PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
TOWN OF EATON, MADISON COUNTY, NEW YORK
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, both on- and off-site; an evaluation of the physical conditions of the site, and identification of any other known or suspected contaminant sources or physical hazards near the site which may pose an additional health risk to the community or exposed population(s).
Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified based upon consideration of the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminant(s) in environmental media, both on- and off-site;
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality and sample design;
- Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations in environmental media with typical background levels;
- Comparison of contaminant concentrations in environmental media, both on- and off-site, with public health assessment comparison values for (1) non-carcinogenic endpoints, and (2) carcinogenic endpoints. Contaminant concentrations greater than a comparison value do not necessarily represent a health threat, but are evaluated further. These comparison values include Environmental Medical Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards and other relevant guidelines; and
- Community health concerns.
The selected contaminants are evaluated in the Public Health Implications section (Toxicological Evaluation) of the Public Health Assessment (PHA) to determine whether exposure to these chemicals is of public health significance.
The On-Site Contamination subsection and the Off-Site Contamination subsection include discussions of sampling data for environmental media; summary tables of sampling data are presented in Appendix B. A listed contaminant does not necessarily mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposure. If a chemical is selected for further evaluation in one medium, that contaminant will be reported in all media, where it is detected.
The RI conducted by U.S. EPA during 1989 and 1990 indicated that, with the exception of some low levels of contamination in the sediments of the adjacent pond, the contaminants at the site are confined to the waste disposal trench. No significant levels of contaminants were found in surface soils at various distances from the trench. The waste is not uniformly distributed and is comprised of soil mixed with a plastic-like residue, crushed drums and plastic bags (drum liners) contaminated with the same or similar plastic residue, and some wood debris. The plastic occurs as large clumps, layers, and as small, highly distributed fragments.
Samples collected on-site during the RI included waste pile materials, surface soil, deep soil borings, shallow and deep groundwater. A summary of the contaminants detected in on-site groundwater, surface soils and waste materials is presented in Table 1 of Appendix B.
While some of the waste materials are in direct contact with the shallow groundwater, the contaminants are presently absorbed or bound in the waste material or are adsorbed to the soils and are not migrating to the groundwater from the trench. Eight local residential wells have been sampled extensively and no contaminants from the site have migrated to these wells.
Samples of waste pile materials (characterized as "plastic" or "rubbery-like") were analyzed and contained several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These included 1,2-dichloroethane (8.4 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg)) and trichloroethene (3.0 mg/kg) as well as benzene (5.9 mg/kg), toluene (650 mg/kg), ethylbenzene (190 mg/kg) and total xylene (560 mg/kg). Other compounds which were detected in waste pile samples (refer to Figure 4, Appendix A) included phthalates, especially di-n-butylphthalate (up to 110 mg/kg) and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (up to 29,000 mg/kg). Other compounds detected, were primarily PAHs which were found at slightly higher concentrations than those in background soil samples collected near the site. All inorganic compounds (i.e., metals) were similar to reported levels in background soil samples. The samples with the highest levels of contaminants were those that contained visible "plastic" or "rubbery" like waste materials. Samples from the two soil borings in the fill material contained bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate up to 44 mg/kg.
Surficial soil samples in the trench area showed no significant contamination. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was detected in a sample from along the western edge of the ditch (150 mg/kg) and from one of the waste piles (0.83 mg/kg).
Samples from four shallow monitoring wells (Figure 4, Appendix A) collected in February 1990, did not contain organic compounds above detection limits. Inorganic compounds, in groundwater samples without elevated suspended solids, were well below New York State groundwater standards for all parameters.
Three monitoring wells were screened in the bedrock aquifer underlying the site. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was reported at 8 mcg/L in one well, which is below the NYS DOH drinking water standard of 50 mcg/L for public water supplies. Total iron was detected above the groundwater standard in all samples from deep wells at levels as high as 9,350 mcg/L and total arsenic was detected in one well at 26.6 mcg/L. Lead was detected in shallow, on-site monitoring wells as high as 165 mcg/L; a summary of on-site groundwater data is presented in Table 1 of Appendix B.
No on-site or off-site air sampling has been conducted.
Surface soil samples were obtained from 12 locations along the drainage path between the waste trench and the pond as well as along the access road (Figure 4, Appendix A) to evaluate if soil was contaminated from runoff from the disposal trench area. No elevated phthalates were detected in off-site surface soils. Samples with detectable levels of PAHs were found in three locations, each about 30 feet east of the access road (SS-03, SS-10, SS-12; Figure 4, Appendix A). The sample location with the highest PAHs (total about 12.1 mg/kg; Table 2, Appendix B) is SS-01, upgradient of the waste trench on the dirt access road. The PAHs levels are probably from oily deposits from the old railroad bed. This former rail bed is an access road for farm vehicles.
Sample SS-12 contained beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (beta-BHC) at 0.021 mg/kg; this chemical does not appear to be related to the waste at the site and is probably from agricultural practices at the nearby farm.
Inorganic constituents in surface soils are not significantly elevated relative to background soil concentrations, either within the trench area or downgradient of the site.
Sediment and Surface Water
Three surface water and eight sediment samples were collected from a pond about 100 feet downgradient of the site. The sample locations are shown in Figure 5, Appendix A; the analytical results are summarized in Table 2 of Appendix B.
Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was found in sediment samples SD-01, SD-02, and SD-03 at concentrations up to 0.55 mg/kg. Methylene chloride and acetone concentrations were present at levels below the detection limit and are attributed to laboratory contamination.
The only observed evidence of possible sediment contamination attributable to runoff from the site is suggested by the pattern of lead in sediment samples SD-01 through SD-03, where a maximum of 225 mg/kg in the near shore sample SD-01 decreases to and 0.8 mg/kg in SD-03 and 0.023 mg/kg in SD-02. These relatively low levels may be from runoff from the former railroad bed, now the farm access road.
There is no evidence of surface water contamination attributable to the site in any of three pond samples collected during the January 1990 RI sampling. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was detected in one surface water sample (33 mcg/L) in the 1986 NUS investigation; however, this finding was not confirmed in the RI sampling.
In 1986, a representative for the US EPA collected samples of drinking water from two residences near the site and no contaminants were detected. Four private groundwater wells were sampled by NYS DOH in 1988. These private wells are on Woodman Pond Road, within 2,000 feet of the site. Samples were analyzed for volatile halogenated organics, aromatic purgeables and metals. No volatile compounds were detected in any of these wells. Most metals were also undetected, except for barium, copper, iron, nickel, strontium, titanium and zinc, at concentrations ranging from 5 mcg/L (nickel) to 3,600 mcg/L (zinc). None of the metals detected exceeded NYS DOH Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).
During the RI, eight residential wells downgradient of the site were sampled (Figure 3, Appendix A); the analytical results are summarized in Table 2 of Appendix B. Chloroform was found in one well at 1.5 mcg/L. No other organic contamination was found in any well above the detection limit. Chloroform was not detected in on-site or downgradient monitoring wells.
In January 1992, US EPA sampled eight residential wells near the site. Toluene was found in six of the ten samples (including duplicates) from eight residences at levels ranging from 1 mcg/L to 15 mcg/L. Toluene was reported at 10 mcg/L and 15 mcg/L in two wells. As discussed under subsection C (Quality Assurance and Quality Control) of this section of the health assessment, US EPA considers the toluene in these samples suspect and not representative of residential drinking water quality. The two residential wells with reported levels of toluene above NYS DOH MCL of 5 mcg/L were resampled on April 24, 1992 by the PRP for this site; toluene was not detected in the private water supplies.
Due to concerns with the residential drinking water sample data collected by US EPA in January 1992 and the follow-up sampling data collected by the PRP in April 1992, NYS DOH collected additional samples of drinking water from residences downgradient (south) of the site. Samples were collected from three homes along Woodman Pond Road and four homes on Route 12B on January 12, 1993. Two of the wells along Woodman Pond Road, RW01 and RW02 (refer to Figure 3 in Appendix B), are shared wells and each serves two homes. One of the wells on Route 12B, RW04, serves three trailers. NYS DOH also collected samples from residential wells RW05, RW08, and RW09, as indicated on Figure 3. All samples were submitted to the NYS DOH Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research (WCL&R) in Albany, New York for analysis of volatile organic compounds and ketones. No VOC's or ketones were detected in any of these samples.
On June 9, 1993, a representative of the MCHD collected additional samples from the same homes that were sampled by NYS DOH in January 1993. These samples were collected at the request of NYS DOH and submitted to the NYS DOH WCL&R for analysis of metals. Analytical results showed that for the metals detected, all were below NYS DOH MCLs, except for iron, which was detected in one water supply sample at 435 mcg/L. This is slightly above the NYS DOH standard of 300 mcg/L for aesthetic qualities such as taste, odor and staining of fixtures and is not a health concern (Henretig and Temple, 1984).
In preparing this public health assessment, ATSDR and 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 conclusions drawn for this health assessment is determined by the completeness and reliability of that information. The data collected during the RI as well as samples collected by NYS DOH at this site have been subjected to data quality review. The validity of data collected by other parties relating to this site has not been confirmed.
In January 1992, US EPA collected samples of drinking water from eight homes (includes duplicates) near the site. Analytical results showed toluene in four of the wells and in the trip blank for this sampling event. The toluene in these samples was not attributed to laboratory introduced contamination, as evidenced by the data validation reports. However, US EPA considered the toluene in these water samples to be suspect and possibly the result of field introduced contamination. The two wells with reported concentrations of toluene above the NYS DOH MCL were resampled for toluene by the PRP in April 1993; toluene was not detected in the samples, field blanks or trip blank. Furthermore, additional samples analyzed by NYS DOH in January 1993 from residential wells near the site did not detect toluene in off-site groundwater.
There are no known physical hazards at this site. During site remediation activities, the trench disposal area was surrounded by a secure ten foot high fence, limiting the potential for injury by hunters and others passing near the site. This fence was removed in June 1993, following completion of site remediation activities. Contaminated soils were excavated from the site and the excavated area was backfilled with clean fill. The site has been covered with top soil and seeded and there are no known physical hazards remaining at the site.
To identify other facilities that could possibly contribute to site-related contaminants in soil, air, groundwater, and/or surface water at or near the C&J Disposal 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. NYS DOH searched the TRI and found no record of TRI facilities to be within a 2.5 mile radius of the site.
This section of the public health assessment (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 persons 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. An 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.
There are no known past or existing completed human exposure pathways to contaminants originating at this site.
Prior to January 1992, water samples from private water supplies near the site did not contain contaminants. Samples collected from eight private wells in January 1992 contained toluene ranging from levels of 1.0 mcg/L to 15 mcg/L. However, US EPA has determined that these data are not representative of groundwater quality in residential drinking water supplies as there are concerns with field quality assurance and quality control sampling protocols. US EPA has indicated that the follow-up sampling conducted by the PRP on April 24, 1992 supports historical sampling and groundwater monitoring data. Furthermore, follow-up sampling of private wells by NYS DOH in January 1993 did not show evidence of VOC contaminants in private wells.
The following potential human exposure routes to contaminants originating at the site existed in the past, prior to completion of site remediation activities in January 1993:
- Ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation exposure to contaminants in private drinking water supplies. Residences near the site with private wells, could be exposed to contaminants migrating from the site in groundwater.
- Direct contact, incidental ingestion and inhalation, exposure to contaminated surface soils and soil particulates on and near the site. However, no soil contaminants were detected at levels exceeding comparison values and therefore, these contaminants will not be further discussed in the Toxicological Evaluation section of the health assessment.
The potential for exposure to wastes and contaminated soils at the C&J Disposal site to occur in the future has been eliminated as a human exposure pathway of concern. Drums, contaminated soils and wastes were excavated and removed from the site between August 1992 and January 1993. The excavated area was backfilled with clean fill and the site was covered with top soil and revegetated. This remedial measure also eliminated the potential for surface water in ponds near the site to be contaminated by surface water runoff. No evidence indicates that Woodman Pond has been contaminated by the site.
During the site remediation activities, groundwater was pumped from the trench and treated on-site prior to recharge. Sampling of private wells downgradient of the site through January 1993 did not detect contaminants in drinking water wells. The completed remedial action has removed the source of groundwater contamination and contamination of downgradient drinking water supplies is unlikely. Post-remedial monitoring of groundwater at the site and in downgradient residential wells will occur for one year to ensure the effectiveness of the final remedy.
There have been no documented past or current exposures to contaminants at the C&J Disposal site. On-site groundwater at the site was contaminated at levels of concern and people may have been exposed from drinking water. An analysis of the toxicological implications of this past potential exposure pathway is presented below:
Past potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to contaminants in private wells as a result of contaminant plume migration.
As indicated in Table 1, on-site groundwater was contaminated with chemicals at levels that exceed NYS drinking water standards or guidelines (Table 3). Private drinking water supply wells close the site, therefore, could have become contaminated from on-site groundwater by plume migration. Chronic exposure to chemicals in drinking water is possible by ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposures from water uses such as showering, bathing and cooking. Although exposures vary depending on individual lifestyles, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall daily uptake of contaminants and thus increases the potential for chronic health effects.
The nonvolatile organic contaminant, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate found in on-site groundwater causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime (ATSDR, 1989). Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Whether or not bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate causes cancer in humans is not known. Based on the results of animal studies and the limited sampling of on-site groundwater, exposure to bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate at the highest levels found in on-site groundwater could pose a low increased cancer risk over a lifetime of exposure.
Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate is also known to cause noncarcinogenic toxic effects (primarily on the male reproductive system and the liver), but at exposure levels several orders of magnitude greater than potential exposures from on-site groundwater. Chemicals that cause adverse effects in humans and/or animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from these exposures aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be minimal.
Chronic exposure to elevated lead levels is predominantly associated with neurological and hematological effects (ATSDR, 1990). At high exposure levels, lead can cause kidney damage, gastrointestinal distress, and reproductive effects including abortion and damage to the male reproductive system. The developing fetus and young children are particularly sensitive to lead-induced neurological effects. Exposure to drinking water contaminated with lead at the highest levels found in on-site groundwater would pose a significant increased risk of adverse health effects.
No health outcome data have been generated for this site because no completed human exposure pathways have been identified or confirmed. There has been no conclusive human exposure to evaluate and no community health problems have been reported to study.
In response to community concerns about the potential for contaminants at the site to affect private drinking water supplies, the NYS DOH, US EPA and MCDH have sampled private wells near the site. Residential wells downgradient of the site have been sampled on six different occasions between 1988 and 1993 and no contaminants have been found in private drinking water supplies. Remediation of the site was completed in the spring of 1993 and included excavation and disposal of buried and drummed wastes and contaminated soils as well as pumping and treatment of groundwater which infiltrated the excavation trench. These remediation efforts have removed potential sources of groundwater contamination at the site.
Surface water samples were collected from the pond south of the site in 1986 and 1990. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate was detected in one surface water sample (33 mcg/L) collected in 1986, however, sampling of this pond during the RI did not detect bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate in surface water or other site-related contaminants. This pond is the closest surface water body to the site and hydrologically connected to Woodman Pond, 3000 feet south of the site. It is unlikely that site contaminants are present in surface water at Woodman Pond.
It is not known if any follow-up has occurred to determine if soils and wastes that were removed from the site in April 1989 during the unauthorized excavation by C&J leasing were disposed at another nearby location.
Citizens were given an opportunity to review and comment on this public health assessment during a public comment period between February 7, 1992 and March 13, 1992. A mailing list, compiled by the NYS DOH's Health Liaison Program (HeLP) was used to distribute copies of the assessment for comment. No comments were received during the public comment period.