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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

BUTZ LANDFILL
JACKSON TOWNSHIP
MONROE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA




CONCLUSIONS

The Butz Landfill site posed a past public health hazard because people were exposed to VOCs at levels that may have caused illness if the water was used over a long period of time. Some of the private wells could have been contaminated for about 20 years. All people in the area known to be impacted by contaminated groundwater have been provided with a potable water supply.

At present, the site poses no apparent public health hazard. However, that conclusion holds true only under the following conditions:

  • The present ordinances that prohibit drilling new wells into contaminated groundwater must remain in effect and be enforced.
  • The current public water supply must be maintained and be made available to new residents and businesses so that use of private wells will not be necessary.
  • Any contaminated private well already in existence that has not been decommissioned cannot be used for domestic purposes.

Total mortality and cancer mortality data for Jackson Township, Monroe County, were collected and analyzed for the period 1980-1992. Total cancer deaths were found to be significantly lower, statistically, than expected. The crude cancer incidence rate was also found to be lower than expected in the standard Pennsylvania population. No other community-specific health outcome data are available that indicate that the site has had an adverse impact on human health.

People in the affected community have posed health concerns. After consideration of these concerns, PADOH and ATSDR have concluded that: (1) at the highest levels of TCE found in residential wells near the site, some sensitive individuals may have experienced skin rashes; (2) infants should not be fed groundwater containing site-related contaminants unless the water is treated and the treatment system is maintained; (3) school children who get wet playing in snow should not be affected by contaminants from the landfill; and (4) neither death nor illness would be expected to occur from exposure to site-related contaminants at levels found in the concerned individual's well water.

ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) concluded that people in the community should be provided information about their potential for exposure through use of contaminated groundwater.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.    Continue the monitoring well and residential well sampling program. Sample the selected wells at least twice yearly.

2.    Keep and enforce ordinances that prohibit well drilling in and near the contaminant plume(s).

3.    Perform a site review and update within three years based upon new data gathered by EPA, PADEP, and PADOH.

4.    Eliminate uncontrolled and unpermitted disposal of waste in Pocono and Jackson Townships.

5.    Investigate other potential source areas for contaminants of concern, particularly north of Railroad Drive.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The public health action plan (PHAP) for the Butz Landfill site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and other governmental agencies at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion 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 PADOH and ATSDR to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.

Actions Taken:

The monitoring well and residential well sampling program continues at established intervals.

Both Jackson Township and Pocono Township have established restrictions against new well construction in and near the contaminant plume.

Actions Planned:

PADOH will provide the community with information about their potential for exposure to TCE and other contaminants through use of contaminated groundwater, and ATSDR will provide information to health care professionals in the area if needed.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

J.E. Godfrey, M.S., M.Ed., P.G.
Hydrogeologist 2
Division of Environmental Health Assessment

Mark A. Lavin, B.S.
Environment Health Specialist
Division of Environmental Health Assessment

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Charles Walters
Public Health Advisor
EPA Region III
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

Gail Godfrey
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


CERTIFICATION

The Butz Landfill Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Pennsylvania 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 begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment and concurs with its findings.

Robert C. Williams, P.E., DEE
Director, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
ATSDR


REFERENCES
  1. ATSDR. 1989. Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethene, U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia.

  2. ATSDR. 1990. Toxicological Profile for Cis, Trans, 1,2-Dichloroethene, U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia.

  3. ATSDR. 1993. Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethylene (Update), U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia.

  4. ATSDR. 1993. Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene (Update), U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia.

  5. Pennsylvania Department of Health. 1993. Pennsylvania Vital Statistics File, State Health Data Center.

  6. Bailor J.C. III, Ederer F. 1964. Significance Factors for the Ratio of a Poisson Variable to its Expectation, Biometrics; 20:639-643.

  7. Pennsylvania Department of Health. 1993. Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Pennsylvania, 1987-1991, State Center for Health Statistics and Research.

  8. U.S.E.P.A. 1991. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, Butz Landfill Site, Jackson Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Contract No. 68-W8-0092.

  9. U.S.E.P.A. 1992. Record of Decision, Butz Landfill Site, Operable Unit Two.

  10. 1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics - Pennsylvania, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Census, 1990 CP-1-40, June 1992.

  11. 1990 Census of Population and Housing, Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics - Pennsylvania, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1990 CPH-5-40, June 1992.

  12. ATSDR. 1995. Toxicological Profile for Vinyl Chloride (Draft for Public Comment), U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia.

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