PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
LINCKLAEN, CHENANGO COUNTY, NEW YORK
To evaluate if a site poses an existing or potential hazard to the exposed or potentially exposed population(s), the site conditions are characterized. This site characterization involves a review of sampling data for environmental media (e.g., soil, surface water, groundwater, air), both on- and off-site; an evaluation of the physical conditions of the contaminant sources or physical hazards near the site which may pose an additional health risk to the community or receptor population(s).
Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified based upon consideration of the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminant(s) in environmental media;
- Concentrations of contaminant(s) 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 health assessment comparison values. These comparison values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards, and other relevant guidelines; and
- Community health concerns.
The selected contaminant(s) are evaluated in the Public Health Implications section (Toxicological Evaluation) of the Public Health Assessment (PHA) to determine whether exposure to these chemicals is of public health significance.
The On-site Contamination subsection and the Off-site Contamination subsection include discussions of sampling data for environmental media; summary tables of sampling data are presented in Appendix 2. A listed contaminant does not necessarily mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposure. If a chemical is selected for further evaluation in one medium, that contaminant will be reported in all media, where it is detected.
Surface soil samples were collected with a trowel and are most likely representative of soil from zero to 4 inches in depth from the locations shown on Figure 3 (Appendix A). Seventeen organic chemicals, including chlorinated solvents, their degradation products, and poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), were detected in seven surface soil samples on-site. Trichloroethene, a chlorinated solvent, was detected most often. Fifty-one samples (including duplicates and blanks) were collected for analysis of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). One sample contained 14,000 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of PCBs (sample location #5). Seven other samples from other locations contained PCBs at levels ranging from 11 mg/kg to 470 mg/kg; some of these values, including the highest level (470 mg/kg) were reported by the laboratory as estimated values. Nine inorganic chemicals were also found; two metals were detected at maximum concentrations exceeding the range of regional background soil concentrations (Table 1b).
On-site subsurface soil (greater than two feet deep) is also contaminated, to an estimated depth of fourteen feet. Subsurface soil samples were collected from soil borings on-site (refer to Figure 4, Appendix A). 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, trichloroethene, and tetrachloroethene were found in about half the samples and at concentrations up to 200 mg/kg. 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, 2-methyl-naphthalene (3 out of 64 samples and 5 out of 64 samples, respectively) and PCBs were also detected (Table 2a). Soil samples from several locations where previous sampling indicated the presence of pentachlorophenol were analyzed for dioxins. Tetra-chlorodibenzodioxins (TCDDs) were not found. Six metals were detected at levels slightly higher than maximum values in background samples from upstate New York (Table 2b).
There are fourteen groundwater monitoring wells on-site (refer to Figure 5, Appendix A). The most commonly detected (35-40% frequency) volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also the compounds present at the highest concentrations: trichloroethene, cis-1,2-di-chloroethene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (Table 3, Appendix B). PCBs were detected in a well at the north end of the site and in two wells in the center of the site. However, the RI notes that "The samples were very silty. It is probable that the PCBs detected in these water samples were actually bound in the silt." PCBs that are bound to particulates would not be expected to migrate in the dissolved phase.
The abandoned on-site residential well contained carbon disulfide, chloroform, chloromethane, and 1,1-dichloroethane at low microgram per liter (mcg/l) levels. Tetrachloroethene was detected at levels of 2 mcg/L, 9 mcg/L and 2 mcg/L in 1981, 1983 and 1985, respectively.
Soil gas samples were collected across the site (refer to Figure 6, Appendix A). Soil as samples were analyzed for trichloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 1,2-trans-dichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, benzene and toluene. Trichloroethene and tetrachloroethene were the primary contaminants detected and results are shown in Table 4 (Appendix B).
During the RI, three rounds of air samples were collected at four locations on-site (refer to Figure 7, Appendix A). Chemicals detected include PCB-1242 and PCB-1248, tetrachloroethene, toluene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichloroethene (Table 5). Of those, trichloroethene and 1,1,1-trichloroethane were found at the highest concentrations, 10.4 micrograms per cubic meter (mcg/m3) and 9.59 mcg/m3, respectively, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and toluene were the most frequently detected chemicals, found in all 12 of the samples (Table 5).
The majority of off-site monitoring wells are down slope of the site, on both sides of Mud Creek and sampling of these wells has shown that contaminants are migrating off-site in groundwater to the east-southeast (Figure 5, Appendix A). Groundwater contaminants include trichloroethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (Table 3). Contaminant concentrations decrease with increasing distance from the site; the monitoring wells just south of the site, show no appreciable organic contamination (less than 1 microgram per liter (mcg/L)). The farthest downgradient monitoring well had only low levels of organic chemicals (less than 1.8 mcg/L).
The private wells supplying potable water to the two residences nearest the site are hydraulically upgradient and unaffected by the groundwater plume. One of two samples from one of these residential wells showed 42.5 mcg/l of cis-1,2-dichloroethene; however, these results are questionable due to laboratory quality assurance and quality control concerns. Two confirmatory samples were collected from this well during the RI and showed no detectable organic compounds. NYS DOH has sampled both residential wells on several occasions, most recently in June 1991, and no site-related contamination has been detected.
Surface Water and Sediment
Surface water and sediment samples have been collected from four locations in Mud Creek near the site, to assess the site's effects on the stream (Table 6, Appendix B). All four locations showed the presence of site-related VOCs, with concentrations decreasing with increasing distance downstream. Only one sediment sample (the one closest to the site) showed contamination with aromatic organic compounds such as phenol (2,700 parts per billion [ppb]), 2-chlorophenol (2,900 ppb) and pentachlorophenol (1,600 ppb) and polynuclear aromatics such as acenaphthene (1,200 ppb) and pyrene (1,600 ppb). Downgradient levels of inorganic compounds in sediment samples are similar to levels detected in the upgradient sediment samples. Two of the downgradient surface water samples showed higher levels of chromium, lead, and iron than the upgradient locations, suggesting that contaminants are being released from the site. PCBs were not detected in the surface waters or sediments of Mud Creek.
Fish tissue samples (White Sucker, Common Shiner) indicated some contamination with volatile organic chemicals, especially toluene, with whole body tissue amounts ranging from 0.096 to 0.22 mg/kg.
No data exist for off-site surface or subsurface soils.
In preparing this health assessment, ATSDR and NYS DOH rely on the information provided in the referenced documents and assume that adequate quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures and data reporting. The validity of the analysis and conclusions drawn for this Health Assessment is determined by the completeness and reliability of the referenced information.
The utility pit of the abandoned well is partially covered by deteriorating boards and poses a hazard, especially during the winter when the area is covered by snow. The gutted former residence and two partially destroyed buildings which formerly housed waste distillation equipment may no longer be structurally sound, also presenting a hazard to trespassers, although the fence should prevent trespassing.
To identify other facilities that could possibly contribute to site-related contaminants in soil, air, groundwater, and/or surface water at or near the Solvent Savers site, the NYS DOH searched the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI has been developed by the US EPA from chemical release information provided by those industries that are required to report contaminant emissions and releases on an annual basis.
NYS DOH searched the 1989 TRI data submitted by industrial
facilities near the site, as a means to evaluate other sources of
additional health risk in the exposed population. TRI did not
contain information on toxic chemical releases in the Town of
This section of the public health assessment (PHA) identifies potential and completed exposure pathways associated with past, present and future use of the site. An exposure pathway is the process by which an individual may be exposed to contaminants originating from a site. An exposure pathway is comprised of five components, including: (1) a contaminant source; (2) environmental media and transport 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 disposal area 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 transport mechanisms "carry" contaminants from the source to points where human exposure may occur. The exposure point is a location where actual or potential human contact with a contaminated medium may occur. The route of exposure is the manner in which a contaminant actually enters or contacts the body (i.e., ingestion, inhalation, dermal adsorption). The receptor population is the persons who are exposed 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 when the criteria for all five elements of an exposure pathway are documented; a potential exposure pathway exists when the criteria for any one of the five elements comprising an exposure pathway is not met. An exposure pathway is considered to be eliminated when any one of the five elements comprising an exposure pathway has not existed in the past, does not exist in the present and will never exist in the future.
Groundwater on-site is contaminated with VOCs and PCBs. The only known completed exposure pathway at this site is ingestion of contaminated groundwater by former residents of the site. Samples collected by NYS DOH in 1981, found low levels of VOCs in the on-site drinking water supply well, which were below drinking water standards in effect at the time. There is only one residence on-site and people who lived there between 1978 and 1988 and used the on-site water supply well for potable purposes, were most likely exposed to VOCs. Exposures to VOCs in drinking water associated with use of the on-site water supply well ceased when the house was abandoned in 1988.
Surface and subsurface soils on-site are contaminated with PCBs, metals and VOCs. The extent to which past exposures to contaminated soils on-site may have occurred is unknown. However, based on the available data and other site information, it is assumed for this public health assessment that residents who lived on the site between 1978 and 1988 as well as workers at the recycling facility (which operated between 1967-1974) were exposed to contaminants in on-site soils via incidental ingestion and inhalation of soil particulates as well as dermal contact. Also, since a vegetable garden may have been developed by residents living at the site, exposure to soil contaminants via ingestion of garden-grown produce could have occurred.
Current and future exposures to contaminants in on-site soil is expected to be very limited since the site is fenced and most of it is well vegetated. The 1990 ROD for this site includes provisions for off-site treatment and disposal of 59,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and on-site treatment of highly VOC-contaminated soils with backfilling of excavated areas with treated soils and clean fill. These remedial measures, once implemented, will eliminate the potential for exposure to contaminants in on-site surface and subsurface soils including possible residential activities. The potential for any exposures that could occur to workers or nearby residents during site remediation activities can be controlled by use of appropriate work practices, personal protective equipment, and applicable regulatory standards and guidance.
Contamination of soil gas by volatile compounds was confirmed in certain areas of the site. Therefore, it is possible that people living in the on-site residence may have been exposed to VOCs via inhalation of soil gas that may have migrated into the basement. However, there is no indoor air data to evaluate past exposures and this exposure pathway will not be evaluated further.
Groundwater flows from west to east through glacial, stratified drift deposits. Depth to bedrock is about 45 feet west of Union Valley Road and is 135 feet in the floodplain. Depth to groundwater varies from 8 to 20 feet along the western section of the site to about 40 feet along the crest of the slope. Precipitation infiltrating through the wastes at the site could dissolve chemical constituents producing a leachate which could be transported to groundwater. VOCs are generally more mobile in groundwater and it is expected that the VOCs in the groundwater plume will continue to migrate beyond the site in an eastward direction, ultimately discharging into Mud Creek. Generally, it appears that the inorganic compounds have not migrated much beyond their source areas and are expected to be present at lower concentrations at downgradient exposure points.
While concentrations of VOCs may be expected to decrease in time due to degradation and dispersion in the plume, ground water concentrations of more persistent chemicals which tend to bind to soil particles (PCBs, PAHs, certain phthalates and inorganics) will probably remain at current levels unless their sources are removed. The significance to downgradient receptors of the continued release of VOCs from the site is uncertain as the currently detected plume may not have reached its potential extent, and hazardous products of degradation, such as vinyl chloride, may be detected farther downgradient in the future. No residential wells are currently within the boundaries of the groundwater contaminant plume. Evidence indicates that wells in use near the site are upgradient of site contamination and therefore ingestion via drinking water is presently an incomplete exposure pathway.
Surface Water and Sediment
Surface water and sediment samples have been collected from Mud Creek and in an intermittent stream on the northern boundary of the site. Surface water in the Creek contains low levels of site-related VOCs and metals, and a very low level of trichloroethene was detected in the intermittent stream prior to its entry into Mud Creek. Sediment samples collected from Mud Creek downgradient of the site contained aromatic compounds, PAHs, and metals. These contaminants may have entered the surface water system via direct disposal of wastes, infiltration of contaminated groundwater, or by runoff of contaminated surface soil from the site. Exposure to chemicals in sediments in the intermittent stream and Mud Creek may occur during recreational activities such as wading or fishing, although there is no way of estimating the frequency with which that may occur. Thus, direct contact exposures resulting in dermal absorption and incidental ingestion of chemical in sediments are possible. Exposures to chemicals in surface waters could also occur through ingestion or dermal absorption.
Extensive remedial activities are planned for the site, during which contaminated soils will be disturbed, dust will be generated, and volatilization is likely to increase. However appropriate dust suppression methods will be used during these activities to control for off-site migration of contaminants.
The potential exists for air emissions from volatilization. The potential also exists for emissions via airborne soil particles which contain sorbed chemicals; however, the site is presently heavily vegetated which would tend to preclude wind erosion of soil. The air monitoring data appear to support this, although the monitoring occurred on days with little or no wind.
The air monitoring did not detect any metals above typical background levels. The monitoring detected VOCs in several locations below the stated detection limits during the three days of sampling. The concentrations detected are similar to background levels as published by US EPA. The sampling consistently indicated elevated levels of contaminants in air only for VOCs and only on-site at one of the former drum burial areas. PCBs were detected at this location on one out of three sampling events. One sampling station on the north edge of the site, detected VOCs above background in one out of three sampling events. These results show that PCBs and VOCs in air are a concern in the most contaminated areas of the site and VOCs may be a concern on an intermittent basis off-site.
Mud Creek is fishable and human exposures to contaminants via ingestion of fish from the Creek is a possibility. However, contaminants detected in the Creek are predominantly VOCs which do not tend to bioaccumulate. Ingestion of fish from Mud Creek is not likely to increase exposures to site contaminants.
Human exposure to contaminants via ingestion of milk from dairy
cows that use Mud Creek for drinking water is unlikely since those
chemicals detected in Mud Creek do not have a tendency to
bioaccumulate. Furthermore, the dairy cows are two miles
downstream and contaminant concentrations are not expected to occur
at detectable levels at the point of potential exposure to
livestock. Therefore, this exposure route is incomplete.
An analysis of the toxicological implications of the human exposure pathways of concern is presented below. To evaluate the potential health risk from contaminants of concern associated with the Solvent Savers site, the NYS DOH has assessed the risk for cancer 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 DOH determined and qualified health risks applicable to this health assessment, refer to Appendix C.
Soil and groundwater at the Solvent Savers site are contaminated with numerous organic chemicals (Tables 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, and 3) at levels of concern for potential human exposure pathways. Among the organic chemical contaminants, benzene is a known human carcinogen (ATSDR, 1991b). PCBs, dioxins, 1,1-dichloroethene, chloroform, 1,1-dichloroethane, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethene, toluene, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, trichloroethene, isophorone and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes (ATSDR, 1988; 1989a,b,c,d; 1990a,b,d,e; 1991d,f,h,i,j,k). Whether these chemicals cause cancer in humans is unknown. However, chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
The organic contaminants listed in these tables can also cause numerous noncarcinogenic toxic effects primarily to the liver, the kidneys, nervous and cardiovascular systems, and benzene can cause damage to the blood-cell forming tissues and the immune system (ATSDR, 1991b). Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate can adversely affect the male reproductive system (ATSDR, 1991e); exposure to naphthalene can cause hemolytic anemia (ATSDR, 199c). Human effects reported after occupational exposures to PCBs include skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation and, less frequently, effects on the liver and the nervous and digestive systems (ATSDR, 1991i). There may be a link between a mother's increased exposure to PCBs and slight effects on her child's birthweight and behavior (ATSDR, 1991i ; Rogan and Gladen, 1991, 1992). PCBs have also caused skin, liver, nervous system, immune system and reproductive effects in animals (ATSDR, 1991i). Chemicals that cause adverse effects in humans and/or animals following high level exposure may also increase the risk of adverse health effects in humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
Metal contaminants of potential concern in soil and/or in groundwater include arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and zinc. Arsenic can cause nerve, liver, blood vessel damage and behavioral problems including learning and hearing deficiencies (ATSDR, 1991a ). Chronic arsenic poisoning is characterized by a distinct pattern of skin abnormalities. Chronic exposure to cadmium can lead to kidney damage and may cause adverse effects on bone, the gastrointestinal tract, liver, blood and reproduction (ATSDR, 199c ). The primary toxicities associated with ingestion of large amounts of chromium have been kidney damage, birth defects and adverse effects on the reproductive system (ATSDR, 1991e). Chronic exposure to lead is predominantly associated with neurological and hematological effects (ATSDR, 1991g). The developing fetus and young children are particularly sensitive to lead-induced neurological effects. Ingestion of large amounts of zinc can cause abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Reproductive effects, including increased stillbirths and decreased birthweights, have been observed in offspring of laboratory animals fed high levels of zinc during pregnancy (ATSDR, 1989e). Except for one residence (see #6 below), there have been no documented human exposures to contaminants in soil and groundwater originating from the Solvent Savers site. A brief evaluation of the toxicological implications of the site as they relate to the human exposure pathways at the Solvent Savers site is presented below.
- Past ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to volatile
organic contaminants in a private water supply well.
A private home was built at the Solvent Savers site in 1978 and abandoned in 1988. Drinking water from a private well at the home was tested in 1981, 1983 and 1985 and found to contain tetrachloroethene at levels ranging from 2 to 9 mcg/L. The carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic health risks from exposure to tetrachloroethene have already been discussed. Exposure to tetrachloroethene, which could have occurred up to ten years, would pose a very low increased cancer risk to the residents of this home. In addition, the risk of noncarcinogenic effects from this exposure would have been minimal.
The following discussions of the toxicological properties and associated health concerns for the site contaminants addressed below relate only to potential human exposure pathways (i.e., if human exposure were to occur). This is also true for items 3, 4 and 5 of this subsection which discuss health concerns associated with potential human exposure pathways to site-related contamination.
- Past and potential incidental ingestion, dermal contact and
inhalation exposure to contaminants in on-site soil.
Since a vegetable garden may have been developed by residents who had lived at the site for about 10 years, exposure to soil contaminants via ingestion of garden-grown product could have occurred. On-site soil is contaminated with organic chemicals [bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, hexachlorobenzene, 1,1-dichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, trichloroethene and PCBs, such as Aroclor-1242] and metals (cadmium and chromium) that exceed background and/or comparison values (see Tables 1a and 1b). As previously discussed, all these organic contaminants are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetimes. Based on the results of animal studies, chronic exposure of residents to the highest levels of PCBs found in on-site soil would have resulted in a high increased cancer risk, whereas exposure to the highest levels of the other organic contaminants would have posed a low increased cancer risk. In addition, the risk of noncarcinogenic effects from exposure to the metals, chromium and cadmium found in on-site soil would have been low.
As discussed in the Pathways Analyses section of this public health assessment, the potential for present and future exposures to contaminants in on-site soil is expected to be very limited as the site is fenced and well-vegetated. Furthermore, the on-site house has been abandoned and the proposed remedy for the site includes both off-site treatment and disposal of soils as well as on-site treatment of contaminated soils.
- Potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposure to
contaminants in drinking water as a result of contaminant
As indicated in Table 3, on-site and off-site groundwater is contaminated with numerous organic chemicals and metals at concentrations that exceed New York State groundwater and/or drinking water standards or guidelines.
Chronic exposure to chemicals in drinking water would be possible by ingestion, dermal and inhalation exposures from water uses such as showering, bathing and cooking. Although exposures would vary depending on individual lifestyles, each of these exposure routes would contribute to the overall daily uptake of contaminants and thus, increase the potential for chronic effects.
The toxicological properties of the most prevalent contaminants in on-site and/or off-site groundwater, have already been discussed. Chronic exposure from drinking water containing benzene, a human carcinogen, at the highest levels found in groundwater, could pose a high increased cancer risk. Based on the results of animal studies, chronic exposure to 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethene, methylene chloride, PCBs, tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene could each pose a high increased cancer risk whereas the cancer risk posed from exposure to chloroform could be moderate. In addition, PCBs are known to cause non-carcinogenic effects in animals at exposure levels about two to three times greater than potential exposure from on-site groundwater, whereas trichlorethene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, methylene chloride and chloroform are known to cause non-carcinogenic effects at exposure levels about one to two order or magnitudes greater. Benzene and tetrachloroethene, on the other hand, cause their effects at about two or three orders of magnitude greater. Although the risk of non-carcinogenic effects are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they could be high from potential exposure to groundwater contaminated with these eight contaminants, and low for potential exposures to 1,1-dichloroethane, 1,1-dichloroethene, toluene and xylenes.
Metal contaminants of potential concern in on-site and/or off-site groundwater include arsenic, chromium, lead and zinc. The toxicological properties of these metals have previously been discussed. Exposure to drinking water contaminated with lead could pose a high increased risk of adverse health effects whereas arsenic could pose a moderate increased risk. The risk of adverse health effects from exposure to chromium and zinc could be low.
- Past, present and potential ingestion, dermal and inhalation
exposure of persons engaged in recreational activities in Mud
As indicated in Table 4, the surface water of Mud Creek is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals, some of which exceed New York State drinking water and surface standards or guidelines. Present and future exposure to these contaminants would pose a minimal to low health threat, especially to children who play (e.g., swim or wade) in these areas on a frequent basis.
- Potential inhalation exposure of nearby residents to volatile
organic contaminants originating from the site.
The potential exists for inhalation exposure by nearby residents to air-borne contaminants migrating from on-site. The only contaminant of concern detected in on-site air during the remedial investigation was trichloroethene (Table 5). However, due to the volatile nature of trichloroethene, it is expected that if trichloroethane migrated off-site, concentrations would decrease and off-site concentrations could be below levels of public health concern. The toxicological properties of this chemical have already been discussed. Based on the results of animal studies, chronic exposure to the highest level of trichloroethene found in on-site ambient air would pose a low increased cancer risk.
NYS DOH has not evaluated health outcome data for the Solvent Savers site or the Town of Lincklaen. Because the health risks from exposures to site contaminants are low for both cancer and non-cancer endpoints, the possibility of detecting any effect is very small.
Community health concerns have been addressed as follows:
Will this site cause groundwater contamination that will affect my well?
The two closest occupied residences are upgradient of the site and existing potable water supplies are not expected to become contaminated. Several years of testing by NYS DOH has found no site-related contaminants in these wells.
Will surface water contamination from this site pollute public water supply wells in the Village of Cincinnatus?
Levels of volatile organic compounds found in Mud Creek were very low. Volatilization and dilution will significantly reduce the concentration in surface water to non-detectable levels in an area 9 miles downstream from the site. There is little possibility of these contaminants entering wells on the river bank this far from the site.