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The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Site Assessment Section, under cooperative agreement with ATSDR, was requested by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Region V Emergency Response Team (ERT) on March 24, 1998, to provide a health consultation regarding a US EPA investigation of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination of soils at the Sharon Speedway site in Hartford Township, Trumbull County, Ohio.

ODH was specifically asked to evaluate the immediate public health hazard to spectators at this site, a clay-surfaced automobile race track, from potential exposures to low level PCBs detected in a soil sampling event carried out by USEPA ERT on March 25. 1998. This is a time-critical evaluation as the track is scheduled to be opened to the public on April 19, 1998. Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) verified analytical results from US EPA were received by ODH on April 14, 1998.

The Sharon Speedway site is in a rural portion of Hartford Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. It is roughly one mile east of Hartford, immediately south of State Route 305, on the west side of Custer-Orangeville Road (Figure 1). The site is a 35-acre parcel of land containing two clay-surfaced oval race tracks, a horseshoe-shaped unpaved access drive, a grandstand area, and unpaved parking lots located west and south of the race tracks (Figure 2). A small pond is at the southwest corner of the property. West of the site is a wooded area. Eight residences are north of the Speedway along Custer-Orangeville Road, and one home is on the east side of the road, across from the south end of the site property. Automobile racing occurs on weekends during the racing season (April to September). Prevailing winds in the area during the summer months are primarily from the southwest.

From the late 1940s until the early 1970s, waste oil, allegedly from a nearby facility in Pennsylvania, was spread around the track for dust abatement (OEPA, personal communication, 1998). This waste oil was contaminated with polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs). No information is available about when PCB-laden oil was last applied to the Speedway property. The race track was paved with asphalt in 1970 (Ecology & Environment, 1998). The asphalt track, in turn, was covered with a clay layer in 1981, restoring its dirt surface.


US EPA ERT staff sampled surface soils from the Sharon Speedway site on March 25, 1998. One hundred and seventeen samples were taken, including both grab and composite samples (Ecology & Environment, 1998). Locations of sampling sites are indicated in Figure 2. Grab samples were taken at 50-foot intervals down the middle of the dirt drive (DG14 - DG59), and composite samples were taken from 150 foot strips along the side of the drive (DC01-DC13). Composite samples (four from corners of 50-foot squares) were taken in the west (WC01-WC21) and south (SC01-SC09) parking areas. Both grab (TG12-TG14) and composite (TC01-TC11) samples were taken from the track area. Sediment samples (SED01-SED03) were taken from intermittent streams leading into and out of the pond at the southwest corner of the property. Additional grab samples were taken in the drive (ADG01-ADG03) and in the areas surrounding the track (ABG01-ABG06).

The results of this sampling are summarized in Table 1. Only one sample (57 ppm) out of 117 had PCB concentrations exceeding 50 ppm. Both low levels Arochlor 1260 and Arochlor 1254 were detected in site surface soils, although 1260 (50 detects) was detected nearly twice as often as 1254 (28 detects). The detection limit is 0.5 ppm. No soil sample had detects of both PCB 1260 and 1254. Forty-one samples, including all three sediment samples, had no detects of PCBs. The maximum levels of PCBs (57 ppm and 42 ppm) were found west parking lot (Table 1 and Figure 2).

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