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The Dekalb County Health Department requested that the Georgia Department of Human Resources (GDHR), Toxics and Health Hazards Consultation Section, evaluate the extent of contamination and the potential for resulting health effects associated with the Former Rally's Restaurant and Briarcliff Station, two state-listed hazardous waste sites. This health consultation (HC) addresses the extent of cleanup at these sites, past contaminant levels, present contaminant levels, and the potential or actual completed exposure pathways.


The Former Rally's Restaurant and Briarcliff Station sites are located adjacent to each other within an approximately 30 acre parcel of land occupied predominately by retail stores, parking areas, and traffic lanes (Figure 1). Ninety to ninety-five percent of this parcel is covered by asphalt and buildings, with the balance consisting of landscaped grounds. The sites are bordered by Briarcliff Road to the north, North Druid Hills Road to the south, Mount Miriah Road to the west. A small restaurant currently occupies the parcel of land to the east.

The Briarcliff Station Shopping Center leasehold is about 3 to 4 acres and lies immediately north of the former Rally's Restaurant leasehold (Figure 2). A dry cleaning business is the southern-most tenant with the rear service doors opening into a service alley that borders the former Rally's parcel to the south. The former Rally's Restaurant leasehold parcel is about one-half acre and was also the location of a former automotive service business. The restaurant building was removed prior to all field work associated with these sites. The land is currently vacant.

Contaminants of concern include tetrachloroethene, apparently originating from spills or improper disposal from the dry cleaning establishment, in soil and groundwater and various organics and lead in groundwater from the former automotive service business. Because of the apparent southerly groundwater flow, contaminants in the groundwater migrated beyond the former Rally's site for less than one-quarter mile (Figure 2) [1]. The property south of North Druid Hills Road is owned by the Dekalb County School Board and is landscaped with approximately 20 year old southern pines on a relatively steep southern slope. Beyond the tree line, the property is used for tennis courts, a football stadium and a high school.

In addition to these contaminants, two unlabeled drums with unknown contents are stored on the property between the dry cleaner and the former Rally's parcel. No clean-up has been recorded at these sites.

The sites were brought to the attention of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) in June 1994 when a notification of the release of tetrachloroethene to groundwater was submitted based on the results of a Preliminary Site Assessment conducted for the Former Rally's Restaurant site. A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment was performed because of the site's former use as an automotive service business. Results of the Phase II Assessment indicated the release of gasoline products to the ground from a leaking underground storage tank (UST) or other release to the ground from UST overfilling or spillage, or from discharge into a drain field or dry well [2].

In November 1994, a Contamination Assessment (CA) was conducted to identify the degree and extent of solvent and petroleum product contamination at these sites. Under the Georgia Hazardous Site Response Act (HSRA), GEPD staff began further investigation of the sites to determine various site-specific criteria for evaluation using the Reportable Quantities Screening Method (RQSM). The RQSM specifies the methods and equations to be used for "scoring" each site and takes into consideration the distance to the nearest residents and the potential for human exposure to contaminants. The RQSM sets a threshold value of 10.0 for the groundwater pathway score and a score of 20.0 for the on-site pathway score. If the RQSM indicates that a release exceeds either or both of the threshold values, the site may be listed on the GEPD Hazardous Site Inventory (HSI).

In September 1995, the sites were reported to the UST Program for total petroleum hydrocarbons releases from an UST. The results of the Contamination Assessment and a review of the rules for UST management indicated that remediation of the sites would not be required under the UST Program because [3]:

  1. no free product has been detected in monitoring wells;
  2. no surface water bodies exist within 500 feet of the contamination plume;
  3. no public or private drinking water systems are within three miles or one-half mile, respectively;
  4. concentrations of volatile organic compounds and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons were not found at elevated levels in soil.

However, the report said that under the existing and proposed changes to the UST Program rules, groundwater monitoring might be required to evaluate the contaminant plume in order to identify any changes which may occur to the levels of contamination present and the locations of those contaminants.

In March 1996, using the RQSM, GEPD determined that the on-site exposure pathway score of 24.69 (based on tetrachlorethene as the reference contaminant) exceeded the threshold value of 20.0. Because the RQSM indicates that a release exceeds an RQSM threshold value, on March 12, 1996, the site was listed on the HSI as a Category II site, requiring further evaluation before GEPD can decide if corrective action is needed.

In April 1996, GEPD requested that a Compliance Status Report (CSR) be submitted to GEPD by the owners of the property. The CSR requires that additional sampling and analysis be conducted to determine the nature and extent of contamination in soil and groundwater before the sites could be removed from the HSI. The current property owners have agreed to comply with the June 30, 1998, deadline for submission of the CSR. If necessary, a health consultation will be provided when that data become available.

On January 5, 1998, GDHR requested that GEPD initiate removal of the drums stored on site. That recommendation is again made in this health consultation.

Environmental Sampling

Briarcliff Station

Work was initiated at the Briarcliff Station site by identifying areas within the dry cleaner tenant space where there was evidence of apparent spillage. No significantly elevated levels of dry cleaning solvents were detected in the soil underneath the concrete floor of the business. A soil volatile organic vapor survey was conducted around the outside perimeter of the dry cleaner. The survey identified an area of significantly elevated volatile organic vapors, which is indicative of a release of dry cleaning solvent to the ground (Table 1). The location of elevated organic vapors provides strong evidence that dry cleaning solvent has been discharged into the water valve boxes located outside of the dry cleaner. Eleven soil samples were collected, and analyses indicated the presence of significantly elevated levels of tetrachloroethene in two samples from the area with elevated volatile organic vapors (Table 2). Groundwater samples were collected and analyzed from each of five groundwater monitoring wells, and elevated levels of tetrachloroethene were detected in one well, which was nearest the area with elevated volatile organic vapors (Table 3).

Former Rally's Restaurant

Samples were collected only from groundwater. Two rounds of groundwater samples were collected from seven existing monitoring wells and one new monitoring well to determine the levels of contamination existing across the site. These samples were analyzed for tetrachloroethene, acetone, volatile organic compounds, total petroleum hydrocarbons, solvents, and lead. Analyses of samples indicated the presence of lead in two samples, tetrachloroethene in five samples, and petroleum and/or solvent contamination in each sample (Table 3).

School Board Property

Since aquifer tests indicate that groundwater moves in a southerly direction, permission was secured to install four monitoring wells on School Board property. No well samples indicated the presence of tetrachloroethene. Two wells indicated the presence of lead, and two of the four monitoring well samples analyzed indicated the presence of petroleum and solvent contamination, with the level of contamination being significantly lower in the downgradient well (Table 3). Because of the low level of contamination found in the downgradient well, no additional downgradient monitoring wells were necessary to adequately estimate the horizontal extent of the contamination plume.

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