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Table 1. Subsurface Soil Summary Data1

Compound Number
Location Soil Comparison Value
Pica/Child/Adult (ppm)
Arsenic 1/4 ND - 7 P-1 0.5
EMEG (Chronic)
Cadmium 1/4 ND - 1.0 P-1 1/40/500 EMEG (Chronic)
Chromium (total) 4/4 16 - 27.7 P-1 10/300/4,000 RMEG
Copper 1/4 ND - 60 P-1 NA
Lead (total) 4/4 1.81 - 675 B-5 and B-62 NA
Phenols (total) 1/1 4,900 P-43 1,000/30,000/400,000 RMEG

ppm = parts per million
NA = Not Available

CREG = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
EMEG = Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
RMEG = Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide

1 Samples taken from five locations at depths ranging from 13.5 to 33 feet bgs; table includes data from compounds that were detected above comparison values.

2 B-5 and B-6 were analyzed together as a composite sample.

3 A sample from P-4 exhibiting a strong petroleum odor was found in the initial foot of the boring. The sample was analyzed for TPH and found to contain 4,900 mg/kg of hydrocarbons. It was not analyzed for other compounds.

[Source: Hidell-Eyster, 1989]

Table 2. On-site Near Surface Soil Summary Data for the Rock Avenue Landfill 1

Compound (PAH) Number Detected Range
Benzo(a)anthracene 2/2

4.42 - 9.01

Benzo(a)pyrene 2/2

3.92 - 8.66

Benzo(e)pyrene 2/2

3.01 - 6.51

Benzo(g,h,i)perylene 2/2

1.96 - 4.81

Chrysene 2/2

4.53 - 8.7

Dibenzofuran[a,h]anthracene 2/2

1.37 - 3.81

Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene 2/2

2.33 - 5.93

ppm = part per million

1 Samples taken from two locations at 6 inches bgs; table includes chemicals detected above comparison values.

[Source: MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences, 1997]

Table 3. Potential Exposure Pathways Associated with the Rock Avenue Landfill

Pathway Name Source Environmental Medium Point of Exposure (Exposed
Route of Exposure Time of Exposure Comments
On-site surface soil 1
Soil Trespassers/Nearby Residents Dermal
Near surface soil indicate contaminant levels not associated with health effects.

Limited data are available: No surface soil data has been collected and only two near surface soil samples were analyzed.

Soil Gas Methane-producing landfill materials disposed on site. Air Residents of houses in the nearby vicinity of site. Inhalation Past Present Future Soil gas sampling at the perimeter of the site above LEL. No methane detected at elevated level in nearby basement.

Indoor methane data are limited to two samples from two nearby basements.

LEL = Lower Explosive Limit
CREG = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
EMEG = Environmental Media Evaluation Guide
RMEG = Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide
1 Data based on MIT soil samples at 6 inches below the surface; no surface soil data (i.e., 0 to 3 inches) are available.


Figure 1. Regional Location of Rock Avenue Landfill

Figure 2. Rock Avenue Landfill Site Map

APPENDIX A. Previous Key Actions at the Rock Avenue Landfill Site

  • Prior to the 1930s:
  • Sand and gravel pit. No documentation exists.

  • 1930s to 1978:
  • Vacant lot. According to the Environmental Assessment (Hidell-Eyster, 1985a), the site had been used for a short period of time for sludge/sewage disposal but the Winchester Board of Health halted the disposal due to abutters' complaints (date unknown). Center Trucking Company reportedly disposed of oils, engine cleaners, and asphalt in the sand pit, prior to 1978. It is also alleged that neighborhood residents used the sand pit for disposal of motor oils and car maintenance debris.

  • 1980 to 1983:
  • Landfilling operations. The current landowner acquired ownership of the property in 1978 but did not begin landfill operations until 1980. The site was used for disposal of construction and building demolition debris. The demolition debris came from the Winchester Theater Building and the Stuart Street Garage in Boston; asphalt came from the Winchester Hospital.

  • January 10, 1985:
  • Environmental Assessment. Hidell-Eyster (1985a) performed an environmental assessment of the site to determine the presence of hazardous materials. Soil borings were drilled to characterize the site subsurface. The report concluded that limited contamination (oily soils) existed at two borings, and recommended that additional borings be taken during the rainy season and that the site be fully loamed and seeded.

  • July 22, 1985:
  • Environmental Assessment. Hidell-Eyster (1985b) performed an additional environmental assessment of subsurface soils to determine the extent of the oily soils and make final recommendations regarding the future of the site. No groundwater samples were taken at this time because the wells were never sufficiently recharged. The report recommended capping of the site and monitoring of observation wells, for an unspecified time, to determine any changes in the groundwater status. The report also recommended removing the oily soil if construction on site was to occur.

  • September 22, 1989:
  • Field Investigation. Hidell-Eyster (1989) performed a field investigation at the request of the Winchester Board of Health to further address the public's questions and concerns. Groundwater, soil, and soil gas were tested. The report concluded that no environmental media (underlying soil, groundwater, or ambient air) appear to be affected by the oily soil. It also concluded that the isolated area of 'oil-like contaminated soil' exists at a depth greater than 10 feet bgs, limiting human contact with contaminated soil. The report recommended closure of the site.

  • October 1989:
  • EA soil gas survey. EA was hired by the Winchester Board of Health to sample soil gas on and off site, including one nearby basement. Elevated levels of methane were detected on site and at the perimeter of the site. Methane concentrations off site (nearby property and basement) were not elevated.

  • July 13, 1990:
  • MADEP approves waiver application. Waiver of Approval allows a site owner, with the assistance of a licensed site professional, to assess and remediate contamination without direct oversight by the MADEP.

  • October 12, 1993:
  • MADEP rescinds waiver approval. The responsible parties are now required to conduct site assessment and remedial activities pursuant to MADEP's new regulations.

  • March 18, 1992:
  • MIT air sampling. Air data collected by MIT from the petitioner's basement. No naphthalene or any other PAH was detected; methane was detected at 1 ppm.

  • November 19, 1996:
  • MIT soil sampling. MIT collected near-surface (greater than 6 inches bgs) soil samples from the Rock Avenue Landfill. Some PAHs were detected at levels slightly above ATSDR comparison values.

  • April 29, 1997:
  • Phase One Investigation. A report prepared by Hidell-Eyster (1997) compiles all previously collected environmental sampling data to provide the background information necessary to support a Response Action Outcome for the site (not including lots five and six shown on Figure 2) under MADEP regulations. The report indicates that petroleum hydrocarbons were identified in only one area of the site; this contamination is thought to originate from asphalt debris that was used as fill for that area. The petroleum hydrocarbons detected are not representative of the general soil quality at the site as no other soil or groundwater contamination has been identified. The Phase One report concludes that conditions at the site do not pose a "significant risk" to public health or welfare, or a risk of harm to public safety. The RAO concludes that no further action is required for the site under the MCP. The identified oil contaminated area was not considered.

    APPENDIX B. Abbreviations and Definitions

    List of Abbreviations

    ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    bgs below ground surface
    DPW Department of Public Works
    EPA Environmental Protection Agency
    FID flame ionization detector
    GC gas chromatograph
    LEL Lower explosive limit
    MADEP Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
    MADEQ Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality
    MDPH Massachusetts Department of Public Health
    MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    OEMP occupational and environmental medicine physician
    OVA Organic Vapor Analyzer
    PAH polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
    PCB polychlorinated biphenyl
    ppb parts per billion
    ppm parts per million
    RAO Response Action Outcome
    SVOC semi-volatile organic compound
    VOC volatile organic compound

    List of Definitions


    Occurring over a short time, usually a few minutes or hours. An acute exposure can result in short-term or long-term health effects. An acute effect happens a short time (up to 1 year) after exposure.


    Occurring over a long period of time (more than 1 year).

    Comparison Values

    Estimated contaminant concentrations in specific media that are not likely to cause adverse health effects, give a standard daily ingestion rate and standard body weight. The comparison values are calculated from the scientific literature available on exposure and health effects.


    The amount of one substance dissolved or contained in a given amount of another. For example, sea water contains a higher concentration of salt than fresh water.


    Any substance or material that enters a system (the environment, human body, food, etc.) Where it is not normally found.


    Referring to the skin. Dermal absorption means absorption through the skin.

    Environmental Contamination

    The presence of hazardous substances in the environment. From the public health perspective, environmental contamination is addressed when it potentially affects the health and quality of life of people living and working near the contamination.


    Contact with a chemical by swallowing, by breathing, or by direct contact (such as through the skin or eyes). Exposure may be short term (acute) or long term (chronic).


    A source of risk that does not necessarily imply potential for occurrence. A hazard produces risk only if an exposure pathway exists, and if exposures create the possibility of adverse consequences.

    Health Consultation

    A response to a specific question or request for information pertaining to a hazardous substance or facility (which includes waste sites ). It often contains a time-critical element that necessitates a rapid response; therefore, it is a more limited response than an assessment.

    Health Outcome Data

    A major source of data for public health assessments. The identification, review, and evaluation of health outcome parameters are interactive processes involving the health assessors, data source generators, and the local community. Health outcome data are community specific and may be derived from databases at the local, state, and national levels, as well as from data collected by private health care organizations an professional institutions and associations. Databases to be considered include morbidity and mortality data, birth statistics, medical records, tumor and disease registries, surveillance data, and previously conducted health studies.


    Swallowing (such as eating or drinking). Chemicals can get in or on food, drink, utensils, cigarettes, or hands where they can be ingested. After ingestion, chemicals can be absorbed into the blood and distributed throughout the body.


    Breathing. Exposure may occur from inhaling contaminants because they can be deposited in the lungs, taken into the blood, or both.


    Soil, water, air, plants, animals, or any other part of the environment that can contain contaminants.

    No Public Health Hazard

    Sites for which data indicate no current or past exposure or no potential for exposure and therefore no health hazard.

    Potential/Indeterminate Public Health Hazard

    Sites for which no conclusions about public health hazards can be made because data are lacking.

    Route of Exposure

    The way in which a person may contact a chemical substance. For example, drinking (ingestion) and bathing (skin contact) are two different routes of exposure to contaminants that may be found in water.

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

    Substances containing carbon and different proportions of other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, sulfur, or nitrogen; these substances easily become vapors or gases. A significant number of the VOCs are commonly used as solvents (paint thinners, lacquer thinner, degreasers, and dry cleaning fluids).

    APPENDIX C: ATSDR Methods of Evaluation Potential Public Health Implications

    Based on available scientific data, much of which ATSDR has collected in its toxicological profiles, ATSDR has determined concentrations of chemicals that can reasonably (and conservatively) be regarded as harmless. The resulting comparison values generally include ample safety factors to ensure protection of sensitive populations. They are used to screen contaminant concentrations at a site, and to select "chemicals of concern" that warrant closer scrutiny by agency health assessors and toxicologists. A "chemical of concern" is defined as any chemical that is detected in air, water, or soil at concentrations that exceed one or more of ATSDR's comparison values.

    The derivation of a comparison value uses conservative exposure assumptions, resulting in values that are much lower than exposure concentrations observed to cause adverse health effects; thus, insuring the comparison values are protective of public health in essentially all exposure situations. That is, if the concentrations in the exposure medium are less than the CV, the exposures are not of health concern and no further analysis of the pathway is required. However, while concentrations below the comparison value are not expected to lead to any observable health effect, it should not be inferred that a concentration greater than the comparison value will necessarily lead to adverse effects. Depending on site-specific environmental exposure factors (for example, duration of exposure) and activities of people that result in exposure (time spent in area of contamination), exposure to levels above the comparison value may or may not lead to a health effect. Therefore, ATSDR's comparison values are not used to predict the occurrence of adverse health effects. ATSDR's comparison values and health guidelines are not thresholds of toxicity. While concentrations at or below the relevant comparison value is considered safe, it does not necessarily follow that any concentration exceeding a comparison value is expected to produce adverse health effects. Highly conservative, health-based standards and guidelines are used to assist health professionals in recognizing and resolving potential public health problems before that potential is realized.

    1. All measurements were taken using an Organic Vapor Analyzer (OVA) with a GC option. The 1,000 ppm hit is likely due to methane; soon after the peak was noted, the OVA was switched to the GC option, which indicated methane. The lab notes, however, indicate that this is not a definitive analysis.

    2. The highest methane concentration was detected on Lot 6 which is not included in the RAO for this site.

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