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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

POWELL ROAD LANDFILL
DAYTON, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, OHIO


SUMMARY

Powell Road Landfill (PRL), a National Priorities List site, is north of metropolitan Dayton in Huber Heights, Montgomery County, Ohio. Environmental monitoring discovered volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in on-site gas vent vapors, vent liquids, ambient air, surface leachate, and groundwater. Samples also detected semivolatile organic compounds and metals in vent liquids and surface leachate. In addition, soil samples detected small amounts of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and phthalate esters. Methane was detected in soil gas samples. Off-site investigations discovered VOCs in groundwater and ambient air. Environmental pathways of chemical migration are ambient air and groundwater. Human exposure pathways of concern are ingestion, skin contact with contaminated groundwater, and inhalation of VOCs released from water during household use. Historical data indicated that wells in the Sunny Acres Mobile Home Park were contaminated with VOCs. Exposure ceased when the park was provided with public water. It is not known when the wells first became contaminated. Municipal wells which serve the city of Dayton and other communities are within 2 miles of PRL. Community health concerns focus on the closeness of drinking water sources to Powell Road Landfill and the potential for adverse health effects. A review of cancer mortality statistics did not indicate that cancer mortality for Huber Heights was higher than Dayton, Montgomery County or Ohio.

Powell Road Landfill is a public health hazard because of possible past exposures and the potential for human exposure to site-related chemicals. There are chemicals present in groundwater that are considered to be carcinogens, while other chemicals may adversely affect the liver and kidneys. This public health assessment recommends monitoring of on-site ambient air during remediation to insure the safety of on-site workers and nearby residents. Additional monitoring of soil gases at PRL would further characterize soil contamination. Periodic groundwater sampling of water supplies in the area, both public and private, is necessary to monitor groundwater contamination.

The ATSDR Health Activities Recommendaton Panel has determined that an environmental health education program is needed to advise the local medical community and local citizens about exposure to chemicals associated with this site. In addition, the following follow-up actions were considered:
- Inclusion in the TCE subregristry;
- A disease and symptom prevalence study; and
- Development of a voluntary disease and symptom tracking system.

The Ohio Department of Health and ATSDR plan to develop a Community Assistance Panel (CAP) for the community in the vicinity of PRL. The CAP will provide a forum to exchange information. In addition, an environmental health education program will be conducted by the ATSDR Division of Health Education in conjunction with the local medical community.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

Powell Road Landfill (PRL) is near the city of Huber Heights, north of metropolitan Dayton, in Montgomery County, Ohio. The entire site occupies nearly 70 acres, with 36.3 acres mounded 30 to 40 feet above the surrounding landscape. There is a 6 foot high fence topped with barbed wire surrounding the entire site. Site cover includes grasses, weeds, and small shrubs. PRL is bounded by the Great Miami River to the south, Powell Road to the north, a small, intermittent, unnamed stream to the east, and woods to the west (Figure 1, Appendix A). Along the northern edge of the site within the fenced area, are a series of 10 foot high gas vents. These vents aid in passive release of gas from the landfill.

The Powell Road Landfill site is on the floodplain of the Great Miami River, at an elevation of 755-775 feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL). The southern border of the landfill is subjected to flooding of the river.

The PRL site is underlain by unconsolidated glacial deposits of sand, gravel, till, and clay as much as 200 feet thick. These deposits fill a preglacial valley cut into shale and limestone bedrock that parallels the present course of the Great Miami River. The sand and gravel portions of these glacial deposits (as much as 130 feet thick) form the Great Miami River Aquifer.

The remedial investigation study area for PRL includes areas both on site and off site. The remedial investigation study area is larger than the landfill boundaries and is shown in Figure 1, Appendix A.

Powell Road Landfill operated from 1959 to 1984. Prior to landfilling, the site was a gravel pit. From 1959 to 1973, PRL operated as a municipal waste landfill. In 1973, Landfill Systems Inc. (LSI) bought PRL. The landfill accepted hazardous waste from 1972 to 1974. In 1974, LSI was ordered to stop accepting all but inert wastes, however, other wastes may have been accepted at the site until early 1980s. SCA Services of Ohio, Inc. purchased LSI in 1978, which was purchased by Waste Management, Inc. in 1984. Waste Management, Inc. closed and capped the landfill in 1985.

During its operation, the landfill accepted a variety of waste which included domestic, commercial, and industrial wastes. Some of these wastes included ink waste and paint sludge, strontium chromate, and benzidine.

Powell Road Landfill was placed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. It was placed on the NPL because of concerns about the type of waste accepted at the site and its potential impact on groundwater supplies.

Initial concerns about contaminants were raised when the city of Dayton began testing its production wells for the presence of hazardous materials in early 1983. Volatile organic compounds were detected in a small number of wells. The testing program was expanded and, in 1984, elevated levels of VOCs were detected in private wells at the Sunny Acres Mobile Home Park, Kitty Hawk Golf Course, and a gas station in the area (Figure 1, Appendix A). The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) does not consider Powell Road Landfill the source of the contamination in these wells. Sunny Acres Mobile Home Park has been supplied with City of Dayton public water. The wells that serve the gas station and golf course are no longer used for potable water supplies.

B. Site Visit

Tracy Shelly of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) made a site visit on April 24, 1990. Waste Management Inc. and OEPA representatives accompanied ODH staff. On the site visit, the active leachate seep was visible. A small puddle was present on the top of the landfill cap. It was also apparent from the site visit that flooding of the Great Miami River has occurred because of the debris along the southern fence line. There are no physical hazards visible on the site.

A second site visit by ODH staff was made on March 19, 1991. Site conditions did not differ from the previous visit. The close proximity of residential areas was noted during this second visit.

C. Demographics, Land Use and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

The nearest resident is 0.1 mile north of the site. Within a 1 mile radius of the site there are about 3,000 people. The community of Eldorado Plat is 0.25 mile south of PRL on the southern side of the Great Miami River. Sunny Acres Mobile Home Park is 0.5 mile south of the site, beyond Eldorado Plat (Figure 1, Appendix A). There are also industries and some farms in the area. Residential areas of Huber Heights lie 1 mile east of the site.

Land Use

Land use in the area around PRL is described as commercial/ industrial, residential, agricultural, public works, recreational, with wooded and undergrowth areas, and miscellaneous open, unused areas. The area to the immediate north is primarily residential and commercial/industrial. South of the site is residential, wooded/brush areas, recreational (Great Miami River), and limited agricultural. The areas to the east of the site are residential and wooded/brush. West of the site is primarily agricultural, recreational (Great Miami River), and wooded/brush land. The area west of the site is also classified by the city of Dayton as a well head operation and protection area.

Natural Resource Use

The Great Miami River is designated by the OEPA Ohio Revised Code-3745-1-21 as a warmwater habitat suitable for agricultural, industrial, and primary contact. Warmwater habitats are capable of supporting balanced reproducing populations of aquatic life. Agricultural waters are suitable for irrigation and livestock usages without any form of treatment. Industrial waters are suitable for commercial and industrial uses with or without treatment. Waters which can be used for recreational purposes, or primary contact, are suitable for full body contact activities such as swimming, boating, and scuba diving without any threat to human health. The Great Miami River supports a wide variety of fish species and should support a sustainable fishery. The river is accessible to persons wanting to fish.

The city of Dayton's South Miami Well Field, 1.5 miles south of PRL, pumps 20-24 million gallons of water per day supplying approximately 150,000 residents of Dayton. The Ohio Suburban Water Company (OSWC) well field is 0.75 mile southeast of the landfill, pumps an average of 3.8 million gallons per day to supply water to the approximately 39,000 residents of Huber Heights and a portion of adjacent Mad River Township. There are an estimated 45 private wells serving approximately 135 people in the area of the site. Residents of Eldorado Plat get their water from private wells. The residents in the Sunny Acres Trailer Park were using private wells, but were connected to Dayton city water in 1984. In addition, a number of large industries use water pumped from industrial wells south of the landfill site.

D. Health Outcome Data

The only health outcome data readily available for inclusion in this public health assessment are cancer mortality statistics for Huber Heights, Dayton, Montgomery County, and Ohio. The data for Huber Heights was evaluated because of its closeness to Powell Road Landfill and it is the smallest geographical area for which ODH could readily obtain data. See the Public Health Implications section for a discussion of the health outcome data evaluaion.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Community concern in the area has focused on the closeness of various private and public water supplies to PRL. During landfill operations, citizens were concerned with uncovered waste, litter odors, dust, water well pollution, and human health problems. Community concerns were gathered at a Ohio Department of Health Public Involvement Session in Huber Heights, Ohio and are listed and addressed in the Community Health Concerns Evaluations Section of this document.


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