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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

BUTZ LANDFILL
JACKSON TOWNSHIP
MONROE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA




ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

The tables in Appendix A list the contaminants of concern. We evaluate these contaminants in the following sections of the public health assessment and determine whether exposure to them has public health significance. PADOH selects and discusses these contaminants based upon several factors, including (a) concentration of chemicals on site and off site; (b) comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with comparison values for carcinogenic and noncarcinogenic outcomes; and (c) community health concerns.

Comparison values for health assessments are contaminant concentrations in specific environmental media that are used to select contaminants for further evaluation. These values include Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs), Cancer Risk Evaluation Guides (CREGs), and other relevant guidelines.

In the data tables in Appendix A, the fact that a contaminant is listed does not mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposure. Instead, the list indicates which contaminant will be evaluated further in the public health assessment.

A. On-Site Contamination

The only environmental medium that contains contaminants above comparison values is groundwater. This is true for on-site and off-site areas. Figure 5 illustrates the locations of eight on-site monitoring wells and Table 2 reports maximum concentrations of the contaminants of concern as reported in the RI. Wells preceded by a "T" were completed in glacial till and weathered rock, and those preceded by "R" were completed in bedrock. The level of trichloroethene (TCE) was particularly high. Therefore, TCE was used in all wells on and off site as a plume tracer.

B. Off-Site Contamination

Monitoring Wells

Ten off-site monitoring wells were installed by EPA contractors (Figure 5). Table 3 gives maximum concentrations of contaminants of concern indicated in the off-site monitoring wells. Of particular interest is the high level of TCE detected in well R2 during a pumping test. The concentration (110,000 ppb), which is 10% of TCE's maximum solubility in water, strongly suggests that TCE exists nearby in a liquid product phase (8). Dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPL) such as chlorinated solvents are difficult to locate, difficult to remove, and their presence in groundwater usually means that groundwater downgradient of their location will remain contaminated for many years. Wells R2 and R3D indicated almost the same concentrations of TCE in 1987 and six years later in 1993 (Figures 5 and 10).

Residential Wells

Table 4 reports maximum concentrations of contaminants detected in private wells (see also Figure 4). Most residential wells have been grouted shut so that only a few select wells are used to monitor the groundwater plume. The plume, containing predominantly TCE, extends southeastward some 4,000 feet, almost reaching highway 715 (Figure 13). Wells just downgradient of the site (Figure 4) still contain TCE concentrations two to three orders of magnitude above our comparison values (EPA February 1995 sampling results).

Discussion of Hydrogeologist's Findings During the Site Visit and Data Review

Figure 4 describes a plume of groundwater contamination discussed in the RI. The plume extends south and southeast for nearly a mile and along formation strike (northeast) for an even greater distance. The rather lengthy cross-gradient plume dimension is attributed to the strong control exerted by bedding planes and bedding plane partings in the sedimentary rocks beneath and near the site (8).

After extensive examination of all available data, PADOH does not totally agree with some of the plume characteristics presented in the RI. A discussion of some of the technical issues involving the plume geometry follows:

  1. The strike component of the plume is developed chiefly to the northeast. If bedding planes control plume development, it seems reasonable to expect more of the plume to extend along formation strike to the southwest and down formation dip to the north-northwest. However, residential wells near the site and almost directly down dip are clean (Figure 4). There are no mapped faults or other known geologic features southwest of the landfill to prevent a more symmetrically shaped plume along formation strike (Figure 6).
  2. Well 28A and the school well (Figures 2, 3, and 4) are almost directly along strike (northeast) in the alleged plume direction, but both wells are historically clean. PADOH has obtained a copy of the laboratory analysis (February 1988) of the school well indicating "not detected" for all VOCs. The fact that well 28A was clean in 1987 (8) was apparently ignored in the preparation of Figure 4, which incorrectly implies that well 28A is within the 100 ppb contour.
  3. During preparation of the RI and Figure 4, data from residential well 16 (Figure 2) were erroneously reported for residential well 18 (also Figure 2). Data tables confirming this appear on pages 1-10 through 1-12 of the RI. Figure 4-9 of the RI incorrectly shows a second well 16 where well 18 should be. Consequently, the TCE value of 65 ppb shown for well 18 in Figure 4 is also incorrect. Well 18 has never shown contamination. This error may have been overlooked in preparing the isocons for TCE in Figure 4, thereby resulting in further assumption of a plume toward the east. (It is PADOH's understanding that this error has been caught, and the EPA may have changed some of its original thinking on plume configuration.)
  4. Figures 10 and 10A, and Figure 11 A and B illustrate contaminant profiles typical of conditions downgradient of a contaminant source which has not been removed (steady state or semi-steady state conditions). Over the past ten years, monitoring wells and residential wells show very little, if any, tendency for TCE concentrations to decline. Such a situation is fully expected downgradient of Butz where, according to the RI, it is believed that TCE exists as a DNAPL in the subsurface (8). Figure 11 C and Figure 12, however, show wells (east of the landfill) with a rather steady decline in TCE over time, to the point where now some of the wells have concentrations near EPA's Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) for drinking water. Figures 11 C and 12 could represent a plume(s) associated with a one time spill or a dumping event(s) which ended, possibly, in the early or mid-1980s or before. In future years, TCE concentrations in the wells shown in Figures 11 C and 12 should continue to decline if no further TCE disposal occurs upgradient of them. On the other hand, it may be many decades (even centuries) before TCE levels in R2 (Figure 10) and the RP(1) well (Figure 11 A) decline to consistently safe drinking levels unless the source of contamination (DNAPL) is removed.
  5. Figure 8 has been modified slightly from the RI to illustrate possible flow directions for groundwater. The dashed lines were added, and combined with the original solid lines, form the horizontal components of a flow net which has been constructed in standard fashion (flow lines perpendicular to head lines). Flow lines (dashed) to the southeast and south predict a plume consistent with existing domestic and monitoring wells. The upper (eastward pointing) solid arrow represents a clean groundwater flow line. There are no contaminant sources upgradient of this point. This conclusion is supported by a residential well (RI, Figure 4) which has always been clean and a downgradient well (28A) which is also clean. If the flow net and other information on Figures 7 and 8 are even approximately correct, there is no reasonable way to move contaminated groundwater from the southeastern part of the site where contamination is highest, over a mile against natural topographic and water table gradients, to areas north of Railroad Drive near well 46 (Figure 2) and beyond. Such a scenario requires that the RI contradict its own groundwater flow diagrams.
  6. Both the RI and the authors' field observations have verified abundant high angle jointing (north-northeast to northwest) across formation strike (8). The most frequently observed strike of joints north of and along Railroad Drive was about North 10o east. That jointing, and strong vertical (downward) groundwater flow gradients, have provided ample opportunity for plume development vertically and horizontally downgradient, with primary extensions toward the southwest and southeast (topographically controlled) as shown in Figure 13.

Though the groundwater contaminant plume defined in the RI is possible, it is equally likely that other contaminant sources exist which can explain the observed concentrations in wells east of the landfill and the historically documented plume behavior(s).

Figure 13 illustrates three different contaminant source areas and three plumes. The dominant plume is topographically and hydrogeologically downgradient of the Butz Landfill. That plume is kidney shaped, with the longest dimension toward the southeast following normal hydrogeologic and topographic gradients. Another plume is associated with a suspected contaminant source upgradient of R6.

A third possible plume is associated with a suspected contaminant source upgradient of or near wells 27 and 46 (Figures 2 and 4). Because that area is on a topographic (and groundwater) divide, the plume is slightly elongated northeast-southwest toward groundwater discharge points on either side of the divide. The northeast-southwest elongation also approximates formation strike.

There are a number of reasons why the above scenario should be considered as an alternative to previous conclusions about the plume.

  1. It helps explain the pattern of clean wells and contaminated wells along Railroad Drive and in a direct line from the landfill.
  2. It conforms to accepted principles of groundwater flow and contaminant transport in fractured porous media in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and considers the important role of topography.
  3. The multiple plume scenario explains the differences in plume dynamics between the Butz plume and the other (smaller) plumes, as suggested by Figures 10A, 11, and 12.
  4. There are numerous convenient roads and trails, including the old railroad bed (Figure 9), north of Railroad Drive where illegal dumping could have occurred and may still be occurring. One such trail is near and upgradient of monitoring well R6. As reported in the Site Visit section, PADOH investigators noted evidence of dumping north of Railroad Drive.
  5. Dumping by "midnight haulers" is known to occur in northeastern Pennsylvania (oral communication with PADEP and township officials), especially near existing landfills along the New York and New Jersey borders. There, major interstate highways provide easy access to rural Pennsylvania properties for in-state and out-of-state dumpers.
  6. If plume configurations are not well understood, consultants/contractors may misplace future recovery wells during site remediation. Such wells will be less effective, unnecessarily costly, and may even distort the plume so as to enlarge rather than contain the zone of contaminated groundwater.

PADOH is continuing the investigation of illegal dump sites near Butz Landfill. PADOH is being assisted by local officials and PADEP. Contemporaneously, EPA is conducting further geological and geophysical work at and around the site. PADOH will continue to evaluate new information as it is received, and if warranted, modify our conclusions about the hydrogeology of the site.

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

All laboratory analyses performed during the RI have been fully validated (8). Analyses performed at the EPA Region III Central Regional Laboratory (CRL) were validated by CRL personnel prior to release of the data to Tetra Tech. Analyses performed by laboratories in the Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) or a Tetra Tech subcontractor were validated by Tetra Tech personnel. Data validation that was performed by Tetra Tech was reviewed by CRL prior to final release of the data by EPA CRL.

In preparing this public health assessment, PADOH and ATSDR rely on the information provided in all referenced documents. We assume that adequate quality assurance and quality control measures were followed regarding chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The analyses, conclusions, and recommendations in this document are valid only if the referenced documents are complete and reliable.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

No physical hazards at the site were noted during site inspections, nor were physical hazards identified or discussed in conversations with EPA and PADEP officials.

PATHWAYS ANALYSES

To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site, PADOH evaluated the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. An exposure pathway consists of five elements: a source of contamination, transport through an environmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure, and an exposed population.

PADOH categorizes an exposure pathway as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposure pathway cannot be eliminated. In completed pathways, the five elements exist, and exposure occurred, is occurring, or will occur in the future. In potential pathways, at least one of the five elements is missing but could exist. Potential exposure pathways indicate that exposure to a contaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never be present.

A. Completed Exposure Pathways

Private Wells

Past exposures occurred through the use of contaminated groundwater in private wells. Contaminants in water were ingested, absorbed through the skin, and, in the case of volatile compounds, inhaled during showering, cooking, or laundering. Assuming private wells became contaminated in the middle or late 1960s, an estimated 150 residents could have been exposed for up to twenty years. The likelihood of current or future exposure through groundwater has been greatly reduced since the public water supply was brought on line. Additionally, Jackson Township and Pocono Township have passed local ordinances restricting the drilling of wells in areas affected by the landfill.

B. Potential Exposure Pathways

A potential exposure pathway exists through use of contaminated groundwater if restriction of well drilling is not enforced or if the ordinances are repealed. Should the public water supply not be maintained or be available to residents within the plume of contamination, people may use existing contaminated wells that have not been decommissioned or tempted to drill new wells despite ordinances. Also, as previously indicated, incorrect placement of treatment wells could alter the plume shape or cause further dispersion of contaminants into areas where private wells may still be in use. No estimation can be made of the number of people that could be potentially exposed in that case.

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

In this section, we will discuss potential health effects that may result from exposure to environmental contaminants, available health outcome data, and community health concerns. The Toxicological Evaluation section will assess the noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic effects of exposure to contaminants that are above comparison values. The Health Outcome Data Evaluation section will assess available community health information to determine whether adverse health effects have occurred. The Community Health Concerns Evaluation section discusses public health concerns voiced by the community about possible exposure to contaminants relative to documented exposures and potential health effects.

A. Toxicological Evaluation

Introduction

In this section, PADOH discusses health effects that could result from exposure to site-related contaminants. To determine the possible health effects of specific chemicals, PADOH researches scientific literature. To evaluate health effects, ATSDR's Minimum Risk Level (MRL), EPA's reference dose (RfD), and EPA's Cancer Slope Factors (CSF) have been used. The MRL is an estimate of daily exposure to a contaminant below which noncancerous adverse health effects are unlikely to occur. The RfD, like the MRL, is an estimate of a daily exposure to a contaminant below which noncancerous adverse health effects are unlikely to occur.

EPA has developed CSFs for many carcinogens. A CSF is an estimate of a chemical's carcinogenic potency, or potential for causing cancer. CSFs are usually derived from animal or occupational studies. The potential for exposure to a contaminant to cause cancer in an individual or population is evaluated by estimating the probability that an individual will develop cancer over a lifetime as the result of the exposure. This approach is based on the assumption that there are no absolutely "safe" toxicity values for carcinogens. Cancer risk is the likelihood, or chance, of getting cancer. We say "excess lifetime cancer risk" because we have a "background risk" of about one-in-four of getting cancer from all other causes during our lifetime. If we say there is a "one-in-a-hundred-thousand" excess cancer risk from a given exposure to a contaminant, we mean that each individual exposed to that contaminant at that level over his or her lifetime would be expected to have, at most, a one-in-a-hundred-thousand chance (above the background chance) of getting cancer from that particular exposure. In order to take into account the uncertainties in the science, the risk numbers used are very conservative. In actuality, the risk is probably somewhat lower than one-in-a-hundred-thousand, and, in fact, may be zero.

The primary public health issues we need to evaluate for the Butz Landfill site are the past exposures to 1,1-DCE, 1,2-DCE, PCE, TCE and vinyl chloride through use of contaminated groundwater. Concerns about exposures through ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation of the volatiles when showering, cooking, and other domestic activities, as discussed under the Pathways Analyses section, must be considered.

These discussions focus on exposure to the individual contaminants. The health effects that may occur as a result of exposure to a mixture of contaminants have not been well studied, and conclusions cannot be drawn about exposures to mixtures.

1,1-Dichloroethene (1,1-DCE)

There is evidence that exposure to 1,1-DCE has occurred through groundwater use by residents in the area downgradient of the Butz Landfill site. People who used contaminated well water are assumed to have ingested, inhaled, and dermally absorbed 1,1-DCE. 1,1-DCE was detected in residential well water at a maximum level of 14.6 µg/L.

The available information on 1,1-DCE exposure in humans is not very useful for telling how 1,1-DCE affects human health and at what levels and kinds of exposure. For noncancerous effects, ATSDR has developed a MRL of 9 µg/kg/day for 1,1-DCE based on animal studies that demonstrate changes in the livers of animals orally exposed to 1,1-DCE. If children were exposed to 1,1-DCE at a level of 14.6 µg/L in drinking water, then the oral dose would not exceed the RfD. This means that, based on animal studies, noncancerous adverse health effects would not be expected to occur.

1,1-DCE is classified as a possible human carcinogen by EPA, and a CSF has been developed for the chemical (1). This classification is based on animal studies in which tumors were observed in mice after inhalation exposure. If residents were to be exposed over a lifetime to 1,1-DCE in a domestic water supply contaminated at a level of 14.6 µg/L, then there would be a low, or likely no, increased cancer risk.

1,2 Dichloroethene (1,2-DCE)

There is evidence that exposure to 1,2-DCE has occurred through groundwater use by residents in the area downgradient of the Butz Landfill site. People who used contaminated well water are assumed to have ingested, inhaled, and dermally absorbed 1,2-DCE. 1,2-DCE was detected in residential well water at a maximum level of 4.2 µg/L.

There are two forms of 1,2-DCE; one form is called trans-1,2-DCE, while the other is called cis-1,2-DCE. Sometimes both forms are present as a mixture. Trans-1,2-DCE is considered to be the more toxic of the two forms.

The long-term human health effects following exposure to low concentrations of 1,2-DCE are unknown (2). For noncancerous effects EPA has developed an RfD of 20 µg/kg/day for trans-1,2-DCE based on animal studies that demonstrate changes in the blood serum of animals orally exposed to trans-1,2-DCE. If children were exposed to trans-1,2-DCE at a level of 4.2 µg/L, then noncancerous health effects would not be expected to occur because the RfD would not be exceeded, assuming that the trans-1,2-DCE form constitutes 100% of the 1,2-DCE found in the samples taken in the area affected by the Butz Landfill site.

ATSDR has developed an intermediate oral MRL of 300 µg/kg/day for cis-1,2-DCE. If children were exposed to cis-1,2-DCE at a level of 4.2 µg/L for a period of two weeks to one year, then noncancerous health effects would not be expected to occur because the intermediate oral MRL would not be exceeded. This scenario assumes that the cis-1,2-DCE form constitutes 100% of the samples taken in the area affected by the Butz Landfill site.

EPA has determined that cis-1,2-DCE is not classifiable as to human carcinogenicity. No information is available for carcinogenicity assessment of trans-1,2-DCE.

Tetrachloroethene (PCE)

There is evidence that exposure to PCE has occurred through groundwater use by residents in the area downgradient of the Butz Landfill site. People who used contaminated well water are assumed to have ingested, inhaled, and dermally absorbed PCE. PCE was detected in residential well water at a maximum level of 5.4 µg/L.

The human health effects of drinking water with low levels of PCE over a long period of time are not known (3). For noncancerous effects EPA has developed an RfD of 10 µg/kg/day for PCE based on animal studies that demonstrate hepatotoxicity and weight gain of animals orally exposed to PCE. If children were exposed to PCE at a level of 5.4 µg/L, then the estimated oral dose would not exceed the RfD, and, therefore, noncancerous adverse health effects would not be expected to occur.

PCE is classified as reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen by both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (3). EPA has it under consideration for placement into either the probable human carcinogen or possible human carcinogen category. If people were exposed to PCE in drinking water at a level of 5.4 µg/L, an increased cancer risk is not expected.

Trichloroethene (TCE)

There is evidence that exposure to TCE has occurred through groundwater use by residents in the area downgradient of the Butz Landfill site. People who used contaminated well water are assumed to have ingested, inhaled, and dermally absorbed TCE. TCE was detected in residential well water at a maximum level of 7,000 µg/L. No data exist to establish the exact length of time people were exposed to TCE.

Neither a chronic oral MRL nor an RfD has been established for exposure to TCE. An intermediate MRL has been developed. Children orally exposed to TCE for a period of two weeks to one year at a level of 7,000 µg/L, the highest level found in residential well water taken from groundwater downgradient from the Butz Landfill site, would receive an estimated dose that is equivalent to the intermediate MRL (4). We do not believe that exposure to TCE at that level would cause noncancerous adverse health effects. However, we do not know what effects, if any, may develop over a longer period of time.

People have reported health effects when exposed to the level of TCE at which its odor is noticeable. In one study a human population was exposed to TCE in drinking water and had increased numbers of congenital heart defects. While it is not conclusive, it is possible that exposure to TCE in the drinking water may adversely affect the developing fetus. One animal study using chick eggs supports these findings, but its relevance is questioned because it was conducted on a non-mammalian species (4).

Carcinogenic effects of TCE in humans have not been conclusively demonstrated. Several studies have indicated an association between leukemia and drinking water contaminated with organic chemicals including TCE. However, a direct relationship between TCE and the increased rates of leukemia could not be determined because of multiple chemical exposures and other study limitations (4). Because of the inconclusiveness of these studies, EPA is conducting more investigations to determine TCE's cancer classification. EPA had developed a CSF for TCE but has withdrawn it pending further study. However, if one uses the withdrawn CSF to evaluate the increased cancer risk for those people who consumed TCE at the maximum level reported, then a moderate increased cancer risk exists.

In occupational settings, people exposed to TCE at high levels have shown a variety of neurological signs following acute and chronic inhalation exposures. Acute exposure to TCE and its decomposition products (e.g., dichloroacetylene) has also led to residual neuropathy, characterized by nerve damage. This neuropathy is characterized by facial numbness, jaw weakness, and facial discomfort that can persist for several months. Chronic exposure in the workplace has also been associated with damage to the cranial nerves in several cases (4).

Vinyl Chloride

There is evidence that exposure to vinyl chloride occurred through groundwater use by residents in the area of the Butz Landfill site. A concentration of 9.2 µg/L of vinyl chloride was found in one domestic well. Groundwater use for domestic purposes by residents who have private wells could lead to ingestion, inhalation, or dermal absorption of vinyl chloride.

Some people who have breathed vinyl chloride over several years have developed changes in the structure of their livers. People are more likely to develop these changes if they breathe high levels of vinyl chloride. Some people who have worked with vinyl chloride have developed nerve damage, and others have developed an immune reaction. The lowest levels that cause liver changes, nerve damage, and the immune reaction in humans are not known. For noncancerous effects, ATSDR has developed a chronic oral MRL of 0.00002 mg/kg/day based on animal studies that demonstrate changes in the livers of animals orally exposed to vinyl chloride (12). If children were exposed to vinyl chloride at a level of 9.2 µg/L in drinking water, then the MRL would be exceeded by one or two orders of magnitude ( a factor of 46). This means that some people may experience adverse health effects from the exposure.

EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a human carcinogen. DHHS has classified it as a known human carcinogen. Likewise, IARC has determined that vinyl chloride is carcinogenic to humans. However, EPA is reviewing the carcinogenic risk associated with vinyl chloride. Therefore, a CREG is not available for this substance, and the related calculation of the increased risk of cancer health outcomes associated with exposure to vinyl chloride cannot be made at this time.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

PADOH collected twenty three years of data for mortality (all causes) and cancer mortality (total cancer and eight cancer sites) collected for Jackson Township in Monroe County (5).

The 1980-1992 data were analyzed using the Pennsylvania 1984-1986 mortality experience as a standard, and the 1990 Census population for age and sex. This analysis indicated significantly fewer observed deaths (all causes) than expected for the 13-year period by a Poisson Model (6). (An "expected" death is a statistical term used for measuring mortality among a specified population. In this case, the age-sex specific death rates by 5 year age groups for a selected cause of death for Pennsylvania is applied to the same age-sex population in Jackson Township to obtain an "expected" number of deaths. This tells the investigator how many deaths one would expect to see in Jackson Township if the mortality experience was the same as in the standard population - Pennsylvania. This is known as the indirect method of mortality adjustment.) There were 244 deaths observed in the 1980-1992 period and 393 deaths were expected for a Standard Mortality Ratio (SMR) of 0.621. Total cancer and eight cancer sites were analyzed for the 1980-1992 period. The eight cancer sites analyzed were as follows: (1) buccal cavity and pharynx; (2) digestive system; (3) respiratory system; (4) bone, connective tissue, skin, and breast; (5) genitourinary system; (6) other and unspecified sites; (7) leukemia; and (8) other lymphatic and hematopoietic tissues. Total cancer deaths were statistically significantly lower than expected with 44 observed cancer deaths and 91.5 expected cancer deaths. Cancer of the digestive system, respiratory system, and genitourinary system were all statistically significantly lower than expectation.

Cancer registry data were reviewed for Jackson Township for the years 1987-1991. The reported data were not age, sex adjusted; however, the crude cancer incidence rate for Jackson Township was approximately 278 per 100,000 persons as compared to approximately 500 per 100,000 for Pennsylvania. Cancer sites with 5 or more cases in the period were: lung (6), female heart (8), prostate (9), and urinary bladder (5). The crude rates are all lower or very close to the Pennsylvania rate (7).

The review of cancer data was conducted because of interest in the vicinity of the site as to risks of cancer. However, even though both mortality and incidence of cancer appear very low in the township (1990 population 3,757), health effects from contamination from the landfill cannot be determined from this descriptive information. The larger geographical area for which data are available would hide any increase that may be seen in the smaller geographical area of the population affected.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

We have addressed the community health concerns about the site as follows:

  1. Could contaminants in groundwater near the site cause skin problems (rashes) to develop?

    At the highest levels found in residential wells, only TCE might produce skin rashes in sensitive individuals. In general, the finding of excess skin rashes often occurs after exposure to concentrated TCE solutions such as found in occupational settings. Although there are little data for people, those who are particularly sensitive to TCE may experience skin rashes following exposure to levels found in private well water.

  2. Should groundwater contaminated with site related chemicals be fed to an infant? What are possible consequences of such exposure?

    No. Groundwater contaminated with site-related chemicals should not be fed to an infant unless the water is treated to remove as much of the contamination as possible. Treatment systems must be maintained to continue working as designed.

    We do not believe that infants have been harmed by short-term use of the contaminated well water, but we do not know enough about long-term use of the contaminant mixtures and the higher levels of TCE to say that prolonged use of the water is safe or what consequences, if any, of such exposure may be.

  3. Will school children who get wet playing in snow be affected by contaminants from the landfill?

    No. Snow and other forms of precipitation falling near the school (where this question originated) will not come into contact with any waste associated with the landfill. Therefore, children who play near the school will not be affected.

    Since the landfill is capped, even snow or rain falling on the site poses little or no risk to area residents. As previously discussed, surface waters downgradient of the site do not contain site related contaminants at levels of public health concern.

  4. Could contaminants from the site have been responsible for the death of a family member?

    No, the exposure was not likely to have caused the death. Contaminant levels in the well of the individual posing this question were very low and never found to exceed values associated with illnesses (Table 4).

Additional concerns and questions received during public availability sessions are addressed in Appendix D.

This document was released for peer review by PADEP and EPA. Comments received from those agencies have been addressed in this document.


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