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Last Edited: 3/14/2008

Real-time surveillance of symptoms and odor complaints during the trial excavation of a toxic waste site
Written: 1994


In the summer of 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a six-week trial excavation of buried acidic petroleum sludge at the McColl Superfund site in Fullerton, California.  Staff at the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) developed a real-time, passive, health surveillance system to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed community protection system based on amounts of sulfur dioxide measured at perimeter air monitoring stations that exceed EPA action levels. 

The specific goals of the surveillance were allow CDHS to maintain open communication with neighborhood residents during the trial excavation, track site activities on a day-to-day basis from a health perspective, provide quick feedback to EPA regarding odor and health complaints, and determine whether such complaints might be correlated with specific site conditions or activities. 

Suggested Citation

  • Kharrazi M, Smith DF, Blake E, Vance WA, Goldman LR. Real-time surveillance of symptoms and odor complaints during the trial excavation of a toxic waste site. In Andrews JS, Frumkin H, Johnson BL, Mehlman MA, Xintaras C, Bucsela JA (eds). Hazardous Waste and Public Health. New Jersey: Princeton Scientific Publishing, 1994.