Norwood, Pennsylvania: Current Status
In Fall 2020, EPA conducted additional environmental sampling (known as an Expanded Site Inspection or ESI) in the lower Norwood area. The goals are to determine 1) if any contaminants from the landfill site pose a risk to the human health and the environment in the Norwood community, and 2) if any longer-term investigation or immediate action is needed to address contaminants.
The 2020 Expanded Site Inspection was designed to assess the following:
- Soil contamination and site-related contaminants in both public and residential areas
- Conditions of groundwater in the Lower Norwood area
- Potential impacts from the former Norwood Landfill and Old Norwood Dump on Muckinipattis Creek
- Norwood Landfill site eligibility for proposal to the National Priorities List (i.e. the Superfund List), for a longer-term investigation and potential cleanup
The sampling was performed in two phases:
- Phase I – Non-Residential Sampling
- Phase II – Residential Sampling
- Workplan (PDF)
- The primary focus of the residential sampling was the Winona Homes neighborhood. EPA collected samples from 57 homes within this neighborhood.
- EPA also collected samples from 13 properties in neighborhoods surrounding Winona Homes for comparison.
Samples were analyzed for the most commonly encountered chemicals at waste sites, which includes:
- inorganic metals
- volatile and semi volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- polychlorinated bi-phenyls (PCBs)
The tables below highlight the areas that were sampled in each phase as well as a description of the types of samples that were taken.
Key Findings from Round 2 Sampling
Some of the key findings from the Round 2 Sampling (the Expanded Site Investigation) conducted in 2020 include:
- The Round 2 sample results were consistent with the sample results from Round 1 in 2017/2018.
- There is no community-wide health risk to human health from soil in the Norwood Landfill, the Old Norwood Dump, or the Winona Homes Neighborhood.
- The Norwood Landfill Site does not qualify for inclusion on the National Priorities List.
- While chromium was detected on all residential properties, EPA conducted additional sampling at five residential properties where chromium may present a risk to human health, to determine the type and amount of chromium present in the soil. EPA’s risk assessment found that the chromium detected in the soil from these five residential properties not pose a health risk and no further assessment needs to be conducted.
- Contaminants present in the soil of the Old Norwood Dump and the Norwood Landfill have the potential to migrate into Muckinipattis and Darby Creeks. Some of the contaminants can be more harmful than others which pose a risk to aquatic organisms that live in the sediments of these creeks.
- EPA will continue evaluating sediments in the local streams to see if the landfill areas are contributing to contamination in Darby Creek. These evaluations will be handled under ongoing aquatic studies of the Lower Darby Creek Area Superfund Site. More information can be found at www.epa.gov/superfund/lowerdarby.
For more information on EPA's Round 2 sampling efforts in Norwood, please see the complete 2020 Expanded Site Inspection Report (PDF) and the December 2021 Fact Sheet (PDF) highlighting key information and findings from the report. EPA also created a recap video to review the entire Norwood Landfill Site Investigation from 2017 to 2020. A video recording from the December 9, 2021 virtual meeting where EPA presented its findings is also available for viewing.
Update on the Public Health Evaluation
Additionally, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is collaborating with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) to conduct a public health evaluation of the environmental data for the Norwood community, which will include some consideration of the available statistics on cancers for the area. All cancers diagnosed in Pennsylvania are required to be reported to the state’s cancer registry. For the PADOH and ATSDR review for the Norwood community, the Agencies will be focusing on the cancer information for people who were residents in the Norwood area at the time of their cancer diagnosis.
The complex nature of cancer makes it challenging to establish a connection between cancers or other illnesses and environmental exposures. PADOH and ATSDR will share results on the public health side for the Norwood site in a public report during the first quarter of 2022. Please see PADOH's December 2021 Norwood Health Assessment Report Status Update for more information.