In October 2014, Dr. Liliana Cecan of JM Sorge, Inc. presented at the 30th Annual International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, & Energy in Amherst, Massachusetts (https://www.aehsfoundation.org/east-coast-conference.aspx). Her presentation, titled Adressing Remediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons at a Recreations Site in New Jersey, detailed the work of Dr. Cecan, Michelle Slosberg, and Joseph Sorge conducted to develop a successful strategy for addressing contaminated historic fill material at a public park.
The public park under study was found to be impacted with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are commonly found in historic fill material. These organic chemicals are found almost everywhere, and pose a risk for human health because of their potentially carcinogenic nature and bioavailability in water, soil, sediment, and air resources that humans come in contact with daily.
The presentation described the process used to develop a site-specific risk-based remediation standard applicable to municipal parks and recreational use areas in New Jersey. The state of New Jersey does not promulgate standards specifically to address recreational areas, but instead relies on the direct contact standards established for residential sites.
The risk assessment analysis relied on a modification of the site use exposure frequency used in calculating site risk for the residential direct contact standards, while adjusting for changes in the parameter quantification level, if applicable. The analysis incorporated the New Jersey default risk tolerance level of one per million and specifically focused on benzo(a)pyrene, which is commonly a driving compound in remediation at sites in New Jersey.
The result of the analysis demonstrated that an upward adjustment of the PAH remediation level for recreational use areas was justifiable in this case and was protective of human health. This approach was approved by the NJDEP for use at the site and was instrumental in developing a cost-effective and protective remediation strategy for the municipality.