PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
TRI-CITIES BARREL COMPANY, INC.
FENTON, BROOME COUNTY, NEW YORK
A summary of the environmental contamination data collected for the Tri-Cities Barrel site is presented in Appendix B, in Tables 1 through 4. All environmental data, excluding residential well sampling collected by NYS DOH, is referenced from the RI Workplan prepared by Roy Weston, Inc. (July 1990). The NYS DOH residential well sampling data is referenced from the NYS DOH project files (1984-1992). The listing of a contaminant does not necessarily mean that its presence is a public health concern. Contaminants selected for further evaluation are identified and evaluated in subsequent sections of the public health assessment to determine whether exposure to them has public health significance. When selected for further evaluation in one medium, that contaminant will be reported in all media where it is detected. These contaminants are selected and discussed based upon the following factors:
- Concentrations of contaminants on and off-site;
- Field data quality, laboratory data quality, and sample design;
- Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with background concentrations;
- Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with public health assessment comparison values for (1) noncarcinogenic endpoints and (2) carcinogenic endpoints. These values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), drinking water standards and other relevant guidelines; and
- Community health concerns.
Groundwater samples were taken in 1985 from four on-site monitoring wells (See Figure 3 in Appendix A). In monitoring well CW-3, which is downgradient from the contaminated area, many organic contaminants were detected at low concentrations, less than 25 micrograms per liter. These contaminants included chlordane, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), and several solvents. A second monitoring well, CW-2B, contained lower levels of fewer contaminants (see Table 1 in Appendix B). Monitoring wells CW-1, CW-2B and CW-3 are overburden wells, about 45-50 feet deep; the water table was measured to be between 26-28 feet in these wells. CW-4 is the plant production well. No well log was provided for CW-4.
One surface water sample (S-3) was taken from a drainage ditch on the site, as a part of a preliminary investigation. No organic chemicals were found above the detection limit in these samples and metal concentrations were below surface water standards (see Table 2 in Appendix B).
Three on-site soil samples were taken and analyzed for metals and organic contaminants. One surface soil sample (SS-1), considered a background sample, was collected from an area south of the barrel processing area. Samples SS-2 and SS-3 were taken from the former lagoon area. SS-1 and SS-2 were surface samples while SS-3 was collected at a depth of four feet. Many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in the subsurface soil (SS-3) and total organic vapor readings of 150 parts per million (ppm) were recorded at the well head using an HNu meter during augering. Low levels of tetrachloroethene were found in soil samples SS-2 and SS-3, while no volatile organic contaminants were found in SS-1. This is an indication of a discharge from the former lagoon and is consistent with the results of a water sample from monitoring well CW-3 which is at the same location. Three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds were found at SS-1 (See Table 3 in Appendix B). These concentrations were above natural background levels, but are not inconsistent with levels normally found in populated or industrialized areas.
One sediment sample, SD-3, was taken from an on-site drainage ditch located downgradient from the former lagoon area and analyzed for metals and organic contaminants. One sample (SD-1), considered a background sample, was taken upgradient in Osborne Creek. Three semi-volatile compounds (fluoranthene, pyrene and chrysene) were quantified at levels below the contract detection limit. Of the metals detected, calcium, magnesium, zinc and lead were slightly higher downgradient than upgradient (Table 4 in Appendix B).
Ambient air monitoring for total VOCs was done with an HNu meter and no readings were recorded above background levels.
Two sediment samples were collected from Osborne Creek. One of these (SD-2) is an off-site sample taken downgradient of the site (see Figure 2 in Appendix B). Of the metals detected, calcium, magnesium, zinc and lead were slightly higher downgradient than upgradient.
Two off-site samples (S-1 and S-2) of surface water were collected and analyzed for chemical contaminants. Organic contaminants were not detected in either sample and all metals were within NYS DEC surface water quality standards (Table 2 in Appendix B).
NYS DOH sampled 5 private drinking water wells in 1985. Low levels of aromatic compounds were detected in one well, east of the site. Private drinking water wells were sampled in 1990 and 1992 and showed no site-related contamination. Since a full hydrogeologic investigation has not yet been conducted, it is impossible to fully assess off-site migration.
No off-site soil samples or off-site air samples were collected.
In preparing this public health assessment, ATSDR and NYS DOH rely on the information 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, unless otherwise noted. The validity of analysis and conclusions drawn for this health assessment is determined by the completeness and reliability of that information.
All data presented in the Preliminary Report by Dames & Moore were subject to US EPA contract laboratory protocol validation. The private drinking water samples were subject to QA/QC by the NYS Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research.
Some of the analytical results for phenols in groundwater and PAH's in surface soils are inconsistent. Analytical results for some of the samples were below the analytical detection limits for other samples. These inconsistencies have not been explained.
Currently, the personnel at the Tri-Cities Barrel facility only assemble and reform clean drums at the site. The site is not securely fenced and is readily accessible to the public except during normal working hours, when the facility is secured by worker presence. There are numerous drums stored at the front of the facility property, and their condition has not been confirmed. Access to other areas of the site where safety hazards may exist, is not known to be restricted.
To identify other facilities that could possibly contribute to site-related contaminants in soil, air, groundwater, and/or surface water at or near the Tri-Cities Barrel site, 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.
DOH is using the most recent TRI data submitted by industrial facilities identified to be within a 2.5 mile radius of the Tri-Cities Barrel site, as a means to evaluate other sources of additional health risk in the exposed population.
NYS DOH uses a simple mathematical model to estimate if potential contaminant concentrations resulting from air emissions at a facility may be contributing to community (receptor population) exposures to contaminants at a site. This model uses information about the facility location (distance from the exposed population) and annual air emission data to calculate the radial distance from the facility at which contaminant concentrations in ambient air have been diluted to 1 microgram per cubic meter of air (mcg/m3). NYS DOH then evaluates what portion, if any, of the population living within this distance from the manufacturing facility may also be exposed to contaminants originating at the site.
No TRI facilities were identified near the site.
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 elements, including: (1) a contaminant source; (2) environmental media and transport mechanisms; (3) 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 pathways 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.
There is no documentation of completed pathways of exposure at the Tri-Cities Barrel site.
Based on the number, extent, and types of environmental contaminants, the potential environmental pathways, and the makeup and characteristics of the population affected by the site, the following human exposure pathways are identified to be of potential concern at the Tri-Cities Barrel site:
- Potential ingestion of VOCs, PCBs, chlordane and DEHP in groundwater used as drinking
water in private residences near the site. Since residents near the site use private wells,
residents may be exposed to contaminants migrating in groundwater by using their private
wells for drinking water.
At present the most significant potential exposure route from this site is not complete. No organic contamination and no significant inorganic contamination attributable to the site has been detected thus far in nearby homeowner wells. Sampling events carried out over several years have detected no movement of site contaminants to nearby homeowner wells. One well showed low levels of three aromatic compounds. Since this well is upgradient of the site, and none of the compounds were found in the onsite monitoring wells, this contamination is not thought to be site related.
- Direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated surface soils.
The contaminated area north of Interstate 88 was not evaluated in the preliminary investigation because the contamination in this area was discovered only recently. Soil and sediment sampling in that area is scheduled during the RI.
No exposures to contaminants off-site have been identified. As indicated in Tables 1 and 5 (Appendix B), on-site groundwater is contaminated with volatile and nonvolatile organic compounds at concentrations that exceed public health assessment comparison values. There is a potential for oral (ingestion), dermal and inhalation exposure to contaminants in residential well water from contaminated groundwater.
Volatile Organic Compound Contaminants
Vinyl chloride is a known human carcinogen (ATSDR, 1989g). 1,1-Dichloroethene (ATSDR, 1989b), tetrachloroethene (ATSDR, 1990b), and trichloroethene (ATSDR, 1989f) cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime. These three chemicals have been classified as either probable or possible human carcinogens by the U.S. EPA. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods. Based on U.S. EPA cancer potency estimates, exposure to vinyl chloride in drinking water at levels found in on-site groundwater could pose a moderate increased cancer risk over a lifetime of exposure, whereas exposure to 1,1-dichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, and trichloroethene could each pose a low cancer risk. Toxicological data are inadequate to assess the carcinogenic potential of toluene (ATSDR, 1989e), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (ATSDR, 1990c), trans-1,2-dichloroethene (ATSDR, 1990a) and 1,1-dichloroethane (US EPA, 1990).
These chemicals also produce a variety of noncarcinogenic toxicities (primarily liver, kidney and nervous system effects) at exposures several orders of magnitude greater than potential exposures from on-site groundwater. Chemicals that cause effects in humans and/or animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from these exposures are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they could be minimal.
Nonvolatile Organic Compound Contaminants
The nonvolatile organic compound contaminants, chlordane (ATSDR, 1989a ), Aroclor 1242 (a polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB) (ATSDR, 1989d), and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (ATSDR, 1989c), found in on-site groundwater can cause cancer in laboratory animals exposed to high levels over their lifetime. These chemicals have been classified as probable human carcinogens by the U.S. EPA. Chemicals that cause cancer in laboratory animals may also increase the risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods. Based on U.S. EPA cancer potency estimates, we estimate that exposure to chlordane at levels found in on-site groundwater could pose a moderate increased cancer risk over a lifetime of exposure, whereas exposure to Aroclor 1242 and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate could each pose a low cancer risk.
Chlordane, PCBs and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate also produce a variety of noncarcinogenic toxicities (primarily effects on the reproductive system and liver damage) at exposure levels several orders of magnitude greater than potential exposures from on-site groundwater. Chemicals that cause adverse effects in humans and/or animals after high levels of exposure may also pose a risk to humans who are exposed to lower levels over long periods of time. Although the risks of noncarcinogenic effects from these exposures are not completely understood, the existing data suggest that they could be low for chlordane, and the PCB, Aroclor 1242, and minimal for bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate.
No health outcome data have been generated for this site and no site specific studies have been done. There has not been any known human exposures to evaluate and no community health problems to study.
To address community concerns, the NYS DOH together with the BC DOH have taken a series of private drinking water samples near the Tri-Cities Barrel site. The next step in evaluating this concern is a hydrogeologic investigation which will be done as a part of the RI. This will define the limits of groundwater contamination and the direction of groundwater flow. This information will be used to assess the potential for private well contamination.
Air emissions from the facility are not likely to be a problem in the future since the incinerator is no longer in use and operation of the facility is limited.
Citizens were given an opportunity to review and comment on this public health assessment during a public comment period which commenced on February 7, 1992. A mailing list compiled by the NYS DOH's Health Liaison Program (HeLP) was used to distribute copies of the assessment.
During the public comment period, which ended on March 13, 1992, comments were received by the NYS DOH. These comments and responses are provided in Appendix C.