News Release
   
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   March 16, 2001

Christine Grant
Commissioner

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

 

Health Assessment Released on
Franklin Burn Site in Gloucester County


TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have released for public comment a health assessment on the Franklin Burn site in Gloucester County. The public may submit written comments on the assessment through April 20, 2001.

The draft assessment concludes that the Franklin Burn site - composed of seven separate parcels of land located in Franklin Township - represented a public health hazard in the past due to a completed human exposure pathway to contaminants at one of the sub-sites. As a result of remediation efforts undertaken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the site poses no public health hazard today.

Beginning in the late 1960s, piles of scrap insulated copper wire and possibly capacitors and transformers were placed on the ground of the Franklin Burn site and ignited to remove paint and insulation so that the remaining copper could be recovered for sale. Piles of ash, ranging in size from approximately 480 to 15,000 square feet, were left on site after burning. The ash contained hazardous substances including lead, cadmium, chromium, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxin. The assessment reports these chemicals then contaminated the soil under and around the piles. The site burning operations are reported to have ceased in 1988, although additional burning may have occurred at one sub-site as late as 1996.

Analysis of site data, direct site observation and community concerns indicate that a completed exposure pathway to on-site soils and ash existed at one of the seven sub-sites prior to remediation. The Gloucester County Health Department tested the blood lead levels of children living at that site and found their blood lead levels to be below levels that are known to be harmful to health. In addition, residential well water met the same standards used for public water supplies in New Jersey.

To eliminate potential human exposure to contaminants at the site, the EPA capped all the ash piles, removed contaminated soil at all sites down to the water table to protect groundwater, and installed fencing at several of the sites to prevent access.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the health assessment through April 20, 2001 to: Health Assessment Project Manager, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Consumer and Environmental Health Services, P.O. Box 360, Trenton NJ 08625-0360.

Copies of the document are available for public review at the Gloucester County Health Department and the Franklin Township Library, in Franklinville. The health assessment will be available next week on the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services web site at www.state.nj.us/health. Copies may also be obtained by calling the department at (609) 633-2043.

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