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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SINCLAIR REFINERY
WELLSVILLE, ALLEGANY COUNTY, NEW YORK


CONCLUSIONS

Based on the information reviewed, the Sinclair Refinery site posed a public health hazard in the past. Prior to 1984, exposure to benzene in the Village of Wellsville public water supply occurred for an undetermined period of time at levels above the drinking water standard. Past exposures to air contaminants originating from the Northern Oil/Water Separator are known to have occurred, however, there is insufficient data to adequately characterize these exposures. Currently, the site poses a no apparent public health hazard. The only people who might be exposed to air contaminants originating from the landfill are those who might fish in the river. It was determined that these exposures are likely to be infrequent and of short duration and not likely to result in adverse health effects. At the present time, exposure to site contaminants in the public water supply is not occurring. There are four private wells near the site and past sampling of these wells did not detect any organic contaminants. However, if remedial measures are not taken to address groundwater contamination at and near the site, contaminants from the site could migrate towards any existing private wells near the site or towards any wells that might be installed near the site in the future. These future exposures to contaminants in groundwater could occur at levels that are of public health concern.

  1. Subsurface soil, surface soil and groundwater on-site are contaminated. Off-site migration of contaminants from these media into the Genesee River is the major concern at this site. Prior to 1988, the source of water for the Village of Wellsville was from a surface water intake in the Genesee River downstream of the site. A sample of finished water collected in 1984 from Village of Wellsville water municipality was determined to contain 6.4 mcg/L of benzene. Repeated sampling did not indicate the presence of contaminants in the water supply. The US EPA authorized relocation of the water supply intake to a position upstream of the site which was completed March 28, 1988. Since relocation of the intake, samples of finished water collected from the Village Supply have not shown contamination.
  2. Erosion of landfilled wastes in the southern most end of this site into the Genesee River was a major mechanism for migration of contaminants off-site. Construction of a dike around the Landfill Area and portions of the Refinery Area have eliminated erosion as a pathway for off-site migration of contaminants.
  3. Currently, no human exposures are known to be occurring from contaminated groundwater. However, groundwater on-site is known to be contaminated with several contaminants including xylene, toluene, benzene and lead above New York State drinking water groundwater standards. Additionally, off-site migration of groundwater is known to be occurring, as shown by the seeps along the main drainage swale.
  4. Surface soils on-site contain volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile compounds, and elevated levels of lead, and arsenic. Specifically, elevated levels of lead have been found in the north corner of the site in the former tetraethyl lead pits near the SUNY Alfred Campus and Current Controls. Elevated levels of arsenic also exist in these soils and often soils along the former railroad tracks.
  5. The Main Drainage Swale behind the Refinery Power Plant is recharged by groundwater seeps. Elevated levels of metals and low level of organic contaminants have been found in this area. However, the levels of contamination are not above ATSDR comparison values, and, therefore, are not considered a health threat.
  6. Samples of subsurface and surface soils from the areas of the former solvent tank in the now Butler-Larkin property, and the Northern and former Southern Oil/Water Separators were frequently found to contain organic and inorganic contaminants. However, the levels of contamination are not above ATSDR comparison values and therefore, are not considered a health threat.
  7. Although the Off-Site Tank Farm has not been studied extensively, the data indicate that little contamination exists in this area and, therefore, no significant human exposures are occurring.
  8. Consolidation of the Central Elevated Landfill Area and the Southern Landfill Area was completed in 1990. Closure of the consolidated materials was completed in July 1993. It was a source of petroleum odors. Of 5 air samples collected in the Fall 1990 from this area, one sample contained low levels of 2-hexanone and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethene. Gas samples from monitoring wells in this area contained benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, chlorobenzene, and methane each in concentrations greater than 1.0 mcg/m3. Available air sampling data does not adequately characterize air quality at the landfill area. Although the protruding gas vents are inaccessible, escaping gases from the landfill are capable of migrating beyond the fence line.
  9. Off-site migration of contaminants through seeps and storm sewer outfalls into the Genesee River is occurring. However, the results of samples of surface water and sediment indicate a minimal impact on the concentration of contamination in the river is also occurring.
  10. In 1985 and 1986 NYS DOH conducted studies on the cancer incidence between 1973-1983 for residents of the Town of Wellsville. No increase in cancer incidence attributable to the site was detected. An increase in the incidence of leukemia in adult males was detected. No conclusive reason for this increase has been described.
  11. Available data suggest that the currently active on-site industries are contributing to contamination of the site.
  12. Surface and subsurface soils throughout the site have been shown to be contaminated with organic and inorganic contaminants. However, exposures to these contaminated on-site soils are not significant in comparison to the occupational exposures currently experienced on-site.
  13. Workers came across two buried tanks while delineating the arsenic contaminated surface soils requiring removal in the area of the power plant. Both tanks contain a petroleum type liquid. Further investigation is required regarding possible removal of the tanks and remediation of contaminated subsurface soil.
  14. Physical hazards associated with the abandoned refinery power plant will be addressed when the building is demolished as part of site remediation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Uncontrolled sources of petroleum odors originating from the site should be remediated to prevent off-site migration of contaminants and human exposure to site contaminants.
  2. Site access should be restricted to on-site areas, including the Main Drainage swale, the back of the abandoned Power Plant Refinery and the Landfill.
  3. The significance of contaminant migration in landfill gases from vents in the landfill should be further evaluated, so that appropriate control measures can be implemented, if needed.
  4. The area between the site and the Genesee River should be inspected on a routine basis for the presence of groundwater and petroleum product seepage. Further evaluation of contaminant migration from the site into the Genesee River is needed.
  5. Measures should be instituted to ensure that future exposures to contaminants in groundwater do not occur. Additionally, monitoring of private wells used as potable water supplies in the area of the site needs to be performed on a routine basis until it can be determined that groundwater contamination is no longer an exposure pathway of concern to users of nearby private wells.
  6. Further investigation of potential exposures associated with contaminant migration to basements in the buildings on-site should be conducted. To date, the presence or absence of basements in the buildings on-site is not well documented. All basements identified will need to be studied to determine if groundwater seeps or contaminated soil-gas are affecting indoor air quality in these buildings.
  7. Should land use change in the future, potential human exposures to contaminants in surface soils could be significant. Therefore, in addition to the remediation proposed by the NYS DEC of those specific areas documented to contain elevated levels of lead and arsenic, it is recommended that institutional controls (i.e., deed notification) be implemented to minimize potential for future human exposures.
  8. Physical hazards associated with the abandoned refinery power plant should be addressed. Until final remediation of the refinery power plant is completed, measures to prohibit access to the interior of the building should be implemented.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP) RECOMMENDATIONS

The data and information developed in the public health assessment for the Sinclair Refinery site, Wellsville, New York, have been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel to determine appropriate follow-up health actions. Because of past exposure to contaminated drinking water and community health concerns, the panel determined that follow-up health actions are needed. Specifically, those persons exposed in the past are being considered for inclusion on NYS DOH's registry being developed for VOC exposures from drinking contaminated water. This registry will be matched with the cancer registry to evaluate possible adverse health outcomes. The HARP also determined that community health education is needed. The NYS DOH, through its community outreach program, has and continues to communicate with the community regarding their health concerns. Although there were community concerns regarding increased cancer in Wellsville, the NYS DOH has addressed these concerns through the 1984 and 1986 investigation and follow-up interview study of cancer incidence of persons residing near the site. No other follow-up actions are needed at this time.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Sinclair site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR, and/or the NYS DOH, US EPA and NYS DEC at the site following completion of this public health assessment. For those actions already taken at the site, please see the Background section of the 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 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. A 1991 Administrative Order on Consent calls for abatement of asbestos and physical hazards associated with the refinery building. This action will reduce potential human exposures to media contaminated with asbestos and prevent injury which could be caused by contact with physical hazards.
  2. The 1991 ROD calls for removal of surface soils in the Refinery Area identified as containing high levels of lead and arsenic. This is currently in progress. This action will reduce potential human exposures to these contaminants found in on-site soils.
  3. The 1991 ROD calls for a soil-gas survey to define the potential volatilization of contaminants from groundwater and subsurface soils and subsequent migration into basements of building on-site. This action will further address the migration of contaminants from the site into soil-gas and will provide information to address the human exposure pathway involving soil gas.
  4. The landfills have been consolidated in the Landfill Area and have been properly capped. The cap has been designed to reduce the migration of contaminants off-site through surface water and ambient air. This action will reduce human exposure due to migration of contaminants from the site into surface water and soil gas where there media may be contacted by nearby residents.
  5. The Landfill design calls for the development of an air quality data base to evaluate impacts from the landfill area. This is currently being done. If data collected from this program shows a problem, further work, such as installation of an active gas collection system will be considered. This action will assure that nearby residents are not exposed to significant concentrations of site-related contaminants.
  6. An air spraying, bioremediation, pump and treat system is required by the ROD to remediate groundwater contamination. The groundwater remediation system is in the early stages (35% completed) of the design phase. When implemented, this action will reduce the contamination in groundwater and therefore exposures to groundwater contaminated and its related chemicals will be further reduced.
  7. The ROD recommends that institutional controls are to be implemented to prevent future changes in site use. The site is an active industrial park and home to a vocational school. This action will prevent exposure to subsurface contamination which may exist, if left unremediated.
  8. The 1991 ROD calls for the monitoring of groundwater seeps along the border of the site and Genesee River for any adverse impacts of the site groundwater at the point of entry into the river. This action will provide information for evaluating the human exposure pathway associated with the migration of contaminants from the site into nearby surface water bodies.
  9. The 1991 ROD calls for surface water monitoring to further quantify the impact of the site on the Genesee River. This action will provide information for further evaluation of human exposure pathways for persons using the river.
  10. Those people who were exposed in the past to VOCs in drinking water will be considered for inclusion to the NYS DOH registry of VOC exposures from contaminated drinking water which is currently being developed. This registry will be matched with the NYS DOH cancer registry to evaluate possible adverse health outcomes.
  11. The NYS DOH has developed a community outreach program to provide health education and other information to citizens of New York State that have questions and other concerns about exposures to hazardous substances in the environment. Through this program, the NYS DOH has and will continue to communicate with the community near the Sinclair Refinery site to address health concerns.

CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the Sinclair Refinery 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
Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR


PREPARERS OF THE REPORT

Lloyd Wilson
Public Health Specialist III

and

Gerry Meehan
Public Health Specialist III

and

Claudine Jones Rafferty
Public Health Specialist II

Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
New York State Department of Health

and

Joel Kaplan
Research Scientist
Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment
New York State Department of Health


ATSDR Regional Representative

Arthur Block
Regional Representative
Office of the Administrator, ATSDR


ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Greg Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Remedial Programs Branch


REFERENCES

Adriano, D.C. 1986. Trace Elements in the Terrestrial Environment. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, "Preliminary Health Assessment Sinclair Landfill Area" prepared by New York State Department of Health under a Cooperative Agreement with ATSDR, June 1989.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. ATSDR/TP-88/02. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989. Toxicological Profile for Benzene. ATSDR/TP-88/03. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989. Toxicological Profile for Zinc. ATSDR/TP-89/25. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990. Toxicological Profile for Lead. ATSDR/TP-88/17. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990. Toxicological Profile for Benzo(a)pyrene. ATSDR/TP-88/-05. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990. Toxicological Profile for cis-1,2-dichloroethene, trans-1,2-dichloroethene and 1,2-dichloroethene. (Draft) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990. Toxicological Profile for Nitrobenzene (Draft). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

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.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989a. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. ATSDR/TP-88/02. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989b. Toxicological Profile for Benzene. ATSDR/TP-88/03. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989c. Toxicological Profile for Ethylbenzene. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989d. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,2,2,-Tetrachloroethane. ATSDR/TP-89/22. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989e. Toxicological Profile for Toluene. ATSDR/TP-89/23. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1989f. Toxicological Profile for Zinc. ATSDR/TP-89/25. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990a. Toxicological Profile for Lead. ATSDR/TP-88/17. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990b. Toxicological Profile for Naphthalene and 2-Methylnaphthalene. ATSDR/TP-90/18. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990c. Toxicological Profile for Nitrobenzene. ATSDR/TP-90/19. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

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.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990e. Toxicological Profile for 2-Hexanone. Draft. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1991. Toxicological Profile for Barium. Draft.. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

Allegany County Health Department, Results from the 1989 quarterly monitoring of the Wellsville Village water supply prepared by General Testing Corporation for the Village of Wellsville, Jan. 30, 1989, Aug. 29, 1989, July 22, 1989, October 25, 1989.

Brodzinsky, R. and H.B. Singh. 1982. Volatile organic chemicals in the atmosphere: An assessment of available data. Menlo Park, CA: Atmospheric Science Center, SRI International. Contract 68-02-3452.

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CDM Federal Programs Corporation. Final report endangerment assessment Sinclair Refinery Wellsville, New York. Feb. 20, 1990 prepared for U.S. EPA Office of Waste Programs Enforcement. EPA work assignment C02064, Contract No. 68-W9-0002.

Clarke, L., C. Hudson, G. Laccetti, W. Stone and B. Ungerman. 1985. 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.

Dragun, J. 1988. The Soil Chemistry of Hazardous Material. Hazardous Materials Control Research Institute. Silver springs, Maryland.

Ebasco - Final remedial investigation report for the Sinclair Refinery Site, Wellsville, New York. March 1991 prepared for Atlantic Richfield Company Organization (ARCO).

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Ebasco - Project plans Sinclair Refinery Site SLA remediation Wellsville, New York. November 1990 prepared for Atlantic Richfield Company Organization (ARCO).

Ebasco - Final Design Report for the Central Elevated Landfill Area Remediation: Sinclair Refinery Site - Wellsville, New York; September 1991.

Frank, R., K. Ishida and P. Suda. 1976. Metals in agricultural soils in Ontario. Can. J. Soil Science. 56: 181-196.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 1983. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans. Polynuclear Aromatic Compounds, Part 1, Chemical, Environmental and Experimental Data. Volume 32. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Interview Study of Leukemia and Lymphoma Cases Diagnosed 1973-1982, Wellsville, NY. NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Cancer Epidemiology, June 1986.

Janerich, D.J., A.D. Stark, P. Greenwald, W.S. Burnett, H.I. Jacobson and J. McCusker. 1981. Increased leukemia, lymphoma and spontaneous abortion in western New York following a flood disaster. Pub. Health. Rep. 96: 350-356.

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.

National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 1978. Occupational Health Guideline for Tetraethyl Lead. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 81-123.

New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH). Interoffice Memorandum: Wellsville Water Quality Data - Sinclair Refinery Site April 5, 1985.

New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH). Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation. Sinclair Refinery Site Project Files (Site No. 902003) 1981-1991.

New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation, Site Inspection Report Jan. 2, 1988.

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.

SMC Martin Inc. Draft Volumes 1 and 2 Phase I and II remedial investigation Sinclair Refinery Site, Wellsville, New York March 1985.

SMC Martin Inc. Fast track feasibility study, initial remedial measures for Wellsville water supply March 1985.

United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. 1990. Census Standard Tape file IA: Census of Housing and Population. Washington, D.C.; 1991.

United States Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund Update: Sinclair Refinery Site, Allegany County, New York January 1989.

World Health Organization (WHO). 1984. Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Volume 2. Health Criteria and Other Supporting Information. Geneva. Zannos, J. Sinclair Refinery Site, Wellsville, New York March 1, 1991. Letter to Mike Negrelli, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 26 Federal Plaza.


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