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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SYOSSET LANDFILL
OYSTER BAY, NASSAU COUNTY, NEW YORK

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Based on the information reviewed, the Syosset Landfill site 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, adequate data or information are not available for all environmental media to which humans may be exposed. In addition, there are insufficient or no community-specific health outcome data to indicate that the site has had an adverse effect on human health. As noted in the Pathways Analyses section, human exposure to contaminated groundwater may have occurred in the past via distribution of drinking water from a downgradient public supply well, however data are not available to confirm this. A determination of the health risks associated with past use of this public water supply cannot be accurately made due to the lack of data for all contaminants to which people may have been exposed. However, the available data do not indicate that humans have been exposed to levels of contamination, for the chemicals tested, that would be expected to cause adverse health effects.

    Past, current and future exposure pathways are possible from contamination of the ambient air on-site and at residential areas bordering the site. The health risks for these pathways can't be quantified because the data for the environmental media are limited. However, the limited data that is available does not indicate an impact on ambient air quality. Planned remediation will eliminate the potential health risks associated with the site involving ambient air.

  2. Data inadequacies include the following:
    1. Insufficient data exist to determine the degree and extent of contamination in off-site groundwater.
    2. No off-site subsurface soil samples were collected to provide background data for this medium.
    3. Insufficient data exist to determine the degree and extent of soil gas and ambient air contamination on-site and off-site.
  3. On-site groundwater monitoring wells are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and metals at concentrations that exceed drinking water standards or guidelines. Migration of these contaminants to currently operating, downgradient public drinking water supply wells has not been identified and therefore no known exposure is occurring. The water supply wells are monitored routinely to ensure that drinking water quality meets NYS standards.
  4. The soil gas testing is not adequate to evaluate the extent of soil gas migration from the landfill to nearby residential areas and the South Grove Elementary School. On-site testing of landfill gases indicates a potential for exposure to volatile organic compounds and methane. A public health threat exists with methane due to the potential for explosive levels of methane to migrate and accumulate inside on-site buildings and off-site buildings. Off-site ambient air has not been adequately sampled to determine if site related contaminants are migrating to residential areas bordering the landfill.
  5. Local residents and official have raised several health-related questions. We have summarized and addressed these concerns in the Public Health Implications section.
  6. Breast cancer incidence rates have been examined for small geographic areas of Nassau and Suffolk Counties for the years 1978-1987. No association was found between breast cancer incidence patterns and contaminated drinking water wells or hazardous waste sites.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Public drinking water supply wells downgradient of the site should continue to be monitored, whether they have been contaminated in the past or not. Monitoring of public water supply wells is required by NYS DOH and NC DOH regulations. Groundwater quality needs to be monitored upgradient and downgradient of the site and in the general path of groundwater flow.
  2. Complete the OU-2 groundwater investigation to determine the full extent and degree of off-site aquifer contamination in the area.
  3. Public access onto the landfill should continue to be restricted. The Town should continue inspection of the fence routinely.
  4. The potential for methane to affect indoor air quality at on-site buildings, at nearby residences, and at the South Grove Elementary School warrants additional soil gas monitoring. Landfill gas should be sampled at the edge of the landfill to evaluate potential for explosive hazards from methane. Measures should be taken to control and monitor gas emissions from the landfill.
  5. The safety of on-site remedial workers and the surrounding community should be addressed during activities which may disturb the existing contaminated soils. Optimal dust control measures should be used and perimeter monitoring (for presence and transport of soil gas) should be implemented during remedial activities to ensure the safety of nearby residents. On-site remedial workers should follow relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health guidelines.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP) RECOMMENDATIONS

The data and information evaluated in the public health assessment for the Syosset Landfill, Oyster Bay, New York, have been reviewed by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendations Panel (HARP) 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 at this time.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Syosset Landfill site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR, US EPA and/or the NYS Department of Health at and near the site following completion of this public health assessment. For those actions already taken at the site, please see the Background section 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 ATSDR 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 undertaking other actions consistent with New York State landfill closure requirements. Capping will prevent direct contact exposure to any contaminated soils and leachate seeps. This action will also reduce human exposure due to the migration of contaminants from the site into soil gas where this medium may be contacted by nearby workers and residents. The selected remedy also calls for monitoring and maintaining the existing passive gas venting system, including routine inspection and repair and installation of an additional passive gas venting system. Long-term air monitoring for VOCs and landfill gases will be included under this remedy, and landfill gases will be vented to the atmosphere, or controlled, to ensure the safety of nearby residents and workers.
  2. US EPA's selected remedy calls for maintaining the existing boundary fence around the perimeter of the landfill property. This action will reduce the frequency of trespassers on the landfill property thereby preventing on-site exposure to any contaminated media.
  3. 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.
  4. US EPA will assess the nature and extent of migration of contaminants from the landfill property into nearby groundwater during the OU-2 off-site RI/FS. The need for off-site groundwater remediation will be determined following completion of the on-going OU-2 RI.
  5. The NYS DOH is currently conducting a study of cancer incidence near a number of New York State landfills (ATSDR Grant #H75/ATH298290-01). This study is examining characteristics of each site and levels of methane and other organic chemicals in soil gas to determine potential impacts. NYS DOH has included this site in the study.
  6. 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.
  7. ATSDR and NYS DOH 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.

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.


CERTIFICATION

The Public Health Assessment for the Syosset 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 Olm
Sr. Public Health Sanitarian

and

Joseph P. Crua
Public Health Specialist
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
New York State Department of Health

ATSDR Regional Representative

Arthur Block
Regional Operations
Office of the Assistant Administrator
ATSDR

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

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

REFERENCES

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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 Toluene. ATSDR/TP-89/23. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

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

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Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1990b. Toxicological Profile for Xylene. ATSDR/TP-90/30. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Public Health Service.

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

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

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

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

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