Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

RAMAPO LANDFILL
RAMAPO, ROCKLAND COUNTY, NEW YORK

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Based on the information reviewed, the Ramapo Landfill site near the Village of Hillburn, Rockland County, poses an indeterminate public health hazard. The available data do not indicate that humans are being or have been exposed to levels of contamination that would be expected to cause adverse health effects. However, insufficient and/or incomplete data for certain environmental media creates uncertainty as to the presence of contaminants which may cause adverse health effects. Data inadequacies include the following:
    1. The number of shallow soil samples collected may not be sufficient to provide data indicative of overall site conditions.
    2. No ambient air data exist on hydrogen sulfide concentrations at on-site and off-site receptor locations. Also, no air data exist to determine the specific source of the landfill odors off-site, and its public health implications.
    3. Due to QA/QC violations, pesticides and PCB data are unavailable for the on-site leachate seep samples, for the on-site subsurface soil sample MW5-SB, and for three of six off-site subsurface soil samples collected during the RI.
    4. Insufficient data exist to confirm vinyl chloride contamination found in an upstream surface water sample from Torne Brook.
    5. Air monitoring activities were performed over a one or two day period and do not represent the quality of ambient air over time.
    6. No data exist to determine the extent of contamination, if any, in surface water and sediments in the Ramapo River at the recreation area referred to as "Flat Rock".
  2. On-site and off-site groundwater monitoring wells are contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds and selected metals at concentrations that exceed comparison values and under certain exposure scenarios could pose an increased risk of adverse health effects. To date, migration of these contaminants to two nearby residential wells and public drinking water supply wells has not been identified and therefore no known exposure is occurring. Testing of the on-site baler building well has not indicated any contamination.
  3. The potential for on-site exposure to contaminated surface water and related media is limited to leachate seeps. Exposure to leachate at the on-site leachate holding pond and in the subsurface leachate collection system is not expected to occur since access is controlled. Leachate seeps are contaminated with metals which could present a public health risk, especially to children who could play in these areas on a frequent basis.
  4. Limited ambient air sampling on-site indicates a potential for exposure to methane gas. A public health threat exists with methane due to the potential for explosive levels of methane to migrate and accumulate inside the baler building and weigh station. Off-site ambient air has not been sampled to determine if site related contaminants are migrating to the residential area near Torne Brook Road.
  5. Past recreational use of Torne Brook stream and the Ramapo River is unlikely to result in any adverse health effects due to contamination with metals from landfill leachate. Current and future use of these waters is not expected to cause any adverse health effects since on-site leachate is no longer discharged to the Ramapo River.
  6. Cancer incidence and mortality data reviewed for the years 1978-1982 found no significant excess in cancer or cancer of any of 17 common sites of cancer when compared to the mortality and cancer incidence rates of New York State excluding New York City.
  7. Various health concerns have been raised by the local community. These concerns have been addressed in the Public Health Implications section of this document.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Private and public groundwater wells downgradient of the site and the on-site baler building well should be routinely monitored, whether they have exhibited contamination in the past or not. Groundwater quality needs to be monitored downgradient from the site and in the general path of groundwater flow. New and selected existing monitoring wells should be used to identify any encroaching contamination that may affect downgradient private and public wells. Residents with wells in which contamination has consistently been found should be provided with a permanent, alternate water supply.
  2. Measures should be taken to restrict public access onto the landfill sections and within the surface water collector installed at the base of the landfill.
  3. The safety of on-site remedial workers and the surrounding community should be addressed during activities which may disturb the existing soils. Optimal dust control measures should be used and perimeter monitoring (for presence and transport of soil vapor) should be implemented during remedial activities to ensure the safety of nearby residents. Appropriate protective clothing and respiratory protection should be worn by workers during activities involving removal or disturbance of soils. On-site remedial workers should follow relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health guidelines.
  4. The potential for contaminants to affect indoor air quality at nearby residences and at the on-site baler building and weigh station warrants the need to conduct additional ambient air monitoring. Measurement locations should be focused particularly at locations at the edge of the landfill to evaluate potential human exposures to volatile organic compounds or explosive hazards from methane. Measures should be taken to control and monitor gas emissions from the landfill.
  5. Remediation should address the landfill's role as an on-going source of contamination to surface water and surface water sediments.
  6. Implement institutional controls to prevent the installation of drinking water wells at the site.
  7. Additional investigations should be conducted to confirm the vinyl chloride contamination found in an upstream surface water sample from Torne Brook.
  8. Additional surface water/sediment sampling should be conducted in the Ramapo River at the area referred to as "Flat Rock."

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The data and information developed in the public health assessment for the Ramapo Landfill, Ramapo, New York, has been reviewed by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendations Panel for appropriate follow-up with respect to health actions. The panel agrees that the community health education performed by the NYS DOH was appropriate. No other follow-up health actions were determined appropriate for the site.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Ramapo Landfill site contains a description of actions to be taken by the US EPA, ATSDR and/or the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) at and near the site subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public 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 exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included, is a commitment on the part of the ATSDR/NYS DOH to follow-up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions to be implemented are as follows:

  1. The US EPA Record of Decision includes the construction of a permanent landfill cap on the site and improvements to the existing leachate collection system. Capping will prevent direct contact exposure to any contaminated soils and leachate seeps. This action will also reduce human exposure due to migration of contaminants from the site into soil gas and groundwater where these media may be contacted by nearby workers and residents. Exposure to groundwater contamination will be further reduced through groundwater pumping and off-site treatment.
  2. US EPA's selected remedy calls for posting and fencing of the landfill. This action will reduce the frequency of trespassers on the landfill property thereby preventing on-site exposure to contaminated media, including leachate seeps and landfill gas.

    Air monitoring for VOCs and landfill gases will be included under this remedy, and landfill gases will be vented to the atmosphere or controlled, as needed to ensure the safety of nearby residents and workers. The selected remedy also includes deed restrictions with respect to the future use of the site, and the prohibition of on-site groundwater extraction for potable use.

  3. The US EPA Record of Decision includes the collection of groundwater samples from nearby private and public drinking water supply wells and from new and selected existing monitoring wells. If increases are noted through this monitoring program at or immediately upgradient of the residences, New York State and the US EPA will make a determination as to the need for appropriate action (i.e., extension of a public water line) to remedy the situation.
  4. All site activity will be conducted under a prepared health and safety plan. These plans will include provisions for air monitoring to assure that nearby residents are not exposed to significant concentrations of site-related contaminants.
  5. The ATSDR and 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.
  6. The ATSDR will provide an annual follow-up to the PHAP, 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.

CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the Ramapo Landfill 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


PREPARERS OF THE REPORT

John M. Olm
Sr. Public Health Sanitarian
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
New York State Department of Health

ATSDR Regional Representative

Arthur Block
Regional Services
Office of the Assistant Administrator
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Technical Project Officer

Greg Ulirsch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Remedial Programs Branch
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry



REFERENCES

  1. Adriano, D.C. 1986. Trace Elements in the Terrestrial Environment. Springer-Verlag, New York.
  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1988. Toxicological Profile for Nickel. ATSDR/TP-88/19. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989a. Toxicological Profile for Chlorobenzene. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989b. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. ATSDR/TP-89/16. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989c. Toxicological Profile for Zinc. ATSDR/TP-89/25. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989d. Toxicological Profile for Ethylbenzene. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990a. Toxicological Profile for Cobalt. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990b. Toxicological Profile for Manganese. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990c. Toxicological Profile for Copper. ATSDR/TP-90/08. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990d. Toxicological Profile for Total Xylenes. ATSDR/TP-90/30. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990e. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. ATSDR/TP-90/20. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990f. Toxicological Profile for Naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene. ATSDR/TP-90/18. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Altanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1991a. Toxicological Profile for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1991b. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1991c. Toxicological Profile for Lead. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1991d. Toxicological Profile for Barium. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  17. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1991e. Toxicological Profile for Cadmium. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  18. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1992a. Toxicological Profile for Aldrin/Dieldrin. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  19. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1992b. Toxicological Profile for Heptachlor/Heptachlor Epoxide. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  20. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1992c. Toxicological Profile for Beryllium. Update Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.
  21. Clarke, L., C. Hudson, G. Laccetti, W. Stone and B. Ungerman. 1985a. Study of metal concentrations in soil and surface sand of seven New York counties. Albany, NY: New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment. September 1985.
  22. Clarke, L., C. Hudson, G. Laccetti, W. Stone and B. Ungerman. 1985b. Study of organic compound concentrations in surface soil in eight New York counties. Albany, NY: New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment. October 1985.
  23. Connor, J., N.F. Shimp and J.F. Tedrow. 1957. A spectrographic study of the distribution of trace elements in some podzolic soils. Soil Science. 83: 65-73.
  24. Davis, D.J.A. and B.G. Bennett. 1983. Exposure Commitment Assessments of Environmental Pollutants, Vol. 30. Summary exposure assessments for copper, vanadium, antimony. London: Monitoring and Assessment Research Centre, Chelsea College, University of London.
  25. Dragun, J. 1988. The Soil Chemistry of Hazardous Material. Hazardous Materials Control Research Institute. Silver Springs, Maryland.
  1. Edwards, N.T. 1983. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) in the terrestrial environment - a review. J. Environ. Qual. 12: 427-441.
  2. Frank, R., K. Ishida and P. Suda. 1976. Metals in agricultural soils in Ontario. Can. J. Soil Science. 56: 181-196.
  3. Klein, D.H. 1972. Mercury and other metals in urban soils. Environmental Science and Technology. 6: 560-562.
  4. McGovern, E.C. 1988. Background concentrations of 20 elements in soils with special regard for New York State. Albany, NY: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  5. New York State Department of Health, Preliminary Public Health Assessment for the Ramapo Town Landfill, June 1989. Prepared under a Cooperative Agreement with ATSDR.
  6. New York State Department of Health, State Sanitary Code, Title 10, Part 5 NYCRR, Drinking Water Supplies, January 1990.
  7. New York State Department of Health, An Evaluation of the Levels and Toxicity of Aluminum in Drinking Water. January 1990. Albany, NY.
  8. Shacklette, H.T. and J.G. Boerngen. 1984. Element concentrations in soil and other surficial materials of the conterminous United States. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1270. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  9. URS Consultants, Inc., Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study at the Ramapo Landfill, January 1992. Prepared for the Town of Ramapo.
  10. World Health Organization (WHO). 1984. Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Volume 2. Health Criteria and Other Supporting Information. Geneva.


Next Section       Table of Contents

  
 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #