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News Release

 
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   November 9, 2001

George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Dennis McGowan
609-984-7160

Health Assessment Released
on Emmell's Septic Landfill in Atlantic County


TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have released for public comment a health assessment on Emmell's Septic Landfill in Atlantic County. The public may submit written comments on the assessment through November 24, 2001.

The draft assessment concludes that the site represented a public health hazard in the past due to a completed human exposure pathway to contaminants via groundwater in private wells. Those private wells were closed, deeper ones were installed, and all affected residences installed point-of-entry treatment systems. As a result of these actions, the site poses no apparent public health hazard today.

From 1967 to 1979, the site operated as a septic waste disposal facility. In 1974, a solid waste facility permit was issued allowing the site to be used for the disposal of sewage and septic sludge wastes into ponds, trenches and lagoons. In addition, solid and chemical wastes, including drums containing paint, gas cylinders, tires and construction and industrial debris, were also dumped on the site. These wastes seeped into the groundwater, contaminating nearby private drinking water wells. Chemicals wastes included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), hydrocarbons and metals in the soil, and metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the water.

VOCs were first reported in drinking wells on Lisa Drive in tests conducted by the Atlantic County Health Departments in 1984 and 1988. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection closed the affected wells and provided new, deeper wells. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) also found site-related VOCs in wells on Lisa Drive and Leibig and Zurich Avenues in 1999.

The DHSS and ATSDR are recommending that residents with contaminated wells continue to use treated or alternate water supplies, and maintain treatments systems to reduce the levels of contamination in their drinking water. Residents concerned about their children's exposures to lead should also take advantage of the Atlantic County Health Department's lead screening program. In addition, the USEPA is currently documenting the site's potential impact on the environment. The site will be reevaluated when new data and information are available.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the health assessment through November 24, 2001 to: Health Assessment Project Manager, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Consumer and Environmental Health Services, P.O. Box 369, Trenton NJ 08625-0369.

Copies of the document and an accompanying citizens’ guide are available for public review at the Atlantic County Health Department, 201 S. Shore Road, Northfield, NJ 08225. Copies may also be obtained by calling the department at 609-588-3120, or by visiting the department’s web site at www.state.nj.us/health.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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