Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content




Investigation of the Revere Site by EPA, took place in three Phases. Phase I was completed inJanuary of 1991. After review of the data collected during Phase I, it was determined that furtherinvestigation was needed to fully characterize the site. Phase IIA was completed in June of 1991and Phase IIB field work was completed in November of 1991. Phase III was completed in July1992.

Soils, groundwater, surface water, sediments and air were sampled during the site investigation. Physical features of the site and potential sources of contamination were also investigated duringPhase I.

The following discussion and data tables present the contaminants of concern at the site. Contaminants of concerns are selected based upon the following factors:

  1. Concentrations of contaminants on and off site.
  2. Field data quality, laboratory data quality and sample design.
  3. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations.
  4. Comparison of on-site and off-site concentrations with health assessment comparison values for noncarcinogenic and carcinogenic endpoints.
  5. Community health concerns.

Contaminants are presented by medium in which they were found. The contamination is alsobroken into on-site and off-site. On-site refers to sampling points within the site boundaries and off-site refers to sampling points not within site boundaries. (See Figure A for a Site Map.)

The listed contaminant does not mean that it will cause adverse health effects from exposures. Thelist indicates which contaminants will be discussed further in the public health assessment.


Ground Water-Monitoring Wells

Ground water sampling was done during Phase I, Phase IIB and Phase III of the RemedialInvestigation. During all phases, fourteen overburden monitoring wells, three bedrock monitoringwells, two existing overburden monitoring wells and an on-site bedrock production well weresampled. An old public water supply well and the town supply wells were sampled also. (See FigureB for map of sampling locations.)

Two of the wells sampled had detectable levels of volatile organic compounds during the Phase Iinvestigation. The concentrations detected were well below comparison values for safe drinkingwater and these same compounds were not detected during the Phase IIB sampling. Phenol,phenanthrene, chrysene, pyrene and N-Nitrosodiphenylamine were detected during the Phase IIBsampling. The concentrations were very low and these contaminants were found in only four wells.

Metals were detected in groundwater samples throughout the site. Table 1 represents the metalsdetected at levels above comparison values during Phase I and Phase II sampling. Highconcentrations of these metals during Phase I and II suggested that water samples contained highlevels of particulate matter. A third Phase of sampling was conducted during the summer of 1992using a peristaltic pumping. This method reduces the amount of sampling generated particles in thegroundwater and gives a more representative groundwater sample. Concentrations of metalsdetected during the Phase III sampling were below comparison values.

Table 1.

Metal Concentrations in On-Site Groundwater Monitoring Wells
Source: TRC Company, Inc., Phase I and Phase II Sampling
Antimony17.2-71.414       RfD
Arsenic2.1-10211       RfD
Copper5.5-34701300     MCL
Lead3.0-3700         MCLG
Vanadium2.7-18720       LTHA
ND-not detected
PPB-parts per billion
RfD-Reference Dose: the estimate of daily exposure to contamination that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects
MCL-Maximum Contaminant Level: the level EPA has determined to be protective of public health over a lifetime at an exposure rate of 2 liters of water per day
MCLG- EPA Maximum Contaminant Level Goal
LTHA-Lifetime Health Advisory: the level EPA has determined to be protective of public health over a lifetime at an exposure rate of 2 liters of water per day

Prior to the RI investigation, five monitoring wells were installed on-site as part of a 1984 hydrogeological study. Toluene was detected in one well at 14 ppb. Organic contaminants andmetals were not detected at levels greater than safe drinking water levels. In 1985 and 1987additional groundwater sampling was conducted by NUS Corporation and DHS Water Supplies,respectively. The town drinking water supply was sampled during both investigations. No volatileorganic compounds or metals were detected above safe drinking water levels.


Soil sampling was done during Phases I, IIA and IIB. Grab samples at 0-6 inches were taken duringPhase IIA sampling. Samples at 0-2 feet were taken during all three soil investigations. Soilsamples were also taken during monitoring well drilling and at test pits at variable depths. (SeeFigure C for sampling locations.)

A few volatile organic compounds were detected in subsurface soil samples. Methylene chloride,acetone, xylene and toluene were detected most frequently but at very low concentrations. Table2 presents a summary of other contaminants detected in soils above comparison values.

Table 2.

Contaminant Concentrations in On-Site Soil Source: TRC Company, Inc., Phase I and Phase IIA, and IIB Sampling
0-6" PPM
Benzo(a)pyreneND-4.4ND-320.12 (CREG)
ND-not detected
(a)-only one sample at 0-6" was analyzed for metals
CREG -Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide: the level determined to be protective of public health after a lifetime exposure based on the EPA cancer slope factor

Prior to the RI investigation, a few soil samples had been taken. In 1983 a sample of stained soil(unknown depth) was taken by CT DEP. Butanol was detected in this sample at 20 ppm.

Surface Water and Sediments

Surface water was sampled during Phase I and Phase IIB. Sediments were sampled during PhasesI, IIB and III. The on-site pond, man-made spillway and the seep near the pigmented waste pilewere sampled as part of the on-site surface water and sediment sampling. (See Figure D forsampling locations.)

No volatile organic compounds were detected in any of the on-site surface water samples. Lowconcentrations of methylene chloride (100 ppb), acetone (660 ppb), toluene (10 ppb) and 2-butanone(140 ppb) were detected in on-site sediments.

Some metals were detected in surface water and sediment samples above background. Aluminum,iron and manganese were detected in surface waters above background but not at concentrationslikely to cause adverse health effects. Table 3 presents the concentrations of metals found abovecomparison values in sediments.

During Phase III, biological assay tests were conducted. These tests evaluate whether adverseeffects to organisms are associated with the contaminants found in sediments. These tests showedthat no significant biological accumulation is occurring as a result of contaminants present in somesite sediments.

Table 3.

Metal Concentrations in On-Site Sediments Source: TRC Company, Inc., Phase I and Phase IIB, and III Sampling
ND-Not detected
PPM-parts per million

Prior to the RI investigation, EPA conducted surface water and sediment sampling of selected areas. Ethylbenzene (.19 ppm), xylenes (.72 ppm), and some metals; lead (960 ppm), chromium (129ppm), copper (528 ppm), nickel (290 ppm), and zinc (373 ppm) were found in sediment samples. Aniline (765 ppm) and phenol (>1300 ppm) were detected in the pigment waste pile near theMoosup River.


Air sampling was conducted during all of the invasive activity during the site investigation. Volatileorganic vapors in the ambient air as well as breathing zones, boreholes, testpits and fenceline weretaken. No comparison values for air were exceeded.



The old town production well, to the north of the site, and the new town wells, west of the site, weresampled during Phase I and IIB investigations.

Volatile organic compounds were not detected during either of the investigations. In addition, metalconcentrations were not found to be elevated in any of the wells.

Surface Water and Sediments

The Moosup River and Sterling Pond were sampled during the off-site investigation of surfacewaters and sediments. (See Figures E for sampling locations.)

No volatile organic compounds were detected in surface water. Low concentrations of 2-butanone(190 ppb), methylene chloride (120 ppb), toluene (3 ppb) and carbon disulfide (3 ppb) were detectedin sediment samples. Phase III bioassay tests indicated that sediment contaminants were notadversely impacting organisms.


The Quality Assurance/Quality Control plan was reviewed. Data gathered during the RemedialInvestigation, Phase I, IIA, IIB and III appear to follow appropriate quality assurance and qualitycontrol procedures. Modifications to the sampling plan were outlined in the RI Report.

Organic compounds and inorganic elements were often estimated due to limitations identified bythe laboratory or during data validation. Estimated values were noted in summary tables.

Phase I soil analysis for Base Neutral/Acid Extractables was rejected due to extended laboratoryholding times and other deficiencies.


Numerous physical hazards are present at the site. Building structures are in varying degrees ofdisrepair. Falling bricks and debris could result in injury to individuals passing near or in buildings. The on-site pond and a few other pits are not fenced and falls could result.


Environmental and human components that lead to exposure are evaluated to determine whethernearby residents are exposed to contaminants at the site or migrating from the site. The pathwayanalysis consists of five elements: A source of contamination, transport through an environmentalmedium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure and an exposed population.

An exposure pathway is categorized as a completed or potential exposure pathway if the exposurepathway cannot be eliminated. A completed exposure pathway occurs when the five elements ofan exposure pathway link the contaminated source to a receptor population. Should a completedexposure pathway exist in the past, present, or future, the population is considered exposed. Apotential exposure pathway exists when one or more of the five elements is missing, or if modelingis performed to replace real sampling data. Potential pathways indicate that exposure to acontaminant could have occurred in the past, could be occurring now, or could occur in the future. An exposure pathway can be eliminated if at least one of the five elements is missing and will never be present.


No completed exposure pathways have been identified.


Groundwater Pathways

Historical waste disposal practices and leaking drums containing hazardous wastes are likely to havecaused groundwater contamination at the site. During Phase I and II sampling, metals including,antimony, arsenic, copper, lead, and vanadium were detected, above comparison values, in thegroundwater wells drilled on site. It is believed that these elevated concentrations were the resultof sampling generated particles in the water and Phase III sampling resulted in concentrations ofthese metals below comparison values. Hydrogeological investigations of the aquifer beneath thesite indicate that the groundwater beneath the site is hydraulically connected to the groundwaterfeeding the new public water supply wells. No contamination of the new public supply wells hasbeen detected. Extensive pump testing was conducted to stress the aquifer and confirm that the sitewould not impact the public water supply.

The old town well which was used until 1985 was upgradient of the site and prior to its closure, nocontamination was detected.

Soil Pathway

On-site soils have been contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and some metals abovecomparison levels. Workers and visitors may have been exposed to contaminated soils in the pastdue to historical disposal and storage practice at the site. Currently, trespassers are potentiallyexposed through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact with contaminated soil, particularlyaround the building structures where the highest levels of contamination were found. This wouldbe affected by the amount of time spent on the site and the type of activity occurring. Only one soilsample at 0-6 inches was analyzed for metals after screening was performed to identify areasrequiring further analysis.

Surface Water and Sediments

Volatile organic compounds were not found in any of the surface water samples. While current andfuture exposures to volatile organic compounds in surface water is not likely, it is possible that pastexposures to a variety of contaminants occurred in light of the reports of dumping into the River andcorresponding color changes. We have no data, however, to confirm or deny this.

Metals including iron, manganese, arsenic and copper were detected in both surface water andsediment samples above background. Past, present and future exposures to metals may be occurringthrough incidental ingestion and dermal contact with sediments.



No completed pathways have been identified at the site. However, some contamination ofgroundwater, soil, surface water and sediments have been found. In this section, the health effectsthat could occur if people were exposed to the contamination found at the site will be discussed. Contaminated soils present the most likely potential past, present and future exposure pathways. ATSDR's Toxicological Profiles, chemical-specific profiles which provide information onhealth effects, environmental transport, and human exposure, will be used to discusspolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), copper and lead.


PAHs are a group of chemicals that are formed during incomplete combustion. The PAHs foundat the Revere Site are likely to have been released during the fire at the site. PAHs can also occurnaturally. There are over one hundred different PAH compounds, they can be found in air, water,and soil. The PAHs detected at the site are listed as the first eight compounds in the on-site soilchart. There is the potential for skin contact with and incidental ingestion of site soils.

A minimum risk level of 0.1 mg/kg/day has been set for short term exposure through ingestion offoods containing PAHs. A minimum risk level is the level below which a harmful (noncancer)health effect is not expected to occur. The highest concentration of PAHs in soil 0-6 inches wasbenzo(k)fluoranthene at 13 parts per million. Because people are not likely to ingest quantities ofsoil from the site, it is not likely that adverse effects will occur.

Adverse skin effects have been seen in humans following long term exposures to some PAHs butat concentration much higher than detected on-site.


Copper occurs naturally in rock, soil, water, sediment and air. The average concentration of copperin soil is about 50 parts per million. It is an essential nutrient for humans. At the site, copper wasdetected in soil at 0-6 inches at 18 parts per million and in deeper soils at 1040 parts per million. There is the potential for skin contact with and incidental ingestion of site soils.

Gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and cramping have been seen in humans acutely exposed tocopper in water. EPA has determined that copper in drinking water should not exceed 1 part permillion. Adverse health effects from incidental ingestion of surface soil at the site are not likely tooccur.

Dermatitis has been seen in some individuals exposed to copper metal primarily from copperjewelry. Adverse skin effects from exposure to soil containing copper is not likely.


Lead is a naturally occurring metal found in small amounts in the earth's crust. The highestconcentration of lead found in soils 0-6 inches at the site was 6.4 parts per million. There is thepotential for exposure to lead through incidental ingestion and skin contact.

Long term exposures to low levels of lead can cause brain damage, and lowered I.Q. in children. Lead is not easily absorbed through the skin. Adverse health effects associated with skin contactwith lead at the site is not likely.

Ingestion of soil containing lead can increase blood lead levels. Studies have shown that levels insoil below 100 parts per million are not likely to adversely increase blood lead levels in even themost sensitive group, pica children, children who have an abnormal desire to eat substances notnormally eaten, like soil.


The evaluation of health outcome data is not indicated. Since there were no adverse health effectsreported, and since no completed exposure pathways have been identified, the biological plausibilityof adverse health effects is unlikely.


The only documented concern expressed by a member of the community was about the safety ofdrinking water at a new development at least one half mile from the site on Route 14. Elevatedlevels of metals detected in on-site monitoring wells were found to be the result of samplinggenerated particles in the water samples. The site is not impacting the public water supplydowngradient of the site. It is safe to assume that groundwater in the area of the new developmenthas not been impacted by the site.

Next Section          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

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #