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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

A & F MATERIALS RECLAIMING, INC.
GREENUP, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, ILLINOIS


SUMMARY

The A & F Materials National Priorities List (NPL) site is situated on the west edge of theVillage of Greenup, Cumberland County, Illinois. A Remedial Investigation (RI) and clean-uphas been completed; however, a groundwater monitoring program, as outlined in the August1986 United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) Enforcement DecisionDocument (EDD), should continue until all monitor wells are closed. Initial groundwatermonitoring indicated the presence of organic and inorganic contaminants. Subsequent samplingindicated that dilution of contaminants has occurred and there has been some migration ofcompounds off-site. Approximately eighteen homes are within a 0.25 mile radius of the site; noresidential wells are located immediately downgradient of thesite.

The A & F Materials site poses noapparent public health hazard. Although human exposure to hazardous substances mayhave occurred in the past, there is no indication that these exposureswould have been at levels of health concern. The past potential exposure pathway of concernwas through the air by volatilization of contaminants from the surface of the lagoons andcontaminated soils. The potential exposure pathway of ambient air inhalation was eliminatedduring remediation activities. Greenup residents expressed concerns over possible adversehealth effects and the high incidence of cancer deaths in the immediate area of the site. Interviews with local residents revealed complaints about symptoms which might be associatedwith acute respiratorydisorders and emotional stress conditions being elevated within closeproximity to the site during the years the facility operated or sat idle. However, no other unusualpattern of chronic orpersistent disease, including cancer, emerged from two previous statestudies as well as this health assessment. Another cancer incidence study might be conductedwithin the decade to insure that excess cancers are detected following the expected cancerlatency period (10 - 20 years). No other follow-up health study is planned. However, if newdata becomes available, the need for a health study will be re-evaluated.

BACKGROUND

In cooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), theIllinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will evaluate the public health significance of thissite. More specifically, IDPH will determine whether health effects are possible and willrecommend actions to reduce or prevent public health effects. ATSDR, located in Atlanta,Georgia, is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and isauthorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of1980 (CERCLA) toconduct health assessments at hazardous waste sites. Although IDPH ismandated by the Illinois Environmental Toxicology Act to address health risks associated withexposure to hazardous substances, this public health assessment is being conducted by IDPHunder a cooperative agreement between Illinois and ATSDR.

A. SITE DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

In 1978, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) investigated complaints aboutthefacility from neighbors concerning odors and spills. Their investigation revealed operatingpermit violations, including unpermitted waste discharge onto the soil and drainage pathwaysleading to a river. The waste materials handled at the facility consisted of sludges, oils, acids,and aqueous wastes. The site was classified as an abandoned hazardous waste site under theCERCLA in 1981. Subsequently, the site was placed on the National Priority List (NPL) inSeptember of 1983. A Remedial Investigation and several removals were completed. Agroundwater monitoring program continues.

Prior to A & F Materials, the site was used as a saw mill. A possible contaminate fromthis typeof operation may have been lubricating oil. If so, any possible contaminated soils remainingfrom this operation would had been removed along with contaminated soils from A & FMaterials during the Remedial Investigation (RI). The A & F Materials site is located on thewest edge of the Village of Greenup in Cumberland County, Illinois in the east central portion ofthe state. The site is about a 3.75 acre parcel of land along West Cumberland Streetapproximately 1.0 mile from the center of the village and within view of several residences(Figure 1).

The site is situated on a sloping hillside within the 100 year flood plain of the nearbyEmbarrasRiver. It is bounded on the south by Cumberland Street and private homes (the closest within100 feet); on the east by a wooded hill; to the north by agricultural land (primarily used for cornand soybean production); and to the west by marshy scrub land. Also, to the west is the village'ssewage treatment plant, which is separated from the site by an abandoned railway embankmentand associated drainage ditch. This ditch, about 200 feet west of the site, received surface waterfrom the site and carried it north to the river. The county fairground is located 500 feet to thesouthwest of the site. Petroleum and fertilizer storage facilities and a grain elevator are locatedapproximately 0.5 mile south of the site along the same drainage ditch. The groundwater in theimmediate area flows west/northwest toward the river, about 0.25 mile north of the site (beyondthe farm field). The river is the receiving stream from area surface runoff and groundwaterseepage (Figure 2).

A & F Materials began operations as an industrial waste sludge and spent oil reclamationfacilityin March of 1977. Shortly after it was permitted and began operation, the IEPA receivedcomplaints about the facility from neighbors concerning odors and spills. Investigations of thesecomplaints revealed numerous permit violations, including unpermitted waste discharge into areceiving stream. Additionally, spills on-site and overflows from waste lagoons causedcontamination of the land to the west and north of the site. The facility was closed as areclamation center in 1980, but waste liquids were left on the property within the surfaceimpoundments, in the storage tanks, and within the processing equipment. The existent lagoonwastes, any liquids added after closure, and rainfall soon filled these surface impoundments tooverflowing. After closure, the waste site was listed as an abandoned hazardous waste site underthe provisions of CERCLA (Superfund). Funds weremade available to investigate the problemsat the site and conduct several emergency clean-ups when rainfall caused the lagoons tooverflow. Short-term action by the USEPA and IEPA secured the site and prevented continuedlarge scale environmental release of contaminants found on-site. These actions includedlowering the level of wastes in the lagoons, diking, trenching, clean-up and removal of on-sitewastes, and the addition of a March 1983 temporary cap on the consolidated sludge.

Some of the principal generators of the wastes found on-site (Alcoa; Northern Petrochemical;CAM-OR, Inc.; and Petrolite Corporation) agreed to participate in corrective action. All lagoonand tank wastes and much of the contaminated soil were removed by December of 1984. Further remedial action (removal of the process building and remaining waste materials followedby surface regrading and reseeding) was completed in December of 1985. Subsequent samplingof the soils remaining on-site contained detectable levels of contaminants, but levels were belowaction limits. Additional monitoring wells were installed in May and June of 1990. Thismonitoring of groundwater contamination by responsible parties is to continue on a regular basisuntil safe levels of contaminants are reached, or until data contradicting the feasibility study (FS)conclusions demonstrate the need to reevaluate the selected remedy.

At the outset of the investigation, the A & F Materials site consisted of a processbuildingholding various equipment, twelve steel storage tanks (varying in size from 10,000 to 30,000gallons) containing various amounts of liquid and semi-liquid wastes, and five lagoons ofvarying sizes and depths containing primarily sludges, with some waste oils and aqueous wastesas well. Over several years and as the result of emergency action, three of these pits wereeliminated or consolidated with the other lagoons so that by 1984, only two surfaceimpoundments remained. Lagoon No. 1 was the larger of the two, with dimensions of 100 feetby 110 feet and a depth that varied from 5 to 9 feet. Lagoon No. 4 was about 30 feet by 40 feetand had a depth of between 2 and 4 feet. The wastes found in the other lagoons were cleanedout and placed in Lagoon No. 1. In 1984, Lagoon No. 1 was estimated to hold about 7,000cubic yards of contaminated sludges. Lagoon No. 4 held probably no more than half thatamount (Figure 3).

The contamination at the A & F Materials site can be divided into two generalcategories: wastematerials and contaminated materials. The waste materials consisted of sludges, oils, acids,bases, and aqueous wastes found within the surface impoundments and the steel tanks. Thesewere removed from the site during the emergency clean-ups and the initial remediation steps forproper disposal. The contaminated materials consisted of lagoon soils, on-site and off-site soilscontaminated via spills and overflows, the tanks themselves, the processing equipment, and theprocessing building. These were removed between 1984 and 1985.

ATSDR completed a health assessment in 1989. This document concluded that this site wasa potential health concern because of the potential risk to human health resulting from possibleexposure to hazardous substances at concentrations thatmay result in adverse health effects.

B. SITE VISIT

Cary Ware and Randy Markillie, representatives of the Illinois Department of Public Health(IDPH), visited the site area on September 16, 1991. We inspected the site and observed thefollowing:

  1. The site was not fenced.
  2. The ground surface was covered with vegetation. The grass appeared to have been mowed recently.
  3. The drainage ditch running through the middle of the site was dry.
  4. There was a groundwater monitoring well observed on the west end of the site.
  5. There was a off-site groundwater monitoring well (MW-14) located east of Illinois Route 121 and north of the Embarras River.
  6. There were no human activities observed (other than the grass had been recently mowed)on or near the site.

Cary Ware conducted another site visit on May 18, 1994. The observations were similar totheprevioulsy mentioned observations, except that the drainage ditch running through the middle ofthe site was wet.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE, ANDNATURAL RESOURCE USE

Demographics

In terms of demographics, according to a 1980 census and Federal Survey of Population andHousing for Incorporated Place, the citizens living in the Greenup area are almost exclusivelywhite. The median age of the inhabitants is forty, ten years older than the median age for allIllinois residents. On the socioeconomic scale, the inhabitants are generally middle to lowerclass with mean family income nearly $8,000 below the mean for the rest of the state (Table 1). About fifty percent of the adult population has graduated from high school.

Greenup is a small community (approximately 1,700 population) with no heavy industry. It isprimarily a residential community where many people are employed in other cities and mustcommute to work. The village is the largest community in a generally rural county. Agricultureis the primary source of employment in the area. Service industries are the major source ofemployment within the village, although a broom manufacturer and a small shoe factory arelocated in or near the village. Small oil and gas production wells dot the landscape in nearbyareas, indicative of petroleum and natural gas deposits throughout the region.




Table 1.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POPULATION, 1980


Greenup

State of Illinois
Number of Persons1,65511,418,461

Age
% under 5 years
% 18 years and over
% 65 years and over
Median Age


6.4
78.7
25.4
40.0

7.4
71.6
11.0
29.9
Race
% White


99.8

29.9
Median Value (dollars) Owner Occupied
Housing Units


29,500

53,900
% Civilian Labor Force Unemployed

12.28.1
Median Family Income (dollars)

14,80322,746
% Below Poverty Level12.48.4

Source: 1980 Federal Survey of Population and Housing for Incorporated Place.

Land Use

The land use in the immediate vicinity of the site includes the following: agricultural,residential, municipal use, forest, and a cemetery (Figure 3). A brief description of eachcategory follows:

  1. Agricultural - The area generally north of the site has been historically utilized for farming. The area is a fertile bottomland.
  2. Residential and Commercial - A portion of the study area, south and southeast of the site is occupied by single family one-story frame dwellings. Other homes and businesses are located along Cumberland Street to the east and north of the site.
  3. Municipal - Municipal land use includes the county fairgrounds area to the southwest of the site and the Village of Greenup sewage treatment facility located to the west of the site. The fairgrounds are utilized year-round for the boarding and care of horses and are used by human populations sporadically. The sewage plant is visited by municipal personnel on a routine basis to perform maintenance and inspection functions.
  4. Forested - A relatively small forested zone is present on the upland portion of the study area, just east of the site. Vegetation and deciduous trees serve as a buffer between the site and the nearest occupied dwelling located on the north side of Cumberland Street.
  5. Cemetery - The Village of Greenup cemetery is located north of the site and just west ofState Route 121.

Natural Resource Use

The Embarras River is obviously the site's major surface water feature, as well as the area'sprimary water course. It lies approximately 0.25 mile north of the site. Surface drainage fromthe site is toward a drainage ditch which lies to the west of the site (approximately 200 feet fromthe western edge of the site) and ultimately flows into the river. The river is classified as ageneral use stream in the vicinity of the site and is used for fishing, swimming, boating,irrigation, and stock watering. In addition to municipal sewage discharge, it also receivesagricultural and storm run-off as discharge. It is used as a public water supply by the town ofNewton, approximately 21 miles downstream. However, this supply is only utilized for a fewdays per year when the town uses the river water to supplement reduced groundwater suppliesfrom city wells. There is no documentation to indicate that this river is used as a drinking watersupply downstream of Newton.

The closest Greenup municipal wells to the site are those located across the river and nearly amile upstream of the site. All of the wells are screened into the sand and gravel aquifer atapproximately 40 feet deep. This aquifer is a regionally significant unit and is present beneaththe entire site. The nearest private well is located upgradient from the site (approximately 200-300 feet south of the site and is no longer used as a water supply). A secondprivate well is located at the fairgrounds upgradient from the site and is used infrequently. Allother private wells located in the vicinity of the village are also upgradient of the site. There aretwo additional aquifers at the site; an alluvion till aquifer (near the surface) and a bedrockaquifer (50 to 60 feet below the surface).

D. HEALTH OUTCOME DATA

Two sources of health outcome data were reviewed by the Illinois Department of Health. Theywere the following: Vital Records and "Incidence of Cancer in Zip Code 62428 of Greenup(Cumberland County), Illinois," prepared by the Division of Epidemiologic Studies. Theinterpretation of these health outcome data and the discussion of "A Study of Population HealthEffects Following Exposure from a Hazardous Waste Site in Greenup, Illinois", prepared by theEnvironmental Toxicology Program, Division of Environmental Health is included in the PublicHealth Implications Section.

COMMUNITYHEALTH CONCERNS

During a health survey conducted in July and August of 1985 in the Village of Greenup,community health concerns were expressed as follows:

  1. Concern over possible health effects resulting from exposure to chemicals originating at the site.
  2. Concern that there was an unusual incidence of cancer deaths in the immediate area ofthe site.

These concerns will be addressed later in the Community Health Concerns Evaluation, PublicHealth Implications section. There have been no recent community health concerns expressed toIDPH, USEPA, or the local health department (16,17).


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