PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
NIAGARA FALLS, NIAGARA COUNTY, NEW YORK
- Based on the information reviewed, the 102nd Street Landfill in the City of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, posed a public health hazard because of past exposures to site contaminants in on-site and off-site surface soils and on-site wastes which cannot be characterized because of insufficient data. This site currently poses an indeterminate public health hazard because it is unknown to what extent persons may be exposed to surface soils off-site. Additionally, there is a potential for direct contact with or incidental ingestion of contaminated surface water, and contact with sediments or off-site surface soils. The major public health concern is ingestion of fish caught in the Niagara River or Lake Ontario that have bioaccumulated contaminants from the 102nd Street Landfill. However, there are inadequate data to assess the public health significance of past, present and potential exposures to site contaminants in fish.
- Completed human exposure pathways to site contaminants are as follows:
(a) Fish caught from Lake Ontario or the upper Niagara River, which are then consumed, would expose people to 102nd Street contaminants that bioaccumulate in fish. However, adequate data are not available to assess the toxicological implications of exposure to site contaminants via ingestion of fish.
(b) In the past, it is likely that persons on-site were exposed to contaminated soil and possibly waste material, but adequate exposure data are not available to assess the toxicological implications of this exposure pathway.
(c) It is likely that persons who lived near the site, to the north and to the east, were exposed to contamination in surface soil. Chronic exposure to the contaminants found would pose a high increased cancer risk. Other health effects might occur to liver, kidney, neurological system, and immune system. Birth defects might also occur.
- Potential human exposure pathways to site contaminants are as follows:
(a) People may be exposed to contaminated soils off-site by direct contact, incidental ingestion and inhalation of dust. Children who played baseball at Griffon Park and other persons using the park may have been exposed to contamination in surface soil. However, past exposures to these chemicals by Little League baseball participants and other park users at the highest levels found in the park's soil would pose a minimal health risk to the exposed individuals.
(b) Contaminated groundwater is being discharged into the Niagara River via seepage at the bulkhead. Sediments in the Niagara River are contaminated. Since the 102nd Street Landfill does not have a beach or fishing area and people would not come in contact with contaminated groundwater, bulkhead seeps, and sewer discharges, adverse health effects are unlikely.
- There are no data for surface water. It is expected that contaminant discharges to the river from the site would be diluted by the large volume of water in the Niagara River. Therefore, it is not likely that analyses of river water would show significant levels of site-related contaminants.
- There are no data for site contaminants that may have bioaccumulated in fish. There are other contributors to contamination in the Niagara River besides the 102nd Street Landfill. It is likely that any contamination found in fish caught in the Niagara River would be from multiple contaminant sources.
- The community has expressed concerns about their past exposures to contaminants at the 102nd Street Landfill. Community health concerns mainly pertain to combined exposures to contamination associated with both the 102nd Street Landfill and the nearby Love Canal site. Specifically, these concerns related to the possibility of birth defects.
- Concerns were voiced about the planned remediation and use of incineration to deal with NAPL and heavily contaminated sediments. Heavily contaminated sediments are to be encapsulated within the landfill and are not going to be incinerated. Incineration of NAPL will take place at an off-site facility. Therefore, the community near the 102nd Street Landfill site should not be affected by incineration of contaminated sediments.
- The remediation outlined in the Record of Decision will, when implemented, eliminate the possibility of public exposures to waste materials and contaminated off-site and on-site soils, sediments, and groundwater.
- Based upon fish data gathered from the entire upper Niagara River, a NYS DOH fish advisory is in effect which recommends that no more than one meal per month of carp be consumed and that women of childbearing age and children under 15 years of age not eat fish from this area.
- NYS DOH fish advisory guidelines should be followed to minimize exposures to contaminants that bioaccumulate in the food chain.
- Contaminated surface soils off-site should be isolated to minimize the possibility of further migration or human exposure to site contaminants.
- Contaminated sediments near the shoreline of the site should be remediated to minimize the potential for bioaccumulation of these contaminants in fish.
- Contaminated groundwater and NAPL should be contained to prevent further migration of site contaminants to the Niagara River.
- Because of planned remedial activities, no sampling activities are warranted to further evaluate exposures to site contaminants at this time. Additionally, once the elements of the ROD are in place, potential exposures to site contaminants will be eliminated.
The data and information developed in the public health assessment for the Hooker 102nd Street site in the City of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York, has been reviewed by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendations Panel (HARP) for appropriate follow-up with respect to health actions. Because of the proximity of the site to the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area and the follow-up health actions performed in relation to the Love Canal site, the panel determined that no other follow-up health actions are appropriate for this site.
The Public Health Action Plan for the 102nd Street Landfill site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and/or the NYS DOH at and near the site, following completion of this public health assessment. For those actions already taken at the site, please refer to the Background section of this Public Health Assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from past, present and/or future exposures to hazardous substances at or near the site. Included, is a commitment on the part of ATSDR and/or the NYS DOH to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions to be implemented by ATSDR/NYS DOH are as follows:
- ATSDR and NYS DOH will coordinate with the appropriate environmental agencies to develop plans to implement the recommendations contained in this Public Health Assessment.
- ATSDR will provide an annual follow up to this PHA, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this Public Health Assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it.
- Fish data that is collected by NYS DEC from the Upper Niagara River will be reviewed by NYS DOH. The presence of organochlorine contaminants in fish tissue will be evaluated to determine the possible public health significance of exposure to contaminants that may be originating from the 102nd Street Landfill site and other sources.
- NYS DOH is committed to conducting a long-term follow-up health study of people who lived in the Love Canal EDA, a portion of which is near the 102nd Street Landfill site.
- A Record of Decision for site remediation calls for recovery and incineration of NAPL, excavation of contaminated off-site soils and Niagara River sediments. The off-site soils and sediments will be placed on-site. A slurry wall will be installed around the perimeter of the site and the site capped, encapsulating the wastes. Groundwater will be pumped to maintain an inward gradient across the slurry wall.
ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.
The Public Health Assessment for the Hooker 102nd Street site 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, RPB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.
Robert C. Williams, PE, DEE
Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR
Dawn E. Hettrick
Assistant Sanitary Engineer
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
NYS Department of Health
ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Office of the Assistant Administrator,
ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation,
Remedial Programs Branch
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