EFFINGHAM, EFFINGHAM COUNTY, ILLINOIS
IDPH compared the concentration of each chemical detected during sampling with appropriate comparison values used to select contaminants for further evaluation for carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health endpoints. Chemicals at levels that exceeded comparison values or those for which no comparison value exists were selected for further evaluation. A discussion of each of the screening comparison values used is found in Attachment 3.
On-Site Groundwater and Private Well Contamination
During the 1986 private well sampling, total trihalomethanes, most likely a result of chlorination, were identified in one well at 54 parts per billion (ppb). This well was a shallow, brick-lined, dug well. Arsenic was detected at 12 ppb in another well. No other contaminants were identified at levels greater than comparison values. However, manganese and iron were detected in several wells at levels above secondary (aesthetic) standards. Results also showed elevated levels of sodium ranging from 26 parts per million (ppm) to 122 ppm in 10 of the wells sampled. Of the wells inspected, 15 wells were sampled for bacteria, and 11 of those wells contained bacterial contamination. Two wells were cistern water supplies, 3 were shallow dug wells, and 6 were shallow bored wells.
In 1988 and 1989, organic contaminants, 1,1,1-trichloroethane at 0.1 ppb, and di-n-butylphthalate at 2 ppb were detected in all four residential well samples. Chloroform was detected in only the background well at 0.06 ppb. These concentrations were all below comparison values. Arsenic was detected in the well nearest to the landfill at 65.0 ppm. Although the concentra tion is slightly elevated, arsenic is a naturally occurring element with widespread distribution throughout Illinois groundwater. The presence of arsenic in the well is most likely not related to the site. All four wells exhibited elevated levels of sodium from 22.8 ppm to 157.0 ppm .
Groundwater samples collected in 1996 contained slightly elevated levels of sodium in both private wells at 23.8 ppm and 29.2 ppm. The pesticides heptachlor epoxide and gamma chlordane were detected in one private well , but both pesticides were found at concentrations significantly below comparison values.
During the 1996 STEP investigation, 3 on-site groundwater wells were sampled using a geoprobe unit. VOC contamination was identified in one sample. The VOCs detected included vinyl chloride at 28 ppb, 1,2-dichloroethene at 1,400 ppb, and trichloroethene at 1,100 ppb. The location of the well showing the VOC contamination was along the western border of the site, near the north end of the fill area. The sample was collected at a depth of 6 feet. The depths of the other two on-site groundwater wells were 8 and 16 feet. The groundwater table near Lake Landfill was determined to be approximately 15 - 20 feet below ground surfaces . Groundwater flow is south-southeast toward the Little Wabash River.
On-Site Soil Contamination
In 1988 and 1989, the on-site surface soil samples showed the presence of methylene chloride, tetrachloroethene, toluene, chlorobenzene, ethyl benzene, xylene, phenol, and acetone. The results of the sediment samples identified inorganic contaminants including lead, manganese, and arsenic.
Results of the 1996 on-site surface soil sampling identified the presence of low levels of VOCs and PAHs. No VOCs were identified at levels above comparison values. The PAH benzo(a)pyrene was slightly elevated in one soil sample at 0.14 ppm . PAHs are commonly found contaminants associated with crude oil, coal, and gasoline. They are produced whenever substances are burned and are present in products made from fossil fuels. Benzo(a)pyrene is one of the most potent and studied PAHs.
Areas of ponded water and drainage channels were observed on the site. This surface water drainage enters intermittent streams on the north and east sides of the landfill and ultimately drains into the Little Wabash River. The communities of Louisville, Flora, and Clay City are from 30 to 50 miles south, downstream of the site and use the Little Wabash River for their potable water supplies. Any site-related contamination that may enter the river would be diluted before it reached water supply intakes.
Toxicological Discussion for Potential Exposure
Off-site residential well samples have not contained VOC contamination; therefore, people have not been exposed to organic compounds coming from the site. However, a potential exists for site contaminants to migrate to nearby private wells in the future. Wells south of the site would be the most vulnerable since groundwater flow was determined to be south to southeast toward the Little Wabash River. About eight homes are directly south of the site.
Vinyl chloride is very mobile through soil and travels well in groundwater. To date, vinyl chloride has not entered privated wells, so residents are not expected to experience adverse health affects from vinyl chloride if they are using their well water. If vinyl chloride migrates to the residential wells at levels found on the site, it could cause adverse health effects if ingested or inhaled over a period of time. Vinyl chloride easily volatilizes and can be inhaled during showering. Occupational and animal studies have implicated vinyl chloride as a known human carcinogen. The liver is the primary target organ, and hepatic angiosarcoma (liver cancer) has been linked to high level ingestion and inhalation of vinyl chloride. Other adverse health effects may include immunological effects, skin changes, hematological effects, musculoskeletal effects, genotoxicity and neurological abnormalities .
As with vinyl chloride, no one has been exposed to 1,2-dichloroethane, so no one should experience adverse health effects from the contaminant that is on the site. Migration of 1,2-dichoroethane to private wells is possible. The contaminant 1,2-dichloroethene was also detected at levels greater than comparison values in on-site groundwater. Like vinyl chloride, this compound volatilizes easily and can be inhaled by persons during showering. Vinyl chloride is a degradation product of 1,2-dichloroethene. Breathing 1,2-dichloroethene at high concentrations can cause liver, lung, and heart damage in animals. The effects of long-term low level exposures, such as at the level found on the site, are not known. If that level reached private well water, the estimated dose would exceed a minimum risk level, which is a value used to determine if further investigation of the exposure is needed. Neither birth defects nor cancer has been reported in humans or animals exposed to 1,2-dichloroethene .
In addition to vinyl chloride and 1,2-dichloroethene, trichloroethene could migrate to private wells, although no exposure to the compound has occurred to date. Trichloroethene biodegrades in surface water, but may persist in groundwater. Microbes in groundwater can transform trichloroethene to dichloroethene and vinyl chloride. If this compound migrates to residential wells used for drinking or other household purposes at levels found on the site, the minimum risk level for children would be exceeded. Chronic ingestion of trichloroethene can cause liver, kidney, reproductive, and blood abnormalities. Cancer has been reported as a health endpoint in animal studies, although no conclusive evidence has been found for cancer in people. Trichloroethene can be absorbed through the skin, and prolonged dermal exposure can cause skin irritation. This compound also is volatile and persons can be exposed during showering. Chronic inhalation of trichloroethene can cause heart irregularities, anxiety, double vision, blindness, a loss of coordination, and a decreased sense of smell .
Sodium is not thought to be site-related but was found in several area wells at levels greater than 20 ppm, which exceeds the health advisory for drinking water. Persons with a high blood pressure condition who consume this water should consult their physician.