Norwood, PA: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been compiled based on questions received by Norwood residents, interested stakeholders, and other parties familiar with the Norwood Landfill Site. Not all questions submitted to EPA appear in these FAQs; rather, the most frequently asked questions appear, along with questions that EPA considers directly relevant and important to an overall understanding of what is happening at the Norwood Landfill site.
EPA will continue to update the list of questions periodically as new FAQs are received and updated by EPA’s site team and posted on the Norwood Landfill site at www.epa.gov/norwood.
- What is the geographic definition of the Norwood Landfill Site?
- Why has it taken EPA so long to fully define the physical boundaries of the Norwood Landfill site?
- What year was the landfill closed? What if any regulations would the Landfill have to have complied with during the closure process?
- Were the homes in the Winona Homes and Norwood Acres neighborhood built on contaminated fill?
Site Assessment Process Questions
- Why did EPA wait so long to begin its investigation of the Norwood Landfill and Old Norwood Dump?
- What is a site assessment and what is the difference between a site assessment and a site investigation?
- What is the key question EPA tries to answer through a site investigation?
- Why hasn’t the Norwood Landfill Site been identified as a Superfund Site? Two nearby landfills, Folcroft and Clearview, which were established and in use at the same time as Norwood Landfill and Dump have both been designated as Superfund sites.
- [NEW] What specific protocols did EPA follow in making its recommendation not to proceed with an NPL listing for the Norwood Landfill site? When were these protocols last updated?
- [NEW] Will the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) take over under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) since EPA has not recommended an NPL designation for the Norwood Landfill site?
- [NEW] Can EPA hold another in-person meeting at the Norwood Fire Hall in the future?
- How does EPA develop a “sampling plan” for a site like the Norwood Landfill Site?
- What questions was EPA trying to find answers to during its first round of sampling at the Norwood Landfill Site?
- How do you know you are not missing some areas that might be contaminated?
- What exactly is EPA looking for when it takes samples from the soil around residential homes?
- What does it mean when EPA finds contamination that “exceeds screening levels?”
- How is EPA conducting sampling at the Old Norwood Dump and Norwood Landfill?
- Is EPA planning on taking samples from the basements in the homes you are sampling in the Norwood community? If not, why not?
- Will EPA sample the Norwood school?
- Will EPA conduct sampling in local parks in the Norwood community?
- Will EPA sample the Glenolden Laboratory property?
- How are EPA’s sampling results verified for accuracy?
- If EPA finds any contamination associated with the Norwood Landfill site that “exceeds” what is considered safe, will EPA clean up that contamination - even if the Agency cannot find any “pathways” for that contamination to reach humans or sensitive environments?
- [NEW] No data was presented at the 12/09/21 public meeting. Have EPA’s sampling results and reports been finalized? Where is the final ESI Report?
- [NEW] Why were only 65 non-residential samples taken during the Round 2 2020 sampling activities?
- [NEW] Is a 10’ deep soil sample deep enough to reach contaminants located below the surface fill that would have been used to cover the landfill? Will EPA be taking core samples at a later date that go deeper - 20’, 30’, or 40’ deep?
- [NEW] Was funding limited when EPA made decisions about choosing what residential properties to sample?
- [NEW] What was the sampling methodology, or the criteria used, to select the residential properties to be sampled?
- [NEW] Is the list of residential properties sampled available for public review?
- [NEW] How do I know if my property was sampled by EPA?
- [NEW] Why was no testing done at the Norwood School?
- [NEW] Does EPA have any data or test results on Norwood School to discuss?
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) are the lead agencies that address health related questions associated with the Norwood Landfill Site. These agencies are currently working on a Health Consultation Report for the Norwood Area, that will be completed in 2020. Once this report is complete it will be made available to the public and posted on EPA’s website: www.epa.gov/norwood.
- Why is it difficult to establish a link between cancers or other illnesses and environmental exposures?
- How do we know that we have not been exposed to contamination from the Landfill for the past 40+ years?
- How do we know our drinking water has not been affected over the past 40+ years when the landfill was operating and after it closed since there were no regulations governing its operation or closure?
- Can Norwood residents be exposed to contamination if we grow and eat our own vegetables from gardens in our yards?
- Is there a Pennsylvania registry that tracks non-cancer diseases or immunological disorders?
- What state or federal agencies are responsible for evaluating records from the PADOH cancer registry? Are all types of cancers considered in this evaluation [including rare and/or environmentally associated cancers]?
- [NEW] If EPA determined there is enough contamination in the creek and wetland to warrant further aquatic studies for fish and turtles, why would this not be a health concern for children and adults who swim or fish in the creeks?
- [NEW] Is it safe for children to play outside in residential yards?
- [NEW] What about people who work in their yards regularly - are they at risk?
- [NEW] What does it mean if I live in an area with “chlordane” and it is a “red” area?
- [NEW] Did EPA do any testing or risk analysis/evaluation related to household “pets” - particularly for households that have pets diagnosed with cancers and other medical disorders?
- [NEW] Were park areas sampled where residents take their children to play in Norwood?
- [NEW] What about results from the Tasker and Lee homes?
- [NEW] Is the Muckinipattis Wastewater Treatment Plant an area of potential concern for area residents [i.e., any potential pathways of exposure] based on previous “dangerous” disposal practices at this facility? Do you believe sampling is necessary at this facility?
- [NEW] If there is a significant increase in disease in the community moving forward, what should people do now that EPA has decided not to list the Norwood Landfill as a Superfund site?
- [NEW] Has EPA determined there is no vapor intrusion occurring in homes in Norwood from contaminated groundwater throughout the Norwood area?
- [NEW] Will EPA be testing water from an underground stream that flows beneath some homes in the Norwood area?
- [NEW] Did EPA dig down deep enough in all the residential properties tested to ensure that people with basements that routinely flood were adequately tested? For example, did EPA test below 12 feet deep in homes where basements are 12-14 feet below ground level and where flooding regularly occurs? Some people routinely get water in their basements and many residential properties have “French drains.” Also did EPA test to see if any water found in residential basement areas was contaminated?
- [NEW] Has there been any flood modeling done to see if surface runoff/groundwater from the landfill or the Old Norwood Dump migrates away from these areas during heavy rainfall or flood events? Does the water end up in the basements of residences? or in the watershed?
- [NEW] Can Norwood residents safely garden and eat produce from these gardens - or could the soils be contaminated? Sometimes we dig down into the soil a few feet to plant our vegetables is that OK to do and can we eat vegetables if we dug down this deep?
- [NEW] I cannot grow grass in my yard - is this due to contamination from the landfill?
- [NEW] What type of Chromium was found on residential properties?
- [NEW] There was confusion about what values for chromium were presented in the ESI report. The ATSDR representative stated that the values displayed in the current report were for “total chromium.”
- [NEW] EPA stated that concentrations of chromium found on residential properties were consistent with what is typically found in urban areas - like Norwood - however, the PA DEP does not differentiate between residential, non-residential, or site-specific standards for acceptable concentrations. Therefore, the question posed was: were these concentrations compared to residential MSCs?
- [NEW] What are the highest concentrations detected of total chromium and was Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) conducted on any samples that exhibited elevated concentrations?
- [NEW] EPA says that 5 residential properties tested “high” for Chromium and that further tests are needed to determine what type of chromium is present on these properties. Did EPA test the adjoining properties to see if they have chromium as well?
Communications and Public Relations Questions
- How can residents communicate with EPA about activities at the Norwood Landfill site?
- Where can residents get the most accurate and up-to-date information on the Norwood Landfill site?
- If I want to talk with EPA about sampling on my property or ask a specific question about my property, who should I contact?