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Comments Regarding the Five-Year Review Report for the
Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site
(EPA ID#: GAD980556906)  Dated February 2004
By Glynn Environmental Coalition

June 4, 2004

 Contents

Contents -------------------------------------------------------------------   2

Executive Summary ---------------------------------------------------- ---  3

            Site Borders -----------------------------------------------------   3

            Institutional Controls ------------------------------------------   4

            Cap --------------------------------------------------------------    4

            Surface Soils ---------------------------------------------------    4

            Subsurface Soils -----------------------------------------------    4

            Groundwater ---------------------------------------------------    5

            Conclusions ----------------------------------------------------    5

 Full Glynn Environmental Coalition Comments Regarding the Five-Year Review
Report for the Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site (EPA ID#: GAD980556906)
Dated February 2004

 1. Statement of Issues for Review ------------------------------------   7

            A. Overview ----------------------------------------------------   7

            B. Performance Standards -----------------------------------    7

            C. Treatment Volume -----------------------------------------   9

            D. Treatment Method -----------------------------------------  10

            E. Confirmation Sampling -----------------------------------   11

            F. Landfill Cap -------------------------------------------------  12

            G. Explanation of Significant Differences -------------------  13

            H. Toxaphene Task Force Analytical Method ---------------  15

            I. Toxaphene Task Force Methodology

                   a. Summary ------------------------------------------  15

                   b. Background ---------------------------------------  15

                   c. Statement of the Problem ----------------------  16

                   d. Discussion ---------------------------------------   17

                   e. Conclusion Regarding Toxaphene Task Force Method   20

                   f. References ---------------------------------------   20

2. Imapact of Toxaphene Under-Reporting on Public Health --- 20

3. Comments on the Five-Year Review Introduction Section --  22

4. Comments on the Chronology Section ------------------------  22

5. Comments on the Background Section ------------------------- 26

6. Comments on the Remedial Action Section -----------------   28

7. Comments on the Remedy Implementation Section --------  28

8. Comments on the Review Process ---------------------------   28

9. Comments on the Reviewed Documents ---------------------  29

10. Comments on the Data Reviewed ---------------------------- 29

11. Comments on the Site Inspection ---------------------------- 30

12. Comments on the Technical Assessment ------------------   30

13. Comments on the Issues Section ----------------------------- 31

14. Comments on the Protectiveness Statement ---------------  31

 Attachment 1 – Comment 1,G – References for Toxaphene Task Force

Analytical Method Discussion -------------------------------------- 32 

Review of the Hercules 009 Superfund Site Five-Year Review
 

Executive Summary

The Hercules 009 Five Year Review for the landfill cells (called the Five-Year Review, Second Five-Year Review for Hercules 009 Landfill), dated February 2004, was received for review. This document, prepared at the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, consists of  reviewing five years of sampling data, performs a simple—but not independent—above ground site inspection (usually called a “walk-around”), and performs some simple interviews, often only by telephone. No new, independent, or third-party analyses were performed at the site. No review of the existing soil or water chromatographic data was performed by an independent third-party reviewer; any past conclusions on the data were accepted by the government agency without disagreement. The Five-Year review is a legal requirement of Superfund law imposed because hazardous waste still present on the site has the potential to move off-site if the remedy fails.

 The conclusion of the Five-Year review is that the “remedies continue to operate as intended” (page 1, last line). However there are a number of issues noted in the report that either contradict this conclusion or make it impossible to understand how the conclusion was reached with the information available. The report itself is poorly organized, the study’s authors skip around from issue to issue presenting observation and opinion in no particular order.

This “review of the review” for the Glynn Environmental Coalition will begin with the site borders and institutional controls, work inward to the site cap and surface soils, then downward to the study’s discussion of subsurface soils, and finally address groundwater concerns arising from spread of contamination by toxic colloid transport.

 Site Borders: Section III of the report states: “Land use in the area is predominantly commercial and residential, with a shopping mall, bank, and restaurant located approximately 1,000 feet north of the site.” And, on page 10, section VI, subsection Site Inspection, the report states: “An inspection…was performed by Mr., Steve Bath and Mrs. Sherry McCumber-Kahn, both with the US Army Corps of Engineers…The entire area inside the fenced boundary was visually inspected.

It is surprising the USACE could note the presence of nearby malls and banks “1,000 feet” from the site, but missed a car dealership and elementary school adjacent to the site along the “fenced boundary.” The investigators should have seen both the school and the dealership when performing the walk-around. Obviously there is a serious problem with either the site description, or the inspection, or both. In fact, the site description is merely copied from old material in the pre-Remedial Investigation reports, and the Corps of Engineers did not conduct a site analysis. Accordingly, no actual Phase I environmental assessment was performed under this Five-Year review, making it less plausible than the background checking associated with a typical real estate transaction.

 Institutional Controls: This site is legally defined as a toxic waste landfill. The Record of Decision requires “institutional controls,” a system of fences and gates that isolate the site from any public access. The USACE report correctly notes that the EPA and the responsible party have had five-years to comply with the legal deed restrictions, but have not done so (page 6). Further, the site inspection found holes in the fences, damage from  fallen a tree, and that many areas of the fence were “leaning outward” (page 11). However, the Review states that the remedy is “functioning as intended.” It is impossible to understand how the remedy could be functioning as intended and at the same time be  incomplete and falling apart.

 Cap: The report’s Executive Summary (unpaginated) states: “The landfill cap appears to be in fairly good condition, requiring only minor maintenance…” However, in the Site Inspection the same authors observed: “…large areas with little to no vegetative cover…” and “…several areas of erosion were detected…” This is not a trivial matter. Maintenance problems have been described in every annual report since the first. A cap that is supposed to last decades has shown problems of erosion since the beginning, and after  5 years still does not support grass in some areas. Note that landfill construction was not the monolithic structure called for in the Record of Decision, or the extraction and re-landfilling alternative called for in the ROD, but rather was an ex situ mixing system added after public review. The surface holes through the cap could easily be from movement and settling of the ex situ cells, which would mean that movement within the site is continuing. The USACE has no data showing this landfill treatment is stable, and, visibly, it is not.

 Surface soils: On page 6 the Army Corps of Engineers make an incorrect statement regarding origins of the soils of the landfill cover: “The landfill cover was constructed from soils excavated from the residential drainage ditch areas.” Since no references were provided for this statement it is not clear where the USACE obtained this information. In fact, the cap is constructed of toxaphene contaminated surface and subsurface soils from a neighborhood cleanup, toxaphene contaminated access roads, toxaphene contaminated surface soils from activities around the landfill, toxaphene contaminated dredge spoil piles removed from the adjacent creek, and toxaphene contaminated surface soils from the adjacent schoolyards. Accordingly, the landfill cover is toxaphene contaminated. Had the USACE performed a thorough review they would have known the toxic origins of these materials. Erosion of the cap exposing underlying cover materials is serious since it is possible the eroded materials have some contamination associated with them. Appropriate action is to order representative surface soil sampling in the cap erosion areas to assure no contamination has occurred from the breach. The USACE failed to make appropriate recommendations regarding testing of eroded areas of the landfill cover.

 Subsurface soils: The USACE incorrectly states that in situ stabilization took place at this landfill (page 5, Remedy Implementation, and elsewhere). In fact, every one of the 512 sub-cells were exhumed, stored above ground, and re-interred with above grade mixing. The process used, by definition, is ex situ (removal), not in situ, meaning “in place” treatment. In fact, site documents from the responsible party and the EPA state that field trials for in situ stabilization were a failure and in situ was a “technical impractability” for this waste. If the USACE performed an actual Phase I environmental assessment then they would have seen these documents, which were numerous, and then the USACE would not repeat the myth that in situ was used on this site. Accordingly, the public should have little confidence in the USACE’s conclusion that this remedy is effective, since the investigators clearly have no engineering understanding of the actual remedy.

 Groundwater: The Corps of Engineers noted a state of disrepair and questionable integrity in the wells at this site (page 11: “It was evident that several of the monitoring wells requires maintenance. Well cover hinges have rusted and broken and the majority of the monitoring wells were not labeled.”). Further, the USACE noted the discrepancies between the Toxaphene Task Force (TTF) methodology used on groundwater for this site and methods used elsewhere that generally report much higher values for toxaphene (page 14: “Identifying everything associated with toxaphene, including weathered and altered toxaphene products, would allow for the most conservative level of protectiveness”). Importantly, the report indicates that analytical tests for material at this landfill would only detect technical grade Toxaphene, not the off-grade product that was interred in the landfill, or 20-year old weathered toxaphene that would be expected in a closed landfill (page 14: “… the modifications to Methods 8080 and 8081 by the Toxaphene Task Force focus on identifying technical grade toxaphene specific to the standard used by Hercules that most closely reflects their product. Therefore, anything that did not match the reference chromatogram (i.e., off-product or weathered or biologically degraded toxaphene) would not be identified as toxaphene”). Finally, the report states that toxic colloids are the likely means of transport for his waste (page 10: “Transport of toxaphene has been established to be through colloidal suspensions.”). So it is very difficult to understand why the USACE would offer the statement that: “Sampling to date confirms the minimal contamination by technical toxaphene in the groundwater” (Five-Year Review Summary Form) when it is shown beyond doubt the techniques used would not detect the type of toxaphene in the landfill or the method of transport. There is an obvious disconnect between the reports findings and its’ conclusions; the only logical finding is that nothing can be concluded regarding toxaphene fate or transport at this landfill at this time.

 Conclusions

Numerous other criticisms can be leveled at this report. These include:

  • Select use of documents from the Administrative Record to defend the conclusions, rather than the entire AR;
  • Ignoring toxaphene analysis by third parties that indicate groundwater studies are inaccurate;
  • Failure to acknowledge that performance standards agreed to in the ROD were never met;
  • Failure to note that actual remedial treatment volumes  were less than that indicated in the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility study; and,
  • Failure to discuss the impact of the change in the cap design.

  It is fair to say that the many contradictions in the report render it useless as an objective view of the cleanup.  Based on the site Background and Remedial Actions sections of the Five-Year Report the US Army Corps of Engineers did not perform a bona fide environmental assessment of the remedy at this site. Instead of conducting a thorough examination of issues they merely read a few old documents, made a few phone calls, met with a few interested parties, and produced an unclear and undocumented report on the state of the remedy at this site. Lack of an adequate methodology for testing the polychlorinated camphene buried at the site did not deter the USACE from concluding the remedy was meeting its goals. The lack of engineering drawings and samples from beneath the landfill did not impact their belief in the success of the remedy. Even the obvious erosion and failure of the cap to support life failed to stop the USACE from pressing their agenda of unqualified acceptance of this cleanup.

 Page 19 of the report has a Protectiveness Summary (Section X.) that begins: “The remedial actions at the site are expected to be protective of human health and the environment upon proven attainment of ground-water cleanup goals.” [Emphasis added]. Unfortunately, the report provides no proof of protectiveness, and fails to provide a framework for scientific provenance for this site. No assurances the remedy is working or will work can result from this Five-Year review.

 Executive summary prepared by Dr. R. Kevin Pegg under a Technical Assistance Grant to the GEC.

Comments Regarding the Five-Year Review Report for the

Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site (EPA ID#: GAD980556906)
Dated February 2004

By Glynn Environmental Coalition
P. O. Box 2443
Brunswick, Georgia 31521
June 4, 2004

 1. Statement of issues for review

            A. Overview

The Five-Year Review Summary Form, under Issues, inaccurately reports the GEC’s issues of concern as decisions regarding excavation and method of sample analysis.  The GEC was very specific as to our issues of concerns at the December 2, 2002 meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers. Misrepresenting the issues of concern expressed by the GEC is viewed as an attempt to narrow the scope of the Five-Year Review to only the issues deemed important by the EPA and to a subset of documents from the Administrative Record that support their contention that the remedy is safe. It is important that the Summary Form is compete and accurate due to use as a document to concisely report current Site conditions and concerns about the protectiveness of the remedy. The following issues were identified as important factors to investigate during the Review at the December 2, 2002 meeting.

            B. Performance Standards

            The Performance Standard of 76 PPM toxaphene for subsurface soils was established to address the source areas, surface water, and groundwater at the Site.[1], [2] It was anticipated that contaminants at the Site which do not have cleanup levels presented in the ROD would be reduced to acceptable levels when cleanup levels were met for the most toxic and most mobile contaminants for which cleanup levels have been established.[3] The EPA assured the community that the cleanup goal of 76 PPM toxaphene for subsurface soils would be met by either stabilization or chemical extraction.[4] The treatment method, In-situ Stabilization, was selected because it would reduce the incremental risk associated with current Site conditions by permanently treating all affected solids having constituent concentrations exceeding remedial action levels.[5]  In addition, by treating the soil in place, or In-Situ, the public and school children would be further protected from fugitive emissions during the Remedial Action.  Of special concern is the elementary school adjoining the Site to the east, and the car dealership adjoining the Site to the North.  

            The EPA has made a fundamental change in the scope and performance of the subsurface soil Performance Standard of 76 PPM toxaphene by changing the Performance Standard to the water table; and has fundamentally changed the cost of treatment by reducing volume to be treated. Furthermore, the Performance Standard was fundamentally because the change does not enhance its protectiveness, or effectiveness.[6]  The Five-Year Review failed to evaluate colloidal transport of toxaphene to neighboring properties, or discuss the implications of leaving untreated toxaphene sludge and contaminated soils below the groundwater table.

            EPA Region IV contends that when the regional groundwater table is reached, they have met the intent of the ROD; the ROD did not contemplate extensive groundwater de-watering which would be necessary to treat below the regional groundwater table.[7], [8], [9], Contrary to contentions of the EPA, de-watering was contemplated and discussed in the Feasibility Study.[10] The Remedial Investigation clearly shows the sludge extended into the observed groundwater table.[11] The authors of the ROD understood the sludge extended into the groundwater table,[12] and the Site was deeper than historical records indicate.[13] It is accurate to say the ROD did contemplate treatment below the water table but left the engineering specifications to be worked-out in the Treatability Study using the Performance Standard of all subsurface soils exceeding the Performance Standard of 76 PPM toxaphene. The EPA has concluded previously that In-Situ Stabilization is an effective remedial technology and would achieve the performance criteria specified in the ROD for this Site.[14]

            The Five-Year Review failed to use toxaphene sludge depth data from the Treatability Study and Supplemental Soil Analysis to quantify the amount of untreated source area that would be left untreated.  Data concerning the amount of sludge and contaminated soil left untreated will be needed to evaluate the potential for continued colloidal transport of toxaphene to neighboring properties.  Furthermore, the hydrology data from the area continues to be questioned as to its accuracy. 

            C. Treatment Volume

            The change in the subsurface soil Performance Standard fundamentally reduced the treatment volume. Discarding of source areas to be treated as determined by the methodology specified in the ROD fundamentally changes the volume to be treated and is a fundamental change in scope, performance, and cost.  Subsurface soil target concentrations were used to establish treatment boundaries for subsurface soil and wastes for cost estimating purposed and a sampling program was conducted to determine the actual volumes of surface soil and subsurface soil requiring remedial action.[15]  The ROD specified a sampling program to determine the actual volumes of the source areas to be treated, and not the groundwater table. If the groundwater table was to be used as the remedial boundary, all necessary data to determine source area volume would have been present at the time the ROD was written. The use of soil driven standards was further clarified in the ROD; "Sludge and soil containing toxaphene exceeding remedial action target concentrations will be treated in-situ in conjunction with stabilization of consolidated surface soil". By their own admission, the EPA does not expect excavation to meet the Performance Standard or use the methodology specified in the ROD to determine treatment boundaries of source areas.[16] The ROD is clear, the subsurface soil target concentrations are to be used to establish vertical and horizontal treatment boundaries for subsurface soils and waste, and a sampling program will be conducted to determine the actual volumes of surface soil and subsurface soil requiring remedial action.[17] A sampling program, not the water table, was to be used to determine the boundaries of the source areas designated for treatment.  Sampling required under the ROD was conducted to determine the vertical and horizontal boundaries of the source area to be treated during the Treatability Study.[18] Discarding the delineated source areas identified for treatment in the Treatability Study, a decision document for the Site, is a fundamental change to the scope, performance, and cost of the remedy selected in the ROD.[19]

            The Five-Year Review did not consider the Treatability Study or the Summary Report for Supplemental Soil Analysis at the 009 Landfill. [20]  Treatability studies and the Remedial Investigation consistently and repeatedly found toxaphene sludge deeper than the historical descriptions of the landfill cells.  It is conspicuous that the Review fails to list these key decision making documents in the Site Chronology section of the Review.  The Review has been based upon a very limited subset of documents from the Administrative Record (AR) that support contentions that the Site Remedial Action is protective.  When the Administrative Record is examined as a whole, data refutes contentions in the Five-Year Review that the Site is not a continuing hazard and risk to human health and the environment.

            D. Treatment Method

            Fundamental changes were made to the ROD specified treatment method of In-Situ Stabilization, to Ex-Situ Stabilization of only source areas above the water table to form a cap over the site.[21], [22] The fundamental change in the treatment method made by the EPA also changed the performance and scope of treatment because of the limitations identified with Ex-Situ treatments.[23] In addition, cost of treatment is changed by a reduction in the soil volume determined during the Treatability Study using the ROD guidelines. Therefore, an amendment to the ROD is required because the changes do not enhance protectiveness or effectiveness, reduce scope, performance, cost, and are a fundamental reconsideration of the basic remedy selection decision on which comment was taken.[24]

            The EPA incorrectly calls the current treatment method In-Situ while describing Ex-Situ remedy. A very basic difference exists between the two treatment methods. In-Situ[25] is in the original place and Ex-Situ is accomplished by excavation[26]. All descriptions of the current Remedial Action by the EPA describe Ex-Situ Stabilization with extensive excavation.[27], [28], [29], [30] Inherent problems identified with Ex-Situ at this Site in the RI/FS re-emerged.[31] 

            Contrary to the contention of the EPA, all toxaphene sludge was not treated because sludge extends below the regional groundwater, and treatment was stopped before, or when, the groundwater table was reached. Water table elevations at the site range from 14 to 17 feet MSL (Mean Sea Level)[32] and the sludge extends down below 10 feet MSL.[33]   The water table Performance Standard and cap alters scope, performance, and cost.

             The cap will not prevent transport of contamination into the groundwater because source areas exist in soils above Performance Standards over 12 feet below the water table. In addition, horizontal groundwater flow will continue to allow colloidal migration of contamination from source areas throughout the subsurface soils.[34]  A "Cap" is a fundamental change to the remedy selected in the ROD that does not enhance performance or effectiveness, and changes the scope, performance and cost.

            E. Confirmation Sampling

            Confirmation sampling to confirm compliance with the ROD was planned only if Ex-Situ did not reach the water table.[35]  Elimination of confirmation sampling specified in the ROD is a fundamental change in the scope, performance, and remedy selection decision process in which public comments were taken. The change does not enhance protectiveness or effectiveness and can not be handled by an Explanation of Significant Differences.[36]

            The EPA magnified uncertainties already associated with In-Situ. Uncertainties associated with In-Situ stabilization are the variability of the treatment throughout the treatment zone and incapability of the contractor to monitor treatment results. These concerns were not addressed by the ROD required sufficient overlap between treatment areas and by post-treatment sampling of the treated zone and underlying soil.[37] The Remedial Action did not conduct the ROD specified post-treatment sampling required under the ROD and further expands the uncertainties associated with the selected treatment.  The Five-Year Review contends that the remedy is protective based upon opinion, speculation and hearsay, not the data specified in the ROD to evaluate the completed Remedial Action. 

            Changes in treatment volume and treatment method assured the underlying soil for a depth of up to 12 feet do not meet Performance Standards. [38]  Levels up to 2600 PPM remain in the soils below groundwater level.[39]  Fundamental changes to confirmation sampling do not enhance protectiveness or effectiveness and fundamentally change the scope and cost. 

            The Five-Year Review confirms that colloidal transport of toxaphene is taking place at the Site, but did not discuss the migration rate or how untreated sludge and soil could contribute to continued colloidal transport off-site to neighboring properties.   Failure of the Five-Year Review to evaluate past and current colloidal transport leaves considerable doubt about protectiveness of the remedy to neighboring properties.  

            F. Landfill Cap

            Elimination of the clay component of the cap is a fundamental change that does not enhance protectiveness or effectiveness and can not be handled by an Explanation of Significant Differences because it is a fundamental change in the scope, performance and cost of the remedy selected in the ROD.[40], [41]  Furthermore, the treatment of consolidated contaminated soils with 3% Portland cement is a fundamental change from formulations approved in the Treatability Study (TS).  No Treatability Study was performed on the 3% Portland cement formulation. The proposed treatment is in non-compliance with the Treatability Study, a Decision Document for the Site. Therefore, the treatment is a fundamental change in the remedy and treatment methodology specified in the ROD. The cap treatment does not enhance performance or effectiveness and changes the scope, performance, and cost of the selected remedy.

            The Five-Year Review failed to compare the ESD mandated cap of off-site soil screened and mixed in a pug mill before being mixed and applied to the site, and the actual cap construction method, which was placing the soil over the Site and mixing in some cement.   No confirmation sampling has been done to evaluate the ability of the cap to resist rainwater infiltration.  The placement of soil over the site and mixing cement, which is in non-compliance with the ESD, could result in a significant decrease in cap effectiveness.  Significant is that the those reviewing the Five-Year Review failed to note that neither the ROD or ESD specified covers were constructed at the Site.

            G.  Explanation of Significant Differences

            Five-Year Review Summary Form, under Issues states that the August 1998 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) provided adequate explanation for the changes made to the ROD concerning depth of excavation.  The ESD states that there will be “hydrostatic inflow”, “blow-in”, “unsafe working conditions”, and “side sloping”, if the remedy specified in the ROD is followed.  Presumably the safety concern stems from a reported upwelling of water under the site.  The EPA requested study and quantification of this reported phenomenon by Hercules that was so dangerous in 1996.  No data has been produced to support the contention that water upwelling occur under the Site.  The premise of the ESD is not supported by Site data.  To the contrary, the EPA and RP have never explained how toxaphene migrated deep into soils underlying the Site against upwelling water. 

            Under CERCLA, supporting documentation for an ESD must be placed in the Repository for public reading.  No documentation has been produced by the EPA or PRP to support the claims made about potential disastrous construction conditions in the ESD.  The ESD is no more than a collection of rumors and hearsay that are not supported by Site data.  A more likely scenario is that the ESD was written in support of agreements made between the EPA and Hercules during 1996, 1997, and 1998.  There is documentation in the Administrative Record to support this scenario, whereas there is none to support the ESD.   

            The ESD fundamentally changed In-Situ remedy specified in the ROD to excavation and treatment, which reintroduce the need for dewatering with excavation identified in the Feasibility Study.  The Review accurately reports the Remedial Action for the Site as excavation, a fundamental change in the ROD. 

             EPA Region IV contends that when the regional groundwater table is reached, they have met the intent of the ROD; the ROD did not contemplate extensive groundwater de-watering which would be necessary to treat below the regional groundwater table.[42], [43], [44], Contrary to contentions of the EPA, de-watering was contemplated and discussed in the Feasibility Study.[45] The Remedial Investigation clearly shows the sludge extended into the observed groundwater table.[46] The authors of the ROD understood the sludge extended into the groundwater table,[47] and the Site was deeper than historical records indicate.[48] It is accurate to say the ROD did contemplate treatment below the water table but left the engineering specifications to be worked-out in the Treatability Study using the Performance Standard of all subsurface soils exceeding the Performance Standard of 76 PPM toxaphene. The EPA has concluded previously that In-Situ Stabilization is an effective remedial technology through onsite In-Situ stabilization with vertical augers that did achieve the performance criteria specified in the ROD for this Site.[49]

            H. Toxaphene Task Force Analytical Method

            The Five-Year Review Summary Form, under Issues, states that the purpose of the Toxaphene Task Force (TTF) was to create constancy between labs.  The records of the TTF agreement state a far different purpose, which is to change the analytical method from one that detects “total toxaphene” and “apparent toxaphene” used by toxicologists to evaluate risk to a method that measures only “technical toxaphene”.   A more detailed discussion about the TTF analytical method follows.

I.                   Toxaphene Task Force Methodology

a.      Summary

            The U.S. EPA, Georgia EPD, and Hercules Inc. met as the "Toxaphene Task Force"  (TTF) and developed a method for identifying and quantifying the pesticide toxaphene in Brunswick, Georgia.  The TTF method has threatened human health by failing to detect or significantly under quantifying toxaphene levels present in the environment.  U. S. EPA and the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry toxicologist have documented why the TTF method fails to produce data that is useful in making their decisions and recommendations to protect human health.

b. Background

            The Glynn Environmental Coalition (GEC) is located in Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia, where an insecticide mixture of polychlorinated camphene (PCC), commonly called toxaphene, was manufactured by Hercules Incorporated.  Manufacturing of PCC took place at Hercules Incorporated, Brunswick, Georgia, from 1948 to 1980.(1)  PCC is defined as camphene with 67% to 69% chlorine by weight, and is a complex mixture of over 670 separate chemicals. (2)(3)(4)  During the period PCC was manufactured, PCC manufacturing wastes and PCC was discharged into the estuary by way of Dupree and Terry Creek at a rate of 250 to 300 pounds of PCC per day.(5)  Fugitive emissions of PCC contaminated wind-blown dust, water runoff, and vehicle traffic distributed PCC throughout the neighborhoods around the Hercules Plant site. (6)  In addition, significant amounts of PCC were deposited into at least four landfills and dumps in Glynn County.(7)(8)

            In 1991, chemists from the EPA, EPD, and Hercules Inc., performed a limited study and developed a set of guiding principles for the determination of PCC in groundwater, soil, and manufacturing waste sludge samples from the Brunswick, Georgia, area.(9)(10)  The results of this limited study was the development of the "Toxaphene Task Force" (TTF) methodology for the identification and quantification of PCC.  The TTF methodology was further modified in August 1997.(11)    Even though the August 1997 modifications were proposed for only specified areas and only for soil and groundwater, the method has been used at Sites throughout Glynn County and has been used to determine PCC's in fish tissue for human health determinations.(12)   The August 1997 method is also referred to as the "Hercules Protocol".(13)

            The ability of the agreed upon TTF method to accurately identify and quantify PCC has been questioned by the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the EPA.

                        c. Statement of the Problem

            The method developed by the TTF for the identification and quantification of PCC in Brunswick, Georgia, seriously underestimates the true amount present, and excludes the PCC chemicals that health officials are most concerned about.  Specifically, the TTF method fails to report the "total toxaphene" and "apparent toxaphene" that are the basis of recommendations by the EPA, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and ATSDR toxicologist to protect human health and establish cleanup levels at PCC contaminated sites, such as the Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site.

            Local, State and Federal health officials rely upon the accuracy of data gathered on PCC levels to make recommendations to minimize or eliminate exposure of citizens through consumption of contaminated seafood, water, or contact with contaminated soil, sediments, and sludge.  Based on PCC data collected, interim actions are recommended to protect the public in the form of seafood consumption advisories, and emergency removal actions, while long-term remedies are developed.  High quality and accurate data is crucial in taking short-term actions and recommendations, and developing long term remedial plans. 

            Health officials from the EPA and ATSDR have identified the TTF method as seriously flawed in providing data meaningful to their deliberations on the potential health ramifications from the consumption of PCC contaminated seafood, and exposure to PCC contaminated air, soil, sludge, sediments, and water.  The EPA and ATSDR are specific in the type and quality of data needed to make decisions protective of human health and the environment.   Likewise, the EPA and ATSDR have been specific in the ways the TTF method has threatened human health by failing to detect and understating actual PCC levels present.  Most notable is that the TTF method excludes the fraction of the 670+ PCC chemicals that are of concern in making health based recommendations.  Recent re-analysis of samples has shown that the TTF method failed to identify the presence of PCC in seafood at levels 52 times the EPA "do not eat" recommendation. The TTF method has failed to accurately identify PCC in many other samples, or to significantly understate actual levels of PCC present.

d. Discussion

            Formation of the Toxaphene Task Force began at meeting on September 30, 1991, at the Georgia EPD.  It was agreed that previously the regulatory agencies and Hercules had used a procedure that identified "apparent toxaphene" when analyzing environmental samples.(14)  Analysis for "apparent toxaphene" is the criteria used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make health based recommendations for maximum levels of PCC in food.(15)  It was agreed that if the U.S. EPA, Georgia EPD, and Hercules agreed upon the method and the findings of the task force, it would be used by the EPA for any work relating to the Superfund Site or any RCRA matters pertaining to the Hercules facility involving toxaphene.(16)   It was proposed that those in attendance meet again to review the work of the task force and to discuss whether the samples do, in fact, reflect toxaphene or some other product.  Clearly, a decision was made at the meeting to develop a PCC analytical method different from the health-based method currently in use.

            The report of TTF, released June 4, 1993, was described as a very limited study of toxaphene analysis of real samples collected at the Hercules facility in Brunswick, Georgia.(17) The TTF method was designed to identify and quantify "technical toxaphene", instead of the "total toxaphene" or "apparent toxaphene" used by toxicologist in determining the potential risk to human health and the environment.

            The TTF made specific changes in the identification and quantification of PCC that result in a significant reduction of "total toxaphene" and "apparent toxaphene".  Quantification was limited to the 4-6 major peaks on the "back half" of the toxaphene chromatogram while many of the prominent PCC's found in the "front half" are associated with unmodified technical toxaphene.(18)(19)(20)(21)  The TTF further excluded PCC from the quantification process by eliminating any peak which is larger in proportion to the other component peaks in the sample than in the toxaphene standard.(22)  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in the "apparent toxaphene" method, instructs to include all peaks, and notes that relative heights and widths of matching peaks in the residue and reference standard will probably differ. (23)

            One chemist from the U.S. EPA noted that the "latter peaks" in samples were decreased and the "early peaks" were increased in environmental samples from Brunswick, and that the TTF method may seriously underestimate the true concentration of toxaphene.(24)(25)  Because early and disproportionate peaks are eliminated from the quantification in the TTF method, it produces much lower PCC quantification results than those found using the U.S EPA approved Contract Laboratory Program (CLP) analytical method.  The U.S. EPA Region 4 Environmental Services Division Laboratory analyzed split samples by the TTF method and a contracted laboratory by the U.S. EPA approved CLP method.  Results showed that the TTF method either failed to detect PCC or only identified as little as 3.2% of the PCC present.(26)

            Seafood samples collected in 1997 by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and analyzed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division using the TTF method, were re-analyzed by the Skidaway Institute.(27)   While PCC was not detected in any sample (n=56) using the TTF method, reanalysis detected PCC in every sample up to 26 parts per million (PPM).  Even when the EPA "do not eat" levels of 0.5 PPM was exceeded by 52 times, PCC was reported as "not detectable" in fish by the TTF method.(28)  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a maximum allowable PCC level of 5 PPM in commercially caught seafood sold in the United States, until revoked in 1993.(29)   In addition, in setting the FDA level, it makes the assumption that the seafood will be diluted in the Nation's food basket.  The FDA also explicitly states that FDA maximum allowable levels are not to be applied to a seafood source consumed by the local population.  The TTF method failed to find PCC at over five-times the FDA commercial level, yet commercial seafood harvest continues within the areas.  Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), food tolerance restrictions for toxaphene (PCC) range from 0.1 to 7 ppm.   Therefore, the failure of the TTF method to detect toxaphene at levels meaningful to the protection of human health and the environment presents local health threats and may have national significance.

            ATSDR evaluated the data produced by the TTF method and found many concerns over it use.(30)  The TTF method failed to accurately identify and quantify a known amount of the PCC in the calibration standard.  They found that the composition of the weathered PCC in fish differs from that in the technical-grade PCC, and the PCC adsorbed on soil may have a different bioavailability than technical-grade PCC.  In addition, the TTF method seems to eliminate the option to conduct a total area method that estimates the PCC concentration from all peaks in the chromatogram.(31)  The ATSDR concluded that the use of the "back half" peak method (TTF method) is likely to result in significant underestimation of PCC concentration, and the estimated dose could be 10 times higher if historical data are taken into account for dose estimation.(32)  The interview with Dr. Keith Maruya for the Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site for the Five-Year Review resulted in an estimation of  toxaphene levels up to 10 times higher than reported by the TTF analytical method.   The EPA chemist, Lavon Revells, who was interviewed as part of the Five-Year Review is on record admitting that the TTF method may seriously under estimate the actual levels of toxaphene present.(24) 

              Local, State, and Federal health officials depend on PCC data from the EPA, EPD, and Hercules Incorporated, in preparing remedial plans and making recommendations to potentially exposed citizens around contaminated areas.  In addition, the Georgia EPD will NOT make a consumption recommendation without data.(33)  An analytical method that fails to find the chemical of concern or that seriously understates the actual levels present fails to protect human health.  Bad data leads to bad decisions and recommendations by local, State, and Federal officials that result in health threatening exposure of the citizenry. The integrity of the Nations food basket is compromised by flawed analysis that allows contaminated seafood to be harvested and sold.

            Corrective action plans required by the EPA and EPD are promulgated on protection of human health and the environment.  Remedial actions that are based upon faulty or inaccurate data will fail to fulfill the intent of the law, which is to protect human health.   Any analytical method that fails to find the chemical(s) of concern (COC) at levels meaningful to the protection of public health is a threat to public health.  When a method is represented to be accurate at levels meaningful to public health and fails to detect COC's, and the COC is reported as not present, public health is jeopardized by the false belief that the seafood, soil, water, or sediments are safe to consume or be exposed.

e. Conclusions regarding TTF

The Glynn Environmental Coalition (GEC) believes that the U.S. EPA, Georgia EPD, and Hercules have entered into an agreement that failed to identify and under-reported PCC levels present.  This agreement has led to data that is a threat to human health and the environment because health agencies are making seafood consumption and soil, sediment, and sludge exposure recommendations based upon flawed data.  In addition, remedial actions by the U.S. EPA and Georgia EPD will not be protective of human health and the environment because cleanup levels will not accurately reflect true levels of PCC present. 

The Five-Year Review acknowledges there are significant problems with the TTF analytical method, but continues to maintain that the Site is safe based upon unreliable data that is most certainly a gross underestimation of actual toxaphene levels in all environmental media at the Site.  The Review does articulate why the toxaphene analytical data is questionable, but does not discuss how a determination that the remedy is protective could be made with admittedly questionable data.

f. References

See Attachment 1 for References for Toxaphene Task Force Analytical Method Discussion.

2.  Impact of Toxaphene under-reporting on public health

The Five-Year Review accurately identifies the Toxaphene Task Force Method (TTF) as least protective to human health and the environment, but fails to discuss the reports and data that substantiate failure of the TTF method to identify toxaphene at levels significant to protection of human health and the environment.

            The protectiveness of the Remedial Action is called into question due to the inability of the TTF method to identify and quantify toxaphene at levels protective of human health and the environment.  The Five-Year Review does not evaluate the inadequacies of the TTF analytical method in favor of stating that toxaphene analysis is a controversial and complex subject beyond comprehension of the authors.  The EPA has clearly specified methods for identifying and quantifying toxaphene, such as the current Method 8081B, Revision 2, which became the official EPA toxaphene analytical method as of January 1998.  Method 8081B modified the analytical methods to eliminate the interference by other compounds such as PCBs that were cited as a reason to develop the TTF analytical method.   The TTF method is not an approved EPA method.

            ATSDR noted that the four-peak toxaphene identification and quantification method utilized by the TTF method is no longer appropriate.

            “The precision of the four-peak-in-back-half method could have been high for the Method 8080 with packed column back in September 1986. At that time, the packed column in the gas chromatography produced only several peaks (peaks u, v, w, x, y) in the back half of the chromatogram of technical grade toxaphene. In the packed column chromatogram, the use of four-peak-in-back-half method was precise because four out of the five usable peaks in the back-half were included in the calculation. This method produced estimated concentrations comparable to that calculated from the total area method. The precision of the four-peak-in-back-half method, however, was lost when the high resolution capillary column was introduced into modern gas chromatography instruments.” [50]

            ATSDR also noted that the TTF method, also called "Procedures for the determination of Toxaphene", was intended to be used by USEPA Region IV and Hercules for determining toxaphene in soil, water, and sediment samples in the Brunswick, GA area.  Therefore the information from ATSDR is relevant to the Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site.  ATSDR also noted that the TTF method was not in compliance with current EPA approved analytical methods, and that the four peak toxaphene identification and quantification method was no longer an valid EPA analytical method .  ATSDR stated, “Moreover, new versions of the Method 8081 using modern capillary columns are now available. The official version of Method 8081A, December 1996, did not contain the language of the "last four peaks only" which was retained in the January 1995 version of the Method 8081A. The newer version of the Method 8081B, Revision 2, January 1998, did not retain the language either.”

            ATSDR has found data developed through the TTF method to be insufficient for a Public Health Assessment.  The Five-Year Review should not make conclusions regarding the protectiveness of the Remedial Action based upon data obtained by the TTF method, which is not an approved EPA analytical method.  Furthermore, the authors of the Review failed to consult either ATSDR or a third-party toxicologist regarding their speculation that the remedy continues to be protective and operate as intended.

 3. Comments on the Five-Year Review Introduction section

The introduction concludes that the remedies have been constructed and continue to operate as intended.  The Five-Year Review does not reference data, other than limited water samples, to support the opinion that the Site is operating as intended.  To the contrary, documents from the Administrative Record that were not included in the Review rebut the conclusion that that Remedial Action met the ROD specified remedial goals.  Conclusions that the remedy is protective are based upon opinion, speculation, and hearsay rather than Site specific data.

 4.      Comments on the Chronology section

    A. Overview

The Chronology of Site Events fails to list key decision making meetings between the EPA and the Responsible Parties (RP).  A review of the Administrative Record (AR) indicates that fundamental changes were made in the ROD during meetings from July 1996 through October 1996.  During 1997, documents support an agreement between the EPA and RP to make fundamental changes to the ROD, including a change from In-Situ to Ex-Situ treatment and elimination of confirmation sampling.   Even though many of the fundamental changes were made in response to a reported upwelling of water at the Site, no documentation was ever produced by the RP to support upwelling of water at the site. The EPA requested supporting documentation for this claim by the RP but none was ever received.   The negotiation that took place between the EPA and RP from 1996 to 1998 to fundamentally change the ROD, and then implemented the agreement through an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) that lacked the supporting documentation required under 40 CFR 300.435.   Documentation supporting the ESD was never placed in the Repository, as required by law.  Many of following documents from the Administrative Record, presented in dated order, were not reviewed during the Five-Year Review contain key decisions and agreements between the EPA and RP that fundamentally changed the ROD. 

            B. Actual chronology of site documents based on AR:

April  20, 1995 - Hercules/EPA meeting - discuss Cleanup Standards

May 19, 1995 - Hercules/EPA conference call - review Cleanup Standards

May 30, 1995 - EPA response to Hercules request to change Baseline Risk Assessment

June 12, 1995 - Hercules request for meeting with EPA about surface soil cleanup standard

July 12, 1995 - Hercules report for Off-Site Excavation

August 4, 1995 - Hercules request for review of Risk Assessment to EPA

August 23, 1995 - Hercules submission of Drainage Ditch Work Plan

October 17, 1995 - Hercules request for meeting with EPA Region IV Administrator about surface soil cleanup standard

November 9, 1995 - Hercules submits Technical Memorandum 2B to EPA

December 5, 1995 - Hercules/EPA meeting - Baseline Risk Assessment (Steinberg/Hankinson)

January 1996 - Hercules submission of Phase I results and Phase II grid sampling (school)

January 5, 1996 - Hercules letter to EPA about surface soil cleanup standard

January 25, 1996 - Hercules/EPA conference call - Technical Memorandum 2B

February 9, 1996 - EPA response to Hercules request for new Baseline Risk Assessment

February 16, 1996 - Hercules submits draft Final Treatability Study to EPA

February 26, 1996 - Hercules submits Drainage Ditch Area Remediation report (trouble reaching MCL)

March 29, 1996 - EPA (Holdsworth) to EPA (Yarbrough) about Treatability testing and inclusion of a Cap as preferred remedy in the report by Hercules

April 16, 1996 - EPA reply to inclusion of Cap in Treatability Study (disdain for inclusion)

April 18, 1996 - EPA approval of Treatability Study Report

April 29, 1996 - Hercules response to EPA disdain for Cap in TS report

April 29, 1996 - EPA approves Hercules Work Plan to Collect Additional Groundwater Assessment

May 7, 1996 - Hercules/EPA meeting - Hercules argues for no stabilization of soils below 76 PPM

May 9, 1996 - Hercules proposal for Phytoreremediation to EPA

May 9, 1996 - Hercules/EPA conference call - Phytoreremediation, and discussion of ability of in-situ to meet Performance Standards required by ROD

June 3, 1996 - Hercules submits Remedial Design Work Plan

July 1, 1996 - Hercules requests meeting with EPA to resolve Performance Standards for stabilization

July 15, 1996 - Hercules request for non-residential cleanup standard from EPA

Hercules/EPA meeting - Performance Standards discussed; EPA instructs Hercules to submit a Technical Memorandum proposing alternatives to the current set of Performance Standards

September 11, 1996 - Hercules submits Performance Criteria Technical Memorandum, per agreement with EPA

October 2, 1996 - Hercules/EPA meeting - discuss and resolve the issues outlined in the Performance Criteria Technical Memorandum

October 4, 1996 - EPA response to Hercules Performance Criteria Technical Memorandum confirming agreements made at the October 2, 1996 meeting

October 8, 1996 - Hercules submits Drainage Ditch Area Remediation final report

October 25, 1996 - Hercules submits revised schedule for RD to EPA

January 24, 1997 - Hercules Submits preliminary design Report

March 7, 1997 - Hercules/EPA/GA-EPD meeting - Value Engineering

March 13, 1997 - EPA approval of preliminary design report

March 24, 1997 - EPA approval of preliminary design report

April 2, 1997 - Hercules submits Soil Excavation Plan letter to EPA

April 1997 - EPA verbal approval of Soil Excavation Plan letter

April 15, 1997 - Hercules submits Pre-Final Design Report

April 29, 1997 - Hercules submits Performance Standards Verification Plan, and Operations and Maintenance Plan

August 19, 1997 - EPA comments to Hercules on Pre-Final Remedial Design Package, Performance Standards Verification Plan, and Operations and Maintenance Plan

August 19, 1997 - Hercules/EPA meeting - Discussion of EPA comments on Pre-Final Remedial Design, Performance Standards Verification Plan, and Operations and Maintenance Plan

September 1997 - Hercules comments to EPA on Pre-Final Design

October 24, 1997 - RMT response to EPA's comments on Pre-Final Design

November 19, 1997 - EPA comments on Pre-Final Design Package

November 26, 1997 – RMT report, Summary Report for Supplemental Soil Analysis at the 009 Landfill, Brunswick, Georgia.

November 1997 - RMT Report for Former Sludge Staging Area

January 20, 1998 - Hercules and RMT response to EPA comments on Pre-Final Design

January 1998 - Hercules Design Drawings for Culvert in East Drainage Ditch

January 15, 1998 - Remedial Action Plan submitted

January 20, 1998 - Hercules response to EPA comments on Pre-Final Design

January 30, 1998 - Remedial Design submitted

February 2, 1998 - EPA comments regarding design of the Eastern Drainage Ditch

February 3, 1998 - Hercules and RMT response to EPA comments

February 17, 1998 - Hercules and RMT response to EPA comments

February 25, 1998 - Hercules and RMT response to EPA comments

March 1998 - Hercules response to EPA letter regarding installation of culvert

March 2, 1998 - EPA Approval of All Design Documents

March 25, 1998 - Hercules/EPA conference - Pre-construction

May 18, 1998 - EPA letter to Hercules relaying Glynn Environmental Coalition request to install irrigation wells

May 28, 1998 - Hercules and RMT response to address EPA's potential concern regarding contaminated soils

June 1998 - RMT memo to EPA addressing EPA Technical Assistance Grant Advisor's comments on Hercules 009 Landfill RD/RA

June 1998 - RMT plan to EPA to address Glynn Environmental Coalition request to install wells

July 24, 1998 - Hercules response to Congressman Kingston's office to address concerns raised by the Glynn Environmental Coalition

August 19, 1998 - Hercules/EPA meeting - Discuss results of field trial

August 27, 1998 - RMT letter to EPA communicating alternative treatment method

August 31, 1998 - Hercules submittal of chromatograms of last round of groundwater monitoring.

September 9, 1998 - RMT Technical Memorandum presenting results of the field demonstration

September 11, 1998 - EPA approval to OHM's modifications to the stabilization process

November 1998 - Results from sampling soils for Ex-Situ Stabilization

February 1999 - EPA requests two samples of stabilized cover be obtained and tested

 5.  Comments on the Background section

The Site description in the Background section is not only inaccurate, but extremely misleading to anyone reading the Five-Year Review without ever seeing the Site, and could result in a miscalculation of potential health risks.  Rapid development is taking place in the area.  Evidently, the same Site description used in the 1980’s continues to be used for the Site, even though sufficient information was collected during the Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study, Treatability Study, and Remedial Design to write a definitive description of the Site based on data.  The Background section contains information that is now known to be inaccurate.  Specific comments follow.

A. The first paragraph is inaccurately states that stores, businesses and residences are approximately 1000 feet from the site.  Adjoining the Site to the north is a car dealership, and adjoining the site to the east is an elementary school.  The location of adjoining business and school should be key factors in evaluating the protectiveness of the remedy.   The Background should specifically state that an elementary school abuts the Site.

B. The second paragraph inaccurately describes Site contents.  During the Remedial Action, numerous full drums were encountered in the landfill.  EPA oversight of the Remedial Action was removed prior to full product drums being encountered.  The EPA only asked the RP about the full drums encountered after the GEC asked about how the EPA was handling the problem.   Personal communications between the GEC and contractors indicate numerous drums of product were encountered during the Remedial Action.  It is unknown how these drums of discarded product could effect the protectiveness of the Remedial Action due to no confirmation sampling as specified in the ROD.

The Five-Year Review failed to evaluate the effect of breaching full drums during Ex-Situ stabilization.  Confirmation sampling, as specified in the ROD, would provide much needed information about the effect of breaching full product drums during the Remedial Action.

C. The second paragraph inaccurately describes Site landfill cell construction and sludge thickness as 6 to 7 feet.  Contrary to the reported bentonite clay lining, only three of 32 borings found any bentonite, and one boring found bentonite above the sludge layer.   Landfill cells were far thicker than the reported six or seven feet.  Data collected that shows the sludge extends over 20 feet deep should be used to describe the Site.  Notable is that the Background section is the only place in the Five-Year Review that quantifies the thickness of the sludge, whereas the actual depth of the sludge, over 20 feet deep, is not reported in the Review.  Sludge depth at the Site was never determined.  Borings were terminated before the bottom of the sludge was found. 

Failure of the Five-Year Review team to demonstrate knowledge about actual Site conditions raises doubt about the conclusion that the Site remedy is protective.  The Review team did not cite sound science or Site specific data to support their conclusion.  To the contrary, the review raised significant doubts about sampling, analysis, and quantification of toxaphene at the Site. 

D. The second paragraph describes Site contamination being found in drainage ditches around the Site.  Even though the ROD mandated a removal action along the ditch banks, no removal action took place to remove known areas of contamination in the drainage ditch area.

6.   Comments on the Remedial Action sections

The Remedial Actions section, for the most part, accurately portrays the remedial action specified in the ROD and the fundamental changes made to the ROD during meetings between the EPA and the RP from 1996 to 1998.  The statement, “It was determined that treating soil below the groundwater table could result in unsafe construction conditions”, was never supported by data.  To the contrary, the EPA asked for supporting data to support the RP’s contention that upwelling would result in unsafe conditions, but the data was never provided.  The EPA never made a determination that treating below the groundwater table would be unsafe, but did ask for data to support the claim that was never received from the RP.

 7.      Comments on the Remedy Implementation section

     A.  As noted by the Remedy Implementation section, the EPA was fully aware that the selected remedy was a fundamental change to the ROD because sludge would be left untreated, and the ROD specified goal of In-Situ stabilization of all sludge and soil above the 76 ppm toxaphene remedial action goal would NOT be met.   No data has been presented to explain how leaving sludge and soil above the 76 ppm toxaphene remedial goal would stop colloidal transport to neighboring properties. 

            B.  The Remedy Implementation section note that the cap was made by placing contaminated soil over the Site and mixing in some cement, but fails to note that the ESD required the soil to be screened, mixed in a pug mill, and spread uniformly over the Site. The Five-Year Review failed to evaluate how failure to follow the cap construction method in the ROD and ESD have reduced protectiveness of the remedy.  Failure to do any confirmation sampling or study infiltration through the cap leaves many uncertainties about the protectiveness of the remedy.

 8.      Comments on the Review Process

The purpose of the Five-Year Review is stated as to, “…evaluates the implementation and performance of the selected remedy.”   Insufficient data exists to evaluate the performance of the selected remedy. The ROD is specific about how to evaluate the remedy, and the Five-Year Review fails to evaluate the remedy according to the guidance in the ROD.  The Five-Year Review can be most accurately described as a collection of opinions and speculation about the protectiveness of the remedy.   Conclusions regarding the protectiveness of the remedy should be stated as indeterminate until there is scientifically sound data collected that demonstrates the remedy is protective.

 9.         Comments on the Reviewed Documents

As noted in Comment 4 previously, the Five-Year Review was based upon a subset of documents from the Administrative Record.  Most noticeably missing from the list of reviewed documents were the Treatability Study and the Supplemental Soil Analysis that found toxaphene at far greater depths than the Remedial Action was designed to address.

 10.        Comments on the Data Review

     A. The data Review inaccurately describes the Site being monitored by 18 monitoring wells and 2 irrigation type wells since 1983.  The irrigation type wells were installed on the Site at the request of the GEC to evaluate colloidal transport, and potential for colloidal movement of toxaphene off-site via pumping by an irrigation well.  The irrigation wells were installed but removed before any usable data set could be obtained.   Existing monitoring well data is very suspect due to the Toxaphene Task Force (TTF) method of analysis and quantification.   The Data Review did not provide data to evaluate colloidal transport, nor did the Five-Year Review evaluate potential for continued migration of toxaphene via colloidal transport.  It should be noted that the water sampling method was changed due to consistent and regular toxaphene detection in groundwater samples.  The Five-Year Review does not evaluate how the change in sample collection methods could reduce reported toxaphene in groundwater samples.

            B.  The Five-Year Review does identify the change in toxaphene analysis and quantification methods as a factor in all results by the TTF method being reported as non detect.  Important to note is that the TTF method has failed to find toxaphene in samples at levels of 26 ppm, and the TTF method has detection limits that are irrelevant to protection of groundwater and human health.  The TTF method introduces much doubt as to the ability to identify and quantify toxaphene that the best the Five-Year Review can do is conclude there is an indeterminate health risk and environmental impact from the Site.

 11.              Comments on the Site Inspection

     A.  During the Site inspection, it was noted that there was erosion on the north slope of the landfill.  The Review failed to note if Site material has eroded and migrated to the car dealership property adjoining the north side of the Site. 

            B.  The monitoring wells were noted to be in poor condition and in need of maintenance.   Due to the age of the monitoring wells and the noted lack of maintenance, the wells should be examined and depths compared to the original installation logs.  The actual depths of the monitoring wells could be far different now than when installed.  Failure to report current monitoring well depths adds further doubt and uncertainty about the validity of the monitoring well data.

            C.  Without a complete list of documents in the Administrative Record, those conducting the Review and evaluation of the Repository at the Glynn County Library can not make a determination about document completeness.  To the contrary, the conspicuous incompleteness of the documents reviewed for the Five-Year Review indicates that the reviewers were never provided a complete list of the documents in the Administrative Record.  The Review reporting that the Repository, “…appeared to be complete,” should be removed.

 12.              Comments on the Technical Assessment

     A.  The Review accurately reports that the ROD was not used to establish excavation depths in the landfill.  In addition, the Review accurately reports that the actual remedy was excavation, a fundamental change to the ROD.

            B. The Review reports the ESD provided adequate explanation of the changes made to the ROD concerning excavation depths.  The ROD specified In-Situ, and not excavation as the remedy, which the Review failed to note.  In addition, the ESD was based upon speculation, opinion, and hearsay that are not supported by documents or data in the Administrative Record (AR).  The Review team failed to consult the AR for documentation that the ESD did in fact provide and adequate explanation for the fundamental changes to the ROD specified remedy and depths of treatment, as required by CERCLA.  The Site Chronology section raises doubts about the Review team ever having a complete AR to conduct the Review.

            C.  The Review inaccurately describes the reason for the changes to the EPA approved toxaphene analytical method.  See Comment 1 for an in-depth discussion of reasons for changing the EPA approved method to the Toxaphene Task Force method.

            D. The Reviewers did identify the TTF method of toxaphene identification and quantification as least protective, which leave significant doubts about the protectiveness of the remedy, and accuracy and conclusions of the Review.

 13.       Comments on the Issues section

The GEC agrees with issues identified and recommendations for follow-up actions by the Reviewers in Table 6 and 7.  Until the issues identified and recommendations are implemented, information needed to conclude that the Site is safe will be unavailable.  In addition, information identified within the above comments should be evaluated as part of a complete and comprehensive Five-Year Review. 

 14.    Comments on the Protectiveness Statement

The protectiveness statement qualifies the assertion that the Site is protective based upon using appropriate sampling and analytical methods.  Until the uncertainties surrounding past sampling and analysis at the Site are resolved, a protectiveness determination can not be made.  The Site Protectiveness Statement should conclude that the determination is Indeterminate at this time. 

 

Attachment 1

Comment 1, G - References for Toxaphene Task Force Analytical Method Discussion

 1..... United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Priorities List (NPL). Terry Creek Dredge Spoils Areas/Hercules Outfall. April 1997

2..... Final Expanded Site Inspection, Hercules Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Area. January 15, 1997.

3..... Toxicological Profile for Toxaphene. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. August 1996.

4..... The Merck Index, 1989.

5..... Final Expanded Site Inspection, Hercules Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Area. January 15, 1997.

6..... Hercules Memo from P. J. Lundsford, October 3, 1980.

7..... U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Community Based Environmental Protection. March 1999.

8..... Hazardous Site Inventory, Environmental Protection Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

9..... Frances J. Carlin, Jr., H. Lavon Revells, Danny L. Reed. The Application of Standard Methods for the Determination of Toxaphene in Environmental Media. Undated.

10..... Bennett, T.B., Jr., (Report) "Toxaphene Task Force", U. S. EPA, Region IV, Environmental Services Division, Athens, Georgia. June 4, 1993.

11..... Procedures for the determination of Toxaphene. August 14, 1997

12..... Letter from Timothy D. Hassett, Hercules Incorporated; to Leo Francendese, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. August 20, 2000.

13..... Old Sterling Landfill, HSI # 10307, Response to NOD - Sampling and Analysis of Waste below the Water table. April 14, 2000.

14..... Law Environmental, Inter-Office Memorandum, from Leonard Ledbetter, to Douglas Keilman and Bruce Hough. October 11, 1991.

15..... U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Pesticide Residue Monitoring Database Users' Manual. April 2000.

16..... Hercules 009 Landfill Superfund Site, Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia.

17..... Memorandum - Report of "Toxaphene Task Force". United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, Environmental Services Division. June 4, 1993.

18..... Keith A. Maruya, Wakeham, S.G., Analysis of Toxaphene Residues in Sediment and Fundulus from Terry/Dupree Creek. Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University System of Georgia. July 31, 1998.

19..... Keith A. Maruya. Analysis of Toxaphene Residues in Fin- and Shellfish from Terry/Dupree Creek, Glynn County, Georgia. Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University System of Georgia. June 16, 2000.

20..... Health Consultation - Terry Creek Dredge Spoils Areas/Hercules Outfall Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia. Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. December 7, 1999.

21..... Analytical and Environmental Chemistry of Toxaphene. Pergamon Press. February 1993.

22..... Bennett, T. B., Jr., (Report) "Toxaphene Task Force", U. S. EPA, Region IV, Environmental Services Division, Athens, Georgia. June 4, 1993.

23..... Pesticide Analytical Manual Volume I, Section 504, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Pg. 504-14. January 1994.

24..... Telephone Memorandum to Lavon Revells, US EPA; from Dan Keck, Black & Veatch Waste Science, Inc. July 27, 1995.

25..... Telephone Memorandum to Gary Bennett, US EPA Environmental Services Division; from Kristen Lombard, Black & Veatch Special Projects, Corp. May 16, 1996.

26..... Draft Expanded Site Inspection, Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Area, Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia. July 12, 1996.

27..... Dr. Keith A. Maruya. Analysis of Toxaphene Residues in Fin- and Shellfish from Terry/Dupree Creek, Glynn County, Georgia. Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, University System of Georgia. June 16, 2000.

28. Toxaphene Update: Impact on Fish Advisories, U. S Environmental Protection Agency, EPA-823-F-99-018, September 1999.

29..... Toxicological Profile for Toxaphene. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. August 1996.

30..... Public Health Assessment for Terry Creek Dredge Spoil Area Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia, Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. December 16, 1998.

31..... Health Consultation - Terry Creek Dredge Spoils Areas/Hercules Outfall Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia. Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. December 7, 1999.

32..... Health Consultation - Terry Creek Dredge Spoils Areas/Hercules Outfall Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia. Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. December 7, 1999.

33..... Guidelines for Eating Fish from Georgia Waters, Georgia Department of Natural Resources. 2000 Update.

               


[1] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Description of Selected Remedy.

[2] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Performance Standards for Soils, Page 55, Section 9.0 A.3.a

[3] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Cleanup Goals, Page 18, Section 6.6.

[4] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Responsiveness Summary, Page 65, Number 7.

[5] Feasibility Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site. Page 6-24, Section 6.5.5.

[6] 55 Fed. Reg. 8774 (1990)

[7] Letter from Curt Fehn, Chief, South Superfund Management Branch, to Daniel Parshley, Glynn Environmental Coalition, Inc. May 14, 1998.

[8] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, April 1998.

[9] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, August 1998.

[10] Feasibility Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 8-7, Section 8.2.2.

[11] Remedial Investigation, Hercules 009 Landfill Site. Plate 3.

[12] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 7, Figure 5-1.

[13] Remedial Investigation, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Appendix C, Page 6, Section 4.0.

[14] Letter from Alan Yarbrough, Remedial Project Manager, South Superfund Remedial Branch; to Timothy Hassett, Senior Environmental Engineer, Hercules Incorporated. April 16, 1996.

[15] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 27, Section 7.4.

[16] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 2, Number 2. April 1998.

[17] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 53, Section 9.0 A.2.

[18] Treatability Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 2-4, Section 2.3.4.

[19] 40 CFR§300.435(b)

[20] Summary Report for Supplemental Soil Analysis at the 009 Landfill, Brunswick, Georgia. November 26, 1997.

[21] Letter from Curt Fehn, Chief, South Superfund Management Branch, to Daniel Parshley, Glynn Environmental Coalition, Inc. May 14, 1998.

[22] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, April 1998.

[23] Feasibility Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 8-7, Section 8.2.2.

[24] 55 Fed. Reg. 8774 (1990)

[25] In-Situ. "In the original place", The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition. Mifflin Company, Boston, 1982.

[26] Excavate. "1. To make a cavity or hole in; hollow out. 2. To form by hollowing out. 3. To remove by digging or scooping out. 4. To expose or uncover by or as if by digging. To engage in digging." The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1982.

[27] Letter from Annie Godfrey, Remedial Project Manager, EPA Region IV; to Daniel Parshley, Glynn Environmental Coalition, Inc. March 5, 1998.

[28] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, April 1998.

[29] Letter from Curt Fehn, Chief, South Superfund Management Branch, to Daniel Parshley, Glynn Environmental Coalition, Inc. May 14, 1998.

[30] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, August 1998.

[31]Feasibility Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 8-7, Section 8.2.2.

[32] Remedial Investigation, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 6-1, Section 6.1.

[33] Treatability Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Appendix E, Plates E-1, E-2, and E-3.

[34] Treatability Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Appendix E, Plates E-1, E-2, and E-3.

[35] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, April 1998.

[36] 55 Fed. Reg. 8774 (1990)

[37] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 47, Section 8.6.

[38] Letter from Annie Godfrey, Remedial Project Manager EPA Region IV; to Daniel Parshley, Glynn Environmental Coalition.

[39] Treatability Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Appendix E.

[40] 55 Fed. Reg. 8774 (1990)

[41] 40 C.F.R.§ 300.435(b)

[42] Letter from Curt Fehn, Chief, South Superfund Management Branch, to Daniel Parshley, Glynn Environmental Coalition, Inc. May 14, 1998.

[43] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, April 1998.

[44] EPA Superfund Fact Sheet, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, August 1998.

[45] Feasibility Study, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 8-7, Section 8.2.2.

[46] Remedial Investigation, Hercules 009 Landfill Site. Plate 3.

[47] Record of Decision, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Page 7, Figure 5-1.

[48] Remedial Investigation, Hercules 009 Landfill Site, Appendix C, Page 6, Section 4.0.

[49] Letter from Alan Yarbrough, Remedial Project Manager, South Superfund Remedial Branch; to Timothy Hassett, Senior Environmental Engineer, Hercules Incorporated. April 16, 1996.

[50] ATSDR  Public Health Assessment, Terry Creek Site. August 12, 2002

 

 
     

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