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CERCLIS NO. SC0001411040

September 22, 1997

Prepared by:

Exposure Investigation and Consultation Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) received a request from a citizen to review surface and groundwater data from the Cherokee County Landfill in South Carolina, and determine if contaminants are at levels of public health concern [1].

The Cherokee County Landfill is 3.5 miles northeast of Gaffney in Cherokee County, South Carolina [2]. The landfill comprises approximately 40 acres; an additional 20 acres are utilized for a boundary area, operations facilities, and a sedimentation pond. The landfill has been in operation since the 1970s, and receives approximately 50,000 tons per year of waste from residential, commercial, and industrial activities within Cherokee County [2]. The landfill is bordered to the north and east by privately owned land, primarily used for agricultural and residential purposes. The landfill is bordered to the south and west by 250 acres of land purchased in 1990 by Cherokee County; the county plans to develop this 250 acres for future solid waste disposal. Cherokee County intends to close the 40 acre existing landfill [2].

Area potable water is supplied by a municipal water system. There are no known potable wells downgradient of the landfill. Groundwater beneath the western portion of the landfill flows to the west/southwest, and groundwater beneath the eastern portion of the landfill flows to the south.

Sampling and analysis of groundwater and surface water at the site has been conducted as part of the closure plan for the 40 acre landfill area. In May of 1996, groundwater samples were collected from 2 background wells (MW-1 and MW-7)located hydraulically upgradient of the landfill, 5 compliance wells on-site located hydraulically downgradient of the background wells, and 1 surface water sample from the on-site sedimentation pond. All water samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs were not detected in the sediment pond sample at levels above the quantitation limits. Several VOCs were detected in background water well samples at concentrations ranging from approximately 5 to 170 parts-per-billion (ppb). Several VOCs were detected in compliance wells at concentrations ranging from approximately 1 to 20 ppb.


Based on limited groundwater sampling and analysis, several VOCs were detected in on-site and upgradient wells at concentrations ranging from 1 to 170 ppb. VOCs were measured below the detections limits in a water sample collected from the on-site sedimentation pond.

Area residents obtain potable water from a municipal system; area groundwater is not used for drinking, washing, cooking, showering, or bathing. Therefore, exposure to site-related contaminants is not occurring. However, downgradient wells currently in place or installed in the future may be adversely impacted by contaminated groundwater that may migrate.


Based on review of the available data, ATSDR concludes the following that area groundwater has been impacted by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOC-contaminated groundwater does not pose a public health concern to area residents because groundwater is not used for potable purposes. However, migration of contaminated groundwater may impact downgradient wells that are currently is place or installed in the future.


Prevent migration of contaminated groundwater.

Characterize the nature and extent of contaminated groundwater in the area.

Identify and periodically monitor downgradient wells that can potentially be impacted by groundwater contamination.

If further clarification is required or if additional information becomes available, please don't hesitate to contact this office at 404/639-0616.

                          Steven Kinsler, Ph.D.
                          Senior Toxicologist


  1. Personal Communication, S. Kinsler, ATSDR, with C. Blair, ATSDR, August 11, 1997.

  2. Groundwater Monitoring Report, Cherokee County Landfill, S&ME Project No. 1264-89-165, July 1996. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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