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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

MIAMI COUNTY INCINERATOR
TROY, MIAMI COUNTY, OHIO


SUMMARY

The Miami County Incinerator (MCI) site comprises 65 acres of county-owned land in Concord Township. It is approximately 2 miles north of Troy, Ohio on Route 25A. The site includes the incinerator building, former scrubber wastewater lagoon, ash disposal pit, ash pile, liquid disposal area, and trench and fill landfill areas (the North and South Landfills). The County Highway Department garage and the Sheriff's Hall and Training Center, and a road salt storage building is on nearby county-owned property.

MCI was built in 1967, however, uncontrolled waste disposal had been taking place at the property before 1967. It functioned as a solid waste disposal facility from 1968 until 1978. A 1973 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) inspection noted that approximately 30,000 gallons of liquid wastes were being accepted weekly at the site. It has been estimated that 104,000 to 150,000 barrel equivalents of wastes had been disposed of at the site. Wastes were either dumped on the ground or landfilled. Groundwater contamination was first detected on-site in 1973 and in off-site residential wells in 1983. MCI was ordered by Ohio EPA, to cease the disposal of liquid waste by April 1974. Landfilling continued until October 1978. The facility was closed in 1983. In 1976, the liquid disposal area was covered.

The site currently poses an indeterminate public health hazard because of the possibility of exposure to site-related chemicals. There are still about thirteen nearby private wells still in use that may be downgradient of the site. These thirteen wells were free of contamination when last sampled. However, they have not been sampled since 1985. There may still be people using private wells that could be impacted by disposal at the site. The site is only partially fenced and it is possible that other people may go on the site. The site posed a public health hazard in the past because of exposure to chemicals through drinking water and soil. At one time, there were at least twelve private wells contaminated with site-related chemicals. By 1992, public water had been supplied to the majority of area residents. People on-site, primarily on-site workers, could have been exposed to lead and arsenic in the soil.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) recommendations include the completion of a survey of private well users in the area. If, through the survey, we discover that there are still private wells in use near the site, ODH will sample those potentially impacted wells.

BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

The Miami County Incinerator (MCI) site comprises 65 acres of county-owned land in Concord Township. It is approximately 2 miles north of Troy, Ohio on Route 25A, and 5 miles south of Piqua, Ohio (Figure 1, Appendix A). The site includes the incinerator building, former scrubber wastewater lagoon, ash disposal pit, ash pile, liquid disposal area, and trench and fill landfill areas (the North and South Landfills) as shown on the site maps, Figures 1 and 2 (Appendix A). The County Highway Department garage and the Sheriff's Hall and Training Center, and a road salt storage building are on nearby county-owned property. The site is approximately 1,500 feet west of the Great Miami River. The Eldean Tributary passes through the site and then flows east into the Great Miami River. Groundwater flow at the site is east-southeast toward the Great Miami River.

MCI was built in 1967, however, uncontrolled waste disposal had been taking place there before that time. It functioned as a solid waste disposal facility from 1968 until 1978. A 1973 Ohio EPA inspection noted that approximately 30,000 gallons of liquid wastes were being accepted weekly at the site. It has been estimated that 104,000 to 150,000 barrel equivalents of wastes had been disposed of at the site. Wastes were either dumped on the ground or landfilled. Groundwater contamination was first detected on-site in 1973 and in off-site residential wells in 1983. The Miami County Highway Garage and three residences were supplied with municipal water in 1986. Since 1978, the site has been used as a transfer station for solid waste.

The facility took in spent solvents, oils, and industrial sludge. Incinerator fly and bottom ash, noncombustible materials, and unburned refuse are thought to have been disposed of in the North Landfill and the Ash Disposal Pit (Figure 2, Appendix A). The South Landfill (Figure 2, Appendix A) consisted chiefly of unburned refuse. Ash quench water and scrubber wastewater were pumped to an unlined disposal lagoon, and incinerator ash was deposited in several on-site areas. Neither an engineered liner nor a leachate collection system was installed at the site. The site is only partially fenced and it is possible for people to walk onto the site.

MCI was ordered by Ohio EPA, to cease the disposal of liquid waste by April 1974. Landfilling continued until October 1978. The facility was closed in 1983. In 1976, the liquid disposal area was covered. In 1978, sludge was removed from the scrubber waste lagoon and either spread on the northern part of the landfill or stored in what is now called the Ash Pile. In 1984, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA) included the MCI on its National Priorities List. The Remedial Investigation and Feasibility study were completed in 1989. The Record of Decision was signed in 1989.

Phase I of the site clean-up activities at the MCI site were completed as of September, 1995. These activities included: backfilling the former Scrubber Wastewater Lagoon to existing grade; relocating the contents of the former Ash Pile to the South Landfill; construction of a 12-inch, single-barrier multi-layer clay cap over the South Landfill; planting the South Landfill and surrounding areas; and installing a passive methane venting system in the landfill. Phase II of the site clean-up included: construction of the North Landfill cap; construction of the Liquid Disposal Area Cap within the North Landfill Cap; installation of groundwater extraction wells, piezometer, and soil vapor extraction wells; installation and activation of a soil-vapor extraction system in the Liquid Disposal Area; and installation and activation of a groundwater extraction and collection system. These activities were completed in December, 1996. The site is currently in the initial phase of Operation and Maintenance. All systems are operating and, following this initial shakedown period, adjustments may be made on groundwater extraction and soil vapor extraction systems. Currently, effluent from the groundwater extraction system discharges to the water treatment plant at Troy. Effluent is currently sampled on a monthly basis. The old incinerator shell is still in use as a municipal trash transfer station. Access to the former landfill areas north of the incinerator building is limited by a six-foot high security fence surrounding the perimeter of these landfilled areas. OEPA has not received any site-related phone calls or written concerns from citizens since surrounding residences were hooked up to the county water system in 1990 (R.E. Gortner, SWDO-OEPA, pers. comm., 1997).

The Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed a health assessment of the MCI in February 1987. This initial health assessment concluded that the site did not pose an imminent health hazard, but a potential long-term threat to public health existed. The health assessment identified contaminant migration in the groundwater, contaminated leachate, and on-site soil contamination as the most important environmental pathways at the site. Potential environmental pathways included volatilization of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from contaminated soil, fugitive dust from the fly-ash-contaminated soil, contaminated runoff from the landfill area, and the area where fly ash was deposited. Human exposure pathways included exposure to contaminated water from private wells impacted or potentially impacted by disposal at the site. At one time, there were at least 40 private wells downgradient of the site.

The health assessment recommended the continued monitoring of downgradient residential wells on a biannual basis to establish a data base for future determinations of possible health effects associated with the continued use of the water. They also recommended restricting access to the MCI site and a re-evaluation of public health concerns if on-site activity changes.

B. Site Visit

A site visit was made on August 12, 1992 by staff from the Ohio Department of Health. The site is located in a mixed rural/residential area. The county is currently developing the land just south of the site as a county government center. The Sheriff's Hall and a shooting range are behind the area under construction. There are no fences in this area and access to the MCI site is unrestricted. The site is currently operating as a county waste transfer station. Numerous trucks, including residential haulers and IWD packers, were observed dumping waste at the facility. Support trailers for the construction of the new transfer facility were situated east of the incinerator building in the vicinity of the "visibly-stained soil" area. An earth moving operation was taking place in the vicinity of the Ash Disposal Pit. A worker stated that a plastic liner had been installed. A six-foot cyclone fence with three strands of barbed wire surrounds the incinerator complex, with continuous fencing along the north, east and south boundaries of the site. Access to the site from the B&O railroad tracks is unlimited.

ODH personnel recently investigated the current situation at the site. Phase I of the site clean-up activities at the MCI site were completed as of September, 1995. Phase II of the site clean-up was completed in December, 1996. The site is currently in the initial phase of Operation and Maintenance. All systems are operating and, following this initial shakedown period, adjustments may be made on groundwater extraction and soil vapor extraction systems. Currently, effluent from the groundwater extraction system discharges to the water treatment plant at Troy. Effluent is currently sampled on a monthly basis. The old incinerator shell is still in use as a municipal trash transfer station. Access to the former landfill areas north of the incinerator building is limited by a six-foot high security fence surrounding the perimeter of these landfilled areas. OEPA has not received any site-related phone calls or written concerns from citizens since surrounding residences were hooked up to the county water system in 1990 ( R.E. Gortner, SWDO-OEPA, pers. comm., 1997).

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

There are approximately 382 people living in the area surrounding the Miami County Incinerator site. The area of concern is defined by Concord Road to the North, the Miami River to the East, the county fairgrounds to the south, and I-75, Lytle Road, and railroad tracks to the west. The entire area is considered rural.

Overall, the demographic profile for the area surrounding the Miami County Incinerator indicates a community with average incomes below that of Miami County as a whole or compared to the State of Ohio as a whole. Median family income, median housing value, and median rent are all lower for this area and unemployment is higher. However, a larger percentage of people do own their own homes in this area and the percentage of families living below the poverty level does not differ from the county or the State (Table 1).

There are 87 families, 145 households in the area, and 45 housing units are occupied. The population is predominantly white (98.4%). More people living in this area own their homes and live in rental units than either Miami County or the state. The people living in the area also seem to be more transient than the people of Miami County as a whole or the State of Ohio (Table 1).

Table 1
Demographic Profile for the Area Surrounding
Miami County Incinerator


State of Ohio Miami
County
Area of
Concern
Race
    White
    Black
    Other

87.8
10.6
1.6
97.1
1.6
1.0
98.4
1.6
0.0
Education
     % H.S. Grad

75.7

76.6

*68.3
Labor
      % in Labor Force
      % Unemployed

63.5
6.6

66.9
5.0

*61.5
12.8
Median Family Income $34,351.00 $35,898.00 *$25,581.00
Poverty
       % Families Below

9.7
6.4 *8.3
Residency
       since 1985
83.2 57.2 *37.4
Tenure
       Owned
       Rented
52.1
29.6
61.6
25.4
68.3
31.7
Median Housing Value $62,900.00 $64,200.00 $59,999.00
Median Gross Rent $379.00 $382.00 $266.00
Information taken from Census of Population and Housing STF1B and STF3A, 1990
*taken from STF3A (may include a larger area than the area of concern)

The population in the defined area has a lower percentage of adults who have obtained at least a high school diploma as compared to Miami County or the State of Ohio. Percentage of people in the labor force is comparable for the three areas, however, unemployment is twice as high for the area of concern.

Land use near the site is mostly agricultural. Corn, wheat, soybeans, and hay are principal crops. The next most frequent land use is rural residential with many residences located along surrounding roads. The next most frequent land uses are commercial and municipal (county).

Natural Resource Use

Miami County is in the Till Plains section of the Central Lowlands physiographic province. The province is characterized by nearly level topography. The county is within the watershed of the Great Miami River. The Great Miami River, located approximately 1500 feet east of the site, is classified by the Ohio Revised Code 3745-1-21 (Ohio EPA, 1987) as warmwater, agricultural, and industrial waters, suitable for primary contact. Warmwater streams are designated as capable of supporting moderately diverse, stable populations of aquatic life, including fish, invertebrates, and aquatic plants. Agricultural waters are suitable for watering livestock and crop irrigation. Industrial waters can be used for industrial and commercial purposes, with or without treatment. The Primary Contact classification indicates that these surface waters may be suitable for full-body contact recreational purposes, such as canoeing and swimming, with minimal risk to public health.

The site is adjacent to the Great Miami River and situated over the western fringe of the Great Miami Valley Fill Aquifer. The Great Miami Aquifer has been designated a sole source aquifer by the Ohio EPA which means that it is the only source of potable water for the surrounding communities. A water main on the west side of County Highway 25-A extends north to the site. It can supply city water as far north as the incinerator drive. The incinerator building, the county highway, and three residences north of Lytle Road are connected to the public water supply. Service lines from the city water main have been installed at the homes and businesses on County Highway 25-A north from Lytle Road up to the incinerator drive. At one time, there were about 40 private wells in the general area around the site (Figure 3, Appendix A). By 1992, all but fourteen residences/businesses hooked up to public water.

D. Health Outcome Data

The only health outcome data readily available for review are cancer mortality statistics for Miami County. These data are not generally useful for evaluating the potential effects from one site located in one city in the county.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Early complaints included reports of open dumping, blowing litter, fires, rodents, and debris in Eldean Tributary. The majority of community concerns reported during the RI/FS process included concerns about the remedial alternatives chosen for the site. There were also concerns about the potential for additional residential wells to be impacted by site-related contamination.

ODH sought public comment on the Miami County Incinerator Public Health Assessment. The assessment was available for review from October 30, 1996 to November 30, 1996, at the Troy Miami County Public Library, 419 West Main Street, Troy. No public comments on the health assessment were received.


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