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HEALTH CONSULTATION

B. J. LANDFILL
NORCROSS, GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Georgia Division of Pubic Health (GDPH) was requested by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division (EPD), to conduct a health consultation on the Gwinnett County B.J. Municipal Solid Waste Landfill (MSWL). The cooperation between EPD and GDPH was initiated through a memorandum of agreement for GDPH to address public health hazards at any Georgia sites where EPD is concerned about environmental contamination releases from a site that they regulate. EPD is concerned about possible adverse health effects caused by past, present, and future exposures to environmental contamination from the B.J. Landfill.

The B.J. Landfill is currently owned and operated by Georgia Waste Systems Incorporated (GWSI). The landfill site covers 122 acres and lies in southwest Gwinnett County, west of the city of Norcross, Georgia. The site is bordered to the southeast by Corley Road, to the south by Old Peachtree Road, and to the west by Jones Mill Road. The landfill was originally owned and operated by Gwinnett County and began filling activities in the late 1950s. The site is currently under its final phase of use (Phase IV) and is scheduled for closure in approximately two years (1).

The site has been under investigation following a detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on its first scheduled groundwater monitoring event. The site underwent a Site Characterization and Corrective Measures inspection by RUST Engineering and Infrastructure in December 1993. A Corrective Measures Report was submitted to EPD in September 1997 by Piedmont Olsen Hensley, Inc. EPD is currently reviewing the final Corrective Measures Report.


SITE CONDITIONS AND CONTAMINATION OVERVIEW

The landfill has undergone extensive soil boring and sampling, groundwater monitoring, surface water sampling, leachate monitoring, landfill gas sampling, and aquifer testing. Currently a landfill gas recovery system, leachate collection system, and air sparging remediation efforts are being conducted on-site. Surface runoff on site is deposited into either an on-site sediment pond or a small stream, Crooked Creek, which borders the site, that empties into the Chattahoochee River. Groundwater flows in a northward direction across the site towards the creek. There are three constituents which have caused significant contamination to on-site media: landfill leachate, landfill gas, and site runoff (2). This contamination released by the landfill has impacted the on-site soil, on-site groundwater, and on-site surface water.

Concerns for soil contamination were based on the presence of a former gasoline underground storage tank , a former waste oil tank, and ground discharge of condensate from the landfill gas collection header, which is no longer in operation (3). The soil was sampled for VOCs, total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs), and lead. All VOCs and TPHs were below the detection limit, and the highest lead level recorded was 21.4 ppm. Soil has been eliminated as a concern for significantly contaminated media.

Surface water sampling has shown no elevated levels of VOC or TPH contamination except for some detections of VOCs in the sedimentation pond. These levels were not above the appropriate MCLs, which are regulatory standards for public drinking water supplies. Some sampling efforts for heavy metals have shown elevated levels of lead and copper in both the sedimentation pond (on-site) and Crooked Creek (off-site). However, recent sampling and testing of the creek surface water and sediment have shown no levels of metals or VOCs above the MCLs (4). Any reportable quantities of contaminants in the most recent sampling efforts on Crooked Creek (December 8, 1997) were found upgradient of the site.

Landfill gas has been monitored for the presence of VOCs and methane. There have been a number of occasions where elevated levels of VOCs were detected in the landfill gas. This gas is collected and transferred to a treatment system off site. There were no detections of methane gas which exceeded the regulatory limits set for environmental compliance by EPD (5).

Leachates from the landfill have been the primary source of contamination on site, especially in terms of groundwater contamination. Leachate samples, which were taken from the leachate collection system on site, have contained elevated levels of benzene, TCE, tetrachloroethylene, trans-1,2-DCE, toluene, PCB-1248, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, arsenic, beryllium, chromium, mercury, and lead, all above the corresponding MCLs. Groundwater has been monitored for the presence of VOCs and metals. The VOCs which have been found in the on-site groundwater have been the main area of concern in terms of environmental contamination. 1,1-DCE has consistently been recorded at levels above the MCL, and vinyl chloride exceeded the MCL in May and October 1996. No sampling results have shown elevated levels of metals above the MCLs in the past two years. None of the off-site groundwater sampling and testing efforts have shown levels of VOCs or metals above the MCLs.


PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS AND ISSUES

The level of public concern at this site has been minimal, largely due to the fact that no off-site media testing records have shown significant levels of contamination attributable to the landfill. A public meeting was held on October 31, 1997, to discuss the corrective measures study for the site. Due to concerns raised at this meeting by the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a sediment and surface water monitoring plan was proposed. The concerns included: the accumulation of heavy metals in the stream sediments of Crooked Creek, and the impacts to surface water quality by groundwater infiltration. As mentioned before, the results of this study showed no significant surface water or sediment impacts.



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