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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SOLVENT SAVERS
LINCKLAEN, CHENANGO COUNTY, NEW YORK


SUMMARY

The Solvent Savers site, which is on the National Priorities List, is in the Town of Lincklaen, Chenango County, New York. Solvent Savers was a chemical waste recovery facility, where solvents were distilled for reuse. A drum reconditioning business operated at the site from 1967 to 1974. Liquids, solids, sludges, and wastes from the distillation process were disposed directly onto the ground, and in buried tanks and drums in several areas on-site. Soils, groundwater, as well as surface water, and sediments in Mud Creek are contaminated.

The property was sold in 1978 and a private residence was built on-site, which was abandoned in 1988. There are two private residences within 300 feet west and north of the site, which are upgradient of the site. Residents living near the site have previously expressed concerns regarding the potential for contaminants in groundwater to contaminate their drinking water supplies. Residents of the Village of Cincinnatus also expressed concern about the possibility of site contaminants to affect water quality in the Village of Cincinnatus water supply wells along the Ostelic River, nine miles downgradient of the site.

A preliminary health assessment was completed in June 1989, by the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) under cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and recommended additional sampling to further characterize all potential exposure pathways, including ingestion of and dermal contact with contaminated groundwater, surface water and soils, as well as continued periodic monitoring of private water supplies near the site.

A remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) were completed in 1990. A record of decision (ROD) was issued in September 1990, and included provisions for drum removal, excavation and on-site treatment of soils, extraction and on-site treatment of groundwater, treatability studies to evaluate treatment and/or disposal methods for PCB-contaminated soils and soils contaminated with low levels of VOCs as well as off-site disposal of residual wastes. All drums have been removed for off-site treatment and disposal and design of the selected remedy is currently underway. A fence now prevents direct contact with contaminated surface soil on-site. Although soils and groundwater are contaminated,the proposed elements of the ROD for remediation of the site will, once implemented, control contaminant migration, thereby minimizing the potential for human exposure to site contaminants.

The only known completed human exposure pathway to site contaminants was through use of the on-site water supply well. People who lived at the on-site residence between 1978 and 1988 and used the on-site water supply well for potable purposes were exposed to low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including tetrachloroethene for up to ten years. However, these past exposures would only pose a very low increased cancer risk and the noncarcinogenic effects from this exposure would have been minimal. Those people who were exposed to VOCs through use of the on-site water supply well will be considered for inclusion to the NYS DOH Registry of persons exposed to VOCs in drinking water, which is currently being developed.

The site posed a public health hazard in the past because the residents who lived at the site between 1978 and 1988 were most likely exposed to elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and VOCs in on-site soils via dermal contact and inhalation and incidental ingestion of contaminated soil particulates. In addition, workers at the former recycling facility which operated at the site between 1967 and 1974 were also exposed to contaminants in on-site soils. Currently, the site poses a no apparent public health hazard as exposure to contaminants in drinking water and on-site soils is not occurring. However, if remedial measures are not taken to address groundwater contamination at and near the site, contaminants in groundwater could migrate towards downgradient residential wells and exposure to VOCs could occur at levels that are of public health concern. The sources of contamination on-site should be remediated and measures to control migration of the groundwater contaminant plume should be undertaken.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

Solvent Savers is a National Priorities List (NPL) site in the Town of Lincklaen in the northwestern section of Chenango County, New York, about 30 miles south of Syracuse and 40 miles north of Binghamton (Figure 1, Appendix A). The thirteen acre site is bound by Union Valley Road on the west, by a small unnamed intermittent stream to the north and by a hedgerow and cornfield to the south. The site is relatively flat with a sharp down slope towards Mud Creek (see Figure 2, Appendix A).

Solvent Savers, Inc., operated a chemical/waste recovery and recycling facility from 1967 to 1974. Contaminated solvents and other spent industrial chemicals were recovered by distillation and other processes. Reclaimed materials were offered for sale and/or reuse. Unusable materials, were either incinerated, discharged to pits and lagoons, or buried in drums and tanks on-site. A drum reconditioning business (Cash Barrel, Inc.) also operated at the site during the same period; these activities ceased in 1974 when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) denied their permit application for industrial waste collection. In 1978, the site was sold, the land was regraded and a residence was built. Exposed drums and a large tank were moved and reburied and some drums were removed from the site to an unknown location. Following an inspection performed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Field Investigation Team (FIT) in 1982 and an evaluation of the site by the Hazard Ranking System (HRS), the Solvent Savers site was listed on the NPL in 1983.

The US EPA and NYS DEC identified a number of companies as potentially responsible parties (PRPs) who had arranged for disposal of wastes at the site. The PRPs entered into a Consent Agreement with the New York State Department of Law (NYS DOL) and a site investigation was completed in 1985. The data collected during the site investigation were deemed inadequate and the remedies suggested by the PRPs were not acceptable to the State of New York and US EPA as they were inconsistent with the requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, also known as Superfund. A remedial investigation (RI) and feasibility study (FS) was initiated at the site in 1987 and completed in July 1990.

A preliminary health assessment was completed by the NYS DOH under cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR) in June 1989. The potential human exposure pathways identified in the preliminary health assessment included ingestion of contaminated groundwater, surface water and soils; inhalation of contaminated particulates, especially during remedial work and dermal contact with contaminated soils, groundwater and surface water. Consumption of fish and invertebrates that may be affected by site contamination were also identified as a potential human exposure pathway. Recommendations of the preliminary health assessment included further characterization of all potential exposure pathways and continued periodic sampling of private water supplies near the site.

A Record of Decision (ROD) was issued for the site in September 1990, and included provisions for the excavation and removal of 300 buried drums for off-site treatment and disposal, excavation of 59,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, on-site low temperature thermal treatment of highly VOC-contaminated soils, backfilling of excavated areas with treated soil and clean fill, extraction of groundwater with on-site treatment and reinjection or discharge to surface water, off-site disposal of residual wastes at a permitted and approved disposal facility and treatability studies to evaluate appropriate treatment and/or off-site disposal methods for PCB-contaminated soils and soils contaminated with low levels of VOCs. All drums have been removed for off-site treatment and disposal and design of the selected remedy is currently underway.

Since the ROD was issued by US EPA, the PRPs have purchased the Solvent Savers site property and obtained a deed restriction for the site which prevents any changes in land use for 80 years.

B. Actions Implemented During the Health Assessment Process

NYS DOH has performed community health education in the past for those persons who were exposed to site contaminants in their drinking water. These health education activities included providing the exposed residents with sampling data and information on continued use of their contaminated water supply. The exposed persons have not lived at the on-site residence since 1988 and no further health education is needed at this time.

C. Site Visit

Numerous site visits have been made to the Solvent Savers site by representatives of the US EPA, NYS DEC and New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH). The most recent site visit conducted by NYS DOH was in June 1991.

The site is fenced and warning signs are posted. Two buildings remain on-site: a metal process building from the solvent recycling operation and an abandoned residence. There is an inclined path down to Mud Creek at the southeast corner of the site. At the time of the site visit, barrel removal was not completed; there were overpacked and staged barrels grouped in one area of the site. These barrels were removed in September of 1991. The site is heavily vegetated. There have been no known changes in site conditions since the site visit and barrel removal were completed in 1991.

The immediate area is sparsely populated; however, there are two occupied residences within 300 feet of the site to the north and across Union Valley Road to the west.

D. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

The most recent census information available (1990) for the Town of Lincklaen indicates a population density of 18 persons per square mile. No significant population increase has been noted in the Town of Lincklaen, which grew from a population of 473 to 486 from 1980 to 1990. Available 1990 Census Tract Data indicate that the Solvent Savers site lies within census tract 9902.00. The total population for this census tract was reported as 4,690, of which 7.31% is under 5 years of age, 23.80% is 5-19 years old, 57.93% is 20-64 years old, 10.96% of the population in this census tract is 65 years or older. Of this population 95.61% are white, 3.26% are black and 1.13% are other races. Within one mile of this site, there are 71 persons living in 27 housing units. There are few residents on Union Valley Road; besides the two homes within 300 feet, the next closest residences are 0.2 miles south of the site.

Land Use

Land use near the site is primarily agricultural. Along most of its length, Mud Creek is bound by cropland, predominantly field corn and alfalfa used as livestock feed. A number of active dairy farms and one large farm straddle Mud Creek downstream of the site at Union Valley where the creek is used to water livestock.

Natural Resource Use

Mud Creek is classified as a trout stream by the NYS DEC and is used for recreational activities and livestock watering. Mud Creek supports a naturally reproducing, unstocked brook trout fishery, as well as a variety of warm water fish species. There are two large wetlands and numerous smaller wetlands along the creek near the Solvent Savers site, which support nesting wood ducks and black ducks. Other native species attractive to hunters are white-tailed deer and cottontail rabbits.

E. Health Outcome Data

NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data for the Solvent Savers site or the Town of Lincklaen. However, 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 malformations registry, the heavy metals registry, the occupational lung disease registry, vital records (birth and death certificates) and hospital discharge information.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Concerns expressed at a public meeting in October 1988, centered on the potential for contaminants at the site to contaminate drinking water in the immediate area, particularly the wells used by the families who live north and west of the site.

A group of residents from the Village of Cincinnatus, Cortland County, were concerned that contamination from Solvent Savers might follow Mud Creek, enter the Otselic River, and travel downstream and pollute the Cincinnatus public water supply wells which are on the riverbank 9 miles downstream from the site.


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