PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
GARDEN CITY PARK INDUSTRIAL AREA (GCPIA)
(a/k/a FULTON AVENUE)
NORTH HEMPSTEAD, NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK
Site conditions are characterized to evaluate if a site poses an existing or potential hazard to the exposed or potentially exposed population. This site characterization involves a review of sampling data for environmental media (e.g., soil, groundwater, air), both on-site 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.
Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified based upon consideration of the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminants in environmental media both on-site and off-site;
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality and sample design;
- Comparison of on-site and off-site contaminant concentrations in environmental media with typical background levels;
- Comparison of contaminant concentrations in environmental media both on-site and off-site with public health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarcinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints and drinking water standards; and
- Community health concerns.
The selected contaminants are evaluated in the Public Health Implications section (Toxicological and Epidemiological Evaluation) of this Public Health Assessment (PHA) to determine whether exposure to these chemicals is of public health significance.
This section includes a discussion of sampling data for environmental media. Summary tables of sampling data are presented in Appendix B. The listing of a contaminant does not necessarily mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposure at the concentrations detected. If a chemical is selected for further evaluation in one medium, that contaminant will also be reported in all other media, if detected.
The environmental data in this section were gathered during several investigations, primarily two groundwater investigations conducted by Nassau County (NC DOH, 1986 and NC DOH/NC DPW, 1993), two Preliminary Site Assessments for the GCPIA conducted by NYS DEC (NYS DEC, 1994 and NYS DEC, 1996a), and the Focused Remedial Investigation Report for the 150 Fulton Avenue site conducted by NYS DEC (NYS DEC, 1996b). More recently, numerous hydrogeologic vertical profiles were completed as part of the ongoing RI for the 150 Fulton Avenue site. Additionally, extensive monitoring data for the twenty public water supply wells in the study area have been reviewed. Contaminants have been identified in dry well sediments, soil, groundwater, drinking water, and indoor air. The VOC solvents PCE, TCE, and TCA are the primary contaminants associated with the GCPIA. Lesser concentrations of related VOCs have also been detected. A review of available data for inorganic contaminants does not reveal any significant concerns. The following sections summarize the results of the investigations of groundwater contamination in and around the GCPIA.
On-site contamination at 150 Fulton Avenue consisted primarily of heavily-contaminated sediments and soils in and around a dry well source area and heavily-contaminated groundwater immediately beneath and downgradient from the dry well. The dry well is believed to have been used for the disposal of water and oils tainted with PCE. Over time PCE accumulated in the dry well sediments and leached into the subsurface soils and groundwater beneath and surrounding the dry well.
Sediment samples collected from the dry well-source area at 150 Fulton Avenue were heavily-contaminated with PCE. Data from the focused RI document PCE concentrations as high as 5,300 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) in dry well sediments (approximately 25 feet below ground surface). These sediments were removed for appropriate off-site treatment and the dry well decommissioned in August 1998.
Analytical data from the focused RI indicate that soil surrounding the dry well structure is heavily contaminated with PCE (up to 20,000 mg/kg). Additionally, the data and field screening results suggest that the entire soil column from the base of the dry well to the water table (50 to 52 feet below ground surface) contained significantly elevated concentrations of PCE. Sub-surface soil samples collected in the vicinity of the dry well and elsewhere onsite indicate that PCE contamination was in excess of 1 mg/kg at depths greater than 16 feet. The analytical results for on-site sub-surface soil samples are summarized in Table 3 (Appendix B). It should be noted that current concentrations of PCE in the subsurface soil are expected to be significantly lower than the reported results due to the ongoing operation of the AS/SVE system. Soil samples were collected in 2001 to evaluate the effectiveness of the AS/SVE system; the results for these are not yet available.
No surface soil samples were collected from the 150 Fulton Avenue property. The bulk of the property is covered by the building structure, which sits on a concrete slab. Remaining areas of the property are covered by asphalt pavement.
Groundwater beneath 150 Fulton Avenue had been significantly contaminated with PCE. Analytical results from monitoring wells near the former dry well at 150 Fulton Avenue indicated that on-site groundwater historically contained several thousand micrograms per liter (µg/L) of PCE (approximately 2,000 to 50,000) and some TCE (up to 83 µg/L). Groundwater samples taken with the Geoprobe technique were collected at numerous locations at 150 Fulton Avenue, including downgradient points beneath the building, during field work in 1995 for the focused RI. These results showed PCE at concentrations up to 24,000 µg/L and present in all 24 samples collected. Most of the Geoprobe samples also contained TCE (concentrations up to 110 µg/L), several contained TCA (up to 230 µg/L) and 1,1-dichloroethene (up to 25 µg/L), and a few contained 1,1-dichloroethane (up to 18 µg/L). Two on-site groundwater samples contained carbon disulfide (up to 370 µg/L), though it is not clear if this is a laboratory artifact. Carbon disulfide is reported in only one other sample in the associated groundwater database (a total of 43 analyses for carbon disulfide). All of the on-site groundwater samples collected in 1995 were from the shallow zone (~50' - 70') of the Upper Glacial Aquifer. Analytical results for groundwater samples collected through 1995 are summarized in Table 6 (Appendix B). More recently, three hydrogeologic vertical profiles were completed at 150 Fulton Avenue as part of the RI for that site. An additional profile was completed immediately downgradient from 150 Fulton Avenue. These profiles included many groundwater samples collected from the water table surface to depths as great as 215 feet below ground surface. Results from these samples suggest that the majority of PCE contamination has remained near the water table surface at the site, though VOC detections slightly above groundwater standards occurred virtually throughout the water column. Quarterly groundwater monitoring for VOCs since 1998, when onsite remediation began, indicates that concentrations of VOCs in groundwater near the former source area have substantially decreased and are approaching groundwater quality standards.
There are no water bodies in the GCPIA and contaminant sources in the GCPIA appear to be subsurface.
One outdoor air sample was collected on-site in April, 1995 and tested for chlorinated VOCs and a second sample was collected in June, 1998 and tested for PCE (perc); the analyses did not detect chemicals in either sample. Additional outdoor testing for PCE occurred in February and March 1999. No PCE was detected in the samples collected.
Indoor air samples collected in April, 1995 in the building at 150 Fulton Avenue did not contain PCE at the analytical detection limit. More recent samples, collected in June, 1998, were analyzed for PCE (perc) by a method with lower detection limits. These samples contained PCE (perc) in indoor air at concentrations of about 250 µg/m3. These concentrations exceed the NYSDOH ambient air guideline value of 100 µg/m3 for perc (PCE). The exact source of perc in the indoor air is not known. A product inventory revealed several cleaning products containing chlorinated VOCs. At least one spray cleaning product contained PCE, though staff at the facility stated that the product had not been used for months. The analytical results for air samples are presented in Table 2. Three rounds of indoor air testing have been done at 150 Fulton Avenue since the implementation of soil vapor extraction at the site. All of the PCE results in these three latest rounds were less than the NYS DOH guideline value of 100 µg/m3 for PCE in air.
Since implementation of the source area remediation at 150 Fulton Avenue, extracted soil vapor has been tested for VOCs on many occasions. Most checks have been in the field with a portable photoionization detector (PID) meter. These results have indicated the presence of VOC concentration in vapors beneath the site ranging from a maximum of over 13,000 parts per million (ppm) in late 1998 down to about 1 ppm at the present time. Extracted vapors have also been sent for laboratory analysis on ten occasions. These results indicate the presence of PCE in soil vapor at concentrations ranging from about 1,300,000 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) in February 1999 down to about 2,500 µg/m3 in April 2001. The most recent results for soil vapor indicate the presence of PCE at about 4,000 µg/m3, TCE at about 250 µg/m3, and DCE at about 100 µg/m3.
Approximately 27 subsurface soil samples were collected in the GCPIA (beyond those collected at 150 Fulton Avenue) and analyzed for VOCs during the PSA investigations. Four analytes were detected in four samples, at very low concentrations - often at the analytical detection limit. The highest concentration for PCE, the most frequently detected chemical, was 0.2 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). This sample was from a depth greater than sixteen feet. The maximum VOC concentration in shallow soil (0'-3') was 0.016 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for PCE. Subsurface soil sample results for the GCPIA are summarized in Table 4.
No surface soil samples were collected within the GCPIA. This is because the area is mostly paved and the contaminant discharges were apparently subsurface. Surface soil samples were collected by the NYS DOH in February 1996 from fields behind the Mineola High School. The school is approximately three blocks north of the GCPIA. Analytical results from those samples did not indicate the presence of the primary contaminants of concern, PCE and TCE, associated with the GCPIA investigations. Trace levels of TCA and other commonly-found chemicals were detected. These results are summarized in Table 5.
Groundwater Within the GCPIA
The contamination associated with the GCPIA is primarily limited to one or more large groundwater VOC contaminant plume(s). Groundwater contamination in the GCPIA, especially downgradient from 150 Fulton Avenue, has total VOC concentrations approaching 100,000 µg/L (or 100 parts per million, ppm).
A review of the historic monitoring well data indicates that all thirteen monitoring wells in the GCPIA are contaminated with VOCs. Concentrations of PCE in the monitoring wells have ranged from less than one microgram per liter (µg/L) to 50,000 µg/L. Concentrations of TCE ranged from less than one µg/L to 3,100 µg/L and concentrations of TCA ranged from less than 0.37 µg/L to 260 µg/L. The cis- and trans- isomers of 1,2-dichloroethene (c/t-1,2-DCE), considered a degradation product of PCE and TCE, appeared in some combination in most of the wells at concentrations up to 3,700 µg/L. While most of the GCPIA monitoring wells are screened in the Upper Glacial Aquifer (approximately 45' - 85'), three are deeper wells (approximately 100' - 200') screened in the upper zones of the Magothy Aquifer, the primary water source for downgradient public supply wells. Data from the deeper wells suggest that these upper portions of the Magothy Aquifer beneath the GCPIA are significantly contaminated with PCE (concentrations of several thousand µg/L) though the concentrations apparently diminish (to less than one hundred µg/L) at depths greater than 200 feet. There is no significant confining unit, on a regional scale, between the Upper Glacial and Magothy formations. Hydrogeologic data from previous investigations, however, indicate the presence of a low permeability layer in the vicinity of the 150 Fulton Avenue site (ERM 1998).
Many groundwater samples (133) have also been collected in the GCPIA, using the Geoprobe technique, during three investigations conducted by NYS DEC between 1994 and 1996. These samples contained up to 85,000 µg/L of PCE, up to 5,500 µg/L of TCE, and up to 260 µg/L of TCA. The highest concentrations of PCE and TCE appeared immediately downgradient from the 150 Fulton Avenue site. Approximately one-fourth of the Geoprobe samples also contained some combination of c/t-1,2-DCE up to concentrations of 2,800 µg/L. Vinyl chloride (VC), a breakdown product of PCE and TCE, appeared in three of the 133 samples at concentrations up to 220 µg/L. The highest concentrations of DCE and VC appeared together, with some PCE and TCE, in samples collected immediately downgradient of the 150 Fulton Avenue site and approximately 15 feet deeper than the bulk of PCE contamination at that location.
The data indicate at least one very concentrated PCE plume originating at the 150 Fulton Avenue site and suggest one or more TCE/TCA plume(s), at lower concentrations, possibly originating at or near the Precision Fabricators facility and a TCA plume possibly originating somewhere northwest of 150 Fulton Avenue. These plumes appear to spread somewhat laterally and co-mingle beneath the GCPIA while flowing generally to the southwest. The highest concentrations of TCE appear to be associated with the PCE plume, increasing downgradient of the PCE source area. This suggests, along with the less consistent appearance of c/t-1,2-DCE and occasional VC, that PCE is probably degrading to some extent as it migrates away from the source area.
Groundwater Beyond the GCPIA
The area of study potentially affected by groundwater contamination from the GCPIA, approximately six square miles (Figures 1 and 2, Appendix A), consists of a network of at least 30 groundwater quality monitoring wells and includes 20 public water supply wells. For the most part, several rounds of samples were collected from the monitoring wells for VOC analysis and quarterly or monthly samples were collected from the public water supply wells.
Of the 30 monitoring wells outside of the GCPIA but within the study area, 28 are (or were at one time) contaminated with VOCs. PCE, TCE, and TCA concentrations in the monitoring wells ranged from less than 0.5 µg/L each to a maximum of 29,000 µg/L, 830 µg/L, and 429 µg/L, respectively. PCE has been detected in nearly two-thirds of all samples analyzed (81 of 140), TCE and TCA have been detected in more than one-third but less than one-half of all samples. Additionally, c/t-1,2-DCE was in nearly one-fourth of all samples up to a maximum concentration of 620 µg/L, and 1,1-dichloroethane (1,1-DCA) was in approximately one-fifth of all samples up to a concentration of 760 µg/L. The bulk of contamination (historically, more than 30 ppm total VOCs) appears to be within the Upper Glacial Aquifer, although significant contamination (total VOC concentrations have approached 1 ppm) has penetrated the uppermost portions of the underlying Magothy Aquifer. The frequency of detection for TCE, TCA, DCE, and DCA appears to increase with depth, at least into the upper portions of the Magothy Aquifer. While PCE generally appears in concentrations greater than any other VOC to 220' depths, TCE apparently predominates at greater (400') depths. Similarly, beyond three-quarters of a mile from the GCPIA, TCE predominates over PCE as the contaminant of highest concentrations. In general, the prevalence of contamination appears to increase with depth at greater distances from the site. The data are presented in Table 6.
Groundwater profile data from the ongoing 150 Fulton Avenue RI suggest that a concentrated PCE plume originates at 150 Fulton Avenue and is currently situated along a southwesterly trending transect from the site. This plume apparently migrates concurrently with and co-mingles with a larger more widespread TCE plume to the northwest.
Of the 20 public water supply wells in the study area, 18 have been affected by VOC contamination (see Table 1). Contamination remains at 17 wells. Concentrations of VOCs within well water samples collected at the supply wells have ranged from 0.5 µg/L to a maximum of 90 µg/L for PCE, 250 µg/L for TCE, and 15 µg/L for TCA. The predominant contaminant in the contaminated supply wells is TCE (1185 detections in 1851 analyses, ~ 64%) followed by PCE (826 detections in 1666 analyses, nearly 50%). TCA appears in the supply wells with considerably less frequency (272 detections in 1849 analyses, ~ 15%). Unlike most of the monitoring wells, which tend to tap the Upper Glacial Aquifer, the majority of the public supply wells (16 of 20) draw from the deeper Magothy Aquifer. Public supply wells as distant as three and one-half miles downgradient from the GCPIA site have been contaminated with VOCs; however, the exact source(s) of the contamination at these wells has not been determined. Data recently obtained per the ongoing 150 Fulton Avenue RI suggest that a major source of TCE contamination exists or existed at some location north of the GCPIA. Given the depth of this contamination (about 250 to 370 feet below ground surface), the location of the highest concentrations identified to date (greater than 1,000 µg/L about 4,000 feet west of the GCPIA), and its apparent presence at depth prior to the 1980s, none of the known or potential sites identified in this document appear to be likely sources.
The analytical results for the public water supply wells in the area of study are summarized in Table 7. Water at contaminated well fields is either treated for VOC removal (14 wells) so that the water distributed to the community meets drinking water standards or it is not used at all (three wells). Information about the operating status and treatment history of the supply wells is included in Tables 1 and Table 7. The wells are also depicted on a map, Figure 2.
There are no water bodies in the GCPIA and contaminant sources in the GCPIA appear to be subsurface. A large recharge basin (County Basin #123) to the southeast of the GCPIA is believed to receive stormwater runoff from the paved areas around 150 Fulton Avenue via a storm drain/storm sewer network. There are no analytical data for sediments from this recharge basin.
No samples of outdoor air have been analyzed at locations away from 150 Fulton Avenue. Ambient samples collected outside of the 150 Fulton Avenue building did not reveal the presence of VOC contamination. The VOC contamination associated with 150 Fulton Avenue and the GCPIA is believed to be related to subsurface sources not directly vented to the atmosphere.
Three samples of soil vapor were collected from subsurface areas immediately west of 150 Fulton Avenue at locations approximately 150 horizontal feet downgradient from the dry well source area. The samples, which represented pore vapors overlying (by approximately 40 to 50 feet) groundwater contamination, did not contain PCE (perc).
In preparing this PHA, ATSDR and the NYS DOH rely on the information in the reference 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 the analyses and conclusions drawn for this PHA is determined by the completeness and reliability of that information.
Investigations conducted by NYS DEC followed the standard QA/QC and Contract Laboratory Protocol (CLP) requirements used under the NYS Superfund Program. These requirements include QC measures for equipment calibration, cleaning, and maintenance, for field, trip, and laboratory blanks, for chain-of-custody, for duplicate/split samples, spike samples, preparation of standards, laboratory certification, laboratory checks, analytical reproducibility, system audits, data-reporting, record-keeping, and data validation.
Investigations conducted prior to the NYS DEC work may not have met the QA/QC and CLP requirements of the Superfund Program. Samples collected by NC DOH and NC DPW and analyzed by approved laboratories were subject to NC DOH/NC DPW procedures in effect at the time of sampling. It is assumed that these procedures were reasonably sufficient to ensure the validity of sample data.
One possible data concern of a QA/QC nature relates to the collection of groundwater samples using the Geoprobe method and the corresponding gas chromatographic field analysis for VOCs. These results are generally used as a screening tool and the sampling and analytical methods do not follow the same rigorous techniques used by obtaining samples from properly installed and developed monitoring wells and used during laboratory analysis. However, the utility of the method is that large numbers of samples can be collected and analyzed.
Another data concern related to QA/QC is also worthy of note. Several of the contaminants reported for soil samples are common laboratory contaminants and may be, therefore, extraneous to the actual samples. These compounds include acetone, 2-butanone (MEK), and dichloromethane, none of which are associated with known VOC contamination in the GCPIA.
As previously noted, several site visits have been conducted by NYSDOH staff. During these occasions, no physical hazards were identified at the site.
This section of the public health assessment (PHA) identifies potential and completed exposure pathways associated with past, present and future uses 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 has five elements: (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, the contaminant source is considered to be 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 people may be exposed. 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 absorption). 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 criterion for any one of the five elements comprising a 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.
The primary contaminants of concern associated with the GCPIA are PCE, TCE, and TCA. The known contaminant sources, particularly for PCE and some associated TCE, are sediment, soil, and groundwater in and around a subsurface dry well at 150 Fulton Avenue. Other sources of lesser magnitude, particularly for TCA and some TCE, probably exist or did exist within the GCPIA. The environmental media/mechanisms of contaminant transport are subsurface groundwater and possibly soil vapor. The points of exposure would be homes, businesses, or other facilities supplied with contaminated groundwater and surface release points of contaminated soil vapors. The primary exposure routes include ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact associated with using contaminated groundwater as a source for potable water and also inhalation and dermal contact associated with contaminated soil vapors. The receptor populations would be users of contaminated groundwater and residents/tenants of structures with indoor air contamination via entry of soil vapors.
Pathways Related to Contaminated Public Water Supply Wells (Past)
Exposures to contaminants in drinking water supplies can occur via ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation from water uses such as showering, bathing or other household uses. Although exposure varies depending on an individual's lifestyle, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall daily uptake of contaminants and, thus, increases the potential for chronic health effects.
A program for monitoring VOC contamination in public supply wells in Nassau County began in 1976. In the 1970s and 1980s, the NYS DOH drinking water guideline for VOCs, including PCE, TCE, and TCA, was 50 µg/L. When this guideline was exceeded in a public water supply well, the well was usually removed from service until an appropriate treatment system was installed. In 1989, the NYS DOH adopted (in 10 NYCRR Part 5) a drinking water standard of 5 µg/L for these VOCs and, consequently, additional public water supply wells were taken out of service or had treatment systems installed.
Since implementation of VOC monitoring in the area of study (about 1977), contaminants were detected in eighteen public supply wells within a few miles and generally downgradient of the GCPIA. These wells are distributed among five water suppliers that presently serve a combined population of 170,000 and historically have served nearly 215,000. Affected wells are either treated to meet drinking water standards or not presently used. The status of these wells is summarized in Table 1, Appendix B.
Table 7 presents a summary of the historic analytical data for PCE, TCE, and TCA (the primary contaminants of concern associated with the GCPIA and the contaminated public supply wells) for each of the 20 supply wells in the study area. The summaries are grouped by Water District and include explanatory notes relevant to historic exposures. Because monitoring data are lacking prior to 1977 for wells in the area of study, specific contaminants and concentrations to which people may have been historically exposed via the public water supply cannot be determined. However, some estimates of historic concentrations in supply wells can be made from the existing database.
Several of the supply wells were already contaminated when VOC testing first began, typically in 1977 or 1978. Similar concentrations may have existed in the years immediately preceding these samples. If the source of the VOC contaminants is a dry cleaning process that operated at 150 Fulton Avenue, a conservative estimate would be ten years of exposure at the initially detected concentrations in each supply well. This assumes that unapproved or unregulated discharges of PCE into the ground began almost immediately when the dry cleaning operation began (1964), and allows a two to four year travel time for PCE through the aquifer to the supply well. Additional exposure may have occurred between 1978 and 1989 at concentrations up to 50 µg/L, the former NYS DOH guideline for most VOCs in drinking water. In 1989, the NYS DOH drinking water guideline of 50 µg/L for most VOCs was replaced with the more stringent standard of 5 µg/L.
A discussion of contamination in specific wells, along with information concerning treatment, is presented below for each of the affected water districts. Contaminant concentrations and time periods are presented in a manner such that reasonable exposure scenarios for affected residents could be reconstructed. The discussion parallels the data summary as presented in Table 7 (see Appendix B).
Mineola Water District
The Mineola Water District operates seven water supply wells which serve a population of approximately 21,500. One of these wells, N-3185 (Local Well #4), is within the study area, approximately one-third of one mile from the GCPIA. Although this well has been included with discussions of GCPIA-related contamination (because of proximity to the GCPIA), the well is slightly upgradient from the GCPIA, particularly from 150 Fulton Avenue. Consequently, the source of contamination may not be the GCPIA. The first VOC samples from Well 3185 (1977) contained concentrations of PCE and TCE at 10 µg/L and 6 µg/L, respectively. This suggests earlier exposures to VOCs, perhaps at similar concentrations. Because the source of contamination at this well is not known, the duration of previous exposure can only be estimated. If contamination in the well did originate with the 150 Fulton Ave site, and the contamination occurred shortly after the facility began operating, the exposures may have occurred for ten years prior to 1977 (the first VOC sample). If contamination in the well originated from another nearby facility, a similar duration of exposure is reasonable as many facilities began operation in the mid 1960s as the GCPIA was developed. The exposures occurred for an additional ten years until VOC treatment began in 1987. At that time, concentrations remained at about 10 µg/L for PCE but had increased to about 20 µg/L for TCE. Peak concentrations of 17 µg/L for PCE and 55 µg/L for TCE appeared in early 1983. Since operation of the VOC removal system in 1987, only one exceedance of the 5 µg/L drinking water standard has occurred. That result, 6 µg/L for TCE, occurred in 1987 for a sample collected during the first day of operation (start-up) of the new VOC removal system.
Garden City Park Water District
The Garden City Park Water District operates ten water supply wells which serve a population of approximately 21,000. One of these wells is located within the study area. Well 8409 (Well #9) is the closest public supply well to the GCPIA. Although somewhat side-gradient, the well is greater than 300 feet deep and pumping may have drawn contamination to the well. The well had traces (less than 3 µg/L) of VOCs until 1985 when concentrations began to increase. Concentrations exceeded the NYS DOH 50 µg/L guideline in 1988 and the well was shut down. The well was re-opened for use in July 1991 with a VOC removal system, however, the well has only been used occasionally since 1993. No exceedances of the current 5 µg/L standard have occurred in the finished water since reuse with VOC treatment began. The VOC removal system was upgraded in 1998 to accommodate increased flow and greater quantities of contaminants. Concentrations of PCE and TCE in the well are presently about 55 µg/L and 75 µg/L, respectively.
Another well formerly operated by Garden City Park, Well N-2565 (Local Well #3), is approximately one-third of one mile from the GCPIA in a direction that could be considered hydrogeologically side-gradient from contamination at the GCPIA. The well has been closed since 1968 because of nitrate contamination. The feasibility of reopening the well became less in 1977 when initial VOC samples showed PCE at concentrations of approximately 25-28 µg/L. It is unknown if the well was contaminated with VOCs prior to 1968.
Garden City Village Water District
The Village of Garden City operates eleven water supply wells which serve a population of approximately 22,000. Four of these wells are located within the study area.
Well N-3881 (Local Well #9) did not contain PCE or TCE during the earliest VOC samples (1977-1979). Trace levels of TCE began to appear in 1980, gradually increasing to approximately 20 µg/L of TCE (and traces of PCE) in 1986, whereupon the well was removed from service. The NYS DEC recently funded a VOC removal treatment unit for this well so that the Village can bring it back on-line.
Well N-5163 (Well #12) is approximately one-third of one mile from the GCPIA in a direction that could be considered hydrogeologically side-gradient from contamination at the GCPIA. The well did not contain PCE or TCE in the earliest VOC samples (1977-1979). Traces of TCE began to appear in the early 1980s and traces of PCE in the late 1980s. By 1989, when the NYS DOH VOC standard of 5 µg/L became effective, TCE concentrations had increased to slightly above 5 µg/L and the well was removed from service. The well was returned to service in 1994 after VOC removal treatment was added. Since treatment was added only three detections have occurred, all for TCE and all less than 1 µg/L, in monthly samples of treated water. Concentrations of PCE and TCE in untreated water are presently about 7 µg/L and 40 µg/L, respectively.
The earliest VOC samples (1979) from Well N-7058 (Well #13) did not contain PCE or TCE. Traces of TCE appeared in the early 1980's and gradually increased to approximately 15 µg/L through 1988 when traces of PCE also began to appear. These concentrations were less than the guideline value of 50 µg/L that was in effect prior to January 1989. Treatment for VOC removal was added early in 1989. Since treatment was added, there have been only three detections of PCE and TCE in monthly samples of treated water. One of these, TCE at 18 µg/L, exceeded the 5 µg/L standard though the TCE was non-detectable three days later. Concentrations of PCE and TCE in untreated water averaged about 6 µg/L and 30 µg/L, respectively, through 1997. In 1998, the concentrations of both chemicals began to increase in the well, with PCE becoming predominant over TCE in late 1999. In 2000, the most recent year for which data summaries are available, concentrations for PCE and TCE were about 130 µg/L and 70 µg/L.
Well N-8339 (Well #14) was free of detectable VOC contaminants in the earliest samples (1977-1978), but traces of PCE and TCE began to appear in the early 1980s. These concentrations had increased to approximately 5 µg/L for each of the two contaminants in 1988 when VOC removal began. Since treatment was added, there have been three detections of the contaminants of concern in monthly samples of treated water. None of these detections was greater than 2 µg/L. Concentrations of PCE and TCE in untreated water averaged about 25 µg/L and 80 µg/L, respectively, through 1997. In 1998, the concentrations of both chemicals began to increase with TCE reaching a peak of about 140 µg/L in late 1998 and PCE becoming predominant over TCE in late 1999. In 2000, the most recent year for which data summaries are available, concentrations for PCE and TCE were about 110 µg/L and 60 µg/L.
Franklin Square Water District
The Franklin Square Water District operates five water supply wells which serve a population of approximately 20,000. Four of these wells are located within the study area. Wells N-3603 and N-3604 (Local Wells #1 and #2, respectively), though in the study area, do not appear to have been adversely impacted by the VOC contamination and meet drinking water standards without VOC removal.
There were no detectable concentrations of PCE or TCE in Well N-7117 (Well #4) during the earliest sampling (1977). Concentrations of TCE began to appear in 1978 and appeared consistently at concentrations of 3 to 4 µg/L through the 1980s. A granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration system was added in 1991 to remove VOC contaminants. Since then there have been five detections of TCE in samples of treated water, though none have been greater than 2 µg/L. Concentrations of TCE in untreated water are presently about 45 µg/L.
Well N-8818 (Well #5) had approximately 6 µg/L of TCE (consistently) during the earliest VOC samples (~1977 - 1980), and probably before that time. Similar concentrations remained, with a peak concentration of 10 µg/L, through 1989 when GAC filtration was installed. There have been four detections of TCE in treated water since that time, none of which have exceeded 3 µg/L. Present concentrations of TCE in untreated water from this well are approximately 50 µg/L.
The GAC systems at these wells are currently being upgraded to packed-tower aeration (PTA) systems to accommodate increasing levels of TCE in the well water. PCE does not appear to be a contaminant in any of these wells.
Water Authority of Western Nassau
The Water Authority of Western Nassau operates 26 water supply wells which serve a population of approximately 85,000. The 26 supply wells operated by the Authority (including the nine wells within the study area), as well as the distribution area served by the Authority, were formerly part of the larger Jamaica Water Supply Company. Prior to May 1996, the Jamaica Water Supply Company served the area now comprising the Water Authority of Western Nassau and approximately 45,000 residents in neighboring Queens County (total service area of approximately 130,000). Distribution systems were interconnected across the County Line, although the interconnections have been valved off since about 1986 (the Queens service area was then supplemented with New York City water). Since 1996 some of the interconnections have been removed from the distribution systems, though a few remain for emergency use.
The Water Authority of Western Nassau operates nine wells in the area of study, although one is currently not used. Well N-0693 (Local Well #15D) is a shallow well that is no longer used because of VOC contamination. Early VOC samples from the well (~1977) contained PCE at concentrations less than 5 µg/L, the current drinking water standard. For the most part, concentrations of PCE were less than 2 µg/L from 1979 through 1993, when the well was removed from service; in 1990, PCE concentrations rose to 9.2 µg/L and decreased to about 2 µg/L within a few months. TCE and TCA during this period were usually less than 1 µg/L.
The earliest VOC samples (~1977-1978) from Well N-4077 (Well #35) averaged approximately 8 µg/L of TCE and less than 2 µg/L each of PCE and TCA. No analyses contained individual VOCs at concentrations exceeding 50 µg/L prior to commencement of VOC treatment in 1985. The current standard of 5 µg/L was exceeded for each of TCE and TCA (13 and 7 µg/L, respectively) in finished water for less than one day during system servicing in December 1985. Untreated water from the well has been virtually free of these contaminants since about 1991.
The operational history of Well N-4298 (Well #35A) prior to 1985 is unclear, although the well was apparently not used between 1977 and 1985, a period for which no VOC analyses were performed. It appears the well may have operated for one-half of 1985 without VOC removal, during which time PCE, TCE, and TCA concentrations averaged approximately 1, 8, and 2.3 µg/L, respectively. The contaminant 1,1-dichloroethane may also have been present at approximately 7 µg/L during that time. Present concentrations of PCE, TCE, and TCA in untreated water are approximately 2, 10, and 3 µg/L, respectively. No concentrations of these chemicals in treated water have been detected at levels exceeding 5 µg/L since treatment began in 1985.
The earliest VOC samples (1977-1979) from Well N-5155 (Well #44) had concentrations of PCE at about 5 µg/L with no TCE or TCA. While TCE remained generally non-detected through the 1980s, TCE concentrations averaged approximately 7 µg/L for a two-year period of 1991-1992. Since installation of VOC Removal in 1992, untreated water has been virtually clear of the contaminants of concern and there have been no detections in treated water.
The earliest VOC samples of Well N-5156 (Well #44A) were free of the contaminants of concern. PCE and TCE concentrations each averaged about 1 to 2 µg/L in the early 1980s, and then TCE concentrations increased to approximately 8 µg/L in 1986-1987. Concentrations of TCE averaged approximately 9 µg/L between 1988 and 1991. VOC Removal treatment was added in 1992. Presently, concentrations of TCE in untreated water average about 17 µg/L with no PCE or TCA. There has been only one detection of any of these VOCs in treated water since 1992, TCE at 6.3 µg/L. A subsequent sample collected two weeks later contained no detectable TCE.
The earliest VOC samples (1978-1979) from Well N-6744 (Well #44B) contained PCE at approximately 13 µg/L and the well was removed from service at that time. The PCE concentrations decreased to about 2 µg/L by 1984. The well was placed back into service, without VOC treatment, in 1988. TCE appeared at detectable concentrations of less than 5 µg/L between 1990 and 1992. Neither of these VOCs have been detected in monthly samples since about mid-1992. The well continues to be used without treatment.
Well N-6745 (Well #44C) had occasional detections of PCE and TCE at concentrations less than 3 µg/L prior to 1989. Monthly samples between 1989 and 1992 had seven detections of TCE greater than the 5 µg/L drinking water standard; none of these was greater than 8 µg/L. Although VOC removal was available at the well in 1992, the treatment was used only occasionally until 1995. The monitoring results did not indicate any exceedances of 5 µg/L for the contaminants of concern during this time. Present concentrations in untreated water are approximately 1 and 3 µg/L for PCE and TCE, respectively. There have been no detections in treated water since 1995.
The earliest VOC samples (1977-1980) from Well N-7649 (Well #57) contained PCE and TCE at about 4 and 8 µg/L, respectively. These concentrations increased through 1983, averaging approximately 8 and 28 µg/L for PCE and TCE. VOC removal treatment was added in 1984. Since that time there have been many detections of TCE, some of which were approximately 10 - 12 µg/L. Since about mid-1989, there have been no detections greater than 5 µg/L in treated water. Present concentrations of PCE, TCE, and TCA in untreated water from Well 7649 are approximately 25, 200, and 4 µg/L, respectively. Additionally, concentrations of cis-1,2-dichloroethene, 1,1-dichloroethene, 1,1-dichloroethane, and vinyl chloride are approximately 7, 5, 1.2, and 1.0 µg/L, respectively. These latter compounds began appearing in the well, with regularity, in about 1991 and the concentrations have appeared to be consistent throughout the past six or seven years of monthly analytical data.
The earliest VOC samples (1977) for Well N-7650 (Well #57A) contained PCE and TCE at approximately 2 and 10 µg/L, respectively. Between 1981 and 1985, these concentrations averaged approximately 1 µg/L for PCE and 27 µg/L for TCE. VOC removal was added in 1985. Between 1985 and 1988, there were many detections of TCE in treated water though none exceeded 6 µg/L. Since 1989, there have only been four detections, all less than 2 µg/L. Untreated water presently contains about 1 µg/L PCE, 25 µg/L TCE, and 1 µg/L of cis-1,2-dichloroethene.
Inhalation and dermal contact are the exposure routes associated with the vapors of the volatile dry cleaning chemical, PCE. During the period of time (1964-1977) when 150 Fulton Avenue was leased as a cutting mill that used a dry cleaning process, employees were possibly exposed to PCE. Prior to 1972, these exposures were not subject to regulation in New York State, though performance standards and recommended limits had been published by two professional/technical societies. In 1972, these exposures became subject to regulations promulgated by the newly-created Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Evaluation of these past occupational exposures is beyond the scope of this document.
Employees of subsequent businesses located in the 150 Fulton Avenue building (i.e., Robelan Displays between 1977 and 1988 and Cymann Designs between 1988 and 1996) were probably exposed to residual PCE vapors in indoor air. The vapors may originate in soil pores around heavily contaminated subsurface soils and sediments at the dry well and migrate into the onsite structure via floor joints or cracks. This phenomenon has occurred at other sites in Nassau County with heavily contaminated soils from historic dry cleaning operations. PCE concentrations of approximately 250 µg/m3 were observed in the building at 150 Fulton Avenue in 1998, prior to the recently implemented IRM (see Table 2). This is higher than typical indoor air concentrations for PCE (usually less than 10 µg/m3) and creates a completed exposure pathway for the 30 or so employees of the present tenant.
Three samples of soil vapor were collected from subsurface areas immediately west of 150 Fulton Avenue at locations approximately 150 horizontal feet downgradient from the dry well source area. The samples are of pore vapors overlying (by approximately 40 to 50 feet) significant groundwater contamination and did not contain detectable levels of PCE (perc). This suggests that PCE (perc) vapors are not migrating at detectable levels into basements or other enclosed structures overlying the most highly contaminated portions of the groundwater plume. The soil vapor migration scenario would be less likely in residential areas, which are approximately one-half of a mile downgradient, because the PCE concentrations close to the surface become more dilute with distance and the higher contamination appears to migrate deeper into the groundwater.
Pathways Related to Contaminated Public Water Supply Wells (Present and Future)
Exposures to contaminants in drinking water supplies can occur via ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation from water uses such as showering, bathing or other household uses. Although exposure varies depending on an individual's lifestyle, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall daily uptake of contaminants and, thus, increases the potential for chronic health effects.
Groundwater in the area of study is contaminated with VOCs and this groundwater serves, either in whole or in part, as the source of water for a population of nearly 200,000. However, as previously discussed, contaminated groundwater is presently treated (14 wells) to remove contaminants prior to public distribution of the water. A few wells within the study area (N-3603, N-3604, N-6744) are not treated for VOCs because they are free of such contamination. All of the supply wells, regardless of treatment, are required to be routinely monitored for VOC contamination. Additional monitoring is required at wells that have VOC removal to ensure that the removal systems continue to work effectively. Thus there are two engineering controls in place, treatment and monitoring, to mitigate possible VOC exposures via public water supplies.
Exposure to VOCs through public water supplies remains a potential pathway in the event that current engineering controls fail. If treatment systems fail, VOC contaminants could be distributed through the public water supply. If contamination reaches supply wells not currently treated for VOCs (N-3603, N-3604, N-6744), VOC contaminants could also be distributed through the public water supply. Additionally, if any of the three wells presently not used is returned to service, VOC contaminants could be distributed through the public water supply. Each of these possibilities would be discovered through the routine monitoring programs presently in place, thereby minimizing the duration of exposure. However, if the monitoring systems were also to fail, exposure durations could be longer.
The Nassau County Department of Health maintains an extensive database of the historic monitoring results from public water supplies. A review of the data for supply wells in the area of study indicates that VOC contaminants are seldom detected in treated water at concentrations exceeding drinking water standards. As discussed in the previous section, the occasional exceedances are usually associated with system startup or servicing and are gone after very brief periods of time.
Pathways Related to Subsurface Soils and Sediments
Exposure routes associated with contaminated soil are ingestion, dermal contact, or inhalation of contaminated particulates. Subsurface soils and sediments in and around the on-site dry well are, or until recently were, contaminated. While there are no current exposures to these subsurface materials, any excavation into this material could result in exposures. Contaminants apparently do not appear in significant concentrations until depths of about 16 feet, which is deeper than typical excavations. Remedial measures that specifically attempt to reach and remove contaminated materials could result in the release of VOC vapors and/or contaminated particulates into the environment. For this reason, protective monitoring and other controls should be employed during any such activities. Such monitoring did occur during the August 1998 removal of contaminated dry well sediments.
Exposure to contaminated soil could potentially occur if subsurface materials were exhumed and brought to the surface, perhaps during a large construction project. This is not expected to occur in the near future. Additionally, subsurface contaminants are being remediated by an air sparging/soil vapor extraction (AS/SVE) system presently in operation.
Pathways Related to Surface Soils
Soil contamination at the 150 Fulton Avenue site is limited to subsurface areas. Furthermore, there are no exposed soils at the 150 Fulton Avenue site as the entire property is paved. Consequently, the likelihood of direct contact/surficial exposures is considered negligible.
Pathways Related to Outdoor Air
Because contamination associated with the 150 Fulton Avenue site is subsurface, direct atmospheric discharges are not expected. VOC vapors have been detected in subsurface soil pores near the contaminated dry well. These vapors could vent to the atmosphere through pavement cracks and openings. However, dilution and dispersion in the open outdoor setting would rapidly render such vapors non-detectable, as has been the case (two analyses of ambient air from that location did not detect PCE). Migration of these vapors into an enclosed space, such as the on-site building, is a concern and has been discussed in a previous section.
Pathways Related to Surface Water
There are no surface water bodies in the GCPIA. Consequently, there are no plausible exposure pathways. The nearest discharge point of historic surface drainage from the 150 Fulton Avenue property is a nearby recharge basin. If PCE contaminants migrated to the basin during site operations (for example, after a spill), residual PCE in the basin would not be expected to represent a surficial pathway but rather a possible source of continuing groundwater contamination. Recent data from the ongoing 150 Fulton Avenue RI suggest that residual contaminants at the basin, if any, are not a significant source of VOC contribution to the regional groundwater contaminant plume.
Pathways Related to Biota
No fish or wildlife, much less those that might be consumed, are known to exist in areas of contamination.
The health risk associated with the contaminants of concern at the Fulton Avenue site and GCPIA arises from exposure due to ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation. The risks of health effects depend primarily on contaminant concentration, exposure pathway, exposure frequency and duration. Additional information on the NYSDOH assessment procedures is included in Appendix C.
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 human exposure pathways identified for the 150 Fulton Avenue/Garden City Park Industrial Area site, the NYS DOH assessed the risks for cancer and noncancer health effects. The health effects are related to contaminant concentration, exposure pathway, exposure frequency and duration.
Chronic exposure to chemicals in drinking water is possible by ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation from water uses such as showering, bathing and cooking. Although exposure varies depending on an individual's lifestyle, each of these exposure routes contributes to the overall daily uptake of contaminants and thus increases the potential for chronic health effects.
For this assessment, NYS DOH evaluated exposures in the five water districts with supply well contamination that has been associated with the regional groundwater contaminant plume in the areas generally downgradient from the 150 Fulton Avenue/GCPIA site. The evaluations, done separately for each district, focus on those wells in each district with the potential for greatest exposures of persons to [potentially] site-related contaminants. This assessment did not consider the effects of water system interconnections between the districts. These connections, which are maintained for water-sharing during rare extenuating circumstances, may have resulted in occasional short-term exposures different than those presented here. However, by evaluating individuals in the areas immediately and regularly served by the contaminated wells, the assessment includes the greatest likely exposures.
For each well evaluated, the maximum concentration of a contaminant detected in the well was assumed to be the contaminant level for the entire duration of exposure unless data indicated that the maximum level was not truly indicative of concentrations to which people were exposed. In those cases, the data were evaluated with respect to contaminant concentrations and trends and concentrations considered to be most representative of exposure were used. Actual concentrations in tap water at exposure points were probably less given the mixing of water in the distribution system. In most systems, water from a number of different supply wells is mixed. This mixing, or blending, tends to dilute the water from contaminated wells with water from clean wells, thus resulting in lower concentrations of contaminants throughout the distribution system (than in the contaminated well). However, without historic data showing the extent of such dilution, NYS DOH assumed as a "worst-case" scenario that some individuals in each water district, perhaps those living closest to a contaminated well, received water directly from that well. For additional information on how the NYS DOH determined and qualified health risks applicable to this health assessment, refer to Appendix C.
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in public water supply wells from the Mineola Water District.
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in public water supply wells from the Garden City Park Water District.
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in public water supply wells from the Garden City Village Water District.
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in public water supply wells from the Franklin Square Water District.
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in public water supply wells from the Water Authority of Western Nassau.
- Past inhalation exposure to volatile organic contaminants in indoor air at 150 Fulton Avenue.
For an undetermined period of time, a public drinking water supply well in the Mineola Water District has been contaminated with volatile organic chemicals. Contaminant levels in this well prior to 1977 are not known. If contamination in the well originated from operations at 150 Fulton Avenue, or from another nearby operation that began at about the same time with the development of the GCPIA, then contaminants may have entered the well shortly after 1964, the year that operations began. Consequently, people may have been exposed to contaminants in public drinking water from as early as 1965 until 1987, when a water treatment system was installed on the well. The highest levels of PCE (17 µg/L) and TCE (55 µg/L) detected during this time exceeded current New York State public drinking water standards and public health assessment comparison values (Table 8). The guideline value for these contaminants in drinking water prior to January 1989 was 50 µg/L for each.
Studies of workers exposed to PCE and/or TCE and other chemicals show an association between exposure to high levels of these chemicals and increased risks of certain forms of cancer, including kidney, cervical, esophageal, liver and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (ATSDR 1997a, b). These associations are unlikely to be due to chance; however, the role of other factors in causing these cancers, including exposures to other potential cancer-causing chemicals, is not fully known. Thus, these data suggest, but do not prove, that PCE and TCE cause cancer in humans. Other studies show that people living in communities with drinking water supplies contaminated by mixtures of chemicals including PCE and TCE have higher risks of certain types of cancer (e.g., non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) than do people living in communities with uncontaminated drinking water. These studies are weaker than those of workers largely because we do not know for certain whether the people who got cancer actually drank the contaminated water for long periods of time before they got cancer. Tetrachloroethene and TCE cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR 1997a, b). Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also cause cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Based on the results of animal studies and limited sampling of this public water supply well, it is estimated that persons who were exposed to drinking water contaminated with PCE and TCE for 22 years at the highest levels detected (17 and 55 µg/L, respectively) would have a low increased risk of developing cancer. This is a conservative or "worst-case" estimate, as persons were probably exposed to lower concentrations than those used for the estimate.
Exposure to high levels of PCE and TCE is also known to produce a variety of noncarcinogenic health effects, primarily on the liver, kidney and nervous system (ATSDR 1997a,b). In humans, the potential health effects for PCE exposure include changes in electrical measurements of nervous system activity, mild and reversible effects on nervous system performance, and central nervous system symptoms such as dizziness (Stewart, et al., 1970; Hake et al., 1977; Altman et al., 1990, 1992, 1995; Cavalleri, 1994). Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from past exposures are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be minimal for PCE and TCE.
Two of eleven public drinking water supply wells (N-2565 and N-8409) in the Garden City Park Water District have been contaminated with volatile organic chemicals potentially related to the 150 Fulton Avenue site. Contaminant levels in these wells prior to 1977 are not known. The highest levels of PCE (28 µg/L) and TCE (77 µg/L) exceeded current New York State public drinking water standards and public health assessment comparison values (Table 8). People may have been exposed to PCE in Well N-2565 from as early as 1965 until 1968, when use of the well was discontinued because of the presence of nitrates. People were exposed to TCE in Well N-8409 from 1983 until 1988, when use of the well was discontinued due to the presence of volatile organic chemicals. The guideline value for these contaminants in drinking water prior to January 1989 was 50 µg/L for each.
The health effects of PCE and TCE have already been discussed above. Based on the available information, it is estimated that persons who were exposed to drinking water contaminated with PCE (28 µg/L) and TCE (77 µg/L) for three and five years, respectively, would have a low increased risk of developing cancer. Persons exposed to drinking water contaminated with PCE and TCE would also have a minimal risk for noncarcinogenic health effects.
Four of eleven public drinking water supply wells in the Garden City Village Water District have been contaminated with volatile organic chemicals potentially related to the 150 Fulton Avenue site. Contaminant levels in these wells prior to 1977 are not known. The highest level of TCE (19 µg/L), detected in Well N-7058, exceeded current New York State public drinking water standards and public health assessment comparison values (Table 8). People were exposed to TCE from 1980 until 1989, when a water treatment system was installed on this well. The guideline value for these contaminants in drinking water prior to January 1989 was 50 µg/L for each.
The health effects of TCE have already been discussed above. Based on the available information, it is estimated that persons who were exposed to drinking water contaminated with TCE at the highest level detected (19 µg/L) for nine years would have a low increased risk of developing cancer, and a minimal risk for noncarcinogenic health effects.
Two of five public drinking water supply wells in the Franklin Square Water District have been contaminated with volatile organic chemicals potentially related to the 150 Fulton Avenue site. Contaminant levels in these wells prior to 1977 are not known. The highest levels of TCE (10 µg/L) and 1,1-dichloroethene (9.5 µg/L), which were detected in Well N-8818, exceeded current New York State public drinking water standards and public health assessment comparison values (Table 8). People may have been exposed to TCE from 1965 until 1989, when a water treatment system was installed on this well. People may have been exposed to 1,1-dichloroethene for a period of about three months in 1988. The guideline value for these contaminants in drinking water prior to January 1989 was 50 µg/L for each.
The health effects of TCE have already been discussed above. 1,1-Dichloroethene causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1994b). Based on the available information, it is estimated that people who were exposed to drinking water contaminated with TCE (10 µg/L) for 24 years or 1,1-dichloroethene (9.5 µg/L) for three months would have a low increased risk of developing cancer. 1,1-Dichloroethene also produces noncarcinogenic toxic effects, primarily to the liver, kidneys and nervous system (ATSDR, 1994b). Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from past exposures are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be minimal for 1,1-dichloroethene and TCE.
Nine public drinking water supply wells serving the Water Authority of Western Nassau have been contaminated with volatile organic chemicals for an undetermined period of time. The historic monitoring data for VOCs in each well were reviewed to determine contaminant concentrations and trends. Detected levels of contaminants considered to be most representative of exposure for PCE (23 µg/L), TCE (56 µg/L), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (10 µg/L) and 1,2-dichloroethane (12 µg/L) exceeded current New York State public drinking water standards and public health assessment comparison values (Table 8). People may have been exposed to PCE and 1,1,1-trichloroethane in Well N-6744 as early as 1965 until 1978, when use of the well was discontinued because of the presence of volatile organic contaminants. People may have been exposed to TCE in Well N-7650 and 1,2-dichloroethane in Well N-4298 from 1965 until 1985, when water treatment systems were installed on these wells. The guideline value for these contaminants in drinking water prior to January 1989 was 50 µg/L for each.
The health effects of PCE and TCE have already been discussed above. 1,2-Dichloroethane causes cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1994a). Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (ATSDR, 1995). Based on the available information, it is estimated that persons who were exposed to drinking water contaminated with PCE (23 µg/L) for 13 years or TCE (56 µg/L) and 1,2-dichloroethane (12 µg/L) for 20 years would have a low increased risk of developing cancer.
1,1,1-Trichloroethane and 1,1-dichloroethene also produce noncarcinogenic toxic effects, primarily to the liver, kidneys and nervous system (ATSDR, 1994b, 1995). Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from past exposures are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be minimal for PCE, TCE, 1,1,1-trichloroethane and 1,2-dichloroethane.
Indoor air samples collected in June, 1998 in the building at 150 Fulton Avenue showed elevated levels of PCE. The highest detected level of PCE in indoor air (280 µg/m3) exceeded the New York State Department of Health guideline level of 100 µg/m3 (NYS DOH, 1997a). The source of the PCE in indoor air is unknown, and it is uncertain how long people in the building may have been exposed.
Test results from indoor air samples collected after implementation of soil vapor extraction at the site indicate that PCE levels are less than the NYS DOH guideline value.
The health effects of PCE have already been discussed above. Chronic exposure to PCE at the highest level detected in indoor air for a typical work week (eight hours per day, five days per week) over 30 years air would pose a low increased cancer risk and a minimal risk of noncancer health effects.
The ATSDR Child Health Initiative emphasizes examining child health issues in all of the agency activities, including evaluating child-focused concerns through its mandated public health assessment activities. The ATSDR and the NYS DOH considers children when evaluating exposure pathways and potential health effects from environmental contaminants. We recognize that children are of special concern because of their greater potential for exposure from play and other behavior patterns. Children sometimes differ from adults in their susceptibility to the effects of hazardous chemicals, but whether there is a difference depends on the chemical. Children may be more or less susceptible than adults to health effects from a chemical and the relationship may change with developmental age.
The possibility that children or the developing fetus may have increased sensitivity to PCE and TCE (two of the primary contaminants at the GCPIA site) was taken into account when evaluating the potential health risks associated with the groundwater contamination. Human studies suggest that exposure to mixtures of chlorinated solvents (including PCE and TCE) in drinking water during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects (e.g., neural tube defects, oral cleft defects, and congenital heart defects) and/or childhood leukemia (ATSDR 1997a,b). In each of these studies, however, there are uncertainties about how much contaminated water the women drank during pregnancy and about how much PCE and TCE was in the water the women drank during pregnancy. Moreover, the role of other factors in causing these effects is not fully known. The most important of the factors was the potential exposure during pregnancy to other chemicals in drinking water. These studies suggest, but do not prove, that the developing fetus may have increased sensitivity to the effects of PCE and TCE. When pregnant animals are exposed by ingestion and/or inhalation to large amounts of PCE and TCE, adverse effects on the normal development of the offspring are observed (ATSDR 1997a,b). In most, but not all of these studies, the high amounts of the chemicals also caused adverse health effects on the parent animal. A study in young mice suggests effects on the central nervous system after transient exposure to PCE by ingestion 10 to 16 days after birth (Fredriksson et al., 1993). In another study, abnormal fetal heart development was observed in the offspring of rats exposed to TCE in drinking water before and during pregnancy (Dawson et al., 1993). The estimated levels of exposure to TCE and tetrachlorothene in drinking water supplies near the 150 Fulton Avenue/Garden City Park Industrial Area Site were compared to the exposure levels in these animal studies where adverse health effects were observed, and were found to be lower. Thus, the possibility that children may have increased sensitivity to TCE and PCE was taken into account when evaluating the potential health risks associated with the site.
At the 150 Fulton Avenue site, there is little to suggest that children would be more exposed than adults to the contaminants of concern. The area around 150 Fulton Avenue is industrial with little indication of pedestrian traffic, youth or otherwise. Soil samples from ballfields at the nearby Mineola High School did not indicate the presence of site-related contaminants.
NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data specifically for the 150 Fulton Avenue site. Breast cancer incidence rates have been examined for small geographic areas of Nassau and Suffolk Counties for the years 1978-1987. No association was found between breast cancer incidence patterns and contaminated drinking wells and or hazardous waste sites.
In April of 1994, the NYS DOH completed a study of the occurrence of breast cancer on Long Island. The study found an association between living near active chemical facilities on Long Island and the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. The study found no association between residence near chemical facilities and breast cancer for pre-menopausal women. For this study, no measurements of actual emissions from chemical plants or individual exposure to industrial pollutants were used. The association between living near an industrial/ chemical facility and breast cancer could be related to factors other than the air contaminants emitted by these facilities.
Further investigation is necessary to confirm the findings and to attempt to identify the circumstances and potential pollutants that may explain the higher incidence of breast cancer in post-menopausal women who lived near chemical sites between 1965 and 1985. The National Cancer Institute is currently funding additional research, which will study the relationship between environmental factors and breast cancer on Long Island. NYS DOH does not plan any additional health outcome data evaluation for this site.
Historic exposures to VOCs have occurred via contaminated drinking water. The risks due to these exposures are not definitively known; however, conservative estimates suggest that a low cancer risk and a minimal risk of noncancer effects may exist. The NYS DOH completed a study in 1994 of the occurrence of breast cancer on Long Island. The study found no association between the risk of breast cancer and living near inactive hazardous waste sites. Further research on the relationship between environmental factors and breast cancer is being conducted under funding by the National Cancer Institute.
Contaminants from the GCPIA do not appear to have impacted environmental media in the vicinity of the Mineola High School.
Community members have expressed concerns that all contaminant sources be discovered and remediated. While one major source of the regional VOC contamination downgradient from the GCPIA has been discovered (PCE from 150 Fulton Avenue), another major source (or sources) exists or existed in the past. Environmental investigations have identified Precision Fabricators, Town Sheet Metal, Jackson Steel, Star Carting, Manfred Schulte and Tres Bon Cleaners as contributing sites to VOC contamination in the area near or downgradient from the GCPIA. These sites do not appear to account for the significant TCE plume, however, impacting this region from the northwest. Additional investigation is necessary to identify the sources(s) of the TCE contamination.
Following completion of the 150 Fulton Avenue IRM, groundwater quality should be monitored to determine the effects of the IRM on VOC concentrations downgradient from that property.
Based upon ATSDR's public health hazard category classification (Appendix D), the Fulton Avenue/GCPIA sites posed a public health hazard in the past because actions were needed to interrupt or minimize exposure to TCE and PCE to persons who consumed contaminated drinking water. Exposures to TCE and PCE at levels in public water supplies that could pose a low increased risk of cancer and a minimal risk of noncancer effects. Human exposure to these contaminants occurred via ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Some of these exposures probably occurred for several years prior to 1977. Exposures to contaminants at concentrations exceeding the current drinking water standards occurred in some cases until about 1989, when the current drinking water standards became effective. Since that time, very few incidents of exposure in excess of drinking water standards have occurred. Studies of workers exposed to PCE and TCE suggest, but do not prove that these chemicals cause cancer in humans. Somewhat weaker evidence from other studies show that people living in communities with drinking water supplies contaminated with mixtures of chemicals including PCE and TCE have higher risks of certain types of cancers than people living in communities with uncontaminated water supplies.
The 150 Fulton Avenue site also presented a public health hazard because actions were needed to interrupt or minimize exposure to elevated concentrations of PCE in indoor air. Chronic exposure to PCE at the highest level detected in indoor air for a typical work week (eight hours per day, five days per week) over 30 years air would pose a low increased cancer risk and a minimal risk of non-cancer health effects. These exposures, which affected approximately 30 day-time employees at the facility, have been mitigated.
Subsurface contamination in the vicinity of a dry-well does not present direct exposure threats, but was very likely the source of continuing groundwater and soil vapor contamination. Groundwater in the vicinity of 150 Fulton Avenue and the GCPIA is extensively contaminated with PCE, TCE and, to a lesser extent, TCA. Groundwater contamination downgradient of the GCPIA, in areas of public supply wells, is extensively contaminated with TCE and, to a lesser extent, PCE. This groundwater contamination does not currently pose a public health hazard because of two institutional controls: VOC treatment systems at affected supply wells and routine monitoring of all wells for VOCs. These controls minimize the potential for exposure to VOCs through drinking water.
Exposure pathways other than contaminated water supplies and on-site indoor air are not considered to be significant.
NYS DOH and NC DOH must ensure that the requirements of 10 NYCRR Part 5 for community water supplies continue to be met. These requirements include treatment of source water to provide a potable supply that meets drinking water standards and regular monitoring to determine the effectiveness of VOC removal systems. The requirements also include regular monitoring of unaffected wells to detect possible VOC contamination.
NYS DEC should ensure that source removal measures have been effectively implemented. This involves review of the source area IRM presently nearing completion by Genesco. Indoor air concentrations of PCE at 150 Fulton Avenue should continue to be monitored after completion of the air sparging/soil vapor extraction (AS/SVE) activities at the site.
The ongoing Remedial Investigation for 150 Fulton Avenue, currently being conducted by Genesco, should address the following data gaps:
- The horizontal and vertical extent of the VOC plume emanating from 150 Fulton Avenue;
- Effects of aquifer pumping (at public supply wells), if any, on plume migration;
- The chemical characteristics of the plume as it migrates, with particular respect to PCE degradation and the appearance of TCE at downgradient locations;
- Contributions of VOC contaminants, if any, from Nassau County Recharge Basin #123;
- Sediment samples, primarily subsurface, in the Recharge Basin if warranted per the groundwater quality investigation.
NYS DEC should pursue investigation of contamination and, with NYS DOH, assessment of potential exposures associated with other source areas in or near the GCPIA. These include Precision Fabricators, the former Town Sheet Metal facility, the Jackson Steel facility, and at least one unidentifed major source north or northwest of the GCPIA.
All involved agencies should review the results of future investigations and other relevant information in an effort to identify other sources of VOC contamination. Other identified sources, if any, should be followed up with further investigation as necessary. Emphasis should be placed on identification and removal of any continuing sources of groundwater contamination.
State and county agencies, along with Genesco, should develop and coordinate implementation of a plan to monitor regional groundwater quality with time to determine contaminant trends (concentrations and movement).
Public Health Actions Taken
- All potentially affected public water supply wells have been routinely monitored by the Water Districts and/or NCDOH for the contaminants detected in the GCPIA plume. When violations of current standards occurred, the wells were taken out of service, abandoned, or supplied with treatment systems to bring finished water within standards.
- Indoor air and soil vapor samples have been collected at and immediately downgradient from the source area of the PCE groundwater plume to assess potential effects of the plume on indoor air. Results suggest that exposure to VOCs via soil gas migration is probably not a concern for individuals in buildings beyond 150 Fulton Avenue. The sampling has documented, however, that employees at 150 Fulton Avenue (the building immediately above/adjacent to the source area) were exposed to elevated levels of perc. These exposures have recently been mitigated, presumably by the on-going source removal IRM.
- Treated water at affected wells that continue to operate with VOC-removal systems will be monitored on a monthly basis by the Water Districts pursuant to NC DOH requirements. This monitoring serves as a check on the effectiveness of the treatment systems. All potentially affected public water supply wells and untreated water at affected supply wells will continue to be monitored on a quarterly basis pursuant to Part 5 requirements.
- The NYS DOH is working with NYS DEC to ensure effective implementation of the IRM presently in process at 150 Fulton Avenue. This IRM includes the previous removal of heavily-contaminated sediments at the source area and continuing air sparging/soil vapor extraction activities around the former source area.
Public Health Actions Proposed
- The NYS DOH will ensure that adequate indoor air monitoring is performed at 150 Fulton Avenue to determine if PCE concentrations continue to be reduced in the building.
- The NYS DOH will review work plans and data associated with the Remedial Investigation of this site and the affected off-site areas to ensure that adequate environmental samples are collected to characterize all potential human exposure pathways to site contaminants.
- NYS DOH will work with NYS DEC and the US EPA as investigations progress relative to Precision Fabricators, Town Sheet Metal, Jackson Steel, and any other potential sources of groundwater contamination that may be identified. NYS DOH will further work with NYS DEC and the US EPA relative to the development and implementation of requisite remedial measures that arise from such investigations
- Persons exposed to VOCs in the past from their drinking water as a result of the GCPIA site will be considered for inclusion in the VOC Registry which is compiled by the NYS DOH.
- The ATSDR and the NYS DOH will coordinate with the appropriate agencies regarding actions to be taken in response to those recommendations provided in this public health assessment for which no plan of action has yet been developed.
- The ATSDR and the NYS DOH will provide follow-up to the PHAP as needed, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. Follow-up reports will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this health assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it.
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is currently funding the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project which is a multi-study research effort which consists of more than 10 epidemiologic and other research projects designed to investigate the relationship between environmental factors and breast cancer. The NYS DOH will continue to cooperate with NCI's research activities.
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New York State Department of Public Health
William Gilday, P.E.
Assistant Sanitary Engineer
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment
Thomas Johnson, Ph.D.
Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Office of the Assistant Administrator
Technical Project Officer
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
This Public Health Assessment was prepared by the New York State Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.
Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment, and concurs with its findings.
Lisa C. Hayes
for Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR