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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

NORTHSIDE SANITARY LANDFILL
ZIONSVILLE, BOONE COUNTY, INDIANA


SUMMARY

The privately owned Northside Sanitary Landfill (NSL) is about 10 miles northwest of Indianapolis in the southeastcorner of Boone County. This site is bordered on the north by the Envirochem Corporation (ECC), anotherSuperfund site. This site is a public health hazard. Evidence exists that exposures to contaminants have occurred inthe past, are presently occurring, or are likely to occur in the future. The estimated exposures are to sodium, andpotentially to chlorinated volatile organic compounds and inorganic substances at concentrations in the residentialwells that upon long-term exposures (greater than 1 year), can cause adverse health effects to any segment of thereceptor population.

The community-specific health outcome data do not provide any evidence that the site poses an adverse health threatto the public.

Potential exposure pathways exist for individuals involved in recreational activities in Finley Creek, and to individualseating aquatic life caught in Finley Creek. Because ECC and NSL are so close together, it is difficult to discern theactual source of contaminants. Remedial workers are at risk of adverse health effects if safety and health guidelinesare not followed.

The focus of the community concerns are on adverse health effects due to site related chemicals. The chemicals foundin the on-site leachate present a future potential for release and off-site migration, thus possibly resulting in adversehealth effects to individuals living adjacent to the site.

In accordance with past Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recommendations and theRecord of Decision (ROD) signed on May 1991 and a ROD amendment signed July 31, 1991, the Indiana StateDepartment of Health (ISDH) has recommended the following: 1) provide frequent monitoring of residential wellsfor contaminant migration in groundwater; 2) provide off-site groundwater monitoring designed to ensure that nocontamination reaches the residential wells; 3) provide drinking water to households with sodium contaminatedprivate wells; 4) inform residents with private wells of the possible health effects caused by the drinking of watercontaining high levels of sodium; 5) implement institutional controls in the near future to prevent the use of thecontaminated aquifer for drinking water supplies; 6) sample fish in Finley Creek and Eagle Creek for site relatedcontaminants, and issue a fish advisory if appropriate; 7) implement actions for monitoring or other removal and/orremedial actions needed to ensure that humans are not exposed to significant concentrations of site related chemicalsin the off-site leachate and surface water; 8) characterize off-site soil; 9) protect persons on and off the site fromexposure to dusts or vapors that may be released during remediation; 10) provide remedial workers with adequateprotective equipment and training in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.120.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

The Northside Sanitary Landfill (NSL), which is privately owned, covers approximately 70 acres of a 170-acre parcelof land (Figure 1, Appendix A). The site is in Union Township about 10 miles northwest of Indianapolis in thesoutheast corner of Boone County. The site is bounded on the east and south by Finley Creek, on the north byuncultivated farmlands, and on the west by an unnamed ditch which separates NSL from the Envirochem Corporation(ECC) site. A separate Remedial Investigation (RI) was conducted for that site. Over 16 million gallons of hazardouswaste have been deposited in the landfill. The NSL opened in the 1950s as an open dump. In November 1980, thelandfill operator filed for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Part A, application for interim statusfacility.

During its operation Northside Sanitary Landfill received liquid wastes including tar materials, sulfuric acid, paintwastes, still-bottom sludge, oils, casting and grinding sludge, methylene chloride waste, lead ash, halogenatedsolvents, and cadmium plating waste. From 1972 to 1973, numerous operation deficiencies were reported by theIndiana State Department of Health (ISDH) which resulted in orders by the ISDH to cease operations. These includedthe failure to cover refuse, surface burning, underground fires, leachate, and vermin problems. Community relationsof the ISDH received a call in November 1975 from a resident near the NSL reporting an oil slick on Eagle Creek. ISDH staff investigated the reports and concluded that most of the oil came from the ECC site. There was also areport in October 1977 of illness among cattle which may have been drinking from Finley Creek. Follow-upinvestigations were inconclusive. Beginning in November 1980, municipal and hazardous waste was disposed on thewest part of the site and continued until January 1983. In 1982 the owner, at the direction of the ISDH, installed aleachate collection system and three submerged leachate collection tanks on the west side of the site. After the ownerremoved 400,000 gallons of leachate from the three tanks and disposed it by spraying it on the landfill, the IndianaDivision of Land Pollution Control (IDLPC) advised the owner that leachate would have to be solidified prior todisposal. By January 1983, the State Environmental Management Board issued a Notice of Violation and ordered theowner to stop accepting hazardous liquid waste. A request by the owner for a renewal permit was refused by theIDLPC in 1984. The site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1983.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a RI of the site in December 1984, which was completedin March 1986 (EPA, Final Remedial Investigation Report). Soil, hydrogeologic, surface water, and sedimentinvestigations were conducted. A Public Comment Feasibility Study concerning cleanup alternatives was prepared inDecember 1986 (EPA, Public Comment Feasibility Study).

In February 1987 the EPA requested the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to review anEndangerment Assessment (EA) for the site. An EA is an estimation of the magnitude and probability of actual orpotential harm to public health and welfare, or the environment, caused by the threatened or actual release of ahazardous substance (EPA, Endangerment Assessment). Data indicated that seepage of contaminants from the NSLsite was continuing several years after discontinuation of the acceptance of hazardous liquid wastes. It was concludedthat seepage of contaminants should be monitored on a scheduled basis to assure that contaminants remain belowhazardous levels.

Recommendations made by ATSDR following the review (February 13, 1987) of the EPA endangerment assessmentwere as follows:

  1. Limit access to the NSL site to minimize exposure to seeping leachate.
  2. Take efforts to minimize the rate of seepage to maintain levels of contaminants in surface and well waters below hazardous levels.
  3. Continue to monitor levels of chemicals in surface water and groundwater to assure they do not adverselyaffect public health.

In September 1987 the EPA selected the following remedies to address the contamination at the site: (1) restrictaccess to the site to prevent further development of the site; (2) install a multi-layer cap over the site; (3) re-routesurface waters to reduce the potential for chemical migration; (4) collect and treat leachate; (5) collect and treatgroundwater; and (6) monitor leachate and groundwater to ensure treatment effectiveness. The Record of Decision(ROD) included not only the NSL site, but also the ECC site. Once the original ROD was signed, EPA begannegotiating a settlement with the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the cleanup of the site. In March 1990 aConsent Decree, which describes cleanup activities at the site, was agreed upon by EPA, the State of Indiana, and theNSL settling defendants (parties who have signed the Consent Decree). The Consent Decree was entered into federalcourt in November 1991.

In April 1991 EPA proposed an amendment to the ROD for the NSL site. The primary reason for amending the 1987ROD was to reflect the decision to implement separate, complimentary remedies for the ECC and NSL sites instead ofthe one combined remedy selected; and secondly, to modify the chosen remedy.

For the NSL site, the major components of the remedial action as modified include:

- access restrictions;
- RCRA Subtitle C cap and gas venting systems;
- a hydraulic isolation wall south and west of the NSL site and north of Finley Creek;
- a leachate collection trench north, northwest, and east of NSL;
- a combined groundwater and leachate collection trench south and southwest of NSL;
- a pipeline to the Indianapolis Department of Public Works sewer system, and the treatment of the groundwater and leachate at the Indianapolis publicly owned treatment works (POTW) or elsewhere in the event that the POTW is unavailable; and
- groundwater, surface water, and leachate monitoring programs.

A public meeting for the proposed ROD amendment was held in May 1991 in Zionsville, Indiana (Proposed Record of Decision Amendment). The ROD amendment was signed in July 1991 by EPA with the concurrence of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). (Declaration for the Record of Decision Amendment)

After the Consent Decree and the ROD amendment have been finalized, the remedial design (RD) and remedial action(RA) phases will begin.

B. Site Visit

On June 12, 1992, Ms. Dollis Wright and Mr. Garry Mills of the ISDH, and staff from IDEM and NSL (the propertyowner) visited the site. During the site visit we observed the following:

  1. The site is accessible only through the front entrance where the main office is located and where all visitors have to stop.
  2. On the west and south sides of the site, we observed a leachate collection system, which is pumped into a tank.
  3. There was a very strong odor of decomposing organic material on-site. The gas venting system currently located on the south and west sides of the landfill was installed by the landfill owner, and is not functioning properly.
  4. Because erosion has occurred at the site, vegetation is scarce on the south side.
  5. Animal tracks (deer and possibly a dog) were observed near Finley Creek and on the south side. Drums with unknown contents, if any, were also observed near the creek.
  6. A clean fill area, which lies north/northeast of the NSL site, will be used in capping both the NSL and ECC sites.
  7. It was explained by IDEM and NSL staff where the slurry wall is to be installed.
  8. The location of the monitoring wells used during the RI/FS was observed.
  9. A fill area northwest of the site (permit not required) is being used to dispose leaves, wood, trees, and till brush.

On September 8, 1994, another site visit was conducted at the Northside Sanitary Landfill site by Ms. Dollis Wrightand Mr. Garry Mills of the ISDH. Also present were staff from the Indiana Department of EnvironmentalManagement. The following are observations made during the site visit, and actions taken at the site as of September 8, 1994:

  1. The site has a chain-link fence at the front entrance with warning signs.
  2. Interim remedial measures have been completed, which include the regrading of erosion gullies, placement of compacted soil over exposed waste, installation of a silt fence to control the leachate seeps, and the establishment of a grass cover.
  3. A tour was taken on the north side of the area around the landfill, which includes a clean fill area (nonhazardous material), a church, a business (community market), residences, and farm land.
  4. When the final design document is complete and approved by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state, a contractor will be selected and field activities will begin.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

The 1990 Census showed the population of Boone County to be 38,147; and the population of Zionsville, which is 5miles south of the site (nearest town to the site), is 5,281. Union Township has a population of 1,707 with 569households. It has a total of 889 males and 818 females. The origin of race in Union Township is represented by thefollowing: white (1,687); black (10); American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut (5); Asian or Pacific Islander (5); and otherrace (0).

The small residential community of Northfield is 1/4 mile north/northwest of the site. The nearest residence is 600feet from the site. Approximately 50 residences are within 1 mile of the site. The Northfield Community Church,along with several residences owned by the NSL private owner's family, border the site.

Land Use

The site is in a rural area and is bounded on the south and east by farmland. The majority of the residences in thevicinity are north and west of the site. Farming, mainly cash grain and livestock, is the main enterprise in the county. Corn, soybeans, and wheat are the main crops.

Natural Resource Use

Finley Creek flows east and south of the site, while the north and west sides drain into an unnamed ditch. This ditchlies between NSL and ECC. Finley Creek (less than 1 mile from the site) flows into Eagle Creek about 1/2 miledownstream from the site. Eagle Creek flows south for 10 miles before it empties into Eagle Creek Reservoir (9 milesfrom the site), which supplies approximately six percent of the drinking water for the City of Indianapolis. Surfacewater use downstream, within 3 miles of the site, is used for fishing and wading by area residents. The unnamed ditchand Finley Creek are very shallow in the immediate vicinity of the NSL site and, therefore, are not conducive for mostrecreational activities.

There are 1,760 persons within 3 miles of the site who use private residential wells for all domestic purposes. Thesewells are all located in the water-bearing glacial till aquifer. The nearest residential well is about 1,000 feet west of thesite with a well depth of 40 feet. There are four industrial wells (approximately 40 feet deep) located on the NSL siteand one irrigation well (166 feet deep) located within 1 mile of the site.

D. Health Outcome Data

This subsection identifies the relevant, available databases; their evaluation occurs in the PUBLIC HEALTHIMPLICATIONS section. Cancer may be a plausible health outcome from long-term exposure to at least one of thecontaminants of concern. The ISDH maintains a statewide cancer registry; however, data regarding cancer incidenceby city and county are not yet available. In addition, the ISDH maintains a mortality database by county. Mortalitydata on Boone County cancer deaths are available (1950-1979). The public health implications of these data will beevaluated in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation subsection.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The community health concerns in this subsection of the public health assessment are based on the Final CommunityRelations Plan (June 1986) and the Record of Decision Amendment Proposed for the NSL Public Meeting (May1991).

The Boone County Health Department was contacted in addition to IDEM in March 1992 for any community healthconcerns (EPA Record of Decision Amendment; EPA Final Community Relations Plan).

  1. Are both the NSL and ECC sites being addressed for cleanup together or separately?
  2. Does the site present a public health hazard?
  3. What would be the long-term health effects of hazardous waste leachate?
  4. How dangerous are the contaminants of concern at the site?
  5. What is the direction of groundwater flow at the site?

The community health concerns listed will be addressed in the PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS section of thispublic health assessment.

The health assessment was made available for public comment on May 21, 1993. No additional health-related concerns were reported. Responses to all comments received can be found in APPENDIX C.


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