PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 18, 2012

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Health Assessment of Mansfield Trail Dump Superfund Site Found
Well Water Filtering Systems Protect Health

A health assessment of the Mansfield Trail Dump Superfund site in Byram Township, Sussex County found the chemical solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) in well drinking water does not pose a health threat if water filtering systems are properly designed and maintained.

The Mansfield Trail Dump, designated as Superfund site in 2011, consists of disposal trenches in a wooded area near the Mansfield Bike Path located in rural Sussex County.  The chemical was dumped by an unknown party. A health assessment is required for sites added or proposed to be added to the Superfund list.

TCE is a chemical widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics and for metal-degreasing.  TCE exposure can cause damage to the liver, the kidneys and the central nervous system.  Chronic exposure to TCE may also lead to an increased risk of cancer.

The assessment also indicates that contact with soil or drinking of surface water will not harm people's health because the trenches were not readily accessible to pedestrians and children were unlikely to have come in contact with contaminated soil or runoff.

The Sussex County Department of Health and Human Services and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in May 2005, became aware of TCE contamination in domestic wells serving homes on Brookwood and Ross Roads in Byram Township. In June 2005, thirteen residential wells were known to be contaminated with TCE in excess of New Jersey Drinking Water Standards.

After contamination was discovered, Point-of-Entry Treatment (POET) systems, which filter water, were installed.  Exposure to TCE prior to 2005 in domestic potable wells may have harmed people's health, according to the assessment conducted jointly by the state Department of Health and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

DEP conducted air, soil and water testing in the affected neighborhood.  In February and March 2010, the United States Department of Environmental Protection (USEPA) conducted well sampling that found further TCE contamination.  The EPA has done significant excavation and removal of contaminated soil from the dump site over the past several months. 

Currently, a total of 18 homes are affected and are using POET systems to remove contamination before it enters the home, according to the assessment.

More extensive indoor air testing is required to assess whether volatile organic compounds may be building up in homes yet to be tested. People could have absorbed these chemical compounds through showering, drinking or eating food prepared with the water.

Recommendations from the assessment include:

 

  • DEP should continue to ensure that POET systems at affected residences that are eligible for the state Spill Fund are properly operated and maintained. State and local agencies should ensure POET systems are properly operated and maintained for residences not eligible for state funding due to changes in ownership.

 

  • The EPA should implement removal and remedial actions to address a permanent solution to contaminated drinking water. 

 

  • The USEPA should conduct additional indoor air and soil gas sampling to verify that area residents are not being exposed to contaminants.

 

  • The USEPA should take actions to limit access at the Mansfield Trail Dump site - including signage marking the site as a Superfund site.

 

  • Residents are encouraged to contact their health care provider to discuss health concerns regarding exposure to site related contaminants.

 

Public comments will be accepted through September 28, 2012. Comments may be submitted to the following address:

Environmental and Occupational Health Surveillance Program

State of New Jersey Department of Health Consumer, Environmental and Occupational Health Service

P.O. Box 369

Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0369