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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

MRI CORPORATION
TAMPA, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA


SUMMARY

MRI site in Tampa, Florida, was proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL) on June 14, 1996 and listed on the NPL December 23, 1996. It was a chemical detinning plant, between 1979 and 1986, located in a sparsely populated industrial area of east Tampa. Although soil, sediments, and groundwater are contaminated, this site poses no apparent public health hazard because of incomplete exposure pathways.

This public health assessment evaluates the potential for health effects from exposure to on-site soils, sediment, and groundwater. Off-site contamination was not addressed due to lack of data. Since public access is restricted by a fence and undeveloped land surrounding the site, contact with on-site soils is an incomplete exposure pathway. The area around the site is mostly undeveloped or industrial; therefore, public access to contaminated sediments are minimal. Groundwater at the site is contaminated with cyanide and lead, but currently no one is drinking the groundwater at the site.

No actions have been taken to remediate the site but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently developing a work plan for a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) which will further characterize the extent of contamination and evaluate cleanup alternatives. No community health concerns have been identified. We recommend that no one drink the contaminated groundwater. We also recommend the characterization of the extent of off-site groundwater contamination, the sampling of nearby private wells for metals and cyanide, and the sampling of offsite sediments. We recommend the reevaluation of exposure pathways if future use of the land surrounding the site changes.


BACKGROUND

In this public health assessment (PHA), the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in cooperation with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), evaluates the public health significance of the MRI Corporation site. Specifically, Florida DOH decides whether health effects are possible from exposure to on-site related contaminants and recommends actions to reduce or prevent possible health effects. This is the first assessment Florida DOH has conducted on this site. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation an Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund) authorizes the ATSDR to conduct PHAs at hazardous waste sites.

A. Site Description and History

The MRI Corporation site is located at 9220 Stannum Street in an industrial area east of Tampa, Florida (Figure 1 and 2, Appendix A). From 1979 to 1986, the MRI Corporation (MRI) operated a chemical detinning plant. MRI chemically recovered tin from scrap metal and recycled cans. Byproducts of the process include spent plating solution and sludge containing waste metals and organic chemicals. MRI mixed the spent plating solution with cooling water and discharged it into a ditch leading to Six Mile Creek (See Figure 2). MRI disposed of the sludge in on-site sludge ponds (1). Currently, the site is abandoned.

In 1984, the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER) cited MRI for four violations of their waste effluent permit. In July 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed a Screening Site Inspection (1). The EPA completed a Supplemental Screening Site Inspection Report in 1992 (2).

On June 14, 1996, the EPA proposed adding MRI Corporation site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The EPA listed MRI Corporation on the NPL on December 23, 1996. The EPA is currently developing a work plan for a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) which will further characterize the extent of contamination and evaluate alternatives for cleaning up the site (3).

B. Site Visit

On August 14, 1996, Virginia Beard of the Hillsborough County Health Department and Julie Smith of the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Environmental Toxicology, visited the site. The site is in an industrial park and is bordered by many active, light-industrial businesses. Sparse grass and brush cover the site, along with concrete pads. A six-foot chain link fence topped with barbed wire encloses the site. Ringlift Ring Power Corporation borders the site on the west. Vines have grown over the barbed wire fence and completely cover it, allowing possible access from the west. Stannum Street, Simms Crane and Compressed Air Systems Inc. border the site on the south. A no trespassing sign is visible from Stannum Street. An open building, formerly the machine shop, is on the southern edge of the site. A stream, railroad tracks, and wetlands border the site on the east. A drainage pipe from the site empties into a ditch on the east. The ditch empties into Six Mile Creek. Wetlands north of the site limit access.

C. Demographics, Land and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

The area immediately surrounding the site is industrial or undeveloped. Based on the 1990 Census, we estimate that 100 persons live within a one-mile radius of the site, mostly to the northwest. The Orient Park residential area is northwest of the site, but outside of the one-mile radius. The racial makeup of the area is about 80% white, 6% Hispanic, and 14% other. Based on the 1990 Census, there were only two children under age 9 and seven persons over age 65 living within a mile of the site. The median family income is about $30,000. There are no schools within the one-mile radius (1).

Land and Natural Resource Use

The MRI Corporation site occupies 6.3 acres in an industrial park with other active, light- industry. Undeveloped land and orchards are north and east of the site. Surface water runoff from the site flows into Six Mile Creek. Six Mile Creek flows into the Tampa Bypass Canal which then flows into McKay Bay, 2.7 miles to the west. The public uses McKay Bay for recreation and the Bay is home for several endangered species (1).

Most area residents use municipal water, but the 1990 Census identified 33 private wells within one mile of the site (4). However, based on our observation, the area within 3/4 of a mile of the site is industrial and the closest water wells are industrial and monitoring wells. Private wells that may be used for drinking water are on the outer edge of the one mile radius in the Orient Park neighborhood. Private wells are probably not impacted by groundwater contamination at this time. Municipal drinking water wells are 1.5 miles southwest of the site and three miles north of the site (1).

Groundwater in the shallow aquifer flows west-southwest but nearby streams and well downdraw may influence the direction (1). The top of the shallow aquifer is eight feet below the site. The top of the Floridan Aquifer, the water source for municipal wells, is 100 feet below the site(1).

D. Health Outcome Data

The DOH maintains health outcome databases to generate site specific data if warranted. The need to search these databases is not warranted at this time because it is unlikely that a completed exposure pathway exists.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The community did not have any health concerns. Consultations with the Hillsborough County Health Department, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA did not identify any additional community health concerns.

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