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PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

AMERICAN CHEMICAL SERVICES INC.
GRIFFITH, LAKE COUNTY, INDIANA


SUMMARY

Using the available information, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concludes that the American Chemical Services NPL site is a indeterminate public health hazard. ATSDR concludes that additional surface soil sampling (0-3 inches) should be conducted at the Kapica/Pazmey area to better characterize the extent of contamination in the surface soil. Also, environmental contamination at the Griffith Municipal Landfill has not been fully characterized. Soil gas analysis should be conducted to evaluate the extent of landfill gas generation and migration. Although there is no documentation indicating human exposure to site-related contaminants, there are community health concerns that should be addressed.

Extensive on-site subsurface soil and groundwater contamination have been found at the American Chemical Services National Priorities List (NPL) site in Griffith, Lake County, Indiana. Groundwater contamination has migrated off site, but has not infiltrated local residential wells. One unused industrial supply well contained lead at levels of public health concern. It is unlikely that lead contamination is related to the American Chemical Services NPL site. Lead was not detected in groundwater at or near the NPL site. Analyses of groundwater from an upgradient private well just south of the contaminated industrial supply well did not detect lead.


BACKGROUND

A. SITE DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

The American Chemical Services, Inc. (ACS) National Priorities List (NPL) site is in Griffith, Indiana (See Appendix, Figure 1). Although the site is named after ACS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has specified that the NPL site includes the ACS property (19 acres), the Pazmey Corporation property (2 acres; a.k.a. Kapica Drum Incorporated), and the inactive portion of the Griffith Municipal Landfill (15 acres) (1).

Six areas of probable waste disposal have been identified at the NPL site. Those six areas have been assigned the following designations by EPA and ACS management: the On-Site Containment area, the Still Bottoms area, the Treatment Lagoon #1, the Off-Site Containment area, the Kapica/Pazmey area, and the Griffith Municipal Landfill (see Appendix, Figure 2) (1).

ACS began operations as a solvent recovery facility in May 1955. Manufacturing of small batches of specialty chemicals was first begun in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Solvent recovery and production of specialty chemicals continued to 1990. ACS was ordered to cease accepting hazardous wastes as of September 1990. ACS's interim status, RCRA regulated, hazardous waste storage facility is currently undergoing RCRA closure.

Waste generated from ACS operations was disposed at various locations at the ACS property (On-Site Containment area, Still Bottoms area, Treatment Lagoon #1, and Off-Site Containment area). Still bottoms (material left after the usable solvent has been reclaimed) from the solvent recovery process were disposed in the Still Bottoms Pond and Treatment Lagoon #1 from 1955 to 1972. Part of Treatment Lagoon #1 might have been incorporated into the present-day fire pond when it was constructed in November 1973.

Between 1958 and 1975, the Off-Site Containment area was used as a waste disposal area. A variety of wastes were disposed in the Off-Site Containment area, including still bottoms from the Still Bottoms Pond and Treatment Lagoon #1, ash from the two incinerators that operated from 1966 through 1970, general refuse, an estimated 20,000 - 30,000 drums, and a tank truck partially full of solidified paint. It is reported that the drums were punctured before disposal (1).

During the mid-1960s, approximately 400 drums containing sludge and semi-solids of unknown types were reportedly disposed in the On-Site Containment area (1).

Still bottoms from ACS solvent reclamation operations are disposed off site in permitted facilities. Waste solvents are either disposed of off site at RCRA-permitted facilities or in the ACS secondary fuel-blending program. Waste water originating from the solvent reclamation, small batch, and epoxidation operations, as well as non-contact cooling water and water from boiler blowdown operations is routed to the City of Griffith sewer system (1).

The Griffith Municipal Landfill has operated since the 1950s. Before RCRA was implemented of RCRA, wastes from ACS and Kapica Drum were reportedly disposed at the landfill, however, the landfill denies accepting any waste from Kapica or ACS. Currently, the landfill accepts solid waste (1).

Kapica Drum operated as a drum reconditioning facility from 1951 through 1980. Rinse water from drums containing hazardous wastes was reportedly disposed on the property, as were liquids from the drums to be reconditioned. Liquid waste from the drum-washing operations reportedly flowed onto ACS property intermittently between 1962 and 1983. Kapica Drum was sold to Pazmey Corporation in February 1980. The Pazmey Corporation sold the property to a private individual in March 1987. The property is currently used to store boats and cars (1).

The site was added to the NPL in August 1984. The Remedial Investigation (RI) of the ACS site is being conducted by the ACS Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs). Warzyn Engineering Inc. is the consultant for the PRPs. The RI environmental sampling was conducted from July 1989 through August 1990. The ACS PRP submitted draft RI report to EPA in November 1990 (1). Additional sampling was conducted in January 1991 and August 1991.

In June 1989, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was petitioned by local citizens to evaluate public health concerns associated with the ACS site. ATSDR accepted the petition in January 1990. This public health assessment is being conducted to address the concerns of the petitioners. In addition to responding to the petition, ATSDR is required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, to conduct a public health assessment for every site included on or proposed for the NPL. In November 1988, ATSDR conducted a preliminary public health assessment on the ACS site.

This public health assessment was available for public comment from October 26 through November 24. Copies of the public comment period ACS public health assessment were provided to the citizens who petitioned ATSDR in June 1989. In addition, a repository for the ACS public health assessment was established at the Griffith Public Library. The public comment period was announced in the local news paper. No comments were received by ATSDR during or after the public comment period. In order to confirm that there were no public comments, each citizen who petitioned ATSDR was contacted by telephone. Everyone contacted indicated they did not have any comments.

B. SITE VISIT

Mr. Sven E. Rodenbeck and Ms. Louise Fabinski from ATSDR conducted a site visit on April 25-27, 1990. During the site visit, ATSDR staff met with representatives of the Indiana State Board of Health, the Lake County Health Department, Warzyn Engineering Inc., and EPA. In addition, ATSDR staff met with the citizens who petitioned the agency in June 1989.

While at the ACS site, ATSDR staff observed the areas of contamination. Information on the number and location of residential wells was obtained from Warzyn Engineering Inc. and the Lake County Health Department.

Both the ACS area and the Griffith Municipal Landfill are fenced. Other parts of the NPL site have been fenced since the RI began.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE, AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE

The ACS site is within the corporate boundaries of the City of Griffith. Approximately 50 individuals are employed by ACS. The area surrounding the site is primarily industrial; three major railroads intersect northwest of the site. The nearest residents are across Colfax Avenue, approximately 200 feet east of the site boundary.

A residential well survey conducted by Warzyn Engineering Inc. indicates 16 wells are within a half-one mile radius of the ACS site (see Appendix, Figure 3) (1). It is estimated that 40 individuals (men, women, and children) rely on the 16 wells for potable water (drinking and cleaning). Most Griffith residents obtain their potable water from the municipal system, which derives its water from Lake Michigan.

According to the 1990 U.S. Census (Tract Numbers 409 and 410), the City of Griffith has a population of 17,916 (94.7% white, 2.4% black, and 2.9% other). The population of Griffith has increased approximately 5% since the 1980 U.S. Census was conducted. The percentage of the population older than age 18 was about 75% (70.8% white, 2.0% black, and 2.2% other). The 1990 U.S. Census indicates 6,914 housing units are within the City of Griffith.

The ACS site is surrounded by marsh areas to the north, west, and southwest. Hunting or fishing is not conducted on site and unlikely to occur in the surrounding marshes.

D. HEALTH OUTCOME DATA

The State of Indiana Board of Health provided information from its cancer registry for the population of Griffith and the State (Cancer Incidence for 1987-89 and Cancer Mortality Rates for 1970-79). In addition, ATSDR reviewed cancer mortality data from 1950-1979 on Lake County and the State of Indiana Riggans Cancer Mortality database. The Riggans database is maintained on the Centers for Disease Control computer mainframe.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

During the April 1990 site visit, ATSDR talked with the individuals who petitioned the Agency about their health concerns related to the ACS site. The petitioners believe there is a high frequency of cancer occurring within an 8-block area north of the site. The cancers reported are bladder, breast, brain, uterus, lung, and leukemia.

The petitioners also informed ATSDR about an oil and solvent discharge from the Griffith Airport. Because residents near the airport previously relied on wells for potable water (all residents near the airport were connected to the municipal water system in the fall of 1989), the petitioners are concerned that the oil and solvent discharge from the Griffith Airport could have resulted in additional exposures to hazardous substances. The petitioners urged ATSDR to sample residential wells.


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