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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CIRCUITRON CORPORATION
FARMINGDALE, NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK


SUMMARY

The Circuitron Corporation site, which is on the National Priorities List, is situated near the Nassau County-Suffolk County border in East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York. Subsurface soils at the site are contaminated with metals and volatile organic compounds, primarily copper and 1,1,1-trichloroethane, respectively. Groundwater from the shallow aquifer under the site is significantly contaminated with 1,1,1-trichloroethane at levels exceeding the New York State Department of Health standard for public water supplies and the respective maximum contaminant level set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In 1977, a municipal drinking water supply well located closest and downgradient from the site was taken out of service due to contamination with volatile organic compounds. The contaminated public well served and potentially exposed an estimated population of 7,900 people for several years. Currently, groundwater in the shallow aquifer is not used as a source of drinking water or for other domestic purposes.

Based on presumed past exposures, this site is a public health hazard to the local residents. Although the major exposure route (contaminated municipal drinking water supply well) has been removed, contaminated groundwater in the shallow aquifer may infiltrate the deeper Magothy Aquifer and contaminate other downgradient public drinking water supply wells near the site. The possibility of further public well contamination warrants the need for additional downgradient monitoring wells to detect any encroaching contamination. Additional groundwater investigation is needed to determine the full extent and degree of aquifer contamination in the area surrounding the site. Also, the potential for impacts to indoor air quality at nearby businesses warrants the need for further investigation. Other exposure pathways of concern include inhalation, ingestion, and direct contact with on-site soil/sediment/fugitive dusts only during anticipated remedial activities which involve excavation of on-site soils.

This public health assessment has been reviewed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry's (ATSDR) Health Activities Recommendation Panel. Because of presumed past exposures to contaminated drinking water, the panel recommended this site for follow-up health activities. Those persons exposed in the past will be added to a New York State Department of Health Registry being developed for volatile organic compound exposures from drinking contaminated water. The Panel also recommended including residents residing near the site in the ATSDR trichloroethene subregistry.

Public health actions taken and/or planned include the following: (1) Active downgradient public drinking water supply wells have been and continue to be tested for site-related contaminants, (2) Community health education activities have been on-going to provide information and update citizens on the progress of clean up at the site, (3) Security measures are being planned which should prevent contact by trespassers to physical hazards and contaminants of concern.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

For an undetermined length of time, operators of the Circuitron Corporation site discharged thousands of gallons of plating wastes to an authorized subsurface leaching pool. Plating wastes were also discharged to unauthorized leaching pools beneath the facility and to a storm drain on the property. Two sanitary cesspools and several underground tanks used by the facility are alleged to have received similar wastes (Figure 1). The liquid wastes migrated from these underground structures and contaminated soils and groundwater. Circuitron Corporation received numerous warnings concerning emission permit violations and unauthorized discharges from both the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SC DHS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). The facility owners subsequently entered into an Order on Consent (1984) and a Stipulated Agreement (1985) with SC DHS for clean-up of the site. Circuitron Corporation vacated the site in 1986 without complying with the Order on Consent and the Stipulated Agreement and has since filed for bankruptcy.

An emergency response action was performed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) at the site in mid-1989. This action included removing waste drums from inside the facility, emptying underground tanks, cleaning and removing above ground tanks, and cleaning up potentially contaminated debris inside the facility. A final Remedial Investigation (RI) report and a final Feasibility Study (FS) report were completed in August 1990 and January 1991, respectively. These reports have been prepared for the site by EBASCO Services, Inc., under contract with the US EPA, the lead agency for this site. In April 1989, a Preliminary Health Assessment was prepared by New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The Circuitron Corporation site is a 0.9 acre parcel located at 82 Milbar Boulevard in East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York. The site is situated in an industrial park just east of Route 110 and the State University of New York Farmingdale Campus (Figure 2). The site is at an elevation of about 85 feet above mean sea level and is mostly flat with a slight slope to the south and east. More than 90 percent of the site is covered with buildings or with asphalt paved surfaces. The Circuitron building is 187 feet wide and 130 feet long and is divided into the following four main areas: a) a drilling and silkscreening area, b) a plating room, c) a scrubber room, and d) a storage room.

The Circuitron Corporation was an electronic circuit board manufacturing facility. The facility began operations in 1961 under the ownership of the 82 Milbar Corporation. In 1983, Circuitron Corporation was sold to F.E.E. Industries, which in turn sold the business to ADI Electronics. The 82 Milbar Corporation still retains ownership of the property, and ADI Electronics, located at 51 Trade Zone, Ronkonkoma, New York, is the current owner of the Circuitron Corporation. Circuitron ceased operations and vacated the site in 1986.

In 1983, the SC DHS collected samples from the facility's permitted leaching pool which indicated that the facility had discharged wastes not specified in its permit. Further investigations revealed that wastes were being discharged without treatment; wastes were being discharged to at least two unauthorized leaching pools beneath the floor of the facility; and wastes were also being discharged directly to a storm drain on the property. The manufacturing processes employed at this type of facility would typically include silk screening, etching of boards and other production activities such as rinsing, washing, painting, etc. The chemicals required for this operation would include degreasers, acids, and alkalies which would produce liquid wastes containing heavy metals and organic chemicals.

B. Site Visit

On June 21, 1988, Mr. William Lowden and Mr. Ed Fahrenkopf, from the NYS DOH, Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation, inspected the site. They made the following observations: exposed patches or piles of solid wastes; soils stained by liquid; ponded or saturated areas of liquid waste; numerous drums (some leaking) stored inside the facility; and an underground pool, inside the facility, filled with sludge.

At the time of the visit, the site was not fenced and was accessible to the general public. Entrance into the facility was possible through holes in the exterior walls from the removal of air conditioners and also by an unlocked garage door. No evidence of trespassing or site usage was noted. The lack of residential dwellings near the site supports the belief that children are not likely to wander onto the site.

On January 23, 1991, a Suffolk County Department of Health Services staff member visited the site to determine the potential for access. Staff reported various conditions which would allow access by trespassers onto the property and into the facility. These conditions include the following: ill-fitting gate at entrance way to parking lot; an open entrance door; a missing panel to a garage door; an opening in a rear fan housing; and openings in windows. In addition, a number of rusted drums were observed inside the facility. Information received from US EPA indicated that the drums contained drilling water and cuttings generated during the RI fieldwork. US EPA plans to remove the drums in the near future.

There are no surface waters adjacent to the facility. The nearest downslope surface water is an intermittent tributary to the Massapequa Creek. However, there is no visible migration pathway from the facility to the tributary due to the development of the intervening land and the distance involved.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

The site is located about 1500 feet away from the State University of New York Farmingdale Campus. The college serves a total student population of 10,000, which includes day and evening students, and has a residential dormitory of 1,000 students.

East Farmingdale is an unincorporated hamlet in the Town of Babylon. In 1984, the Village of East Farmingdale had a residential population of 5,636. East Farmingdale is one of the most heavily industrialized sections of Long Island. The area immediately surrounding the site consists of active businesses, including small industrial and manufacturing facilities. The facility is bounded by Milbar Boulevard to the north, and commercial establishments to the south, east, and west. The paved area in front of the Circuitron Corporation building is presently used as a parking lot for the employees of nearby companies. Within one mile of the site are a mixture of large institutional, industrial and commercial areas, cemeteries, an airport, an amusement park and a State Park. The closest residential community is the Woodland Hills section of East Farmingdale located one mile southwest of the site.

D. Health Outcome Data

The New York State Health Department 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. NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data for the Circuitron site nor for East Farmingdale. See Public Health Implication--Health Outcome Data Evaluation Section for details of the reasons health outcome data was not evaluated.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The residential community of Woodland Hills, within East Farmingdale, located southwest of the Circuitron Corporation site, has a small civic organization which has been vocal on a variety of issues pertaining to land use and the environment. However, to date, no specific health concerns related to the Circuitron site are known to have been raised.

The NYS DOH conducted a public comment period between May 22, 1992 and August 10, 1992. The public health assessment was sent to 55 persons on the NYS DOH mailing list for the site. During the public comment period, no comments were received by NYSDOH.



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