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Based on the physical hazards associated with the methane contamination of indoor air in commercial facilities, the site is a public health hazard. However, the physical hazards associated with the methane are currently being addressed. Although our evaluation of the VOC contaminated public water did not indicate that an adverse health effect is likely to occur to residents that drank the water from well number five, further studies are planned. The CT DPHAS and the ATSDR are conducting a study to try to reconstruct the dose of VOCs Southington residents may have received from contaminated drinking water with respect to the geographic location of their residence. Additionally, PCB was indentified in one sampling round from the Southington Town Well number five.

  1. A large portion of the population of Southington was exposed to a variety of site-related contaminants through the contamination of public well number five. This exposure stopped in 1979 when the well was shut-down. Continued monitoring has assured that the public water supply is currently safe.
  2. Elevated levels of methane were identified in the floor cracks of several nonresidential buildings posing a potential fire and explosive hazard. Combustible gases may be migrating into storm sewers or buried utility lines that lie on or adjacent to the landfill. The northern physical extent of landfill gases has not been completely defined. Sufficient data does not exist to eliminate the possibility of landfill gases migrating into homes on the north side of Rejean Road.
  3. PCBs have been identified on site in soil and questionably identified in ground water (perhaps a false positive detection due to laboratory error). The available RI/FS data indicate that the potential for exposures to occur are limited.
  4. Excavation and removal of contaminated soils and waste materials may expose workers to VOCs, PAHs, PCBs, and heavy metals through inhalation of volatile compounds and fugitive dusts.
  5. Psychological stress associated with Old Southington Landfill including both health and attitudinal effects (demoralization, frustration, fear, anxiety, lack of trust and general helplessness) have been observed in this community and are cause for concern.
  6. Due to documented exposures to site related compounds and to specific concerns expressed by local citizens to Solvents Recovery Service of New England, which is also a Superfund site in Southington, a number of health outcome data bases were evaluated.

    A review of tumor incidence data indicates that there are slight elevations in age specific bladder and testicular cancers for the town of Southington between l979-l988.

    A subsequent more detailed look at the number of bladder and testicular cases by census block using the GIS found that while the overall cancer incidence in Southington is not elevated, there was an increase in bladder cancer in those residents living within one mile of the contaminated drinking water supply wells in Southington from 1970 to 1989. Given the existing data it is not possible to determine the cause of this excess. Further studies are planned.

    While there were increases in infant and perinatal mortality rates for Southington, as compared with towns surrounding Southington, or the state, between l949-l965, these rates are no longer elevated and, in fact, remain lower than the two comparison populations in the State of Connecticut and nearby towns.

    The early patterns for perinatal and infant mortality for the town of Southington are not consistent with adjacent towns or the state. Although these patterns could be associated with environmental contamination, such an association would be impossible to prove due to a lack of environmental data from that period. For this reason, no further research into this health outcome is recommended at this time.


  1. Methane and VOC levels should be monitored on a regular basis in the indoor air of those facilities where dangerous levels of combustible gases have been detected. This includes those facilities where engineering controls have been installed.
  2. On-site air monitoring will be necessary during all excavation operations as well as appropriate monitoring at the work site periphery to protect workers and nearby residents during remedial activities. EPA should work with the State and the ATSDR to develop a remediation safety plan that will protect nearby residents and industries from exposure to site-related chemicals.
  3. Psychological stress should be addressed within the community. Local counseling centers, and physicians, should be notified of the present situation, so that they may take it into account when seeing patients.
  4. Soil and groundwater contamination has been found in areas within landfill boundaries established by GZA (1989, 1990) and ESE (1993). However, the extent and degree of overburden and bedrock contamination within and emanating from the site has not been clearly defined to Southington residents. The Southington community should be informed as to the extent and degree of overburden and bedrock contamination within and emanating from the landfill. Therefore, a public meeting addressing the identified landfill boundaries is recommended. The CT DPHAS and the ATSDR recommend that residents concerned with remedial activities should review and comment on the remedial design plan for the site.
  5. The northern extent of landfill gases should be defined with the use of soil gas monitoring methods such as temporary soil gas monitoring probes (punchbars). The soil gas surveys should be performed on the northern portion of the landfill and along the northside of Rejean Road. Special attention should be given to possibility of migration along buried utility lines. Human access areas (i.e., manholes) in buried utilities or storm sewers should be monitored for landfill gases, especially methane.


The data and information evaluated in the public health assessment for the Old Southington Landfill, Southington, Connecticut have been reviewed by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendations Panel for appropriate follow-up with respect to health actions. The panel determined that community and health professional education are indicated for the site. Other follow up actions will be considered when the results of a dose reconstruction analysis and further analysis of a cancer cluster study are complete -- these actions are on-going or planned in relation to the Solvents Recovery Services site, Southington, Connecticut.


The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the OSL site contains a description of actions taken or planned by the ATSDR, the CT DPHAS, the CT DEP, the Southington Fire Department, and/or the EPA. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included, is a commitment on the part of the ATSDR and the CT DPHAS to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. The public health actions taken or planned are as follows:

Actions Taken:

  1. In 1991 and 1992, dangerously elevated levels of methane posing an explosion hazard were detected in three on-site commercial facilities. In response, at the request of the EPA, methane alarms and engineering controls were subsequently installed by Environmental Science and Engineering (ESE) to protect on-site residents and workers. The CT DPHAS performed on-site educational meetings to teach facility employees and residents about the hazards of methane and how to protect themselves.
  2. The CT DPHAS and the CT DEP sampled fish from Black Pond in order to assess what potential compounds may be bioaccumulating in the fish and what adverse effects may occur as a result of ingestion. No adverse health effects are expected from the ingestion.
  3. The CT DPHAS sampled tap water from the four on-site residences in order to assess whether site related contaminants are migrating into water supply pipes. No contaminants were identified in the water samples taken.
  4. The CT DPHAS performed on-site educational meetings to teach facility employees and residents about the hazards of methane and how they can protect themselves.
  5. The ATSDR performed a health consultation to assess the potential health risks associated with the levels of combustible gases at OSL and recommended actions to protect the public health.
  6. The CT DPHAS and the CT DEP met with residents in their homes frequently to discuss the results of environmental data and other concerns with the site.
  7. The EPA conducted soil gas survey as part of the RI/FS in order to assess ambient air contamination. This gas study will be performed outside of the buildings and will investigate the types of gases generated in order to design an appropriate permanent remedy for gases released by the landfill.
  8. The EPA conducted surface soil sampling as part of the RI/FS in order to assess exposure to contaminated soils. A review of the sampling data results indicates that exposures to surface soils are not a health concern.
  9. The EPA has characterized much of the extent and degree of contamination that exits on the site and has delineated much of the site boundaries as part of the RI/FS.
  10. The Southington Fire Department has monitored all residential and industrial facilities for methane bimonthly to protect residents and workers from fire and explosion hazards.

Actions Planned:

  1. The CT DPHAS have or/are planning to periodically perform site visits at those facilities where methane has been detected until indoor air screening has shown that the levels are safe.
  2. The CT DPHAS is providing environmental health education for local public health officials, the local medical community and to local citizens to assist the community in assessing possible adverse health outcomes associated with exposure to hazardous substances.
  3. The CT DPHAS is planning to perform educational meetings to teach residents about landfills, the hazards of methane and how they can protect themselves.
  4. The Southington Fire Department will continue to monitor all on-site residential and industrial facilities for methane bimonthly to protect residents and workers from fire and explosion hazards.
  5. The EPA will have additional testing performed during the summer of 1994 in the northern vicinity of the landfill to see if methane or other landfill gases are migrating to utility lines which could in turn migrate to homes near the landfill. EPA will also be looking at areas north of Rejean Road to verify, one way or another, if landfill gases are traveling across Rejean Road to these areas.

    In addition, as part of the pre-design studies, EPA will require a "mini" soil gas collection system to be installed and tested to determine what gases are being emitted and at what concentrations. If the concentrations exceed state or federal regulated levels, the soil gas system will completely enclosed and the gases will be treated. The final "full scale" soil gas collections system will be installed, during the construction phase of the project, over the entire area of the landfill. Furthermore, a number of soil gas monitoring wells will be placed outside of this system and around the entire perimeter of the landfill to make sure the system is effective and protective of human health and the environment.

  6. The CT DPHAS will inform relevant utility companies about the potential risk of combustible gases, particularly methane, and recommend the use of monitors and confined space entry protocols when servicing utilities near the site.
  7. The ATSDR will provide an annual follow up to this PHAP, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this site review and update, and will be provided to persons who request it.

The ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) when needed. New environmental, toxicological, health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.


The public health assessment for the Old Southington Landfill site was prepared by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Addition Services under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was initiated.

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessemnt and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
for Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR


Edith Pestana, M.S., M.P.H.
Environmental Epidemiologist
Connecticut Department of Health Services

Sandy Geschwind, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.
Environmental Epidemiologist
Connecticut Department of Health Services

Brian Toal, M.S.P.H.
Environmental Epidemiologist
Connecticut Department of Health Services

Gary D. Perlman, M.P.H.
Environmental Epidemiologist
Connecticut Department of Health Services


Louise House
Senior Regional Representative
Office of Regional Operations
Region I


Greg Ulirsch
Environmental Health Engineer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


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