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Residents of Canterbury, Connecticut petitioned the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to determine whether air emissions from the Yaworski Landfill (a/k/a Yaworski Dump/Packer Road Landfill) represents a public health hazard. The site will be referred to as the Yaworski Landfill site. This 44 acres site in Canterbury Township, Windham County, eastern Connecticut is owned by Yaworski Incorporated. The landfill is regulated under the authority of the State of Connecticut and has not been added to the Environmental Protection Agency National Priority List. Residents were concerned with a perceived increase in the incidence of cancer, asthma, odors, dust, and contaminated private wells resulting from activities at the landfill. ATSDR attended public meetings with citizens, local health department and environmental agency representatives, and conducted site visits.

In this health assessment, ATSDR reviewed the available environmental data which included; 1994 soil gas sampling data collected at various on-site locations around the Yaworski Landfill, soil gas sampling conducted at the riser pipes and at random sites on the former "active" landfill area in December 1995 to 1996, and air dispersion modeling to predict off-site emissions. Limited environmental data were available for ATSDR to evaluate on-site contamination at the Yaworski Landfill and potential off-site emissions. The highest concentrations of landfill soil gas detected at the former "active" section of the landfill were closest to the recycling area and near residential areas along Packer Road. The potential exists for intermittent off-site emissions from leaks and during excavation activities occurring at the landfill. Ambient air monitoring data are needed to determine if nearby residents are exposed to these gaseous contaminants.

The Yaworski Landfill site represents a potential health hazard on site to workers and people who use the recycling area where high concentrations of volatile organic compounds and methane were detected in soil gas samples. The health hazard for off-site emissions to residential areas along Packer Road is unknown since ambient air data are not available. ATSDR recommends that perimeter ambient air sampling at the former "active" landfill be conducted for methane and non-methane organic compounds to determine whether residents and workers are potentially exposed through inhalation of contaminants released from the landfill. In particular, ambient air sampling should be conducted at the perimeter where the highest concentrations of methane and non-methane organic compounds were detected, closest to the recycling area and off-site residential areas, especially during periods of excavation activities. Until the soil migration of methane is better characterized, methane should be monitored in the basements of residences adjacent to the landfill. In addition, the landfill caps and gas collection system should be properly maintained, actions levels set for air monitoring, and a site safety plan be implemented for the landfill. ATSDR will review air sampling data that become available in the future for public health implications. ATSDR classifies the Yaworski Landfill site as a potential public health hazard.


ATSDR was petitioned by residents of Canterbury, Connecticut to determine if air emissions from the Yaworski Landfill (a/k/a Yaworski Dump/ Packer Road Landfill) represent a public health hazard to the community. This site will be referred to in the document as the Yaworski Landfill site. Petitioners expressed concerns about a perceived increased incidence of cancer, asthma, odors, dust, and contaminated private wells resulting from activities at the landfill. Residents formed a community group called the People's Rights in a Clean Environment (PRICE). Previous documents provided by ATSDR to the community that have addressed health concerns regarding the Yaworski Lagoon and Landfill include; Public Health Assessment, Yaworski Lagoon NPL Site (April 5, 1988) (1), Site Review and Update, Yaworski Lagoon (September 30, 1993) (2), Health Consultation Yaworski Landfill and Lagoon (March 16, 1994) (3), and Public Health Assessment Gallup's Quarry (September 30, 1998)(4). Groundwater below the Yaworski Lagoon and the Gallup's Quarry sites was determined to be contaminated but did not pose a public health threat since it was not being used as a source of drinking water. In this health assessment, ATSDR will review the air data available from soil gas sampling conducted at the Yaworski Landfill and make recommendations to address public health concerns. Ambient air data are not available and represents a data gap. While soil gas concentrations do not represent the level of contaminants that people would likely be exposed to, they identify contaminants present that may be emitted during leaks, improper operation of the gas collection and flare system, during excavation operations, and from soil gas migration off-site to residential areas.


Residents live within one-half mile of the site with the nearest residence approximately 800 feet from the former "active" landfill. Reports of illness include cancer, respiratory difficulties, and dizziness. This landfill has been cited by the CT DEP for excessive odors in the past (7). People are also concerned with exposure to fugitive dust during truck traffic.


The Yaworski Landfill (also called the Yaworski Dump or Packer Road Landfill) site consists of 44 acres located in Canterbury Township, Windham County, eastern Connecticut and is owned by Yaworski Incorporated. The landfill is not listed as an EPA NPL site but is regulated under State authority. This site is located approximately 2,000 feet from the Yaworski Lagoon (CTD009774969), an EPA NPL site (6). The landfill accepted waste from 1950 to 1995 under a permit by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) (5). Materials accepted for disposal included municipal, residential, and solid waste. The landfill lies within the flood plain of the Quinebaug River and the river borders the site on the north, south, and west sides (Figure 1, Appendix A).

Yaworski Landfill currently consists of three sections; the closed landfill, bulky waste landfill, and the former "active" landfill (Figure 2, Appendix A) (6). The closed landfill is approximately eight acres in size and located east of Packer Road. The landfill opened in 1950, accepting an unknown quantity and thickness of residential and municipal waste. This section of the landfill was closed and capped with an earthen cover in 1970. Located east of Packer Road and south of the closed landfill, the bulky waste landfill consists of approximately four acres (6). Opened in 1960, solid waste such as wood, brush, stumps, and other demolition debris was deposited in this area. It is reported that approximately 20 feet of waste is buried in this area. The former "active" landfill was opened in 1950 and is located west of Packer Road (6). This 32 acre section accepted mixed solid waste under a CT DEP permit. The western portion of the former "active" landfill is closed (May 1995) and covered with an earthen cover material. To date, activities are being conducted to close the former "active" section of the landfill. The former "active" landfill is surrounded by the Quinebaug River on the north, west, and southwest borders, and by residences and light industry on the east and southeast borders. Soil cover material from the Gallup's Quarry site (CTD 108960972), another NPL site located approximately three miles to the east in Plainfield Connecticut, was reported to have been placed in this section of the landfill (6). A recycling station is currently operating next to the entrance to the former "active" landfill area and is proposed to continue to operate after the landfill is completely closed and capped. Additionally, a trash-transfer station was proposed to operate at this location but was denied in 1994 in part due to a reported history of non-compliance (5, 6). A subsequent petition is currently being considered.

In response to complaints of odors and potential harmful emissions by residents, the CT DEP issued an order on March 8, 1993 (7), requiring Yaworski, Inc. to conduct a series of ambient air monitoring studies around the landfill. A final consent order was issued on May 10, 1994, requiring air sampling, analysis, and air dispersion modeling to be performed to assess potential health impacts of emissions from landfill activities.

Site Visits

September and October 1992, ATSDR attended public meetings and conducted site visits. April 16 and 17, 1996, ATSDR staff met with CT DOH and CT DEP representatives, private citizens, and used Global Positioning System equipment to collect geographic data of the landfill area. Observations made during this visit included: distinct odors emanating from the former "active" landfill area, the location of 11 gas monitoring wells, a trench system with three soil gas vents, proposed monitoring well sites, and a flare system at the rear of the landfill. Waste water was observed leaching from the top and sides of the landfill. Another site visit was conducted in November 1996 to tour the landfill, meet with concerned residents, state and local officials, and to obtain additional site information.

Review of the Air Modeling Proposal

ATSDR was asked by CT DEP to review (8) the proposed air impact study, "Air Impact Scope of Study, Yaworski, Inc., Canterbury, CT, June 1994" (9). This study proposed using soil gas data to generate air contaminant emission rates to be used in dispersion modeling. This model will be used to predict potential short term air impacts to populations living within one-half mile of the Yaworski Landfill.

Evaluation of Ambient Air Sampling Plan

ATSDR reviewed (10) air sampling plans submitted by the CT DEP Bureau of Air Management (11) and made the following recommendations (11): 1) The health based guidance for mercury in air is 0.3 µg/m3, 2) Conduct real-time sampling down-wind of excavation activities, 3) Conduct ambient air monitoring to include; time-weighted samples for all pollutants of concern on a daily basis, place sampling locations at the nearest fence line so that a worst case exposure to residences is measured, determine the number of worse case samples to be collected, establish at least one upwind meteorological station, clarify the number of time-weighted samples to be collected, carefully monitor holding times for time-weighted samples, document handling procedures for time-weighted samples (record canister pressure immediately after sample collection and again before sample analysis), and discuss the collection of non-methane VOCs in the sampling plan.

Off-site Indoor Air Consultation

On October 19, 1993, the CT DPH under a cooperative agreement with ATSDR conducted a limited indoor and outdoor dust wipe sampling at one residence located on Packer Road near the former "active" landfill (3). The resident was concerned with exposures to dust from the former "active" landfill, the access road to the landfill, and the recycling area operating at the landfill. Dust samples were analyzed for lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Sixteen indoor dust swipe samples obtained from window sills and floors, and seven outdoor samples taken from all sides of the house were analyzed for contaminants. Lead was not detected in indoor and outdoor samples at levels of health concern. PCBs were not detected in indoor samples. The consultation concluded, however, that dust may have adverse health effects depending on the particle size, chemical constituents, and duration of exposure. The following recommendations were made; 1) implement dust control measures at the landfill, landfill access road, and Packer Road, 2) review surface soil data taken from the landfill, access road, and residential property to identify potential contaminants of health concern, 3) implement damp dusting and wet mopping techniques in the home to reduce potential exposure to dust. No further dust sampling was recommended at the time.

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