The Waterfront South Air Toxics Pilot Project
began in the Fall of 2002, when a DEP Workgroup began to make plans to
implement a study which was funded by a Community Assessment and Risk Reduction
Initiative (CARRI) Grant provided to the DEP by the USEPA. This pilot project
was designed to develop tools that can be used to quickly asesss air quality
(especially air toxics) problems in a community. The focus of the project
was on 1) air toxics, which are harmful substances such as arsenic, lead,
and cadmium that can come from industrial or manufacturing sources; and
2) particulate matter (PM), which is tiny liquid or solid particles such
as dust, smoke, mist, or fumes. These pollutants can cause a wide variety
of health effects, including breathing difficulties, learning disabilities
The Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden was
designated as the study area in part because of the many air quality
concerns that had been raised by the residents. This project provided
a means to quantify the impact of the numerous sources located in this
neighborhood (which covers less than one square mile) including the Camden
County Sewage Treatment plant, the County Municipal Waste Combustor,
the world’s largest licorice
processing plant, and a cement manufacturing facility. During the course
of the project the DEP worked with a Community Advisory Committee composed
of residents and professionals who work in the neighborhood. The Committee
helped to ensure that all critical air emission sources were identified
for inclusion in the study. They also assisted in identifying risk reduction
strategies to address the pollutants of concern which were flagged in the
The pilot project included several basic elements:
Census Tract 6018
- Finding the sources of air toxics and particulate matter in and around
the Waterfront South neighborhood.
- Collecting detailed information about the air pollution sources, including
the type and quantity of pollution they produce.
- Identifying the air toxics and particulates that pose
the greatest health risks to people who live in the neighborhood, and
highlighting the sources of those pollutants.
- Collecting ambient air monitoring data to further assess the levels
of pollution found in the neighborhood.
- Identifying strategies to reduce the health risks.
EMISSION INVENTORY & DISPERSION MODELING
Information on air emissions was collected on a very
fine scale, beginning with what was known about emissions from air pollution
permits, and then filling in many details about the sources that could
not be gleaned from permits by tapping into other databases and visiting
each facility. Information on emissions of about 40 pollutants from over
25 facilities was collected into what is known as an emission inventory
(described in Section 2.1 of the report). The inventory data were then
used with a dispersion model to predict concentrations of these pollutants
in the air throughout the neighborhood on a very fine grid (see Section
2.2 of the reprot). The results of the model runs, which represent worst-case
conditions, were analyzed in the risk assessment.
Potential health risk for this project was estimated
by calculating risk ratios, a comparison of an air concentration to a health
benchmark. If the air concentraton is higher than the benchmark (resulting
in a ratio greater than 1), there is a concern that the exposure could
result in some detrimental health effect. Use of a risk ratio to evaluate
results is different from the approach commonly used to evaluate carcinogens.
In this study, instead of reporting risk (for example one in a million
cancer risk or one in ten thousand risk) which can give the impression
that the precise level of risk has been calculated, we have used risk ratios
to tell us if the predicted levels are above or below a critical threshold
(the health benchmark). A similar approach is used here for noncarcinogenic
substances. Using this approach, pollutants that fall above the health
benchmark (i.e. having risk ratio greater than one) warrant additional
study. Those that fall below the health benchmark are set aside. This method
is outlined in Section 2.3 of the report.
Using this risk ratio approach, seven toxic air pollutants and two forms
of particulate matter were predicted to have risk ratios greater than one,
from which was drawn the general conclusion that Waterfront South is an
area with relatively high particulate levels; and that some of this particulate
matter contains significant quantities of toxic metals, such as arsenic,
cadmium, lead, manganese and nickel. It is expected that this will be a
common finding as the DEP investigates exposure to multiple air pollution
sources in other urban neighborhoods around the state.
Further review of the modeling results revealed that the relatively high
air concentrations (flagged by the risk assessment) can be attributed to
emissions from ten different facilities in and near Waterfront South. As
part of this study, the emissons of these nine pollutants from the ten
facilities received additional scrutiny.
At the same time that the modeling and risk assessment
steps were being carried out, a limited amount of ambient air monitoring
was also initiated to further assess the levels of pollution found in the
neighborhood. Three monitoring efforts were carried out as part of this
project. They included 1) installation of a continuous monitor for fine
particulate on the roof of the CCMUA (see photo, right); 2) grab samples
of air which were analyzed for a suite of air toxics using tedlar bags
contained in buckets (i.e. the Bucket Brigade); and 3) specialized canister
and open-path sampling for air toxics at the Camden County sewage treatement
facility. The methods and results are described in Section 2.4 of this
RISK REDUCTION STRATEGIES
The final step in the pilot project was to identify a
list of potential Risk Reduction Strategies (see Section 2.5 of the report).
These are actions which could help to reduce exposure to particulate matter
and air toxics in Waterfront South. The list of risk Reduction Strategies
falls into four categories: Stationary Source Emission Reductions; Truck
Emission Reductions; Environmental Health Education; and Vegetation for
Dust Suppression. These actions span many programs in the DEP and even
reach into other agencies.
REDUCING AIR EMISSIONS IN WATERFRONT SOUTH
Although it was not an official part of the project, some actions have
already been taken to implement several of these risk reduction strategies.
For example, the facility with the highest predicted particulate impacts
has installed new particulate control equipment (a bag house) and another
facility which was sandblasting outdoors has moved the operation indoors.
An inter-local service agreement between the City and the County has resulted
in a truck prohibition on a residential portion of Ferry Avenue. And the
County Health Department anti-idling campaign has significantly reduced
idling of trucks along Morgan Boulevard and in other areas. These actions
are described briefly in Section 2.5 of this report.