GROVE CITY, MERCER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
At the request of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) prepared this Health Consultation (HC), under a Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), to evaluate the past threat to residents from groundwater contaminated with Vinyl Chloride (VC) and respond to community concerns regarding cancer. Based on available information, PADOH determines that groundwater at the Osborne Landfill no longer presents a public health hazard because there are no ongoing exposures through private wells . The site is being remediated by the EPA and area residences with contaminated wells have been connected to the public water supply. EPA is regularly monitoring the uncontaminated wells of residents who declined to connect to public water supply.
Residents in one household may have been exposed to elevated levels of vinyl chloride in the past through drinking contaminated well water though the level of exposure is not expected to cause adverse health effects. PADOH recommends continued monitoring of the residential wells still in use to prevent future exposure.
To respond to the community's concern of cancer, PADOH reviewed 10 years of cancer mortality and cancer incidence data and concluded there were no elevated levels of cancer that may be related to the site.
The Osborne Landfill is on Diamond Road in Pine Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania and less than one mile east of Grove City (Figures 1 and 2). The site is a former strip mine surrounded by farmland to the east and southeast, wetlands and ponds to the south and west, and a wooded residential development to the north. The nearest home is about 1000 feet west of the site (Figure 2). That home and all but two others (with clean private wells) near the site are now on an approved public water supply.
From the late 1950s to 1978, fill material and various industrial wastes were deposited in the pit. Wastes included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), lead, chromium, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and foundry waste from nearby Cooper Industries (1). The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) closed the site in 1978 because it did not have a permit to accept wastes. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) to determine the nature and extent of contamination in groundwater, surface water, soil, and sediments. A 1990 Record of Decision (ROD) required the installation of a slurry wall around the fill area, a clay cap, and installation of a leachate extraction and treatment system. That remedy has been constructed and is now operational (1). A more complete and detailed site history is contained in the December 1997 ROD for the site by EPA and the December 1995 focused Remedial Investigation Report, Operable Unit 2 (2).
Disposal of wastes in an unlined strip mine caused groundwater contamination beneath and near the site (2). Mining operations always create unnatural voids and channels in the subsurface and greatly complicate groundwater flow directions and the distribution of contaminants. Complex well contamination patterns sometimes emerge. Consequently, water wells at great distance and/or in apparent cross-gradient or upgradient directions from the contaminant source may be affected. At this site, one residential well, beyond the monitoring well network, was found to have vinyl chloride (VC) at levels of health concern. The purpose of this health consultation is to evaluate past human exposure and health risks of residents exposed to vinyl chloride (VC) through that private well and the community's concern of cancer.