FINDLAY TOWNSHIP, ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Mine drainage is a chronic problem in the subject area. PADEP has provided water quality data that show significant degradation of stream quality in the watershed due to mine drainage (2). The degradation has resulted in a habitat that will not support commercial fishing in the streams impacted by Mazzaro Landfill site (the site) leachate. Besides that, the streams are too small for a commercial fishery.
Sport fishing, too, has suffered tremendously. Game fish, such as bass and trout, will not thrive in the subject streams. Therefore, it is very unlikely that people will catch and consume fish from those creeks.
Although PADEP has studied the water quality from a chemistry standpoint, PADOH was not able to locate any data that shows the quality of fish tissue taken from streams near the site. Fish tissue sampling is the basis for issuing fish consumption advisories.
PADOH has reviewed the most current fish consumption advisories for the entire state of Pennsylvania. None of the subject streams appears in those advisories (4).
The USEPA has provided data, derived from the Site Inspection Prioritization visit on September 23, 1992, that show contamination of surface waters by leachate from the site (1). However, if one compares the results of metals analyses done on the upstream sample (SW7, Appendix A, Figure 5) with the results of downstream samples, one will notice that the upstream sample is higher in several metals than the downstream samples. In fact, the upstream sample, SW7, had at least as much aluminum, iron, manganese, mercury and nickel in it as landfill leachate seeps from the site. A similar pattern can be seen for the metals in sediment samples. PADOH attributes these anomalous results to the mine drainage that is unrelated to the site.
PADEP's Aquatic Biologist, Mr. Stutzman, employed the "kick screen" method for his nonintensive aquatic biological sampling during the site visit. In this method the investigator holds a small net measuring about four feet square in the water. He then "kicks" the bottom of the stream just upstream from the net. The water current carries a sample of the aquatic life present in the sampled area into the net and the investigator then assesses the catch. It was by this method that Mr. Stutzman evaluated the particular stream segments that we examined during PADOH's site visit of January 29, 1998 (Appendix A, Figure 6).
Mr. Stutzman found a very limited diversity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in the samples. The species that he found are considered "tolerant" organisms, which means tolerant to the mine drainage pollutants, such as aluminum, found in the creeks. Because of the limitations placed on the habitat by the mine drainage, Mr. Stutzman said that the streams near the site will not support game fish that are commonly taken by people (3).
The USEPA has provided data derived from the Site Inspection Prioritization visit on September 23, 1992, regarding two domestic springs, SP1 and SP2, near the site (Appendix B, Table 1). At present only SP1 is in use (Appendix A, Figure 5). The owner of the residence to which SP2 provides water, is currently renovating the home for future occupation. Previous chemical analyses of these springs is inadequate to assess the current safety for human consumption. The results of inorganic chemical analyses showed manganese to be present at a level of 189 ug/l which is above the ATSDR comparison value for drinking water consumed by a child. No children currently live at the residence.