally, however, the remoteness of the site, the presence of the office, and the limitedbarriers reduces the likelihood of significant trespass. The closest residence to the site is about2,000 feet southeast of the site.

D. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resources

The NYS DOH estimated, from the 1990 Census, 1,222 people living within 1 mile of theCarroll and Dubies site. The population within 1 mile of the site is 96.1 percent of the whiterace, 1.1 percent of the black race and 2.9 percent of other races. The site is within census tract116.00 in which 8.3 percent of the population is under 5 years of age, 21.8 percent is 5-19 yearsof age, 58.7 percent is 20-64 years of age and 11.2 percent is 65 years or older. The medianhousehold income in 1989 for this census tract was $33,421 with 6.1 percent of the families withincome below the poverty level.

The properties next to the site have been extensively disturbed by human activities. The inactivePort Jervis landfill adjoins the site on the southwest corner, and a large gravel mine is to thenortheast (Figure 2). To the west and northwest the steep slope is covered with undisturbedforest, and the area between the landfill and the gravel mine is relatively undisturbed forest.

Groundwater in the area is used for private drinking water supplies; surface water is not used fordrinking water within the area potentially affected by the Carroll and Dubies site. There is noagricultural activity in the area.

E. Health Outcome Data

The NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data specific for the Carroll and Dubies sitebecause no human exposures to site contaminants has been documented or are likely underexisting condition. The NYS DOH maintains several health outcome data bases that could beused to generate site specific data if warranted. These data bases include a cancer registry,congenital malformations registry, heavy metals registry, occupational lung disease registry, vitalrecords (birth and death certificates), and hospital discharge information.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

A public meeting was held on June 20, 1991 by US EPA to review the Remedial Investigationworkplan for the site. NYS DOH attended and addressed health questions. Twenty-threeresidents attended. The local community has been concerned about possible health effects fromthe site, and about possible groundwater contamination. One resident expressed concerns aboutpossible elevated cancer rates and about whether residents would experience "illnesses associatedwith toxic landfill leakage". Newspaper and cable television reporters expressed an interest inthe site after release of the Preliminary Health Assessment. Reporters focused on possiblecontamination of private wells. These concerns will be addressed in the Public HealthImplications section.

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