PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
GCL TIE AND TREATING
SIDNEY, DELAWARE COUNTY, NEW YORK
GCL Tie and Treating (GCL) is a 60-acre inactive sawmill and wood-treating plant in the Village ofSidney, Delaware County, New York. In February 1994, the site was proposed for inclusion on theNational Priorities List (NPL) by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) because evidence indicated improper storage, handling and disposal of products, including creosote usedin the wood-treating business. The site was listed on the NPL in May 1994.
Wood preserving operations at the site began in the 1940's. The property was used as a railroad tiemanufacturing and treating plant beginning in the early 1960's. In October 1986, there was a spill ofabout 30,000 gallons of creosote at the site. GCL abandoned the property in January 1988. In July1990, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) secured the site byerecting a fence along a portion of the property boundary and boarding up the production building. TheUS EPA initiated a removal action in March 1991 that included installing additional fencing at the site,site stabilization and removal and disposal of hazardous substances.
The site is segregated into two areas: the GCL property and the non-GCL property. In the past, the non-GCL portion of the site was used for storing finished products and not for manufacturing pressuretreated products. Currently, the non-GCL portion of the site is occupied by two active industries notrelated to GCL. The active industry closest to the GCL portion of the site, on the non-GCL part of thesite known as Quality Hardwoods, ceased operations and has dismantled its buildings and regraded thesite it occupied.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued a health consultation in July1991 to address a number of health issues related to the site. In September 1994, the US EPA issueda record of decision for remediating contaminated soils on the GCL site and in March 1995 issued arecord of decision for remediating contaminated groundwater and surface water sediments on the GCLand non-GCL sites.
Local citizens, adjacent property owners, civic and environmental organizations and local publicofficials have expressed concerns about health risks posed to the local community by contamination atthe site. People working at the site may have been exposed to contaminants in soil, air and on-sitewastes during past site operations. Nearby workers and residents may have been exposed to contaminants in ambient air.
Because of past exposures, the site posed a public health hazard. Past remedial measures haveminimized the potential for exposure to physical hazards and contaminants at the site. Currently, thesite poses no apparent public health hazard although additional investigation and possibly remediationare needed to ensure that future exposures do not occur.
Groundwater at the site boundaries is contaminated. In March 1995, the NYS DOH identified andsampled all downgradient wells within one-half mile of the site boundaries. These wells were notaffected by contaminants from the site. The contaminant plume will be defined, and the alternatives forgroundwater remediation will be evaluated.
Elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are present in soil in the area north of the GCLproperty fenceline. Access to this area by the public is currently unrestricted. Although there is noevidence of use currently, future use of the site is uncertain. Removal of obviously stained soil wouldminimize the potential for people to be exposed to contaminants at the surface in the future.
The ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendations Panel has evaluated the site to determine appropriatefollow-up health actions. The panel determined that community health education is indicated; however,the state has performed and is continuing to perform community health education in relation to possibleexposures from the site. The panel determined that no other follow-up health actions are indicated at this time.
Under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR),the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) evaluated the public health significance of theGCL Tie and Treating site. More specifically, ATSDR and the NYS DOH determined whether healtheffects are possible from exposure to site-related contaminants and recommended actions to reduce orprevent possible health effects. ATSDR is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services and is authorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, andLiability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act(SARA) of 1986, to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites proposed for the National Priorities List (NPL).
GCL Tie and Treating (GCL) is a 60-acre inactive sawmill and wood-treating plant off of DelawareAvenue in the Village of Sidney, Delaware County, New York (refer to Figure 1, Appendix A). TheGCL Tie & Treating property was owned by the Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Railroad Companybetween 1940 and 1979. Railcon Wood Products/Railcon Materials, Inc. (Railcon), acquired the sitein 1979 and sold it to GCL Tie & Treating in 1983. GCL filed for bankruptcy in 1987 and abandonedthe property in January 1988. Railcon regained control of the property, sold all inventory andequipment, and later abandoned the facility. The site is presently separated into numerous parcels witha variety of owners. The individual responsible for creosote disposal has been identified.
Wood preserving operations began on-site as early as the 1940's. The property was used as a railroadtie manufacturing and treating plant beginning in the early 1960's. Logs were brought on-site, cut andtreated with creosote. The practice of "drip-drying" creosote soaked lumber, with no containmentsafeguards resulted in two areas of stained surface soil. After 1963, gradual expansion of the propertyto the west was accomplished by clearing vegetation and filling in the wetland with production scrap.
In October 1986, the site came to the attention of New York State (NYS) after a spill of about 30,000gallons of creosote. The spill occurred at night and Sidney police notified the New York StateDepartment of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) of the spill when they noticed it the nextmorning. GCL was instructed on how to clean up the spill by the NYS DEC. GCL representativesexcavated the contaminated surface soil and placed it in a mound; no further action was taken at thetime.
Contamination of this site is not limited to the area where the creosote spill occurred. Stained soil ispresent throughout the site and is assumed to be the result of the drying process. Reportedly, creosote-contaminated materials were routinely dumped as fill on-site and in the wetland area adjacent to the site. Contaminated materials were also stockpiled on-site. In addition to the creosote stained soil, seven 55-gallon drums of muriatic (hydrochloric) acid were discovered in the abandoned buildings. At one timethere were at least two underground storage tanks for fuel oil and five above ground tanks, presumedto have contained creosote.
In December 1989, October 1990 and August 1990, the US EPA collected samples from on-site soil,the waste pile and material in some above ground storage tanks. Results showed the presence ofcreosote in all samples. In July 1990, the NYS DEC secured the site by erecting a fence along theproperty boundary and boarded up the production building to minimize public access (E.C. Jordan Co.,August 1990).
In September 1990, the NYS DEC sent the US EPA a written request to conduct a removal action atthe site. As a result of this request, the US EPA initiated a removal action in March 1991 that includedinstalling additional fencing around the site, site stabilization and disposal of contaminated substances. During the removal action, 14,159 gallons of creosote were removed from the tanks and associatedpiping. An additional 500 gallons of creosote were removed from the floors, tanks and sumps in themain building. The 55 gallon drums were removed and about 4,000 cubic yards (yds3) of soil wereprocessed and staged for final disposal.
On July 29, 1991, ATSDR issued a health consultation at the request of the US EPA. The purpose ofthe health consultation was to address a number of health-related issues related to the site. Specifically,the ATSDR was asked to evaluate the health threat posed by the creosote and creosote products spillat the site in November 1986, evaluate if air sampling should be performed during clean-up activities,and review the proposed contaminant cleanup level of 500 parts per million (ppm) for total polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil.
In the health consultation, the ATSDR concluded that:
- Site conditions at the time represented a direct contact health threat and possibly a threat from fire. Additionally, the creosote-filled tanks presented danger of leakage and airborne contaminant transport.
- Off-site migration of contaminants in air and surface water has occurred and may still be occurring. Data do not exist to determine the extent of health threat posed by these pathways. A potential exists for contaminants to migrate to the shallow groundwater table.
- Contaminated dust and vapors may be generated during planned remediation activities.
- The ATSDR determined that the proposed soil cleanup level of 500 ppm for total PAHs is sufficient for an industrial area where direct exposures are likely to be infrequent and minimal.
In the health consultation, the ATSDR recommended the following:
- Public access to the site should be restricted;
- Fire and contaminant sources should be reduced;
- A site safety remediation plan which incorporates perimeter action levels for organic vapors and total suspended particulates should be developed;
- Background sampling should be conducted;
- Deed restrictions to limit the use of the property to industrial, and/or certain commercial uses should be developed;
- The extent of contamination, particularly to groundwater and off-site surface water and sediments, should be further characterized to determine if non-site related volatile organic compounds are present;
- If groundwater is found to be contaminated, a well use survey should be conducted in the area to determine the potential for drinking water exposures; and
- Remediation of the creosote filled tanks should occur.
Currently, the 60-acre site is comprised of two separate parcels: a 26-acre property to the west whichis referred to as the GCL property and the remaining acreage which is referred to as the non-GCLproperty (refer to Figure 2, Appendix A). Aerial photos, interviews and other evidence indicate thatthese properties were under single ownership during past operations. The GCL portion of the site iswhere the pressure-treating and drip-drying of creosote-laden rail ties took place. The finished productwas stored and stacked on railcars awaiting transfer to the non-GCL portion of the site.
The GCL Tie & Treating site was selected by the US EPA in 1991 as a pilot project for the SuperfundAccelerated Cleanup Model (SACM) initiative. The purpose of SACM is to make Superfund cleanupsmore timely and efficient. Under SACM, activities which would normally have been performedsequentially (e.g., site assessment, NPL placement, removal assessment) were performed concurrently. In June 1993, while attempting to determine if the site would score high enough for inclusion on theNPL, the US EPA initiated a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) and a focused feasibilitystudy (FFS) to further determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site. Typically, theseactivities would not have been initiated until after the site had been included on the NPL.
Remediation of the GCL site is to be accomplished in two planned operable units. Operable unit 1addresses only the contaminated soils on the GCL-property portion of the site and operable unit 2addresses soil contamination on the non-GCL property, and in groundwater, surface water, and sedimentcontamination for the entire site.
In February 1994, the site was proposed for inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL) by theUnited States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) because evidence indicated improperstorage, handling and disposal of products used in the wood-treating business, including creosote. Thesite was listed on the NPL in May 1994.
In October 1994, the US EPA issued a Record of Decision for remediation of contaminated soils at theGCL site (operable unit 1). The remedy addresses soil contamination on the GCL portion of the site only and includes:
- Excavating and treating 36,100 cubic yards of contaminated soils and debris on-site by thermal desorption;
- Off-site disposal of treated waste residuals that do not meet cleanup objectives to a permitted facility;
- Replacement of treated soils to the excavated areas, followed by grading and revegetation;
- Demolition and off-site disposal of existing structures on the GCL property which are either contaminated, structurally unsound, or could interfere with the remediation of the GCL property soil; and
- Institutional control measures (e.g., deed restrictions) to control future use of the site property.
In March 1995, the US EPA issued a Record of Decision for remediation of operable unit 2. The remedy consists of the following:
- extraction, collection, and treatment of contaminated groundwater with discharge to the surface water;
- excavation and treatment of 125 yds3 of contaminated sediment by thermal desorption;
- further investigation to define the extent of the groundwater plume emanating from the GCL site; and
- an attempt to remediate a subsurface layer of pure creosote liquid product in the reported spill area.
The public health assessment (PHA) process was initiated when the GCL Tie & Treating site wasproposed for listing on the NPL in February 1994. Since that time, actions that have occurred as part of the public health assessment process include the following:
- On July 27, 1994, the NYS DOH held a public availability session to gather, identify and address community health concerns about the site;
- On August 9, 1994, the US EPA held a public meeting to present the proposed cleanup plan for the soils on the GCL portion of the site (operable unit 1); and
- On March 8, 1995, the US EPA held a public meeting to present the proposed cleanup for contamination on the non-GCL portion of the site and extraction, collection, and treatment of groundwater on the GCL portion of the site (operable unit 2).
- The bidding process to award the soil remediation contract (operable unit 1) opened in January 1998; this work began in mid-1998.
- Field work performed in November 1997 revealed that contamination has migrated off-site via groundwater. There is currently no further progress in performing the groundwater remediation (operable unit 2).
Robert Griffiths and Robert Montione of the NYS DOH visited the site on April 13, 1994. The purposeof the site visit was to evaluate site conditions and surrounding land use. The site is partially fenced andposted; the non-fenced portion of the site borders a wetland. The production building appears to be wellsecured and there is no evidence of trespassing. The GCL portion of the site is surrounded by non-residential land and is bordered to the north by a rail line owned by the D&H Railroad. A warehouseand the Sidney Municipal Airport are north of the rail line. Route 8 forms the eastern border of theproperty, with the principal residential section of the Village of Sidney to the east. The Village ofSidney is northeast and east of the site. A drainage ditch and woodlands area are north of DelawareAvenue, which runs along the southern site border. A strip mall is south of Delaware Avenue. Thewestern edge of the property borders a pond and a wetland area. Land beyond one-half mile to thenorth, west and south is predominantly used for farming. Surface water drainage from the site generallyflows south, except for the most northwest portion of the site where surface water flows west into thewetlands.
On July 27, 1994, a second site visit was conducted by Robert Griffiths and Susan VanPatten of theNYS DOH. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate site conditions and to determine if residents to thenorth and downgradient of the site are using groundwater as a source of potable water. The NYS DOHstaff met with a nearby property owner and determined that private wells exist near the site which areused as a drinking water supply. The NYS DOH staff detected a tar-like odor outside the fence lineduring this site visit.
On April 6, 1995 a third site visit was conducted by Robert Griffiths and Robert Montione of the NYSDOH. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate current site conditions and to collect surface soil samplesfrom the non-GCL portion of the site. Lands formerly occupied by Quality Hardwoods on the non-GCLportion of the site were graded after the company moved. Soil samples were collected along the GCLand non-GCL property boundaries and outside the fence to the north to determine if surface soil contamination extends beyond the GCL portion of the site.
The Village of Sidney is northeast and east of the site and most of its population of 4,700 (1990 census)live within two miles of the site. The NYS DOH estimated from the 1990 Census (US Bureau of theCensus 1990a, 1990b and 1990c), that 993 people live within one mile of the GCL Tie and Treating,Inc. site. One thousand one hundred (1,100) people work at adjacent industries. The population withinone mile of the site is 95.9 percent white, 1.5 percent black, and 2.6 percent of other races. The site iswithin census block numbering area 9904, in which 19.7 percent of the population is under 5 years ofage, 18.9 percent is 5-10 years of age, 46.4 percent is 21-64 years of age and 15 percent is 65 years orolder. The median household income in 1989 for this census block numbering area was $24,215, with9.4 percent of the families with income below the poverty level.
Land use surrounding the GCL Tie & Treating site is predominantly industrial and commercial. Immediately adjacent to the GCL property to the north and east are three active manufacturingcompanies: a calendar printing company, a laminated wood manufacturer and an active sawmill. Alsoto the north is a rail spur and an active airport runway. The calendar printing company has a childdaycare center within one-half mile north-northeast of the site. A shopping plaza consisting of fast foodrestaurants, a lumber yard, a department store, and other smaller stores is to the south. Woodlands,dairy farms and residences are within one-half mile of the site to the north, south and west. The Sidneyhospital is one mile east of the site and the Sidney schools are within 1.5 miles of the site to thenortheast.
Natural Resource Use
The land which GCL Tie & Treating occupies has a very shallow water table. There is a shallow pondon the property with an unnamed stream draining the pond which traverses through dairy farms priorto discharging to the Susquehanna River. This stream is not used for fishing activities or known to beused as a supply for watering dairy cattle. A drainage ditch along the southern boundary also flowsduring moderate rain occurrences. A section of this drainage ditch discharges into the wetland alongthe western site border. This wetland area has been deemed a Class I (most sensitive) wetland area bythe NYS DEC. The remaining portions of this ditch drains easterly and enters an unnamed tributary(tributary 147) of the Susquehanna River.
Groundwater beneath the site generally flows in the north-northwest direction. There are three distinctzones of groundwater: shallow, intermediate and deep (bedrock). There are no distinct confininglayer(s) between the aquifers and it is likely that the aquifers are hydraulically connected. The Villageof Sidney's water is supplied by two wells that are about 1.25 miles northeast of the site. One well isscreened at a depth of about 200 feet and the other at about 70-90 feet. Beyond the wellfield, to thenorth, is the Susquehanna River. This river is used as a source of drinking water for downstreamcommunities and is also used for recreational purposes including fishing and boating.
The NYS DOH maintains several health outcome data bases which could be used to generate site-specific data, if warranted. These data bases include the cancer registry, the congenital malformationsregistry, the heavy metals registry, the occupational lung disease registry, vital records (birth and deathcertificates) and hospital discharge information. No health studies have been completed for the GCL site.
In the past, employees in the surrounding businesses have complained of odors from GCL Tie & Treating, particularly during the summer months.
Local citizens, adjacent property owners, civic and environmental organizations and local publicofficials have expressed concerns about health risks posed to the local community by contamination atthe site. During a public availability session in Sidney on July 27, 1994, as well as through telephoneconversations with area citizens, the NYS DOH learned of several community health concerns about the site as follows:
- What is the likelihood of the community being exposed to site contaminants?
- Should workers on the non-GCL portion of the site be concerned about exposure to sitecontaminants?
- Are people being exposed to contaminants in air?
- Have people who walked across the site in the past been exposed to contaminants?
- Have any nearby drinking water supplies been affected from the site?
- Should we be concerned about dioxins at the site?
- Are all the routes of migration going to be addressed?
These community health concerns are addressed in the Public Health Implications section (subsection C, Community Health Concerns Evaluation) of this PHA.
To evaluate if a site poses an existing or potential hazard to the exposed or potentially exposedpopulation(s), the site conditions are characterized. This site characterization involves a review ofsampling data for environmental media (e.g., soil, surface water, groundwater, air) both on- and off-site. The physical conditions of the contaminant sources and physical hazards near the site which may posean additional health risk to the community or receptor population(s) were also evaluated as part of the site characterization.
Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified based upon consideration of the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminant(s) in environmental media both on- and off-site;
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design;
- Comparison of on-site and off-site contaminant concentrations in environmental media with typical background levels;
- Comparison of contaminant concentrations in environmental media both on- and off-site with public health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarcinogenic endpoints, and (2) carcinogenic endpoints. These comparison values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards and other relevant guidelines. Contaminant concentrations which exceed a comparison value do not necessarily pose a health threat; and
- Community health concerns.
The selected contaminant(s) are evaluated in the Public Health Implications section (ToxicologicalEvaluation) of the Public Health Assessment (PHA) to determine whether exposure to these chemicalsis of public health significance.
The On-site Contamination and the Off-site Contamination subsections include discussions of samplingdata for environmental media; summary tables of sampling data are presented in Appendix B. If achemical is selected for further evaluation in one medium (e.g., soil, sediment, surface water,groundwater, air), that contaminant will also be reported in all other media, if detected. A listedcontaminant does not necessarily mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposure.
As stated previously, the site has been segregated into two areas, the GCL property and the non-GCLproperty. For the purpose of defining on-site contamination in this PHA, only data generated for theGCL portion of the site will be considered. The on-site media sampled to date include surface soil,subsurface soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment and waste. Due to past practices of open dryingand documented spill and filling of the wetlands, the entire GCL property (26 acres) is considered tohave some degree of contamination (refer to Figure 3, Appendix A). Because there is no specificanalytical method for the detection of creosote/coal tar, individual components of creosote were testedfor in environmental samples collected at and near the site. The data collected during site investigationswere analyzed for PAHs, and the results for all PAHs detected above health-based comparison valuesare discussed below.
No soil gas data has been collected from the GCL portion of the site.
A single round of air monitoring was conducted in August 1991 near the boundary of the GCL propertyto determine if contaminants are becoming airborne and if so, whether they are migrating off site (seeFigure 4 for locations). The data collected during site investigations were analyzed for 17 PAHs whichincluded all of the carcinogenic PAHs. Airborne contamination was detected at three of four samplinglocations. The contaminants detected were napthalene from 1.14 to 2.29 micrograms per cubic meter(mcg/m3), acenaphthene from 0.77 to 4.79 mcg/m3, fluorene from 0.54 to 4.71 mcg/m3, phenanthrenefrom 0.82 to 9.70 mcg/m3, fluoranthene at 1.59 mcg/m3 and pyrene from 0.68 to 0.72 mcg/m3. Theonly sample location where no contamination was detected was the southern most sampling point closestto Delaware Avenue.
Surface Soil (0-3 inches)
In October 1990, surface soil samples were collected as part of a criminal investigation and removalaction conducted by the US EPA. The objectives of the sampling were to determine the presence of thecreosote/coal tar mixture allegedly used by GCL and to define the extent of site contamination. Thesampling showed the presence of the creosote mixture and defined areas of heavy contamination but didnot fully identify the horizontal or vertical extent of contamination.
Samples were collected from five areas of visibly stained soil including the tank area, the western drip area, the eastern drip area, inside the shed and the path by the pond (see Figure 4, Appendix A and Table 19). A summary of PAH contaminants in surface soil samples which exceed both soil comparison values and background levels in soil (see Table 17, Appendix B) is given below.
Surface soil samples were collected from three locations around the Tank Farm (see Figure 4, AppendixA). One sample collected in front of the creosote storage tanks contained total PAHs at 53,650milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). The following PAH compounds were detected at levels which exceedthe public health comparison values for cancer risk in an industrial setting (see Table 17). Benzo(a)anthracene was present at levels as high as 2,400 mg/kg and chrysene (2,200 mg/kg),benzo(b)fluoranthene (1,200 mg/kg), benzo(k)fluoranthene (350 mg/kg), and benzo(a)pyrene (700mg/kg) were also detected. See Table 19 for a summary of ranges of individual PAHs detected in thetank area.
Western Drip Area
Surface soil samples were collected at seven sample locations around the western drip area (see Figure4, Appendix A). Three surface soil samples collected from an area between two small gauge tracksleading to the loading doors for the pressure tanks showed the highest contaminant levels. Total PAHsin the western drip area ranged from 237 mg/kg - 31,400 mg/kg. Table 19 provides a summary of theranges of individual PAHs detected in the western drip area.
Eastern Drip Area
In this area, numerous railway ties were aligned with regular spacing, very much like an abandonedrailway track, and it is possible that freshly treated wood may have been placed on these ties and theexcess creosote allowed to drain. Four samples were collected from this area (see Figure 4, AppendixA). Contaminant levels ranged between 8 - 14,124 mg/kg for total PAHs. Table 19 provides asummary of the ranges of individual PAHs detected in the eastern drip area.
Inside the Shed
The shed is an open air structure with a dirt and gravel floor which was probably used for storage ofmotorized equipment. A sample was obtained from an area of dark staining on the shed floor andshowed 1,858 mg/kg total PAHs. The following individual PAHs were detected at levels which exceedthe public health comparison values for cancer risk in an industrial setting (see Table 17): benzo(b)fluoranthene (58 mg/kg) and benzo(a)pyrene (18 mg/kg).
Path by the Pond
Surface soil samples were collected from three locations along a path between a debris mound and thepond (see Figure 4, Appendix A). Contaminant levels ranged from 11.67 - 29.24 mg/kg for total PAHs. Benzo(a)pyrene (detected in all three samples) was the only PAH compound detected above publichealth comparison values.
As part of the criminal investigation and removal action conducted by the US EPA in December 1989,samples were analyzed from on-site waste including a mound of debris with visible creosote stainingin front of the pond, materials in above ground tanks, and seven 55-gallon drums found in the production building (see Figure 4, Appendix A).
The US EPA determined that six of the drums on-site contained hydrochloric acid and that the otherdrum contained spent materials. The drums and their contents were removed by the US EPA as partof the March 1991 removal action.
Waste sampling conducted in October 1990, from the stained portion of the debris mound, showed totalPAHs (33 - 38,650 mg/kg), benzo(a)anthracene (2.30-1,300 mg/kg), chrysene (5.70-1,600 mg/kg),benzo(b)fluoranthene (5.60-460 mg/kg), benzo(k)fluoranthene (1.80-490 mg/kg) and benzo(a)pyrene(1.70-390 mg/kg). This debris mound was treated as part of a bioremediation demonstration projectat the site. The bio-remediation project failed to reduce the contamination levels to acceptable cleanupgoals. The debris was removed and re-piled in another location on site.
Above Ground Tanks
The contents of several above ground tanks were sampled. Two were determined to contain fuel oil forthe boilers. The others were identified as creosote storage tanks. The sludge in the tanks contained totalPAHs as high as 265,000 mg/kg. The tanks and their contents were removed by the US EPA as partof the March 1991 removal action.
The US EPA collected subsurface soil samples on the GCL portion of the site in December 1989 as partof their criminal investigation and in August 1991 as part of their focused feasibility study andinstallation of monitoring well borings.
Subsurface soil samples were, for the most part, collected at the same locations as the surface soilsamples, except at a depth of 1.5 feet. The purpose of the subsurface sampling was to determine theextent to which creosote has penetrated the subsurface in areas where spills occurred.
Three subsurface soil samples were collected (see Figure 4, Appendix A) and showed 4,912 mg/kg -8,787 mg/kg of total PAHs. The following individual PAHs exceeded public health comparison valuesfor one or more samples in the tank area (see Tables 17 and 19): benzo(a)anthracene (160-330 mg/kg),benzo(b)fluoranthene (88-190 mg/kg), benzo(k)fluoranthene (32-150 mg/kg), benzo(a)pyrene (47-140mg/kg) and indeno (1,2,3-cd) pyrene (15-44 mg/kg).
Western Drip Area
Six subsurface soil samples were collected in this area (see Figure 4, Appendix A) and showed totalPAHs (236 to 37,450 mg/kg).
Eastern Drip Area
Four subsurface soil samples were collected in this area (see Figure 4, Appendix A) and showed 6 to3,899 mg/kg for total PAHs.
Inside the Shed
No subsurface soil samples were taken from this area.
Path by the Pond
Subsurface soil samples (1.5 feet deep) along the path by the pond (see Figure 4, Appendix A) showedtotal PAHs (3.52-369.4 mg/kg).
Fenceline Shallow Soil Samples (0-1 ft. composites)
In August 1991 seventy-one (71) soil samples were collected during the site fence installation. Thesesamples were collected every 30 feet along a fence line which defines the boundary between the GCLand non-GCL portions of the site. The samples were composited (mixed) from a number of smaller soilsamples collected from surface to a depth of one foot. Since the depth of the soil collected is up to onefoot, they are considered shallow rather than surface soils. Three areas along the fence line were heavilycontaminated. The first was to the north in the area of the production building which is in the same areaof the reported creosote spill. The samples showed that this area is contaminated with PAHs up to16,000 mg/kg. The second area of notable contamination is along the southern portion of the fence linewhich is the boundary between the GCL and non-GCL portions of the site. The area is west of the gatewhich leads to the production building. Total PAH concentrations were reported to be up to 1,850mg/kg. The third area is also on the boundary between the GCL and non-GCL portions of the site. Itis located along the gravel driveway which originates on Delaware Avenue and ends at the fence toGCL. Midway down the drive along the fence is another gate. Just to the north of this gate, total PAHlevels were reported at 2,150 mg/kg.
Subsurface Soil - Test Pits (0-12 ft) and Soil Borings (0-5 ft.)
In August 1993, an additional subsurface investigation was conducted to collect data that would furthercharacterize the extent of creosote-related contamination at the site. Samples were collected from aseries of about 200 test pits excavated along six trench lines (see Figure 5, Appendix A). The test pitswere excavated to visually clean soils or the water table, whichever was encountered first. Five soilborings, designated as TRA-000, -300, -500, -600 and -900, were advanced along trench line A beforeexcavation to determine the approximate depths of the confining layer or water table. Soil from theborings was analyzed for contaminants. Three hundred and twenty subsurface soil samples werecollected and analyzed for total and individual PAH compounds. In addition, 10% of the samplescollected were analyzed for organic and inorganic chemicals. The data are summarized in Table 1a(Appendix B). Contaminants other than PAHs were also present on-site, including other semi-volatileorganic compounds (SVOCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs) and inorganic chemicals.
GCL Property Monitoring Well Borings
The monitoring well installation program was conducted between August 9 and September 14, 1993,during which 14 wells were drilled and a number of soil samples were collected from each boring. These samples were analyzed for PAHs. A portion of these samples were also analyzed for organic andinorganic chemicals. Five monitoring wells were installed on the GCL property downgradient of theknown areas of contamination. The soil boring data showed that PAHs were found at almost all soildepths. Significantly elevated levels, up to 172 mg/kg of total PAHs, and SVOCs totalling 3,854 mg/kgwere found in on-site subsurface soils at depths ranging from six to eight feet and zero to two feet,respectively. A layer of dense, non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) was discovered in monitoring well3, near the tank farm. Analytical results are summarized in Tables 1b, 2 and 3 (Appendix B).
Samples were collected during two sampling events, October 1993 (Round 1) and November 1993(Round II). In general, the distribution of contaminants suggests two distinct groundwater plumes, onefrom the GCL property and one in the non-GCL portion of the site which originates from a neighboringhazardous waste site. The GCL property plume seems to originate from the area where the DNAPL wasdiscovered. This is in the area of a large documented creosote spill. Review of the shallow groundwaterdata showed elevated levels of creosote components. The PAHs were high and other SVOCs werepresent at levels up to 3,852,000 micrograms per liter (mcg/L) in the spill area.
Numerous PAH compounds were found in groundwater at depths of 8-17 feet (e.g., intermediateaquifer). Total PAHs were detected at 317,400 mcg/L and other SVOCs were detected at 469,200mcg/L.
The maximum concentration of total PAHs detected in the deep aquifer (20-62 feet) was 11,610 mcg/L. VOCs including vinyl chloride, 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, benzene, toluene,ethylbenzene, xylenes and styrene were also detected in the groundwater.
During the groundwater investigation, a DNAPL layer was encountered in monitoring well MW-03Swhich was installed in the former creosote spill area. Analytical results are summarized in Tables 4,5, 6 and 7 (Appendix B) and contaminants selected for further evaluation have been noted in thesetables with an asterisk (*).
Surface Water and Sediment
In 1989, surface water and sediment samples were collected during two separate events at the site. Surface water sampling was limited to the pond area and was completed as part of the criminalinvestigation and removal action completed by the US EPA in December 1989. Three water sampleswere taken from the eastern bank of the pond and analyzed for PAHs to determine if the debris moundhad affected the pond. One water sample was taken at the outfall of the pond to determine if anycontamination was migrating from the pond. No PAHs were detected in the outfall sample. In two ofthe three pond water samples, PAHs were detected at levels ranging from between 1.0 to 8.0 mcg/L. These levels exceed the cancer comparison value of 0.033 mcg/L for PAHs. The metals detected in thesurface water samples (see Table 12, Appendix B) did not exceed comparison values.
Sediment samples were also collected from the pond area in 1989. The sampling locations are shownin Figure 4 (Appendix A). The results are shown in Tables 10 and 11 (Appendix B). The carcinogenicPAHs, benzo(a)pyrene and benzo(b)fluoranthene, exceeded their comparison values (see Table 17,Appendix B). The metals detected in the sediment samples did not exceed comparison values and/ortypical background levels.
In October 1990, surface water samples were collected from the pond and also at the exit stream (oroutfall). Total PAHs were detected at levels ranging from non-detect to 47 mcg/L. No PAHs were detected in the outfall sample.
Off-site areas include the non-GCL portion of the site and the surrounding community.
The non-GCL portion of the site reportedly was not used for manufacturing activities by GCL. Currently, the non-GCL portion of the site is occupied by two active industries not related to GCL. Contamination of the non-GCL property was characterized by sampling subsurface soil, groundwater,surface water and sediment.
Soil was sampled at ten locations to determine if contaminants are present in surface soil on the non-GCL property and off-site north of the GCL property. A map showing the sampling locations can befound in Appendix A, Figure 7. With the exception of sample 6, the results indicate contamination fortotal PAHs (from 7.1 mg/kg to 52.6 mg/kg) south of the GCL property on lands occupied by QualityHardwoods. Surface soil from sampling location 8, north of the GCL property and the reported spilldisplays heavy contamination with total PAHs up to 27,433 mg/kg. Individual PAHs detected thatexceed background levels and/or public health assessment soil comparison values includebenzo(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene,indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene and dibenzo(a,h)-anthracene (see Tables 17 and 18, Appendix B).
Soil from fifteen soil borings and two monitoring well borings were used to characterize off-site soilson the non-GCL property. A map showing the locations of these soil borings and monitoring wells isnot available for this health assessment. The soil borings were advanced to a depth of no more than 10feet. The monitoring well borings were advanced to bedrock. Samples were collected from the boringsevery two feet, composited and analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides and metals. The analyticalresults are summarized in Tables 8 and 9 (Appendix B). In summary, the subsurface soil on the non-GCL property has PAH concentrations, mainly within the upper four feet. The highest concentrationsfor total PAHs was 24.3 mg/kg.
Surface Water and Sediment
One surface water and one sediment sample was collected to evaluate contamination on the non-GCLproperty. The sampling point is in a drainage ditch which collects runoff from the site and flows alongthe southern edge of the property. Several SVOCs were detected in sediment; the total PAHconcentration is 1.64 mg/kg. Dichloro-diphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) was detected in sediment at0.0025 mg/kg. Analytical results for sediment are presented in Tables 10 and 11 (Appendix B). Chloroethane (12 mcg/L) was the only VOC found in surface water. The analytical results of metalsin surface water are summarized in Table 12 (Appendix B).
No off-site air sampling was conducted.
Groundwater at the non-GCL property was sampled during two events, October 1993 (Round I) andNovember 1993 (Round II). Samples were collected from two monitoring wells along the northwestsite boundary and from six existing monitoring wells which were installed on the property during theinvestigation of the nearby Route 8 Landfill. All samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticidesand metals. The results of these sampling events are found in Tables 4, 5, 6 and 7 (Appendix B) andcontaminants selected for further evaluation have been noted in these tables with an asterisk(*).
Volatile organic compounds were detected in all wells. Concentrations of total VOCs were up to12,141 mcg/L in shallow groundwater, 5,739 mcg/L in the intermediate aquifer, and 7,556 mcg/L inthe deep aquifer. VOC concentrations were higher in the southern or Route 8 Landfill wells than in thenorthern wells. The Route 8 Landfill is upgradient of the non-GCL property and the types of VOCsdetected in groundwater in these wells are documented as having been disposed in the Route 8 Landfill,which is the suspected source of this groundwater contaminant plume.
Other Off-Site Areas
Other off-site areas near the GCL site include the properties bordering the site and within the Villageof Sidney.
Village of Sidney Public Water Supply
The Village of Sidney public water supply wells are 1.25 miles northeast of the GCL site. Samplingof the supply wells has shown VOCs at levels below drinking water standards (NYS DOH, 1993). TheVOCs in the village of Sidney public water supply have been attributed to a source other than the GCLsite.
Private Water Supplies
The NYS DOH identified six private water supply wells downgradient within or at one-half mile of thesite boundaries, five of which were sampled. Since VOCs are present at the GCL site and they are themost mobile of GCL contaminants, the samples were analyzed for VOCs to indicate whether the privatewater supplies were affected from the GCL site. Of the five wells sampled, none showed contaminationindicating that contamination from GCL has not reached these wells.
Off-site Monitoring Wells
In October 1993 and November 1993, off-site groundwater was sampled from monitoring well MW-07,north of the reported creosote spill and tank farm. Analytical results are summarized in Tables 4, 5, 6and 7 (Appendix B) and contaminants selected for further evaluation have been noted in these tableswith an asterisk(*).
Off-site subsurface soil samples were collected from a monitoring well boring north-northwest of theGCL site. These samples were collected every 2 feet from 4 to 72 feet in depth. Background subsurfacesoil samples were collected south of the site, next to the entrance driveway that separates the GCLproperty from the non-GCL property. This area was chosen because it is upgradient and across froma ditch which intercepts all surface runoff from the site and shows no indication of industrial usage. These samples were collected from 0 to 47 feet. Analytical results for off-site and backgroundsubsurface soil samples are shown in Tables 13 and 14 (Appendix B).
Surface Water and Sediment
Surface water and sediment were sampled at one location downstream in an unnamed tributary to theSusquehanna River (SW-03 and SD-03). Surface water runoff from the GCL site discharges into thisunnamed tributary. The samples were analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs and metals. NoVOCs or SVOCs were detected in this off-site sediment sample. Two pesticides, heptachlor epoxide andendosulfan, were detected at estimated concentrations of 0.00067 mg/kg and 0.00022 mg/kg insediment, respectively. Neither of these levels exceed comparison values for these two pesticide insediments. Metal results for sediment are summarized in Table 11 (appendix B). No VOCs, SVOCsor pesticides were detected in the surface water sample from this location. Metal results for surfacewater are summarized in Table 12 (Appendix B).
Two background sample locations were chosen for surface water and sediment; an "urban background"site (SD-06 and SW-06) and a "forested background" site (SD-05 and SW-05). These sites areupgradient of the tributary which receives the surface runoff from the site (see Figure 3, Appendix A). No VOCs were found in either the background surface water or sediment samples. Analytical resultsfor background surface water and sediment samples are summarized in Tables 10, 11 and 12 (AppendixB).
Two background surface soil samples were collected off-site, in the same area as the backgroundsubsurface soil samples. Soil samples were collected from between 6 and 9 inches below the surface. The reason for sampling from 6 to 9 inches in depth instead of 0 to 3 inches is because this area had athick vegetation and turf covering over the surface soil. Four of the VOCs that were analyzed for weredetected at low levels. Methylene chloride was detected at 0.026 mg/kg, chloroform at 0.004 mg/kg,tetrachloroethene at 0.015 mg/kg and toluene at 0.003 mg/kg; the total VOC contamination level was0.048 mg/kg. Five semi-volatile organic compounds were detected in background soils. All of thesecompounds were PAHs with a total concentration of 0.49 mg/kg. No pesticides or PCBs were detected in soils at the background sample location.
In preparing this PHA, the ATSDR and NYS DOH rely on the information in the referenced documentsand assume that adequate quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures were followed withregard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures and data reporting, unless otherwise noted. Thevalidity of analysis and conclusions drawn for this health assessment are determined by the completenessand reliability of the information reviewed. The quality of the air data collected at GCL is in questionas to its reliability because of noticeable flaws in the QA/QC programs for these data.
The site was fenced and the on-site buildings were boarded up in 1990. Some deterioration of thebuildings has occurred due to lack of maintenance. Creosote and wood debris on-site present a potentialfire hazard. Prior to March 1991, an explosion hazard existed at the site. However, this explosionhazard was eliminated when the US EPA removed an on-site creosote tank farm and related piping.
To identify other facilities that could possibly contribute to contaminants in soil, air, groundwater,and/or surface water at or near the GCL Tie & Treating site, the NYS DOH searched the ToxicChemical Release Inventory (TRI) database. The TRI has been developed by the US EPA fromchemical release information provided by those industries that are required to report contaminantemissions and releases annually. The NYS DOH is using 1992 TRI data submitted by industrialfacilities identified within a 2.5 mile radius of the site, as a means to evaluate other sources of additionalhealth risks to the exposed population.
The NYS DOH has developed a screening model to estimate if potential contaminant concentrationsresulting from air emissions at a facility may be contributing to community (receptor population)exposures to contaminants at a site. This model uses information about the facility location (distancefrom the exposed population) and annual air emission data to calculate annual average airconcentrations at a distance of about 0.5 miles from the site.
Two manufacturing facilities within a 2.5 mile radius of the site were identified as filing TRI data(Figure 6, Appendix A). These facilities are the Amphenol Corporation (Bendix Connector UPS) andthe Keith Clark Company (Division of Cullman Venture).
The Keith Clark Company (Division of Cullman Venture) is at 101 O'Neil Road in Sidney and bordersthe GCL site to the north and northeast. A summary of contaminant air emissions reported to the TRIfor 1992 is presented in Table 15 (Appendix B). The Keith Clark Company did not report any landdisposal activities or discharges to surface water or groundwater.
The Amphenol Corporation is at 40-60 Delaware Street in Sidney and is one mile east of the GCL Tie& Treating. A summary of the contaminant air emissions reported to the TRI for 1992 is presented inTable 15 (Appendix B). In 1992, Amphenol Corporation also reported releases of 1-10 pounds per year(lbs/yr) of trichloroethene, 24 lbs/yr of cyanide compounds and 53 lbs/yr of cadmium to surface water.
The NYS DOH uses an air concentration of 1 microgram per cubic meter (mcg/m3) as a screening valueto evaluate contaminants further. Results of the screening evaluation show that air emissions from thesetwo facilities would not increase contaminant levels in ambient air near the GCL Tie & Treating siteto levels above this screening criterion. Based on the results of this screening evaluation, the publichealth significance of contaminant emissions from TRI facilities as an additional source of communityexposures at the GCL Tie & Treating site will not be evaluated further in this public health assessment.
This section of the public health assessment (PHA) identifies potential and completed exposurepathways associated with past, present and future use of the site. An exposure pathway is the processby which an individual may be exposed to contaminants originating from a site. An exposure pathwayis comprised of the following five elements: (1) a contaminant source; (2) environmental media andtransport 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 disposalarea or point of discharge); if the original source is unknown, it is the environmental media (soil, air,biota, water) which are contaminated at the point of exposure. Environmental media and transportmechanisms "carry" contaminants from the source to points where human exposure may occur. Theexposure point is a location where actual or potential human contact with the contaminated mediummay occur. The route of exposure is the manner in which a contaminant actually enters or contacts thebody (e.g., ingestion, inhalation, dermal absorption). The receptor population is the person or peoplewho are exposed to 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 whenthe criteria for all five elements of an exposure pathway are documented; a potential exposure pathwayexists when the criteria for any one of the five elements comprising an exposure pathway is not met butcould happen. A suspected exposure pathway is considered to be eliminated when any of the fiveelements comprising an exposure pathway has not existed in the past, does not exist in the present and will never exist in the future.
It is likely that workers at the GCL site and nearby workers and residents were exposed via inhalationto contaminants in ambient air. The NYS DOH staff have smelled tar-like odors off-site and people inthe surrounding areas have complained of odors from the site. A limited round of air sampling has beenperformed by the US EPA and reviewed by the NYS DOH. While contaminants were present in thedown wind samples, the current levels of these contaminants do not exceed public health assessmentcomparison vaues and/or background levels; therefore, exposure to these air contaminants will not bediscussed in the Toxicological Evaluation section of this public health assessment.
In the past, it is likely that people working at the site were exposed to contaminants in on-site wastesthrough dermal contact, ingestion, and inhalation. Possible exposures could have occurred duringhandling of both process products and waste. It is not known how many people worked at the site ormay have been exposed to contaminants in on-site wastes during past site operations.
After the site was abandoned and before access controls (e.g., fencing and covering) were put in place,it was a commonly used as a "short cut" from an existing industry north of the site to the food serviceestablishments south of the site. There is evidence that wastes were also used for fill material on-site. On-site workers and others who walked across the site were probably exposed to wastes in the pastthrough dermal contact, accidential ingestion and inhalation. However, it is unknown how many peoplemay have been exposed to wastes in the past.
On-site Surface Soil
High concentrations of contaminants have been detected in surface soils on the GCL portion of the site. Because of the past practice of "drip-drying" treated railroad ties and numerous spills, it is likely thatpeople working at the site were exposed to contaminants in surface soils via inhalation, incidentalingestion of particulates and dermal contact. It is not known how many people worked at the site in thepast. Surface soil on the non-GCL portion of the site was sampled by the NYS DOH on April 6, 1995. The results of the sampling indicate contamination in surface soil on land previously occupied byQuality Hardwoods on the non-GCL property. It is likely that people who had worked at this facility could have been exposed to contaminants in the soil.
Surface Water and Sediment
A drainage ditch extends along the southern boundaries of both the GCL and non-GCL properties.
Workers and unauthorized people entering the site could be exposed to contaminants through dermalcontact and accidental ingestion, primarily PAHs, in surface water and sediment in the on-site drainageditch and pond. This exposure would not likely be frequent, particularly for trespassers, since the siteis partially fenced and the non-fenced portion borders a wetland.
The potential for exposure to contaminants in off-site sediment and surface water has been eliminatedas a human exposure pathway of concern because none of the site contaminants were found at levels thatexceed background levels and/or public health assessment comparison values.
Currently the site is fenced; however, unauthorized people entering the site could be exposed to on-sitewastes. There is a debris mound of soil contaminated with PAHs and lumber spoils on the GCL portionof the site. Possible exposures could occur via incidental ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation ofcontaminants.
The extent of the contaminant plume has not been fully defined. Residential wells exist within one-halfmile north and are downgradient of the site. These wells have been sampled and do not showcontamination at this point in time. In the past, it is likely that the surrounding industries usedgroundwater for drinking before public water was extended to this area. VOCs have been detected inthe Village of Sidney public water supply wells at levels below drinking water standards. The sourceof VOCs in the public water supply has not been attributed to contamination at the GCL site.
Trespassers at the GCL portion of the site could be exposed to contaminants in on-site surface soilthrough inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact. As discussed previously, high concentrations ofcontaminants have been found in surface soil on-site.
Limited off-site surface soil sampling was conducted by or for the US EPA. The NYS DOH recognizedthat more sampling was needed to define the presence or absence of contaminants in surface soil off-site. On April 6, 1995 a sample was collected north of the fence of the GCL property and south of therailroad tracks. The visually stained soil in the area indicated that the soil was highly contaminated. The analytical data showed high levels of PAHs. Although there is currently no evidence of exposure,future use of the area is likely.
On-site Subsurface Soil
There is a potential for remedial workers to be exposed to contaminants in subsurface soils via ingestion,inhalation and dermal contact during excavation activities on the GCL portion of the site. However,use of personal protective equipment and appropriate work practices should minimize worker exposureto contaminants in subsurface soil. It is highly unlikely that infrequent visitors to the site would be exposed to contaminants in on-site subsurface soil.
Private drinking water supply sampling has shown that people are not currently being exposed tocontaminants in groundwater from the GCL site. Site contaminants have been identified in on-sitegroundwater very close to site boundaries but the extent of the contamination has not been determined. The extent of the contaminant plume needs to be defined to protect the users of groundwater downgradient from the site in the future.
An analysis of the toxicological implications of the human exposure pathways of concern is presentedbelow. To evaluate the potential health risks from contaminants of concern associated with the humanexposure pathways identified for the GCL Tie & Treating site, the NYS DOH assessed the risks forcancer and noncancer health effects. The health effects are related to contaminant concentration,exposure pathway, exposure frequency and duration. For additional information on how the NYS DOHdetermined and qualified health risks applicable to this health assessment, refer to Appendix C.
- Past completed and potential ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation exposure to on-site surface soils and wastes.
- Potential ingestion, dermal contact and inhalation exposure to on-site sediment and surface water.
- Potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to site contaminants in drinking water as a result of migration in groundwater.
In the past, workers at the GCL site were likely exposed to contaminants in on-site surface soils and wastes. Trespassers may have also come in contact with these contaminated soils. Currently, trespass of the site is not likely to be frequent since the site is partially fenced and the unfenced portion borders a wetland. The components of creosote are the major contaminants in on-site soil. Short-term exposure to large amounts of creosote may result in skin rash, vomiting, headache, hypothermia, mental confusion and kidney or liver problems (ATSDR, 1994). Because there is no specific analytical method for detection of creosote, the major components of creosote, which are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), were tested for and detected at high levels (up to 540,000 mg/kg) in on-site surface soils and wastes. Individual PAHs detected include benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene and chrysene. These PAHs cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime (ATSDR, 1995d). Common cancers associated with exposure to PAHs include skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract cancers. Based on the results of animal studies, chronic exposure of workers and trespassers to PAHs found in on-site surface soils could pose a high and low increased cancer risk, respectively. In addition, PAHs cause noncarcinogenic effects, primarily to the immune and blood cell forming systems. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from exposure to PAH-contaminated soils are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be moderate for worker exposure and low for exposure to trespassers. Also, exposure to very high levels of creosote (up to 54% in on-site surface soil) even for short periods of time could result in adverse health effects associated with this substance, such as skin irritation and rashes.
Surface soil on the non-GCL portion of the site, on land previously occupied by Quality Hardwoods, is contaminated with PAHs. Individual PAHs detected include benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, chrysene, benzo(a)pyrene and indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene (see Table 17 and 18). The toxicological properties of these PAHs already have been discussed. Based on the potential for past exposure of workers to these contaminants in soil at this industrial facility, it is estimated that this exposure could pose a low increased cancer risk and a minimal risk of noncarcinogenic effects.
In the past, it is possible that workers at the GCL site, as well as trespassers, were exposed to contaminants in on-site sediments and surface water. Trespassers may continue to be exposed to contaminants in these media. Trespass of the site is not likely to be frequent since the site is partially fenced and the unfenced portion borders a wetland. The contaminants selected for further evaluation in on-site sediments (see Table 10, Appendix B) are the PAHs, benzo(a)pyrene and benzo(b)fluoranthene. The toxicological properties of PAHs have already been discussed. Based on the low potential for exposure, it is estimated that worker and trespasser exposure to these PAHs in sediment could pose a very low increased risk of cancer. In addition, exposure to low levels (1-8 mcg/L) of PAHs in surface water would also pose a very low increased cancer risk to both workers and trespassers.
As indicated in Tables 4, 5, 6 and 7, groundwater (predominantly on-site groundwater) is contaminated with organic chemicals and metals at concentrations that exceed New York State drinking water standards and/or public health assessment comparison values (Table 16, Appendix B). Public and private drinking water supply wells downgradient (e.g., north) of the site could become contaminated as a result of groundwater contaminant migration (Ebasco, June 1994). Recent sampling of downgradient private wells has been completed. The sampling shows that, to date, the private wells have not been affected by contaminants from the site; thus there are currently no exposures to contaminants in the groundwater.
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.
Vinyl chloride and benzene are known human carcinogens (ATSDR, 1995a,g). Chronic exposure to the highest level of vinyl chloride detected in groundwater at the non-GCL property could pose a very high increased cancer risk, whereas exposure to the highest level of benzene could pose a moderate increased cancer risk. All other contaminants, unless otherwise noted (see below), that are selected for further evaluation, as indicated in Tables 4, 5, 6 and 7, cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1989a,b; 1992d,e,f,g,h; 1993a,c,e,f,g; 1995d,f). Based on the results of animals studies, chronic exposure to methylene chloride, 1,1-dichloroethene, chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethene and 1,1,2-trichloro-ethane as well as bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate at the highest levels found in groundwater primarily at either the GCL property or non-GCL property could pose a combined high increased cancer risk. In addition, exposure to benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, and indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene at the highest levels found in groundwater under the GCL property could also pose a combined high increased cancer risk. Furthermore, exposure to the pesticide aldrin, dieldrin, alpha-BHC and heptachlor epoxide, which were also detected in on-site groundwater, could pose a combined moderate increased cancer risk. Exposure to styrene, which was detected in groundwater at the GCL property, could also pose a moderate increased cancer risk. Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential for acetone, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, 2-butanone, toluene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, ethylbenzene, xylenes, naphthalene/methyl-naphthalene, acenaphthene, fluorene, phenanthrene and benzo(g,h,i)perylene (ATSDR, 1990b,c; 1992a,c,j; 1995b,d,e,h). Although toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of 1,1-dichloroethane, this chemical has been classified as a possible human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (ATSDR, 1990a).
The chlorinated contaminants (including the pesticides) found in on-site groundwater at the GCL site as well as acetone, 2-butanone, toluene, styrene and xylene can also produce noncarcinogenic toxic effects, primarily to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Benzene is known to cause damage to blood-cell forming tissues and to the immune system (ATSDR, 1995a). Noncarcinogenic toxic effects produced by exposure to naphthalene are hemolytic anemia (ATSDR, 1995b) and decreased body weight (NTP, 1980). In addition, exposure to various PAHs has caused adverse effects to the immune system (ATSDR, 1995d). Vinyl chloride is known to cause noncarcinogenic effects at exposure levels about one order of magnitude less than potential exposure from groundwater at the non-GCL property, whereas the other contaminants are known to produce their noncarcinogenic effects at exposure levels that are several orders of magnitude greater than potential exposure to these chemicals in on-site groundwater. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from potential exposure to contaminants in drinking water are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they would be high for vinyl chloride, benzene and cis-1,2-dichloroethene, moderate for acetone and naphthalene, low for trichloroethene, minimal for the various PAHs, with the remaining organic contaminants posing a combined low risk.
Inorganic contaminants selected for further evaluation in on-site groundwater at the GCL property and non-GCL property are aluminum, arsenic, antimony, chromium, iron, manganese, nickel, sodium, thallium and vanadium. These inorganic contaminants were selected for further evaluation because they were elevated above the typical background range (see Table 17, Appendix B). Studies of people exposed to high levels of arsenic in drinking water in foreign countries provide evidence of an association between arsenic ingestion and skin cancer (ATSDR, 1993b). To date, however, studies in the United States have not shown such an association. The existing data suggest that if drinking water were contaminated with the levels of arsenic found in on-site groundwater, exposure to this metal could pose a high increased cancer risk. Although little is known about the chronic toxicity of aluminum in humans, some animal toxicity studies indicate that aluminum may cause nerve and skeletal damage and may also adversely affect the reproductive system (NYS DOH, 1990). Antimony can cause alterations in blood chemistry (ATSDR, 1992b). The primary toxic effects associated with ingestion of large amounts of chromium have been kidney damage, birth defects and adverse effects on the reproductive system (ATSDR, 1993d). Although iron is an essential nutrient, ingestion of extremely large amounts can lead to accumulation in the body and to tissue damage (WHO, 1984; Henretig and Temple, 1984). Exposure to high manganese concentrations primarily causes nervous system effects (ATSDR, 1991a). Exposure to high levels of nickel can cause reproductive effects and allergic reactions (ATSDR, 1995c). The main health concern about sodium ingestion is its association with high blood pressure and possibly heart disease (WHO, 1984). Chronic exposure to elevated levels of thallium can adversely affect the respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems, liver, kidneys and the male reproductive system (ATSDR, 1992i). Effects on the gastrointestinal tract (cramps, diarrhea, nausea) have been observed following ingestion of large amounts of vanadium (ATSDR, 1992k). Chronic (long-term) exposure to drinking water contaminated with manganese at the highest concentrations found in groundwater monitoring wells could pose a high risk of adverse health effects, whereas chronic exposure to arsenic, antimony, aluminum, thallium and sodium could pose a low noncancer risk. The remaining metal contaminants (chromium, nickel and vanadium) could pose a minimal risk of adverse health effects.
The NYS DOH considers children when we evaluate exposure pathways and potential health effectsfrom environmental contaminants. We recognize children are of special concern because of theirpotentially greater sensitivity to toxic effects from some chemicals and their greater potential forexposure from play and other behavior patterns. The area around GCL is predominantly commercialand industrial. Homes, day care centers and schools with children are not close to the site; therefore,we anticipate no significant exposures to children. However, occasional trespassers on the site mayinclude adolescents. Nevertheless, we have no specific evidence that suggests that children will be moresensitive to the effects of exposure to PAHs than adults.
The NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data specifically for the GCL Tie & Treating site andthere are no community health studies planned at this time. The NYS DOH has not received any reportsof adverse health effects related to the site from the community nor is there information about thenumber of exposed individuals. Furthermore, there is insufficient information about possible exposureto contaminants in air and groundwater. The NYS DOH will consider evaluating health outcome dataif new information becomes available indicating that exposure(s) to site contaminants have occurred atlevels of public health concern.
As part of this PHA, past community health concerns about odors from the site, as reported by ATSDRin the 1992 health consultation, are considered in the evaluation of exposure pathways to sitecontaminants. The NYS DOH staff have detected odors at the site perimeter and the potential for odorsand VOCs at the site to migrate to nearby receptors is evaluated in this PHA (refer to the EnvironmentalContamination and Other Hazards, Pathways Analysis, and Public Health Implications sections of thisPHA). The NYS DOH requested and received copies of air sampling data from the US EPA; the NYSDOH reviewed air sampling data to evaluate past exposures to contaminants in air.
Other community health concerns were identified by the NYS DOH during a public availability sessionin July 1994 and citizen contact shortly after the availability session and are addressed in theEnvironmental Contamination and Other Hazards, Pathways Analysis and Public Health Implications sections of this PHA.
The specific community health concerns are addressed below:
- What is the likelihood of the community being exposed to site contaminants?
- Should workers on the non-GCL portion of the site be concerned about exposure to site contaminants?
- Are people being exposed to contaminants in air?
- Have people who walked across the site in the past been exposed to contaminants?
- Have any nearby drinking water supplies been affected from the site?
- Should we be concerned about dioxins at the site?
- Are all routes of migration going to be addressed?
As stated previously, there is the potential for odors and VOCs at the site to migrate to nearbybusinesses and residences. However, air monitoring data collected to date do not indicate a publichealth concern. Groundwater contaminants do have the potential to migrate, however, samplingperformed in the past does not reveal any impact to domestic wells.
Workers on the non-GCL portion of the site have the potential for exposure to site contaminants (seePublic Health Implications A. Toxicological Evaluation), although risks are expected to be low.
See number 1) above. There is the potential for exposure to contaminants in air, however, due tothe nature of contaminants at the site, the risks are expected to be low.
In the past, it is possible that workers at the GCL site, as well as trespassers were exposed tocontaminants in on-site sediments and surface water, however, the risks are expected to be low. (Seealso public health implications section)
Sampling of residential wells near the site show no indication of site contaminants.
Dioxins are generally associated with combustion of materials such as PCBs and pesticides. Thepresence of dioxins are not typically associated with the activities conducted at the GCL site. Therefore, dioxins were not considered a concern and no sampling for dioxins has been performed. As stated in the Remedial Investigation (p. 4-58) "there is no documented evidence to suggest eitherwide-spread or heavy use of pesticides (or PCBs) on the GCL site."
All routes of potential exposure and migration have been addressed in this document.
Since the July 1994 public availability session, additional environmental samples have been collectedby the NYS DOH. The environmental sampling was initiated to address two potential areas of concern. The downgradient domestic wells that were sampled are not affected by site contamination. Thisindicates that the undefined boundaries of the groundwater plume do not extend as far as thedowngradient homes with wells. The results of the surface soil sampling indicate contamination beyondthe fenceline north of the GCL property. Air sampling conducted by the US EPA in 1989 has beenreviewed by the NYS DOH. The analysis indicates that airborne contamination is present; however,the levels are at very low concentrations and are not considered a health concern.
With these sampling events, the review of the air data, and utilizing existing data, public concerns presented to date have been addressed.