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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Releases Findings Regarding the Fenimore Landfill Public Invited to Comment


Roxbury Township, New Jersey

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ATLANTA, GA – The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), released a health consultation today and found that hydrogen sulfide (H2S) exposures could have harmed people’s health before the gas extraction and treatment system were installed at the Fenimore Landfill facility.

In the fall of 2012, residents expressed concerns about increased odors in the area from the landfill that reopened in 2011. The landfill accepted wastes, including gypsum wallboard fines and debris, until 2013. H2S is a known product of the breakdown of gypsum. To treat the odors, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection installed a gas extraction and treatment system in fall of 2013.

At times, the level of H2S was high enough to cause lung problems or headaches, especially in people with asthma or other breathing conditions. In addition, the offensive odor of H2S itself could have caused other harmful effects such as eye, nose, and throat irritation; nausea; and headaches.

ATSDR’s report finds that continuous operation of the gas extraction and treatment system greatly reduced H2S concentration in the community. Most of the harmful health effects from H2S would have resolved once the H2S concentrations decreased. However, some people could still suffer health effects from H2S odors, or from stress caused by previous exposures to H2S.

ATSDR recommends the gas extraction and treatment system continue operating until components of the landfill gas are too low to cause any concern for safety or health. ATSDR also recommends verification of community air monitoring data, as well as continued monitoring of air, groundwater, and private wells near the landfill.

“The ATSDR health consultation team listened to the residents about their health concerns,” said Dr. Jill Dyken, site team lead.

Those concerns include exposure to other compounds released into the air by the landfill or to sulfur dioxide (SO2) formed in the treatment process; methane production from the landfill; drinking from wells using groundwater near the landfill; and unidentified hazardous materials that could exist in the landfill.

The report is available for review at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/PHA/HCPHA.asp?State=NJ.

A copy of the document can also be reviewed during regular hours at the Roxbury Public Library at 103 Main Street in Succasunna.

ATSDR staff will be available in Roxbury to discuss the findings of the health consultation on September 15 and 16, 2015. Public availability sessions will be held at the Roxbury Recreation Meeting Room at 72 Eyland Avenue in Succasunna. You can drop in at any time between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm on Tuesday, September 15 or between 11 am and 2 pm or 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm on Wednesday, September 16 to discuss the findings one-on-one with a member of the ATSDR site team.

ATSDR will accept public comments on the health consultation until October 30, 2015.

Comments on the document must be made in writing, and those received during the public comment period will be addressed in the final version. Comments (without the names of persons who submitted them) and ATSDR’s responses to the comments will appear in an appendix to the final health consultation. Names of those who submit comments will be subject to release should requests be made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Send comments to: ATSDRRecordsCenter@cdc.gov, or mail to:

ATSDR Records Center, ATTN: Rolanda Morrison
RE: Fenimore Landfill Site, Roxbury Township, NJ
1600 Clifton Rd., NE (MS F-09)
Atlanta, GA 30329-4018

For more information about the health consultation, community members can call 1-800-CDC- INFO (1-800-232-4636). The caller should state they are requesting information about Fenimore Landfill, Roxbury Township, New Jersey.

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ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

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