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The Florida Petroleum Reprocessors (FPR) Site in Davie, Florida was listed on National Priorities List on March 27, 1998. Between 1978-1992, it was a waste oil transfer station. The groundwater, soil and sediments are contaminated with volatile organic chemicals, metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

In this public health assessment, The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) evaluates the potential for health effects from exposure to contaminated groundwater, soil and sediment. Surface water was not contaminated.

Currently, this site poses an indeterminate public health hazard because of contaminated groundwater. In the past, the site posed a public health hazard because private wells in the northern part of the site were contaminated. As a result, these residents are at an increased risk of cancer and non-cancer illnesses from household use of 1,1-dichloroethene and vinyl chloride contaminated groundwater. We do not know if there are private wells south of the FPR property; however, the contamination is moving south, people could be exposed in the future.

People installing private wells over the contaminated aquifer in the future could be exposed to chemicals in the groundwater. Public access to the FPR property is restricted by a fence. Future potential exposure to subsurface soil could occur if construction or similar activities disturb the subsurface soil.

As a result of our analysis, FDOH makes the following recommendations:

  1. Sample private wells to determine if they are contaminated and prohibit domestic use.

  2. Inform residents of the potential public health threat from use of contaminated private wells.

  3. Continue to sample municipal water for volatile organic chemicals on a regular basis.

  4. Survey the area south of FPR property to make sure there are no private wells.

  5. Prohibit any domestic use of the groundwater under the FPR property until it meets all state and federal drinking water standards.

  6. Determine the extent of groundwater contamination south of FPR. Sample any private wells in the area of contamination.

  7. Continue to maintain security and post hazardous waste warning signs around FPR property.


A. Site Description and History

In this public health assessment, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in cooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), evaluates the public health significance of the Florida Petroleum Reprocessors site. Specifically, FDOH reviews environmental data, community health concerns and health outcome data to determine whether people in the community might be exposed to site contaminants, and if so, at levels which might cause harm. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund) authorizes the ATSDR to conduct public health assessments at hazardous waste sites. The ATSDR, in Atlanta, Georgia, is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Florida Petroleum Reprocessors (FPR) is in Davie, Florida (See Figure 1, 2, 3). For the purpose of this assessment, we define the site as the area shown in Figure 3. The site includes most of the south Peele-Dixie Well field and is bounded by Peters Road on the north, US Highway 441 on the east, the Florida Turnpike on the west, and Oakes Road on the south. The source of contamination is a 1 25 acreparcel of land at 3211 S.W. 50th Avenue (See Figure 4). From 1978-1992, various companies including Barry's Waste Oil Service, Oil Conservations Inc., South Florida Fuels and Florida Petroleum Reprocessors used the property as a waste oil transfer station. The facility received, stored, blended and delivered waste oil to asphalt plants, phosphate mines and other waste oil reprocessors. The facility stored wastewater in an unlined pit, stored tanks in an area surrounded by an earthen dike, and spilled waste oil on the ground. The facility is currently unoccupied (EPA 1997).

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP; formally known as the Department of Environmental Regulation) frequently cited the facility for violations. In 1981, FDEP found highly contaminated soil, possible groundwater contamination and "sloppy" facility operations. In response, the owners placed their storage tanks on a concrete pad and surrounded the area with an elevated mound of soil. FDEP's follow-up inspection found significant improvements (EPA, 1997).

In 1984, FDEP discovered chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOC's) in two of the facility's monitoring wells. They found chemicals floating on top of the groundwater and in 4500 cubic yards (yd3)of contaminated soil. In addition, 1,1-dichloroethene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, trichloroethene, and vinyl chloride were dissolved in the groundwater above FDEP standards. In response, the owners removed 225 gallons of chemicals floating on the groundwater (EPA 1997).

In 1986, the Ft. Lauderdale City Utilities Department discovered elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water from the southern Peele-Dixie wellfield, one mile north of FPR (See Figure 3). The levels exceeded federal and state maximum allowable concentrations in groundwater used for public drinking (1994 EPA Fact Sheet). The City of Ft. Lauderdale shut down the southern half of the wellfield. They connected some area homes with private drinking water wells to municipal water lines. The northern part of the wellfield is still operational (EPA 1997).

The Environmental Protection Agency originally suspected the source of the contaminated wellfield was from the nearby 21st Street Manor Dump (See Figure 3; EPA 1997). However, the EPA concluded the dump was not the source of contamination (EPA 1997). Since many chemicals in the wellfield were also in the groundwater on the FPR property, the EPA identified FPR as the primary source for contamination of the Peele-Dixie wellfield. Between 1994 and 1995, EPA conducted a two-phase Remedial Investigation (RI).

Several agencies conducted assessments on private wells near the contaminated wellfield. In 1988, FDEP sampled 38 private wells within 1 mile of the 21st Street Manor dump. Between 1987 and 1992, the Broward County Health Department sampled nine private drinking water wells along SW 44th Terrace (see Figure 5). The Health Department found elevated levels of 1,1-dichloroethene, 1,2-dichloroethene and vinyl chloride (Florida HRS 1992).

In 1992, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) assessed the public health implications of the groundwater contamination in the 21st Street Manor Dump Public Health Assessment. The report concluded that VOCs in private wells near the 21st Street Manor Dump site could be a health concern and recommended providing households with private wells an alternate drinking water source. The people with private wells were transient and predominantly Spanish-speaking (FDOH 1997).

In 1995, the city constructed an air stripping treatment system to clean the wellfield. Air stripping removes VOCs from contaminated groundwater by forcing air through the water causing the compounds to evaporate (EPA 1997).

In 1996, the EPA discovered oil, grease, organic chemicals, gasoline and chlorinated solvents in the surface and subsurface soils 60 feet deep on the FPR property. They found chemicals on top of the water table and in the groundwater as deep as 200 feet. In early 1997, the EPA removed the remaining storage tanks, 13,000 gallons of free product and 26,000 gallons of wastewater. In April 1997, the EPA proposed the site to the Superfund National Priorities List. In September 1997, the EPA released the Draft Remedial Investigation report (EPA 1997).

In May 1997, the FDOH conducted a health consultation for groundwater contamination near the FPR site. The consultation concluded that groundwater was a public health hazard based upon the potential for consumption and that illness may occur from exposure to vinyl chloride in groundwater. The consult further concluded that contamination of municipal wells in the Peele-Dixie wellfield may increase if contaminated groundwater under the FPR property migrates northward. FDOH recommended that EPA limit human exposure to contaminated groundwater and annually monitor groundwater north of the FPR. They conducted community health education to assist the residents to understandpotential exposure routes and ways to reduce their exposure (FDOH 1997).

In 1997, as a follow-up to previous sampling, the Broward County Health Department identified seven homes on SW 44th Terrace with private wells and analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOC's; see Figure 5). All other homes in the area use municipal water. The levels found in all wells were below levels of concern (J. Winter, personal communication, April 6, 1998).

In November 1997, the FDOH developed a brochure in English and Spanish warning people not to use private well water. The brochure was developed as a precautionary measure since the FDOH health consultation report identified contaminated groundwater near homes in the area and since some people hooked up to city water might still be using their private wells. The brochure targeted households with private wells within 1.5 miles or less from the FPR property. The brochure describes reasons citizens should be concerned and where to get more information. In November 1997, the Broward County Health Department distributed the brochure door-to-door to all 77 households on SW 44th Terrace.

In June 1988 the EPA proposed a cleanup plan but based on public comment, the EPA decided to collect additional data. They decided to aggressively remove chemicals, pump and treat contaminated groundwater and to prevent chemicals from traveling farther from the source (EPA 1999).

B. Site Visit

On December 13, 1996, Ms. Carolyn Voyles, FDOH visited the site and performed a windshield survey of the industrial area surrounding the site. She observed Terra Construction on the north, Florida Turnpike to the west, wetlands to the south and Atlas Waste Magic Inc. and a lumber supply company on the east. She observed a crane company occupying the FPR property. A locked chain link fence surrounded the property but, the gate had a gap that a person could slip through. Inside the fence, she observed two trailers, a shed, old FPR tanks in the containment structure, heavy equipment, old cars, tires, furniture and pluming pipes from the containment structure. She saw "no trespassing" signs posted on the fence. She noticed the ground inside the fence and surrounding areas was sandy with no grass or plant cover.

Ms. Voyles observed the area surrounding the FPR property as mixed residential and industrial. She observed the Twin Lakes Travel Park about one-quarter mile east of the fenced in area. She observed another residential area about one-quarter mile west of the fenced area (beyond the turnpike). She observed a human-made lake about one-quarter mile southeast of the fenced area and canals in the wetland area south of the fenced area.

On April 9, 1998, Randy Merchant and Julia Winter of the FDOH visited the site. They observed a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire around three sides of the property. The western side of the property boarding the Florida Turnpike did not appear to be fenced. The two gates to the property were locked. Mr. Merchant and Ms. Winter observed a shed, an abandoned house trailer, and an abandoned travel trailer on the property. They also observed a 3-foot high, "U"-shaped, concrete-block, retaining wall in the middle of the property. They observed 10 to 20 55-gallon drums. (Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials report these drums contain water and soil from the installation of ground water monitoring wells.) Mr. Merchant and Ms. Winter did not observe any evidence of trespass.

Mr. Merchant and Ms. Winter observed the area immediately around the property was highly industrial. Residents of the nearby mobile home park have municipal water but some use shallow wells for irrigation. Residents of duplex homes about 1.5 miles southeast of the property on SW 43rd Avenue have municipal water.

C. Demographics, Land Use and Natural Resource Use


According to the 1990 census, the racial makeup of the area around the site is 81% white, 6% African-American, and 13% Hispanic. About 17,000 people live within a mile of the FPR property. Three public schools are within a mile of the property. The neighborhoods in this area are middle income. The median family income is about $28,500 (FDOH 1997).

In the area south of the New River Canal including the FPR property, we estimate there are about 4,700 people. Children aged 0-4 comprise 8.3% of the population and children aged 5-9 comprise about 6.7% of the population (Census tract 701; Bureau of Census, 1990).

In the area north of the New River Canal including the southern Peele-Dixie wellfield, we estimate there are about 6,260 people. Children aged 0-4 comprise almost 9% of the population and children aged 5-9 comprise about 8.3% of the population (Census tract 611; Bureau of Census, 1990).

Land Use

The area north of the New River Canal is residential. The eleven public supply wells the city took out of production due to contamination are in this part of the site. The public supply wells are between 110 and 125 feet deep. A recreational lake and a baseball field are north of the FPR property. A few homes may use private wells (Florida HRS, 1992).

The southern part of the site contains a trailer park and light industrial facilities. We do not know of any private wells in this part of the site. The city supplies public water for this area (FDOH, 1997). Recent development along Oaks Road includes of light industry, warehouses, and commercial office parks. The City of Davie and Broward County does not have any specific plans regarding future development of this area (EPA, 1997).

Natural Resource Use

Groundwater under the FPR property is contained in the Biscayne aquifer. Water in the Biscayne aquifer is first encountered about 10 feet below land surface. It is called the "water table". The upper portion of the Biscayne aquifer (from land surface to 50-60 feet below land surface) is located in sand. The lower portion of the Biscayne aquifer (greater than 50-60 feet below land surface) is located in limestone. The Peele-Dixie wellfield produces drinking water from the Biscayne aquifer for 54,000 people including some residents of Fort Lauderdale. The Biscayne aquifer is the only source of potable water in the region and is replenished by rainfall. Municipal and private residential wells tapping this aquifer are generally 90 to 100 feet deep (EPA 1997).

Groundwater flow in this area is strongly influenced by pumping activities in the wellfield. Peele Dixie wellfield pumping caused the groundwater to flow northward, but since the wellfield pumping decreased when the city took some contaminated wells out of production, groundwater flow is currently to the southeast.

D. Health Outcome Data

Health outcome data for the community around this site was not evaluated because health-outcome databases capable of searching for effects in such a small population size do not yield fruitful results. If future environmental investigations find larger areas of exposed populations, FDOH will evaluate health outcome data as appropriate.


In response to a March 1996 EPA mail survey, one person expressed concern over carcinogenic chemicals in their water. At a September 10, 1997, EPA-sponsored public meeting, one person was concerned that her multiple chemical sensitivity was caused by exposure to the contamination in the water.

On June 12, 1998 the FDOH mailed 425 fact sheets to area residents The fact sheet summarized the draft assessment's conclusions and recommendations and announced the report's availability. It also gave notice of an EPA-sponsored public meeting on June 18, 1998. A FDOH representative presented the findings of the draft assessment at the public meeting and requested public comments. Two people were concerned about chemical sensitivity and asthma.

The FDOH solicited public comments on the draft version of this public health assessment at the EPA-sponsored public meeting through June 30, 1998. Stories regarding the draft assessment appeared in the Sun Sentinel on July 7, 1998, after the public comment period ended. The FDOH received no written comments during the public comment release.

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