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Off-Site Disposal of Foundry Sand



The Health Assessment Section of the Ohio Department of Health was asked by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate lead sampling results for soils at two residential properties in and around the town of Delta, Ohio and also from commercial properties at the southwestern edge of Delta along the Bad Creek. It is suspected that spent foundry sand from the former Eagle Picher facility may have been used as fill material in these areas, and these properties may contain elevated levels of lead. HAS was asked to determine if the levels of lead detected in the soils pose a public health hazard to area residents. This investigation took place as a result of the discovery that lead-contaminated foundry sand that was stored at the former Eagle Picher facility was distributed freely to the area residents and may have been used as fill material in many areas throughout the village. Local residents came forward and stated that it was believed that foundry sands from Eagle Picher were used as fill in the Bad Creek area. This health consultation evaluates data collected during the recent investigation and makes recommendations to prevent or reduce exposure to lead contaminated soils.


The former Eagle-Picher Industries (current Bunting Bearing Corp.) facility occupies 5.2 acres on the eastern edge of the Village of Delta in a largely rural portion of Fulton County, Ohio. The operational foundry facility is east of Van Buren Street and north of Main Street (State Route 2) in a mixed residential/commercial portion of the village. It consists of a complex of metal casting and machining facilities between Palmer Street to the south and Linwood Street to the north. Most of the property is fenced, including a portion of Maplewood Street just west off Jackson Street and east of Van Buren Street. The facility is currently surrounded on all sides by residential properties that are separated from the former Eagle-Picher Industries property by distances as little as 30 feet.

The site of the current Bunting Bearing Corporation facility has been used for industrial purposes since the early 1900s. Prior to the 1930s, the site was used to repair steam locomotives. Foundry operations have been carried out at the site since 1936. Primary products were bronze alloys, bar stock, and metal bearings (ENSR, 1998). Metal alloys produced at the facility contained various amounts of copper, lead, tin, and zinc. Prior to 1977, metal casting at the site used molds made out of olivine sand. The olivine sand from sand casting operations, which was later discovered to contain high levels of lead, was landfilled on-site. The excess sand was piled on-site and was given to area residents and building contractors to use as fill material.


As the result of additional reports of foundry sand from the former Eagle Picher Facility being used as fill in several areas of Delta, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency entered into a cooperative agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection at the areas in question. The areas in question consist of a rural farm property on County Road FG east of Delta, a residential property on West Main Street, an empty lot located in Delta that was supposedly used to store foundry sands, and a strip of largely commercial property located along Superior Street adjacent to the banks of Bad Creek .

Ohio EPA conducted sampling on March 27 and 28, 2002, on the FG property and the Superior Street site. Samples were collected from the Superior Street site by surficial grab (6 inches or less) and soil cores using Geoprobe™ direct push technology. Geoprobe cores were installed in 25 locations and samples were collected and composited in four foot intervals. Borings were advanced until refusal or natural soils were reached. The deepest borings reached a depth of 20 feet below ground surface (bgs). In addition to Geoprobe cores, there were 12 surficial soil samples and 5 sediment sample locations (Ohio EPA, 2002). The sample locations are shown in Figure 1.

Elevated lead levels were detected in several of the soil samples collected from the Superior Street area. The Revised Interim Soil Lead Guidance for CERCLA Sites and RCRA Correction Facilities recommends a residential lead screening level of 400 parts per million (USEPA, 1994). Lead was detected at all depths sampled, from the surface to 20 feet bgs. In Core A, which is from 0 - 4 feet bgs, lead was detected above 400 parts per million (ppm) in 10 out of 25 samples (Figure 1 & 2). The highest concentration detected in Core A was detected in GP-1 at 4,460 ppm. Table 1 shows levels of lead collected in the Superior Street area that exceeded the 400 ppm screening level.

Table 1. Superior Street-Bad Creek Sampling Results

Location Core Depth (feet) Type Lead Concentration parts per million (ppm)
GP01 A (0-4) XRF 3837
CLP 4460 J
GP02 A (0-4) XRF 466
GP03 A (0-4) XRF 1596
TCLP 229 (mg/l)
B (4-8) XRF 455
C (8-12) XRF 650
GP04 B (4-8) XRF 431
C (8-12) XRF 1243
CLP 509
GP09 C (8-12) XRF 3098
D (12-16) CLP 2530 J
XRF 564
E (16-20) XRF 2710
CLP 2050
GP10 A (0-4) XRF 840
XRF 803
CLP 598
E (16-20) XRF 915
GP11 D (12-16) XRF 3003
CLP 2370 J
E (16-20) XRF 5838
CLP 3670 J
GP12 C (8-12) XRF 648
D (12-16) XRF 1391
GP13 C (8-12) XRF 3611
GP15 A (0-4) XRF 2245
CLP 3040 J
TCLP 20.3 (mg/l)
GP16 A (0-4) XRF 1057
D (12-16) XRF 1214
E (16-20) XRF 912
F (20-24) XRF 1711
GP17 A (0-4) XRF 3300
B (4-8) XRF 2705
GP18 B (4-8) XRF 559
C (8-12) XRF 3470
GP19 A (0-4) XRF 1948
C (8-12) XRF 5161
E (16-20) XRF 6508
CLP 10300 J
GP20 A (0-4) XRF 2126
B (4-8) XRF 1707
D (12-16) XRF 2438
XRF 2221
GP21 A (0-4) XRF 2972
B (4-8) XRF 561
GP23 A (0-4) XRF 2590
GP25 B (4-8) XRF 526
XRF 564
C (8-12) XRF 533
SS1 (surface soil) XRF 2448
CLP 3010 J
SS2 XRF 3935
CLP 4070 J
TCLP 10.5 (mg/l)
SS3 XRF 3294
SS4 XRF 1504
SS5 XRF 566
SS6 XRF 1741
SS7 XRF 401

XRF = X-ray fluorescence (field screening)
CLP = laboratory analyzed
J = estimated laboratory value

Elevated lead levels were also detected in surface soil samples collected from a rural residential property located on County Road FG (Figure 3). The resident apparently used spent foundry sand as fill material when adding an extension to a pole barn located on the rear of the property. According to the resident, approximately six inches of fill was used in construction of the addition (Pers. comm. w/ property owner 9/3/02). The extent of the fill appears to be limited to under to the dirt floor under the barn extension and a small portion of land to the east of the addition that extends out into an agricultural field. The highest concentration of lead detected in surface soil samples was 2,819 ppm which was analyzed in the field using x-ray fluorescence. The highest laboratory analyzed sample showed lead levels at 2,610 ppm.

Table 2. County Road FG Surface Soil Sampling Results

Location Type Lead Concentration
parts per million (ppm)
SS13 XRF 2566
CLP 2610 J
TCLP (mg/l) 16.4
SS14 XRF 2216
XRF (Dup) 2819
TCLP (mg/l) 18.2
SS15 XRF 160
XRF (Dup) 147

A limited investigation was also conducted at an address located along Main Street on the west side of Delta (Figure 4). Three surface soil samples were collected that showed a maximum lead concentration of 4,500 parts per million. A visual inspection conducted by HAS during a September 3, 2002, site visit revealed that a large portion of the yard appears to be comprised of fill that resembles foundry sand. Visible layers of foundry sand are visible in the rear of the property where the slope has eroded over time leaving the foundry sand, including large chunks of metal crucible, exposed.

Table 3. Main Street Surface Soil Sampling Results

Location Lead Concentration
parts per million (ppm)
SS16 3070
SS17 4500
SS18 4440


When HAS evaluates exposure to hazardous chemicals we first have to determine if a completed exposure pathway exists or has the potential to exist. To have a completed exposure pathway five things must be present: 1) a source of contamination; 2) a transport mechanism (wind, water); 3) a point of exposure (place where contamination is present); 4) a route of exposure (drinking, eating, breathing); and 5) people who could be exposed.

A completed exposure pathway by itself does not necessarily result in adverse health effects. A chemical's ability to affect a resident's health is also controlled by a number of other factors, including:

  • how much of the chemical a person is exposed to (the dose);
  • how long a person is exposed to the chemical; and,
  • how often a person is exposed to the chemical.

Superior Street-Bad Creek Area

HAS staff conducted a site visit along with representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Fulton County Health Department on September 3, 2002. It appears that large amounts of fill material, including foundry sand, were used to build up the banks of Bad Creek in the area of Superior Street. There is at least a twenty foot drop from the ground surface to the creek bed below. During the site visit, foundry sand was visible along the north bank of the creek. Large pieces of crucible (slag) were also observed in this area. However, most of the creek bank is vegetated with thick growth of trees and shrubs. Canoes were observed along the creek which offered some indication that people in the area use the creek for recreation. Other portions of the creek bank appear to have been used for dumping of solid waste in the past. Glass bottles are sticking out of the bank and it appears that residents have been digging in the bank to recovered old bottles. There were also visible paths carved in the vegetation that hinted that children or residents may spend time on the banks of the creek. Analytical results indicate that lead contamination greater than 400 parts per million in the soil exists from the surface to a depth of approximately twenty feet below ground surface. Soil lead levels have been detected as high as 10,300 parts per million at a depth of 20 feet below ground surface. Lead concentrations in the surface soils ranged from 401 - 3,294 parts per million. No contamination has currently been detected in the sediments of the creek.

Based on visual inspection of the site, it appears that the area is used for recreational purposes by area residents. The potential exists for children and other residents to come into contact with lead contaminated surface soils. However, such contact is likely to be sporadic. It is unlikely that exposure to contaminants would occur other than to those present in the first few inches of soil. It is possible that in the future if site conditions were to change as a result of construction and/or landscaping activities that residents may be exposed to contaminated soils at greater depths than at the surface.

County Road FG Property

During the September 3, 2002 site visit, HAS staff also visited the County Road FG property located in a rural area east of the village that showed elevated lead levels in surface soil samples. Upon inspection of the area and conversation with the property owner, it appears that a relatively small amount of foundry sand was used as fill material in preparation for expansion of an existing barn located on the property. Foundry sand was visible along the eastern edge of the barn expansion and extending for a short distance into an adjoining agricultural field. The floor of the barn is dirt and may also contain foundry sand. Additional sampling would be necessary to determine the extent of foundry sand at the site. The potential currently exists for exposure to lead contaminated foundry sands either by direct contact or possibly by airborne dust emissions from the barn floor. An elderly couple lives on the property; no children are expected to be exposed on a regular basis.

Main Street Property

The Main Street property is currently a vacant residential property located on the western edge of the village of Delta. During the site visit it was noted that a large amount of fill was used to raise the level of the property up above the level of the flood plain of Bad Creek. It is possible that the home itself is built on fill material that may contain foundry sand. Foundry sand and exposed metal crucible were clearly visible at the rear of the property where the slope has begun to erode. Three surface samples were collected from the property, all of which exhibited elevated levels of lead contamination (3070 to 4500 ppm) in the surface soil. Additional samples would be necessary to determine the extent of foundry sand fill at this residence. This residence is currently vacant and for sale. The future potential for exposure to lead contaminated soils clearly exists along the rear of the property where visible foundry sand is located.


HAS and ATSDR realize the unique vulnerabilities of children when it comes to environmental exposures. That is why we take special consideration when evaluating a site to examine exposures and take precautions to include any scenarios that may involve exposure by children. Special care is also taken to evaluate site data against screening levels that are protective of the health of children. This is especially true in the case of lead contamination. Children are the primary population of concern when it comes to lead contamination because the hazards of lead are most severe on the developing body systems of children. In evaluating the analytical results of these lead contaminated soils, HAS evaluated each site as though the primary population of exposure was children and made our recommendations accordingly.


Based on field observations and evaluation of analytical results collected from the three areas of concern in this health consultation, the soils analyzed do contain levels of lead at levels of concern. Levels of lead contamination above 400 parts per million are present in surface soils at all three sites that could potentially cause adverse health effects, especially if children are present and become exposed to the contaminated soil. However, there is currently no evidence of a completed exposure pathway at any of the three areas. Therefore, the site is not currently expected to result in adverse health effects and is categorized as posing no apparent health hazard. However, care should be taken to prevent people, especially children, from coming into contact with these lead contaminated soils in the future.


Superior Street-Bad Creek Area

  1. Lead contaminated soils are present from the ground surface to a depth of approximately twenty feet below ground surface. However, the primary concern from a health perspective is with the first few inches of soil, since this is the portion of soil that children or other residents are most likely to come into contact with. USEPA should seek to minimize the possibility of this exposure to these surface soils by either removing the contaminated soils or covering them with an adequate layer of clean fill material that would prevent future contact with the lead-contaminated fill. To prevent the possibility of contact with deeper contaminated soils in the future, USEPA may wish to seek a more comprehensive removal action or explore the possibility of deed restrictions to limit activities that may expose residents or workers to lead contaminated soils.

County Road FG Property

  1. USEPA should continue with its plan to further define the extent of foundry sand distribution on the FG property.

  2. USEPA should take measures to mitigate or eliminate the potential exposure to the lead contaminated soils. Potential actions may include removing the lead contaminated soil and replacing these soils with clean fill.

Main Street Property

  1. USEPA should continue with its plan to further define the extent of foundry sand distribution at the Main Street property.

  2. USEPA should take measures to mitigate or eliminate the potential exposure to the lead contaminated soils. Potential actions may include removing the lead contaminated soil and replacing these soils with clean fill.


The Public Health Action Plan is designed to ensure that the health consultation not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to prevent exposure and mitigate human health effects resulting from exposure to on-site related contaminants. The public heath actions completed and planned for the properties affected by contaminated soils are as follows.

Public Health Actions to be Completed:

  1. HAS will follow up with USEPA to determine the plan of action that is decided upon to deal with the contaminated properties described in this report. HAS will continue to provide input to ensure that any activity undertaken will be protective of the health or residents or visitors to the properties.

  2. USEPA and Ohio EPA should continue to seek information about other possible locations where contaminated foundry sand could have been dumped.

  3. HAS will evaluate and additional lead sampling data from additional locations investigated and sampled by USEPA.


Eric R. Yates - Environmental Specialist
Robert C. Frey, Ph. D. - Principal Investigator/Geologist


ENSR. 1998. Data Report for EE/CA Support Sampling Program at the Former Eagle Picher Site. Delta, Ohio. October, 198. 10 p. + appendices, tables and figures.

ENSR, 1999. EE/CA Report for Former Eagle-Picher Site. Delta, Ohio. 23 p. + tables, figures, and appendices.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH). 1987. Lead Toxicity Screening in the Vicinity of Eagle Picher Picher Bearings. Delta, Fulton County, Ohio. 33 p. + attachments.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) 2001A. Public Health Assessment for Eagle-Picher Industries/Bunting Bearings Corporation.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) 2001B. Health Consultation/Off-site Residential Properties Investigation for Eagle-Picher/Bunting Bearings Corpoation.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA). 1995. Integrated Assessment Report for Eagle Picher (a.k.a. Markey Bronze). Delta, Fulton, County. September 22, 1995. 27 p. + appendices.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. 2002. Eagle Picher Waste Disposal Areas Preliminary Assessment/Site Investigation (PA/SI) Report.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Revised Interim Soil Lead Guidance for CERCLA Sites and RCRA Corrective Action Facilities, OSWER Directive # 9355.4-12, dated July 14, 1994.


Surface Soil and Sediment Lead Results
Figure 1. Surface Soil and Sediment Lead Results

Geoprobe Lead Results - Core 'A' (0-4 feet)
Figure 2. Geoprobe Lead Results - Core "A" (0-4 feet)


This Eagle Picher Industries Off-site Disposal of Foundry Sand Health Consultation was prepared by the Ohio 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 health consultation was begun.

Alan W. Yarbrough
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR

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

Roberta Erlwein
Chief, State Programs Section, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR

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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