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ATSDR concludes that additional information is needed to characterize the location, concentration, and toxicity of any hazardous substances in surface soil and soil gas at the Rock Avenue Landfill.

  • The concentration of contaminants (including metals, PAHs, and petroleum hydrocarbons) in the soil exceed comparison values in near-surface and subsurface soils (0.5 - 33 feet bgs). Soil contamination is unlikely to be associated with public health concerns because exposure to soil at depth is not likely. No surface soil data, however, are available. While soil vegetation on the site currently limits the potential for dust migration and surface soil exposure, past exposures are unknown. Additionally, the site remains accessible to trespassers.
  • Soil gas monitoring data indicates elevated levels (50% of the LEL) of methane on and at the perimeter of the Rock Avenue property (2). Off-site soil gas monitoring is limited to one nearby resident's yard; no methane levels that present a public health concern were detected in the sample. Only two air monitoring samples exist: one from the petitioner's basement and one from the basement of another nearby resident. No naphthalene or other PAHs were found in the petitioner's basement and no methane was detected at levels that presents a public health concern. No other air monitoring data are available.
  • While subsurface investigations to date have revealed limited contamination at levels not associated with the acute and chronic health problems reported by the petitioner and other community members, limited data are available for near-surface (two samples) and subsurface soil (five samples). Further evaluation of subsurface conditions would be warranted if soils were to be excavated or otherwise disturbed in the future.
  • Exposure to groundwater or surface water at the Rock Avenue Landfill does not pose a public health hazard. Groundwater is not utilized as a drinking source and no surface water exists in the nearby vicinity of the site.


Further characterization of the potential exposure pathways regarding surface soils and soil gas is needed at the Rock Avenue Landfill Site. Specifically, ATSDR recommends that the following activities be performed this site.

  • Collect and analyze surface soil samples.
  • Monitor methane gas levels on site and in houses located in the vicinity of the site.
  • If the data warrants, methane controls should be installed on site as needed (concurrent with previous recommendation by EA in November 1989).

EPA Region I has agreed to perform the additional sampling activities (Burke 1998). To date, no sampling has been conducted.


Arkansas Department of Health. 1996. Health Effects of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S). December 19, 1996.

ATSDR Division of Toxicology. 1995. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Atlanta, GA: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (Update).

Burke, Dan 1998. Conference Call with Dan Burke, EPA Region I, February 18, 1998.

Daily Times Chronicle. 1993. EPA officials meet with toxic study group. January 22, 1993.

EA. 1989. EA Engineering, Science, and Technology. Soil Vapor Containment Assessment. November 1989.

EPA. 1991. Air Emissions from Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. Background Information for Proposed Standards and Guidelines. PB91-197061. March 1991.

Hidell-Eyster. 1985a. Environmental Assessment of Land in Winchester, Massachusetts, Located Off of Hill Street and Rock Avenue Owned by Charles A. Ferrari. January 10, 1985.

Hidell-Eyster. 1985b. Environmental Assessment of Land in Winchester, Massachusetts, Located Off of Hill Street and Rock Avenue Owned by Charles A. Ferrari. July 22, 1985.

Hidell-Eyster. 1989. Results and Findings from Hidell-Eyster Field Investigation III Hill Street and Rock Avenue, Winchester, Massachusetts. September 22, 1989.

Hidell-Eyster. 1997. Report of Activities for a Phase One Investigation Under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan. April 29, 1997.

Johnson, S. 1997. Personal communication with Steven Johnson, MADEP, August 19, 1997.

Mackenzie and Angevine. 1981. Infertility in mice exposed in utero to benzo(a)pyrene. Biol Reprod 24:183-191.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Environmental Health Sciences. See MIT.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. See MADEP.

MADEP. 1991. Correspondence to Suzanne Condon. August 6, 1991.

MDPH. 1993. Massachusetts Department of Health. Correspondence to Toxic Waste Study Committee. March 1, 1993.

MIT. 1992. Correspondence from William G. Thilly to petitioner. April 13, 1992.

MIT. 1997a. PAC Quantification Results for Rock Avenue Soil Samples. May 20, 1997.

MIT. 1997b. Telephone conversation with Dr. Arthur LaFleur, Associate Director for Analytical Chemistry. August 5, 1997.

Ridgon and Rennels. 1964. Effect of feeding benzo(a)pyrene on reproduction in the rat. Experimentia 20:2224-226.

Smith, M. 1997. Personal communication with Marianne Smith, Receptionist, Town of Winchester DPW, August 4, 1997.

Tabbi, J. 1998. Personal communication with Joseph Tabbi, Town of Winchester Board of Health, Health Officer, February 17, 1998.

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