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The Georgia Division of Public Health (GDPH), Chemical Hazards Program, reviewed the Griffith Oil Company Public Health Assessment dated March 19, 1999. GDPH routinely evaluates previously assessed sites for any significant changes in data and for adoption of public health recommendations. During this evaluation, we reviewed all new data and the status of the public health actions for the site.

The Griffith Oil Company is located on 3.87 rural acres, approximately 3 miles southeast of Arcade, Jackson County, Georgia. The property operated as a used oil recycling facility from 1975 until 1991. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) classified the company as a used oil treatment, storage, and disposal facility. It was not permitted to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste on-site.

After a site investigation, GEPD hired a contractor to conduct a removal action on-site. Beginning in spring 1995, four areas were excavated to stabilize soils that had elevated levels of total petroleum hydrocarbons. Additionally, approximately 52 tanks, 300 drums, and numerous 1-gallon paint cans were removed from the site. No buried drums were found on site. The excavated soils were stored on site in a berm configuration. The removal action was completed in fall 1996.

In March 1997, a groundwater investigation was conducted at the site. A GEPD consultant installed six monitoring wells on site and sampled several private wells off site. Groundwater samples analyzed showed the presence of metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Several private wells, which were sampled in June 1997 by GEPD's consultants and in August 1997 and January 1998 by GEPD, contained hazardous constituents above state and federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards. These standards are used to regulate public drinking water systems.

In September 1998, the GDPH's initial public health assessment evaluated the sampling data of the individual water wells located off site. One or more of the following regulated substances: 1,1 dichlorethene, trichlorethene, and/or tetrachlorethene released from the Griffith Oil site was present in five individual wells in the Hidden Oaks subdivision. Table 1 summarizes the contaminant levels found in the affected wells. GDPH concluded that the site posed a public health hazard for residents who had used their contaminated individual water well for household purposes. As a result, GDPH concurred with GEPD that affected residents should use an alternative water supply.

The most recent activity on site occurred in April 2000. A GEPD contractor disposed of 35, 55-gallon drums of investigative derived waste (IDW). The IDW was generated during the initial groundwater investigation.The drums of soil were emptied onto the existing berm located on site. The empty drums were then stored in a building on the property.


To provide an alternative water supply, the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority obtained a no-interest loan from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) and a grant from GEPD to extend public county water lines to residents impacted by the Griffith Oil Company site. In 1999, the local water authority provided public water service to residences near the site along B. Whitefield Road and in the Hidden Oaks subdivision. Additionally, service lines were installed along Georgia Highway 82 south of Arcade, Double Bridges Road, Windy Hill Road, and Shady Lane Court.

To date, all homes in the Hidden Oaks subdivision, except one, are now receiving public water. The local water authority reported that only one homeowner elected not to be connected to the public water supply. No previous water well sampling results were found for that residence. The five residents whose individual water wells were contaminated by releases of regulated substances from the Griffith Oil Site are now connected to the public water distribution system. Their wells also have been properly filled and abandoned.


The ATSDR Child Health Initiative recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand special emphasis in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. Children are more likely to be exposed because they play outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. They are more likely to come into contact with dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground. Also, they receive higher doses of chemical exposure due to lower body weights. The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages.

The Griffith Oil Company site is presently abandoned, although man-made structures from previous oil recycling activities still remain on site. The property is fenced with a gate that remains locked. GEPD reported that two locations along the west fence line may allow unauthorized access to the site; however, there was no evidence that children had entered the property. The current fence appears adequate in preventing access onto the property by children. The threat posed to children from using a contaminated water supply was eliminated when residences were connected to public water. Health information will be provided to the one homeowner who elected not to connect to the public water supply. The information will target the possible health effects on children that could result from using water containing the chemicals present in the groundwater.


  • The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority provided residents of the Hidden Oaks subdivision with a safe water supply.

  • All residents exposed in the past are currently use the public water supply. Only one homeowner elected not to receive public water, but no water samples have been taken from that well to determine whether the water contains contaminants.

  • On-site, the facility's restrictive access fence is not properly maintained to prevent unauthorized entry.

  • The groundwater exposure pathway was remedied for households affected in the past and potentially in the future. This site is currently designated as no apparent public health hazard because, as can currently be determined, no completed exposure pathways exist. A water sample from the one well that is still in use will determine if contaminants are present in the water that could cause harm.


GEPD should ensure that Griffith Oil Company owners maintain the restrictive access fence in good repair and post "no trespassing"signs.


Actions Completed

  • The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority obtained a loan from GEFA and a grant from GEPD to supply public water to residents near the Griffith Oil Company site.

  • The Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority connected all homes, except one, in the Hidden Oaks subdivision to the public water supply.

  • GDPH provided health and well sampling information to the homeowner whose residence was not connected to the public water supply.

  • GEPD reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, that further investigations need to be conducted on site to locate potential sources of groundwater contamination and to further delineate the extent of vertical and horizontal soil contamination.

Actions Planned

  • GDPH will provide information to local residents, especially the homeowner who decided not to connect his/her residence to the public water supply, about potential hazards remaining on the Griffith Oil Company site.

  • GEPD will sample the one residence not connected to the county public water system at the request of the owner.



Maurice Redmond
Program Consultant
Georgia Division of Public Health
Chemical Hazards Program


Larry Kloet
Environmental Engineer
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
Hazardous Site Response Program

Gail Godfrey
ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Bob Safay
ATSDR Regional Representative


1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public health assessment for Griffith Oil Company, Arcade, Jackson County, Georgia. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1999 Mar 19.

2. American Environmental and Construction Services Inc. Griffith Oil Company site removal activities report. Alpharetta, Georgia: American Environmental and Construction Services Inc.; 2000 Aug 23.

3. Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Letter to Alex Byran, chairman, Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority, from Tim Cash, program manager, Hazardous Site Response Program, concerning emergency water for hazardous site inventory #10260. May 13,1999.

4. Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Site inspection prioritization for Griffith Oil Company, Arcade, Georgia: Georgia Department of Natural Resources; 2000 Jun 30.


The Georgia Department of Human Resources prepared this Griffith Oil Company (Update), Arcade, Jackson County, Georgia, health consultation under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health consultation and concurs with the findings.

Lisa C. Hayes
for Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR

Table 1. Analytical Results From the Five Individual Water Wells.

Contaminant Sample Date Comparison Value Reference IW-1 IW-1D IW-3 IW-4 IW-5 IW-8 IW-8D
Volatile Organic Compounds (µg/L)    
1,1-Dichloroethene 6/24/97
Trichloroethene 6/24/97
5.0 MCL <5.0
Tetrachloroethene 6/24/97
5.0 MCL 15.0

CREG: cancer risk evaluation guide
MCL: maximum contaminant level for public drinking water systems
IW: Individual water well
D: Duplicate sample
µg/L: micrograms per liter
--: Not tested for


Pathway Name



Exposure Point

Exposure Route

Receptor Population

Time of Exposure

individual private well contaminated groundwater water water faucets/
<10 future
on-site physical hazards   buildings/
physical activity unauthorized access future

Table of Contents 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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