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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

REVERE TEXTILE PRINTS CORPORATION
STERLING, WINDHAM COUNTY, CONNECTICUT


SUMMARY

The Revere Textiles Prints Corp. is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated Superfund site in the town of Sterling, Connecticut. The site represents no apparent public health hazard for chemical contamination. Some contamination of groundwater, soils, surface water and sediments have been detected however no completed exposure pathways have been identified and contaminant concentrations are low. Physical hazards exist on site, however, that represent a public health hazard.

Investigations of the site were initiated after a fire in 1980 destroyed many of the buildings on site and a large number of barrels containing hazardous substance were found. In 1983, these barrels were removed as well as an unknown amount of soil.

Metals including antimony, arsenic, copper, lead and vanadium have been detected in groundwater monitoring wells on site. Follow up sampling of monitoring wells using a method to reduce sampling generated particles in the water resulted in lower concentrations of all these metals. These same contaminants have not been detected in the new public water supply wells or the old town well. Soils have been contaminated with some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, probably as a result of the fire. If trespassers at the site are exposed to these soils, it is unlikely that any adverse health effects would result at the concentrations found at the site. Some metals were detected in surface water and sediments above background but not at levels likely to cause adverse health effects.

Community concern and interest in the site has been minimal. The public health assessment for the Revere Textile Prints Corporation site has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel to determine appropriate follow-up health actions. The panel determined that no follow-up health actions are indicated in relation to the chemical contamination at the site. Public health actions taken by the Town of Sterling to address the physical hazards include removal of the underground storage tanks and backfilling the remaining holes, and the demolition of one structure. In addition, the Town is planning to demolish the remaining buildings.

BACKGROUND

A. SITE DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

Revere Textile Prints Corp. is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated Superfund site in the town of Sterling, Connecticut in Windham County. The site covers approximately 15 acres at the intersection of Route 14 and Main Street in the center of Sterling, within the Moosup River Valley. Wooded hills border the site to the east and north. To the south the site is bordered by Sterling Pond and to the west by the Moosup River and wooded hills. A man-made, covered spillway passes through the site. The site is designated by the Town of Sterling as part of an industrial complex which continues to the north.

Since 1809, the Revere Site has been used for a variety of industrial purposes. From 1809 to 1879, the Revere Site housed a cotton mill. Dyeing of cotton began on site in 1879. The Sterling Dyeing and Finishing Co. operated on site from 1879-1904. The United States Finishing Corp.,1904-1954, the Moosup Finishing Corp., 1959-1960, and the Revere Textiles Prints Corp., 1966-1980, all operated on the site. Each of the textile firms used a variety of pigments, dyes and solvents to print colors and patterns on fabrics.

Up until the mid-1970's, waste disposal practices included floor drain disposal into the Moosup River. In the late 1970's the wastes were drummed and shipped off-site as a result of requirements by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP). The drum hauler closed in the late 1970's, as a result, over 1,000 drums collected on-site.

In March of 1980, the Revere Textiles Prints Corp. was destroyed by fire. Inspection of the site after the fire revealed a large number of barrels. These barrels were in poor condition, not properly stored and several were leaking on the ground. Analysis of the barrel contents identified them as hazardous. Over thirty compounds were detected including benzene, toluene, cyclohexane, isopropyl ether, xylene, 1,1,2-trichlorethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and heavy metals. In June of 1980, the CT DEP issued a five-part order against the current owner to clean-up the site. Specifically the order called for 1.) leakage, spillage of wastewater, sludges or other waste be stopped; 2.) hazardous wastes stored on the site be identified and disposed of; 3.) site security to prevent vandalism be provided; 4.) contingency plan be prepared; and, 5.) extent of contamination caused by disposal or leakage of waste material onto the site property be investigated.

In September of 1983, 1536 barrels were removed from the site as well as an unknown quantity of contaminated soil. Stained soil and evidence of sludge piles still exist on site in material fill areas and around the drum storage areas. A few remaining drums containing liquid wastes were identified by EPA on-site well after the 1983 drum removal. These drums were removed in 1990 after EPA issued a unilateral administrative enforcement order to the Town of Sterling to remove and dispose of the remaining drums. The Town of Sterling took title to the Site by deed in lieu of foreclosure of a tax lien. The deed was transferred in October of 1987.

Currently the site is abandoned and consists of several burned out buildings. Building debris and surface foundations cover a large portion of the site.

ATSDR issued a preliminary health assessment of the site in January of 1988.

B. SITE VISIT

On February 11, 1992, Jennifer Kertanis of the Connecticut Department of Health Services, Division of Environmental Epidemiology and Occupational Health conducted a site visit. Jennifer Kertanis was joined by Ted Bazenas of ATSDR and a representative from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

During an inspection of the site, Jennifer Kertanis made the following observations. These observations are not presented in order of significance or importance.

    -The site is not fenced or enclosed in any way. Admittance onto the site can be obtained from all directions.

    -The site is situated at the bottom of a hill above which lies the rest of the Sterling Industrial Park.

    -The site appeared to be quite clean and consisted of open space, numerous burnt out structures in varying degrees of disrepair and several building foundations.

    -Physical hazards were numerous including open holes and pits and falling bricks and debris from buildings.

    -The pond in the center of the site is several feet below the walking surface and no barriers existed to prevent falls.

    -Small "NO TRESPASSING" signs were posted on some of the buildings. They were very difficult to see and the majority were very old and hard to read.

    -Footprints in the snow, trash, tire tracks, graffiti, and vandalism all indicate that unauthorized visitors frequent the site.

    -Soil removal on the hill to the rear of the site is evident. While this is not considered part of the site, vehicles must use the Central Access Road which passes through the site to reach the rear hillside.

    -A portion of the site lies across Route 14 between the road and Sterling Pond. This portion of the Site is also accessible. Anyone can walk on and around the pigment piles which are present. These piles are within approximately 10 feet of a driveway used by individuals accessing the Sterling Pond for recreation.

    -A small stream flowed through the pigment pile and into the Moosup River.

    -Ice fisherman were seen on the Sterling Pond.

    -A large sign is evident as you look toward the site from Route 14. The sign was posted by EPA explaining the activities at the site.

C. DEMOGRAPHICS, LAND USE, AND NATURAL RESOURCE USE

The town of Sterling has a population of approximately 2,350. Ninety-eight percent of Sterling residents are white. Ten percent of the population is five years of age or younger, twenty-two percent is between the ages of six and nineteen, fifty-four percent is between the age of twenty and fifty-nine and fourteen percent is over sixty. In 1987, the estimated per capita income was $9,661.

Land use near the Revere Site is diverse. Bordering the site to the north is the rest of a developing industrial complex. Approximately six businesses and a very large waste-tire-to-energy incinerator exist within this complex. The area surrounding the site is characterized as rural. Wooded hills border the site to the east. The Sterling Pond lies on the southern edge of the site as does the Moosup River which flows toward the west. A small number of homes, a community center and a restaurant are in Sterling Center to the west of the site. The town well is approximately one thousand feet west of the site near the Moosup River.

Approximately 450 people live within a one-mile radius of the site. The site vicinity is rural. A small concentration of residents live near the site in Sterling Center. Beyond this area, the population is sparse for several miles in all directions. Less than three linear miles northwest of the site is Moosup, the nearest concentrated population.

The local population depends entirely on ground water for their drinking water supply. The Sterling town well and spring house were located 200 yards upgradient from the site and were used until 1985. A new public water supply was established 1,000 feet west of the site to replace the Sterling town well which was in disrepair. The public water supply is downgradient, near the Moosup River. The public water system is supplied by three wells. Well #1 meets the needs of the residential community and the industrial park. Wells #2 and #3 are back up sources. Extensive pump testing and monitoring took place before this system went on line in light of the nearby Revere Site. No hazardous constituents were detected during this monitoring. Within a three mile radius there are 57 private wells in addition to the municipal well.

The Sterling Pond is used for recreational purposes. Boating and fishing are predominant activities. Trout fishing in Sterling Pond is reported to be some of the best in the State. Hiking may occur in the wooded hills surrounding the site, however, this activity was not documented.

D. Health Outcome Data

Jennifer Kertanis contacted the Northeast Health District to access data of adverse health effects reported by residents near the site. No reports have been made. In addition, because there are no biologically plausible causes for adverse health outcomes since no completed exposure pathways have been identified, health outcome data was not explored.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Jennifer Kertanis communicated with the EPA Regional Project Manager, staff at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the local health department to determine community interest and concern about the site. These contacts indicated that community concern had been minimal.

In January of 1992, the sanitarian for the local health department reported receiving a phone call about the site. The inquiry came from an individual interested in purchasing a new home in a development on Route 14. The individual inquired about the safety of drinking water within the new residential complex after seeing the EPA sign at the site.

In February of 1993, a public comment period was announced. (See Appendix B - Press Release) The comment period ran from February 1 through March 31, 1993 during which time citizens were provided with the opportunity to submit comments on the public health assessment. During this period five comments were received. Responses to these comments are shown in Appendix C.



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