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Arsenic mine site, Town of Kent, Putnam County, New York EPA facility id: Nyd982531469
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  • Description:
    ATSDR has determined that current and potential future exposures to arsenic in residential soil on the Arsenic Mine Site warrant the issuance of a Public Health Advisory. USEPA found that arsenic concentrations in surface soil on all ten properties of the Arsenic Mine Site greatly exceed state and federal residential soil screening values. Seven properties are occupied by children, adults, pets, and/or livestock. The remaining three unoccupied properties are accessed by property owners periodically.

    In October 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) requested that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluate surface soil samples collected at residential properties on the USEPA Arsenic Mine Site in Kent, Putnam County, New York, to determine if prompt action should be taken to reduce harmful exposures to arsenic-contaminated soils and mine tailings. The USEPA provided ATSDR validated residential soil data it had collected in 2017 and 2018. Concentrations of arsenic in soil collected from ten residential parcels ranged from 3.2 to 56,000 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). These data provided the basis for a health consultation to evaluate the public health implications of exposure to arsenic in shallow residential soils, conducted by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) under a cooperative agreement with ATSDR1 [ATSDR 2019a].

    In the 2019 health consultation, the NYSDOH and ATSDR conclude that children at residential properties with the highest arsenic levels in shallow (zero to six inches below ground surface) soils on the Arsenic Mine Site can have short-term ingestion exposures to arsenic that pose an immediate and significant threat to human health, thus constituting an urgent public health hazard. If actions are not taken, these exposures could continue in the future. The NYSDOH and ATSDR also conclude that long-term ingestion and dermal exposure of children and adults to arsenic in shallow soil at residential properties on the Arsenic Mine Site pose a significant threat to human health and constitute a public health hazard. [ATSDR 2019a]

    ATSDR recommends that the USEPA take short- and long-term measures as soon as feasible to quickly dissociate residents from exposure to arsenic in soils on the Arsenic Mine Site. In 2017 and 2018, USEPA took steps to inform property owners of their recent soil and drinking water sampling results and provided education on best practices for reducing soil arsenic exposure and maintaining their drinking water treatment systems. Additionally, USEPA has considered a removal action to reduce exposures to arsenic, such as soil cover and/or replacement, but has determined that such action would likely need to occur in stages over several years. Such an action likely would have only short-term effectiveness and would not be adequate to permanently prevent harmful exposures. Even if post-soil removal site controls were implemented, there is high potential for recontamination.


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