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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

BROWARD COUNTY-21ST MANOR DUMP
FT. LAUDERDALE, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA


SUMMARY

The 21st Manor Dump site is adjacent to Meadowbrook Elementary School in Ft.Lauderdale,Broward County, Florida. It was originally a borrow pit or natural depression where uncontrolleddumping occurred. No records exist describing what was disposed of in the dump. Following theconstruction of the elementary school, Broward County filled the remainder of the dump withdirt. The county then rerouted the street, 21st Manor, so that it now runs approximately throughthe middle of the dump area, and extended the school grounds over a portion of the site.

Low levels of dieldrin are present in the subsurface soil on the site. However, no surface soilsamples (0 - 3 inches deep) have been analyzed to allow us to assess the exposure potential tochildren. Children or other individuals may also have come in contact with contaminated soil andwater when the dump was open.

On-site shallow groundwater contains arsenic, chromium, lead and vanadium. Off-sitegroundwater is contaminated with vinyl chloride, trichloroethene, 1,1-dichloroethene,1,2-dichloroethene, and chloroform, but this contamination does not appear to be site-related. However, this off-site contamination is a public health concern and has resulted in the closure ofeight municipal supply wells and seven private wells within a one mile radius of the site. BrowardCounty has extended the main public water supply lines, making them accessible to the 74residences still using private wells. Those households with condemned wells and the majority ofthe others have been connected to the system.

Based on the available information, we classify the Broward County-21st Manor Dump site asanindeterminate public health hazard. There is insufficient information about surface soilcontamination on-site and on the school grounds for us to assess the exposure potential tochildren. No deep groundwater sampling has been conducted directly under the site to enable usto determine if off-site groundwater contamination is coming from the dump.

In consultation with the Health Activities Recommendation Panel, we recommend that on-andoff-site surface (0-3 inches deep) soil samples and on-site deep groundwater samples be analyzedfor site-related contaminants. Inaddition, public health education is needed to assist communitymembers whose wells were contaminated in understanding their potential for exposure andpossible health effects. We propose to develop appropriate educational materials for distributionto the community and to evaluate additional sampling data to determine the public healthsignificance of any contaminants found.

BACKGROUND

The Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (Florida HRS), in cooperationwiththe Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), will evaluate the public healthsignificance of this site. Specifically, Florida HRS will determine whether health effects arepossible and will recommend actions to reduce or prevent them. ATSDR, located in Atlanta,Georgia, is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and isauthorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of1980 (CERCLA), asamended, to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites.

A. Site Description and History

The 21st Manor Dump Superfund site is locatedon property owned by the Broward CountySchool Board in Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida (Figs. 1-3, Appendix A). Currently,there is no visible evidence of the dump. The original pit, which constitutes the dump site itself,has been filled to grade. The grounds of the Meadowbrook Elementary School extend over aportion of this filled-in pit and a road, 21st Manor, now runs approximately through the middle ofthe site (Fig. 4, Appendix A).

The site was originally a borrow pit or natural depression roughly rectangular in shape andapproximately 1,100 feet long, 250 feet wide and 30 feet deep. It was used from the 1950's to thelate 1960's for the disposal of trash and other debris. It was classified as an open dump by theBroward County Public Health Unit (Broward CPHU) which exercised no control over the dumping. Dumping by unknown parties occurred at the site and no records were kept describingwhat was disposed of in the dump. The dump was closed by the Broward CPHU in the late 60's.

The 18 acres which included the dump were purchased by the Broward County School BoardinApril 1957 for the construction of a new elementary school. In May 1957, a State Department ofEducation site inspector noted a "water hole or pond" along the south and west edges of theproperty and suggested filling and/or fencing the area (1). However, there are no recordsindicating whether any action was taken to implement these suggestions. MeadowbrookElementary School was constructed in 1958 and the "water hole" was used as a dump by the theSchool Board for the disposal of brush, grass clippings, dirt and concrete construction debris, andby unknown individuals for dumping trash and other materials.

In 1968 the school board began to fill the rest of the dump pit with clean sand to bring it up tograde with the surrounding area. Filling of the pit was completed with additional loads of sandadded in 1974 and 1975. Although the site was posted and the dump pit filled, unauthorizeddumping at the site continued as late as November 1976. In 1978-79 the county moved the road,21st Manor, from just north of the dump to approximately the middle of the site. In December1979, the Broward County School Board Safety Department received complaints from parentsconcerning a large pool of standing water (200 feet long, 40 feet wide, 4.5 feet deep) whichformed in the southwest corner of the site during periods of heavy rainfall. The SafetyDepartment continued to receive complaints until the problem was corrected in June, 1981 whenthe low area was filled and brought up to grade (2).

While testing a piece of analytical equipment in December 1986, the Ft. Lauderdale CityUtilitiesDepartment discovered 1,2-dichloroethene in a public supply well approximately 500 feet east ofthe dump. As a result of this discovery, the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation(FDER) (3) and the Broward CPHU (4) conducted more extensive surveys and found widespreadgroundwater contamination in the area surrounding the dump.

Because of concern over the groundwater contamination and the possibility that thecontaminantsmay be originating from the site, 21st Manor Dump is being evaluated for possible inclusion in theNationalPriorities List (NPL) of Superfund cleanup sites. The NPL is maintained by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and lists those hazardous waste sites that requirecleanup action under the "Superfund" law, the Comprehensive Environmental Response,Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). This Public Health Assessment is beingprepared by Florida HRS for ATSDR as part of the evaluation process.

B. Site Visit

Mr. Bruce Tuovila and Mr. Randy Merchant, Florida HRS; Mr. Willard Galbreath, BrowardCPHU; and Mr. Mark Commiskey, Broward County School Board visited the site on December11, 1991. There is no visible evidence of the presence of the dump and no signs, fences or othermarkers to distinguish the dump area from the elementary school grounds. In this section, theterm "dump area" will be used to indicate the area encompassed by the now filled-in dump pit. Although we did not observe any children in the school yard during our visit, Mr. Commiskeyindicated that children play on the entire school grounds, part of which extends over the dumparea. A chain link fence surrounds the school grounds; however, it does not restrict access to thedump area. We observed that both the school grounds and the dump area are covered bywell-maintained grass. In addition, the school grounds contain some shrubs and shade trees andthedump area is covered in part by the road, 21st Manor. The entire area is relatively flat with nolarge depressions, mounds or evidence of dump material.

During our drive-through tour of the neighborhood surrounding the site, we observed that"backyard" repair of motor vehicles occurs, and Mr. Commiskey and Mr. Galbreath indicated thatsmall-scale repair businesses of this nature have operated in the past. No information wasavailable concerning how many such businesses may exist. Adjacent to a municipal supply welllocated about 500 feet east of the site is a fenced and locked enclosure that contains two 50 x 100foot aeration impoundments. According to Mr. Commiskey, the Ft. Lauderdale City UtilitiesDepartment used them for several months in 1987 as percolation impoundments. Groundwaterpumped from the well was aerated, collected in the impoundments and allowed to percolate backinto the aquifer in an attempt to reduce levels of 1,2-dichloroethene and other volatile organiccompounds. When the effort proved ineffective, the well was shut down and use of theimpoundments was discontinued. Approximately 600 feet north of the site is a long, narrowwooded area that contains four additional municipal supply wells. Although this is not arecreational area (the area is posted) we observed evidence, such as tracks, trails and paths, thatthe area is trespassed regularly. Mr. Commiskey indicated that older children occasionallyoperated various recreational vehicles in the area. Approximately three-quarters of a mile northof the site is a light industrial/ commercial area containing various businesses such as auto repairshops and a tool-and-die company.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

Approximately 13,000 persons live within a one mile radius of the 21st Manor Dump site. Theneighborhood surrounding the site is low- to middle-income and the homes are generally wellmaintained. The Meadowbrook Elementary School has approximately 470 students in gradesK-5. There are two other public schools, which provide instruction to exceptional students,withinone mile northeast of the site with a total student population of about 480 (5).

Land Use

The area within one mile of the site is mostly residential with one light industrial/commercialareaapproximately three-quarters of a mile to the north and another approximately one-half mile to thesouth across the New River Canal. A city waterworks facility is approximately three-quarters of amile to the northeast of the site. There is a 500 foot wide wooded area that starts about 600 feetnorth of the site and extends north for approximately one-half mile. This area contains four publicsupply wells and is not used for agricultural purposes.

About two dozen homes border the site on the south and west. Those to the south are within50feet of the site; those to the west are approximately 200 feet across a street. Groundwater flow inthe vicinity of the site is to the south and there are no potable wells in this direction. Beginningapproximately 600 feet north of the site and extending north about one-half mile are 74 homesthat use private wells for drinking water. The eleven municipal supply wells of the South DixieWellfield, of which the eight closest to the site are now closed, are also within one mile to thenorth and east of the site. The Meadowbrook Elementary School borders the site to the north,and part of the school grounds extend over the site. There is a recreational lake approximately400 feet southwest of the site and other recreational facilities, such as ball parks, are locatedapproximately 2000 feet to the north (6).

Natural Resource Use

The Biscayne Aquifer is the sole source of potable water in this area. Rainfall averages 60inchesper year and is the primary source of recharge for the aquifer which is considered to be at landsurface with some thin, water permeable, surficial deposits present. The Biscayne Aquifer isprimarily composed of sand in Broward County and has a total thickness of approximately 165feet. Municipal and private wells are generally 90-100 feet deep in this area. Naturalgroundwater flow at the site is southward. However, considerable local influence on flowdirection may have resulted when pumping occurred in the South Dixie Wellfield (3).

There is a recreational lake approximately 400 feet southwest of the site. A water ski schoolislocated at the lake which is also used for recreational swimming and boating. The North Fork ofthe New River, which runs northwest-southeast about 2000 feet south of the site, serves for floodcontrol and also provides ocean access for pleasure craft.

D. Health Outcome Data

Guided by community health concerns, HRS epidemiologists reviewed the state cancer registryfor the 33317 zip code. This zip code includes neighborhoods around 21st Manor Dump (Fig. 2,Appendix A). Although there have been no allegations or indications of elevated birth defectrates near this site, HRS epidemiologists also reviewed the state birth defects registry. The cancerdata base covers cancers reported from 1981 to 1987 and the birth defects data base covers birthdefects reported from 1980 to 1982. Neither the Broward CPHU nor the Broward CountySchool Board have conducted any independent health studies or investigations in this area. Wewill discuss the results of these reviews in the Public Health Implications, Health Outcome DataEvaluation section.

COMMUNITYHEALTH CONCERNS

Residents of the community which borders the site have expressed little concern over possiblehealth effects from the dump site itself. However, from telephone conversations with communitymembers, county public health officials and the Broward County School Board SafetyDepartment, we are aware that residents of the neighborhood around the site who have obtainedtheir drinking water from private wells are concerned about possible unspecified health effects tothemselves and their children from drinking contaminated water.

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