PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
COLESVILLE MUNICIPAL LANDFILL
COLESVILLE, BROOME COUNTY, NEW YORK
To identify other possible facilities that could contribute to ground water, surface water and/or sediment contamination near the Colesville Landfill Site, the NYSDOH searched the 1989 Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI has been developed and is updated by the U.S. EPA from the chemical release information provided by certain industries. The TRI database search conducted by NYSDOH for the area near the Colesville Landfill site did not contain any information on toxic chemical release(s) in the Town of Colesville, Broome County, New York for 1989.
Tables referred to in the following sections are shown in Appendix 2.
The on-site sampling data are limited to ground water. Contaminants detected in on-site monitoring wells include arsenic (376 mcg/L), cadmium (28 mcg/L), lead (13.6 mcg/L), benzene (640 mcg/L), and chlorinated solvents. On-site ground water contaminants are summarized in Table 2.
On-site surface soils were not characterized during the RI, as an interim cover was placed on the landfill surface when it was closed in December 1984. This interim cover was composed of native soils, which were excavated to create disposal trenches and stockpiled on-site, in combination with fill materials from off-site sources.
Off-site contamination from the Colesville Landfill was first detected in March 1983 during sampling of private water supplies near the landfill. Several organic compounds were found in water samples from five homes located west and south of the landfill property. Well depths ranged from 10-220 feet deep and included driven, dug and drilled wells. One of the water supplies was a spring which originates east of the landfill disposal area.
Contaminants in shallow wells (10-18 feet deep) included: vinyl chloride, 1,1-dichloroethane, trans-1,2-dichloroethane, chloroform, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, benzene, trichlorofluoromethane, 1,1-dichloroethene, chloroform, trichloroethene, copper, zinc, and trace amounts of arsenic. Contaminants in drilled (deep) wells included chloroform, toluene, trichloroethene, zinc and trace amounts of arsenic. Contaminants in the spring included vinyl chloride, benzene, toluene, 1,1-dichloroethane, trans-1,2-dichloroethene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane.
Following the initial discovery of residential well contamination in the Colesville Landfill area, the NYSDOH collected confirmatory samples from the water supplies of the affected residences in the spring (April/May) of 1983. In July 1983, ground water samples collected by the Broome County Health Department from homeowner wells near the site contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including 1,1-dichloroethene (11 mcg/L), trichloroethene (160 mcg/L), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (270 mcg/L), 1,1-dichloroethane (320 mcg/L), chloroform (8 mcg/L) and trans-1,2-dichloroethene (140 mcg/L). These results prompted the Broome County Department of Public Works to install granular activated carbon filters on the five impacted water supply wells near the landfill. In addition, Broome County contracted with Wehran Engineering to investigate the Colesville Landfill in 1983 and 1984.
Additional ground water samples from impacted water supplies were also obtained during the 1983 and 1984 hydrogeologic investigations of the landfill area and during the RI in 1987. Table 3 summarizes the highest concentrations of volatile compounds in the residential water supplies between 1983 and 1987. The only inorganic contaminant in homeowner wells was zinc (73-581 ppb) at levels below NYS standards for drinking water supplies.
The purpose of the 1983 investigation was to determine and evaluate the hydrogeologic conditions at the Colesville Landfill site as well as to define the quality of ground water beneath and adjacent to the landfill in both surficial deposits and bedrock. Eight monitoring wells were installed on and around the periphery of the landfill disposal area and ground water samples from these wells were analyzed for general water quality indicator parameters and total volatile organics, expressed as 1,2-dichloroethane.
Both the 1983 and 1984 studies found that ground water beneath the landfill was being contaminated with VOCs from wastes disposed at the site. The areas of highest ground water contamination occurred along the southern and western site boundaries. Contamination was primarily confined to the upper portions of the glacial outwash aquifer underlying the site and ground water flow was in a southwesterly direction, towards the Susquehanna River. Based on the geology, ground water flow, and sampling data, ground water and private water supply wells to the south and southeast and near Doraville, did not appear to be impacted by site contaminants.
Ground water contamination has also been documented in monitoring wells south and west (downgradient) of the landfill. Organic contaminants in monitoring wells off-site include benzene (70 mcg/L), vinyl chloride (10 mcg/L), and other chlorinated solvents. Inorganic contaminants in off-site monitoring wells including arsenic (15.3 mcg/L), cadmium (8 mcg/L), chromium (41 mcg/L), and lead (11.7 mcg/L). Table 4 summarizes contaminants in ground water off-site and Table 5 gives a summary of State and Federal water quality standards and guidelines for site contaminants.
Site contaminants were also detected in stream sediment and leachate seeps offsite. A summary of the highest concentrations of chemicals detected in sediment in the North Stream, Susquehanna River and the spring south of the landfill during the RI are given in Tables 6 (organic) and 7 (inorganic).
On October 29, 1987, a composite liquid leachate sample was collected by Brian Davidson of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, near the North Stream on the northwest slope of the landfill perimeter. This leachate sample was found to contain several compounds which were also found in the site monitoring wells. Table 8 summarizes the compounds detected in the leachate sample.
Off-site surface soils were characterized at three leachate seep areas along the southern slope of the landfill disposal area. In this area, natural springs emerge to form the headwaters of a branch to the south spring. The soil samples collected at these locations were referred to as leachate sediment samples in the RI, probably due to the high moisture content. Organic compounds detected in these surface soil/leachate sediment samples include chloroethane (48 mcg/kg) and trichloroethene (9 mcg/kg). Several inorganic parameters were also detected in these samples; however, they appear to fall within normal background concentrations.
No organic priority pollutants were detected in any surface water samples from the North and East streams or the Susquehanna River during the RI. Metals were detected in surface water samples at locations downstream of the landfill; however, the levels were not significantly elevated above background.
In preparing this public health assessment, ATSDR and NYSDOH 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. The validity of the analysis and conclusions drawn for this public health assessment is determined by the completeness and reliability of that information.
A discussion of the quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures during field sampling and analytical procedures for the RI are given in the final RI report. During the RI, sample collection and chain-of-custody procedures were followed, and field and trip sample blanks were analyzed. In addition, several ground water samples were split with the NYSDEC as an additional QA/QC measure. The split samples were sent to two different laboratories. Analytical results of the split samples did show source differences in concentrations of VOCs; however, these differences were considered attributable to sample handling in the field and laboratory. Overall, the split sampling results did not suggest any analytical problems and the data collected for the RI are considered reliable for this investigation.
There are no known physical hazards at the site. The site has not yet been capped in accordance with State regulatory requirements, and there may be some potential for differential settling of the landfill surface.
The potential for fire and/or explosions of industrial wastes is unlikely, as waste materials are buried approximately 30-50 feet below the landfill surface. However, since municipal solid wastes were disposed at this site, methane gas may be generated by decomposition. Methane gas may form gas pockets on-site or it may migrate off-site where an ignition source may produce a fire or explosion. The presence of methane gas at and around the landfill has not been investigated or documented.
As discussed previously ("Site Description and History" subsection), industrial wastes were primarily disposed in an unlined trench, 30-50 feet deep and centered along the southern perimeter of the active waste disposal area. Industrial wastes were also co-disposed with municipal solid wastes in other parts of the active landfill area and drums were reportedly buried intact or punctured, drained and crushed prior to disposal.
To determine whether nearby residents and persons on-site are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site an evaluation was made of the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. The pathways analysis consists of five elements: a source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure, and an exposed population.
An exposure pathway is categorized as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposure pathway cannot be eliminated. Completed pathways require that the five elements exist and indicate that exposure to a contaminant has occurred in the past, is currently occurring, or will occur in the future. Potential pathways, however, require that at least one of the five elements is missing, but could exist. Potential pathways indicate that exposure to a contaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never be present. The environmental and human exposure pathways associated with the site are discussed in the following subsections. Based on this analyses, only exposure to contaminated groundwater is considered a completed exposure pathway--the remaining pathways are considered potential exposure pathways.
Environmental media contaminated at the Colesville Landfill include: ground water, sub-surface soils and soils adjacent to leachate seeps. Off-site migration of site contaminants in ground water, surface water and stream sediment has been documented. Vinyl chloride and other VOCs have also been detected in leachate seeps along stream channels and the sloping terrain along the landfill perimeter.
Streams near the site are not used as potable water supplies. Although these streams drain into the Susquehanna River, the river does not show evidence of site-related contamination nor does it provide potable water for neighboring communities. The City of Binghamton, Town of Vestal and Village of Endicott obtain water from the Susquehanna River for public water supplies; however, these public water supplies are more than 25 miles downstream from the site. Since site access is not currently restricted, inhalation of VOCs and direct contact with contaminants in leachate seeps at and around the landfill surface, are a health concern for site trespassers (hunters, children). Additionally, wild animals such as deer and turkey, which can forage freely on the site, may be hunted for food and should be considered a potential source of human exposure for contaminants that bioaccumulate.
The exposed population is primarily homeowners whose wells became contaminated with VOCs migrating in ground water. Other potentially exposed populations include children, hunters, and fishermen who may come into contact with contaminated stream sediment and surface waters, as well as persons trespassing at the site who may be exposed to leachate seeps and contaminated soils.
Based on the number, extent and types of environmental contaminants, the potential environmental pathways, as well as the characteristics of the population affected by the site, the following have been identified as completed and potential human exposure routes to site-related contaminants at the Colesville Landfill: (1) ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption of contaminants in potable water; (2) direct contact with contaminated sediment, surface water and surface soils; and (3) inhalation of VOCs and direct contact with contaminants in leachate seeps. The estimated duration of exposure associated with each of these exposure routes is as follows:
|Media||Exposure Route||Exposure Duration|
|Surface Water||Direct Contact||Short-term|
|Leachate Seeps||Direct Contact|
* Exposure to contaminated ground water is considered the only completed exposure pathways currently identified.
As discussed in earlier sections of this report ("Environmental Contamination and Other Hazards" and "Pathway Analyses" subsections), several homes near the site have contaminated water supplies. Broome County has installed carbon filtration systems in the affected homes. Since the initial discovery of residential well contamination in 1983, several of the affected homes have been purchased by Broome County and now remain empty. For other homeowners whose water supplies have been contaminated, the County continues to monitor and maintain the filtration systems and the nearest occupied residence to the landfill is supplied with bottled water. However, prior to 1983, it is not known how long area residents may have been exposed to site contaminants which were disposed at the landfill between 1973 and 1975.
Table 5 summarizes State and Federal ground water quality standards and guidelines for chemicals in ground water at and near the Colesville Landfill. Comparing these values with analytical data for compounds in ground water both onsite (Table 2) and offsite (Tables 3 and 4) indicates that all organic compounds concentrations exceeded the standards. Arsenic, silver and cadmium in ground water onsite exceeded standards.
The following chemical-specific summaries discuss potential health affects that are associated with exposure to site contaminants. The information for these summaries was obtained from the ATSDR Toxicological Profiles cited in the Reference section of this public health assessment.
Benzene has been associated with an increased risk of leukemia in industrial workers who breathed large amounts of the chemical in the workplace over a long period of time. Benzene also causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer among exposed industrial workers and laboratory animals are believed to increase the risk of cancer in humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Benzene has also been associated with damage to blood-cell-forming tissues and immune and nervous systems of industrial workers and laboratory animals.
People exposed to high levels of methylene chloride in air show effects much like those produced by alcohol. Prolonged exposures may cause changes in blood and liver and decreased responses to visual and auditory stimulation. Most of these effects usually disappear fairly rapidly after exposure stops. Exposure to high concentrations of methylene chloride causes liver and kidney damage and affected the blood of laboratory animals. Methylene chloride causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high concentrations over their lifetime. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
There is some evidence that 1,1-dichloroethane causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels for long periods of time. Exposure to high levels of 1,1-dichloroethane damages the kidneys of laboratory animals and has caused delayed growth in the offspring of animals exposed during pregnancy.
1,1-Dichloroethene and trans-1,2-Dichloroethene
Humans exposed to high levels of 1,1-dichloroethene have had nervous system and liver damage. 1,1-Dichloroethene damages the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and nervous system of laboratory animals exposed to high levels. Birth defects have been observed in the offspring of laboratory animals exposed to high levels of this chemical in air during pregnancy. 1,1-Dichloroethene causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Whether or not it causes cancer in humans is unknown. Limited data on exposure of humans or laboratory animals to trans-1,2-dichloroethene show that this chemical causes nervous system damage, and changes in the liver and lungs.
People exposed to large amounts of 1,2-dichloropropane have experienced effects on the nervous system, blood and liver. Exposure to high concentrations of 1,2-dichloropropane has also damaged the liver, kidneys and adrenal glands of laboratory animals. 1,2-Dichloropropane causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
Some people exposed to large amounts of xylene have had liver, kidney, and nervous system damage. Exposure to high concentrations damages the nervous system, liver, kidneys and heart in laboratory animals. Exposure of pregnant laboratory animals to high concentrations of xylene shows that xylene may cause developmental damage in the unborn. Chemicals which cause adverse effects in laboratory animals may pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
1,2-Dichloroethane causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Whether or not 1,2-dichloroethane causes cancer in humans is unknown. Some humans exposed to large amounts of this chemical have had nervous system, liver, lung, kidney and heart damage. Exposure to high concentrations of 1,2-dichloroethane causes a decreased ability to fight infection in laboratory animals.
Exposure of laboratory animals to high concentrations of trichlorofluoromethane damaged the heart, liver, kidneys and central nervous and respiratory systems of these animals. Chemicals which cause adverse effects in laboratory animals may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
Exposure to high concentrations of toluene primarily affects the nervous system, liver and kidneys of laboratory animals. Chemicals which cause adverse effects in laboratory animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
Some industrial workers exposed to large amounts of 1,1,1-trichloroethane have had nervous system, liver and cardiovascular system damage. Exposure to high concentrations of this chemical causes nervous system, liver and cardiovascular system damage in laboratory animals. Chemicals which cause adverse health effects in exposed industrial workers and laboratory animals may also pose a risk of adverse health effects in humans who are exposed at lower levels over long periods of time.
Trichloroethene causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Whether or not trichloroethene causes cancer in humans is unknown. Some humans exposed to large amounts of this chemical have had nervous system, liver and kidney damage. Exposure to high concentrations of trichloroethene causes liver and kidney damage and effects on the immune system and blood in laboratory animals.
Vinyl chloride has been associated with increased risk of cancer and possibly miscarriage among industrial workers who were exposed to relatively large amounts of this chemical over a long time in workplace air. Vinyl chloride has also caused cancer in laboratory animals exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer among exposed industrial workers and laboratory animals are believed to increase the risk of cancer in humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
Chloroform was used as a surgical anesthetic for many years before its harmful effects were recognized. Laboratory animals and some humans exposed to chloroform have had liver, kidney and nervous system damage. Exposure to high concentrations of chloroform also causes damage to the male reproductive system in laboratory animals. Chloroform causes liver and kidney cancer in laboratory animals exposed at high levels over their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals also may increase the risk of cancer in humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Whether or not chloroform causes cancer in humans is unknown. However, several studies of drinking water and cancer in humans suggest a small increased risk of cancer in populations exposed to drinking water containing trihalomethanes, including chloroform, which are chemical by-products of disinfection (chlorination).
On-site and off-site groundwater, and off-site leachate and sediments are contaminated with the above described chemicals at levels of concern. An assessment of the toxicological implications of past, present and potential human exposure pathways of concern is presented below:
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in off-site
private homeowner wells.
For an undetermined period of time, residents in the Town of Colesville in Broome County, New York were exposed to volatile organic compounds in drinking water, many of which exceeded New York State ground water and/or drinking water standards or guidelines (see Tables 3 and 5). Chronic exposures to chemicals in drinking water are possible by ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposures from water uses such as showering, bathing and cooking. Although exposures vary depending on individual life-styles, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall body burden and thus increases the potential for chronic health effects.
Benzene and vinyl chloride are known human carcinogens. Chloroform, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethene, methylene chloride and trichloroethene cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime. These six chemicals have been classified as either probable or possible human carcinogens by the US EPA. 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.
Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of trans-1,2-dichloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and trichlorofluoromethane. Based on US EPA cancer potency estimates and the limited sampling of private homeowner wells, we estimate that persons exposed to contaminated drinking water may have a high increased risk of developing cancer over a lifetime.
These volatile organic compounds also produce a variety of noncarcinogenic toxicities (discussed in the above chemical-specific summaries) at exposures several orders of magnitude greater than exposure from off-site private homeowner wells. However, all the chlorinated solvents have similar toxicities. Therefore, although the risks of noncarcinogenic health effects from these exposures aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they are low.
- Potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to contaminants in private wells as a result of contaminant plume migration.
As indicated in Tables 2 and 4, ground water both on and off-site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals at concentrations that exceed New York State ground water and/or drinking water standards or guidelines. There is a potential for oral (ingestion), dermal and inhalation exposure to contaminants in residential well water from contaminant ground water.
The volatile organic compounds that were found in off-site private homeowner wells (see #1 above) and are classified by the US EPA as human, probable or possible human carcinogens, have also been detected in ground water both on and off-site. Based on US EPA cancer potency estimates, exposure to these chemicals in drinking water at levels found in ground water both on site (see Table 2) and off-site (see Table 4) would pose a high increased cancer risk over a lifetime of exposure.
The volatile organic compounds also produce a variety of noncarcinogenic toxicities (discussed in the above chemical specific summaries) at exposures generally several orders of magnitude greater than exposure from ground water both on and off-site. However, all the chlorinated solvents have similar toxicities. In addition, benzene is at a level that potential exposure to this chemical would be in excess of the daily exposure that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of adverse noncarcinogenic health effects over a lifetime of exposure. Therefore, although the risks of noncarcinogenic health effects from these exposures aren't completely understood, the existing data suggest that they are significant.
Chronic exposure to elevated lead levels is predominantly associated with neurological and hematological effects. 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, with symptoms ranging from delayed mental development and behavioral effects at low blood lead levels to frank ataxia, stupor, coma and convulsions at high blood levels. The most sensitive effect from chronic elevated exposure to cadmium is kidney damage. At high exposure levels, cadmium can cause adverse effects on bone, the gastrointestinal tract, liver, the hematopoietic system, cardiovascular system and reproduction. Arsenic can cause nerve, liver, blood vessel damage and behavioral problems including learning and hearing deficiencies. Studies with laboratory animals indicate that exposure to elevated levels of arsenic during pregnancy may increase the risk of adverse developmental and reproductive outcomes. Exposure to high silver concentrations primarily causes liver and kidney damage. Exposure to drinking water contaminated with these metals, in particular arsenic, at concentrations found in ground water on and off-site would pose a significant risk of adverse health effects.
- Dermal, ingestion and inhalation exposure to contaminants in leachate seeps near the North
Children and fishermen could be exposed to contaminants in leachate at seeps along the banks of North Stream (see Table 8). Present and future exposure to these contaminants is expected to be primarily limited to skin contact. This risk of adverse health effects could be high for exposure to vinyl chloride, low from exposure to methylene chloride, acetone, trans-1,2-dichloroethene, 2-butanone, benzene and trichloroethene and minimal for all other organic contaminants and metals in these leachate seeps.
- Dermal, ingestion and inhalation exposure to contaminants in sediments of waterbodies near
the Colesville Landfill.
Children and fishermen could be exposed to organic contaminants and metals in stream and river sediments (see Tables 6 and 7). These contaminants, are at levels which could result in a minimal risk of adverse health effects.
In 1986, the Broome County Health Department reported on the cancer incidence in areas of the county where the water supplies were contaminated with organic chemicals or where there was a public perception that contamination had occurred. Cancer cases diagnosed during 1976-1980 as reported to the NYS Cancer Registry were used in the study. The area near the Colesville Landfill, including the Hamlet of Doraville, was included in this study as part of the Town of Colesville. Expected numbers of cancers of 17 common sites and all sites were calculated using age- and sex-specific incidence for Upstate New York from the NYS Cancer Registry. For the Town of Colesville, overall cancer incidence was below expected for both males and females; no statistically significant excesses of cancer of any site were found for either sex. There were no cases of cancer reported within two miles of the landfill.
NYS DOH is developing a registry of persons exposed to VOCs in drinking water. Families living in the homes near the Colesville Landfill found to have contaminated wells will be considered for inclusion in the registry.
Residents of Doraville have expressed concern regarding possible exposures to site contaminants via drinking water. These concerns have been addressed at a public meeting and in the Record of Decision document. Sampling of area wells prior to the remedial investigation did not show evidence of site-related contaminants in community wells. Provisions have been incorporated into the selected site remedy for long-term monitoring of ground water between the site and the community to address community concerns related to possible future exposures to site contaminants via drinking water.
Between 1983 and 1985, the NYS DOH received several letters from residents living near the Colesville Landfill, as well as copies of letters directed to public officials, citing specific family and community illnesses believed to be the result of exposure to site contaminants. The illnesses cited included reproductive, central nervous systems and carcinogenic effects, as well as dermal, gastric and urinary tract irritations. These complaints were primarily reported by one resident whose home has since been purchased by the county and is unoccupied. The NYS DOH has developed a registry of persons exposed to VOCs in drinking water and families which live in the homes near the landfill with contaminated wells will be considered for inclusion in the registry. In 1986, the Broome County Health Department reported on cancer incidence in areas of the county where the water supplies were contaminated with organic chemicals or where there was a perception that contamination had occurred. There were no reported cases of cancer within two miles of the landfill.