Public Health Assessment Public Comment Release
Ward Transformer NPL Site
Purpose and Health Issues
2002 and listed on the NPL on April 30, 2003. Congress requires ATSDR to conduct public
health activities on all sites proposed for or listed on the NPL. In this public health assessment
(PHA), ATSDR evaluates the public health significance of the Ward Transformer site. ATSDR
reviewed environmental data, potential exposure pathways, and community health concerns to
determine whether adverse health effects are possible. In addition, this PHA recommends actions
to prevent, reduce, or further identify the possibility for site-related adverse health effects.
The Ward Transformer site is an operating transformer recycling facility located on Mount
Herman Road in Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. The facility is in a mostly industrial
area close to U.S. 70, I-540, and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The facility has been
in operation since about 1964. Before 1977, when the use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
in transformer oil was discontinued, PCBs contaminated soils on the site and surface water and
stream sediments downstream of the site. The Ward Transformer company constructed a
stormwater retention pond in 1972 and a water treatment plant in 1979. These treatment
processes have operated consistently within permit requirements.
Figure 1 shows demographic information for the area surrounding the site. Approximately 104
people, including about 12 children under age 6, live within a 1-mile radius of the site. The
population around the site is about 85% Caucasian, 10% African American, and 4% Asian.
Land and Natural Resource Use
The Ward Transformer site covers about
in a sparsely populated area outside
Raleigh, North Carolina. The site is surrounded on three sides by other industrial properties and
highways, and abuts land belonging to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The airport
land is restricted, and the site and most of the surrounding industrial properties are fenced.
Mount Herman Road dead-ends into a major highway (U.S. 70) a few hundred feet north of the
site before continuing on the north site of U.S. 70.
The facility was constructed on previously undeveloped land in 1964 and has reconditioned
transformers since that time. The main yard of the operating facility contains the reconditioning
facility, offices, and hundreds of used transformers stored for possible resale. Some of the
transformers have been on site for more than 10 years. The northern portion of the yard is now
vacant but previously was leased to a forest products company and may have been used to store
or recondition transformers before that. The yard is almost completely paved (some areas are
aged and cracked) and is surrounded by an 8-foot high chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.