PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
ELMIRA, CHEMUNG COUNTY, NEW YORK
- Based on the information reviewed, the Facet Enterprises, Inc. site posed
an indeterminate public health hazard in the past. The Sullivan Street Wellfield,
a municipal drinking water supply downgradient of the site, is primarily contaminated
with TCE, which may have originated from the Facet Enterprises, Inc. site.
The wellfield was used between 1961 and 1991. TCE was first detected in these
wells in 1980 and they were taken off-line in 1991 because of TCE contamination
at levels above drinking water standards. People using this water supply were
exposed to TCE which may have come from the Facet Enterprises, Inc. site.
At the present time, ingestion of contaminated drinking water is not occurring.
However, the site poses a public health hazard because future exposures to
contaminants in groundwater could occur at levels that are of public health
concern. If remedial measures are not taken to address groundwater contamination
at and near the site, contaminants from the Facet site could migrate towards
the Sullivan Street Wellfield. If the wellfield is reactivated, without treatment
or other protective measures, users of the public water supply could be exposed
to elevated levels of VOCs and metals from the Facet site, at concentrations
above drinking water standards.
- Currently, there is not enough information (including sampling data) to
rule out potential exposures associated with contaminated groundwater in the
neighborhoods south/southeast of the site. This includes infiltration of basements
with contaminated groundwater and/or contaminated soil gas originating from
that groundwater. The information currently available suggests that neither
of these events is happening, however, further sampling and evaluation is
needed. Also, there is insufficient information to evaluate the public health
significance of possible exposures to contaminants in soils. Surface soils
in yards of homes near the Heights Drainage Swale may be contaminated as a
result of past flooding of surface water from the swale and the possibility
of exposure via direct contact to these soils needs further evaluation.
- The sediments in May's Creek directly across Route 14 adjacent to Facet
Enterprises are contaminated with cadmium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
at concentrations that exceed comparison values and under certain exposure
scenarios could pose an increased risk of adverse health effects to trespassers.
- The sediments in the Heights Drainage Swale are contaminated with cadmium,
PAHs, and Aroclor 1254 at concentrations that exceed comparison values and
under certain exposure scenarios could pose an increased risk of adverse health
effects to trespassers.
- Several areas on-site have received waste materials and are contaminated
with chlorinated solvents, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and inorganics.
These areas are the oil/water separator, and disposal Areas 4, 6, 7, 8, and
- Over 450 drums of plating waste and 250 cubic yards of contaminated soil
were excavated from disposal Areas 1, 2, 3, and 4. About 20,000 gallons of
water were also contained for proper disposal.
- A layer of petroleum based product was detected floating on top of the water
table at monitoring well D-5. This product is composed completely of chemicals
and this finding suggests there could be another source of contamination on-site.
It could be a very localized area of contamination. Regardless, further investigation
of this contamination is planned.
- Several citizens have expressed on-going concern about emissions of black particles from the site. These black particles appear to be soot emissions from the boiler or diesel engine operation at the Facet site and other area manufacturing facilities.
- Complete the treatment system for the Elmira Water Board's Sullivan Street
Wellfield as soon as possible.
- Implement an on-site groundwater pump and treat system to protect the Newtown
Creek Aquifer since it serves as a source of potable water.
- Excavate surface soils from Areas 6, 7, and 8 and replace with clean fill
to reduce the potential for on-site workers and future users of the site to
come into direct contact to contaminated soils that present a potential health
- Remove sediment in May's Creek, Heights Drainage Swale, the North drainage
ditch, and Area 10 Lagoon. This is needed to reduce the potential for community
residents for direct contact to contaminated sediments for local residents
that may use May's Creek, or for on-site workers that may use Heights Drainage
Swale, Area 10 lagoon or the North Drainage Ditch.
- Conduct confirmatory sampling to ensure that remediation goals are obtained
in Areas 6, 7 and 8; and May's Creek, Heights Drainage Swale, the North Drainage
Ditch, and Area 10 Lagoon.
- Continue to restrict site access through maintenance of the existing fencing
and continued 24-hour security.
- Sample additional subsurface soils in Area 10 to determine leaching potential
and subsequent impacts on groundwater of the Newtown Aquifer.
- Conduct further investigation to determine the source and extent of the
floating free product found in monitoring well 5 to define this contamination
of the Newtown Creek Aquifer and the needed remediation.
- Implement institutional controls to keep this property as an industrial
- Conduct further evaluation of the potential for contaminated groundwater
or soil gas originating from contaminated groundwater, to infiltrate basements
of residences south/southeast of the site. This information will be used to
evaluate if residential exposures to site contaminants is occurring via these
exposure pathways. Sump sampling, basement surveys, and review of groundwater
data are necessary. Air monitoring may also be necessary. Currently, the information
available suggests that these contaminant migration pathways are not a concern.
However, the information is not complete to rule them out.
- NYS DOH is recommending that the NYS DEC investigate the citizens complaint concerning the emissions of black particles from the site and initiate the appropriate corrective actions, if necessary.
The data and information developed in the public health assessment for the Facet Enterprises site in Elmira, New York, has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) to determine appropriate follow-up health actions. Because of past exposures to contaminated drinking water and reported community health concerns, the panel recommended this site for follow-up health activities. Specifically, those persons exposed in the past should be considered for inclusion on NYS DOH's registry for VOC exposures from drinking contaminated water. The NYS DOH registry is being developed and will be matched with the NYS DOH cancer registry to evaluate possible adverse health outcomes. The NYS DOH has performed community health education in the past. Therefore, no other follow-up activities were recommended by HARP at this time.
The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Facet Enterprises site contains a description of actions to be taken by the ATSDR, US EPA, NYS DOH and/or CC DOH at and near the site subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included, is a commitment on the part of the ATSDR/CC DOH to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.
Public Health Actions Taken
- A downgradient public drinking water supply wellfield (Sullivan Street)
is being fitted with a treatment system by the US EPA to remove volatile organic
contaminants. The wellfield was taken off-line in August 1991;
- Over 450 buried drums and associated soils were excavated by the Purolator
Products Company in March/April 1992 with US EPA oversight. Additionally,
associated contaminated soils and groundwater have been contained for proper
disposal off-site; and
- A fence around the Heights Drainage Swale was constructed during the summer
of 1991 to restrict the public's access to that area. The fence was constructed
in 1991 at the request of the NYS DOH.
- The CC DOH has conducted extensive health education in the past to address community health concerns about the health affects associated with exposure to TCE in drinking water. These health education activities were, for the most part, done in the early 1980s, shortly after contamination of the KAW was first discovered. Additionally, NYS DOH representatives have attended a public meeting and a public availability session to address community health concerns related to contamination at the Facet site.
Public Health Actions Planned
The following actions include many of those selected in US EPA's remedial action plan for the site. This remedial action plan is supported by the NYS DOH and NYS DEC and is considered to be protective of human health.
- The US EPA is completing the installation of a treatment system for the
Sullivan Street wellfield.
- Under the direction of US EPA, Purolator Products is installing a groundwater
treatment system to capture contaminated groundwater and remove volatile organic
- Under the direction of US EPA, Purolator Products will excavate surface
soils from Areas 6, 7, and 8 and replace with clean fill;
- Under the direction of US EPA, Purolator Products will remove sediment from
May's Creek, Heights Drainage Swale, the North Drainage Ditch, and Area 10
- Under the direction of US EPA, Purolator Products will sample subsurface
soils in Area 10 to determine if chromium is leaching from subsurface soils
into the groundwater;
- Under the direction of US EPA, Purolator Products will further investigate
the source and extent of floating free product in monitoring well 5 to determine
if there are any associated human exposures;
- The NYS DOH will participate in the implementation of institutional controls
to ensure that the Facet property remains designated for industrial use and
is not developed in the future for residential use;
- Purolator Products Incorporated is to maintain site security including fencing
to restrict public access to the site;
- The NYS DOH will coordinate further investigation of the potential for contaminated
groundwater originating from the site to enter basements of adjacent private
homes and identification of seeps through VOC and metals sampling analyses;
- The NYS DOH will coordinate the collection of surface soil samples from
the yards of homes south of the Facet Enterprises site; the results of this
sampling effort will be used to evaluate potential exposures associated with
direct contact to these soils;
- The NYS DOH will consider adding persons exposed in the past to VOCs through
use of their domestic water supplies to their registry being developed for
- The ATSDR and NYS DOH will coordinate with the appropriate environmental, health and other agencies to discuss recommendations 7, 9, 10, and 11 and to develop an action plan.
ATSDR will provide an annual follow up to this PHAP, outlining the actions completed and those in progress. This report will be placed in repositories that contain copies of this Public Health Assessment, and will be provided to persons who request it. ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.
The Public Health Assessment for the Facet Enterprises site was prepared by the New York State Department of Health 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 public health assessment was initiated.
Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.
Robert C. Williams
Division Director, DHAC, ATSDR
Environmental Health Specialist III
Environmental Health Specialist III
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment
New York State Department of Health
ATSDR Regional Representative
Office of the Assistant
ATSDR Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment
and Consultation, Remedial Programs Branch