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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CHROME CRANKSHAFT
AND
J&S CHROME PLATING
BELL GARDENS, LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA


CONCLUSIONS

Based upon the information reviewed, there is no completed exposure pathway to chromium in the Bell Gardens municipal water supply system above drinking water standards. Analysis of drinking water at Suva Elementary and Intermediate Schools found no elevated levels of chromium, mercury, or any other metals tested. Therefore, CDHS/EHIB concluded that the levels of chromium detected in the water served by the SCWC, for Bell Gardens represent no public health hazard.

CDHS/EHIB has concluded there is a potential future exposure pathway to chromium in the SCWC Bell Gardens Water System. This could occur if the chromium-contaminated groundwater plume reaches other water supply wells in the Bell Gardens system. The current level of oversight by LARWQCB, DTSC, CDHS-Division of Drinking Water, SCWC, and the remedial activities at the sites reduce the likelihood of this pathway becoming a completed exposure pathway in the future.


PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTIONS

The Public Health Recommendations and Actions Plan (PHRAP) for this site contains a description of actions taken, to be taken, or under consideration by ATSDR and CDHS or others at and near the site. The purpose of the PHRAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The CDHS/EHIB and ATSDR will follow-up on this plan to ensure that the actions are carried out.

Actions Completed:

  1. CDHS/ATSDR met with representatives of Suva Elementary and Intermediate Schools and parent groups to inform them of our activities and to assess their health concerns.


  2. CDHS/ATSDR formed a community advisory group to provide input throughout the public health assessment process, including the best method to communicate with this community.


  3. CDHS/ATSDR prepared this public health assessment in response to community health concerns.


  4. CDHS/ATSDR collaborated with state and local water authorities to prepare this public health assessment.

Actions Planned:

  1. CDHS/ATSDR will evaluate the potential health impact from past air emissions emanating from the Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Chrome Plating facilities. The findings will be presented in another public health assessment.


  2. CDHS/ATSDR will review information regarding cancer cases listed in the California Tumor Registry for neighborhoods surrounding the Chrome Crankshaft & J&S Chrome Plating sites.


  3. CDHS/ATSDR will provide training to community clinics and physicians about health effects from exposures to site-related chemicals in the environment.


  4. CDHS/ATSDR will develop and distribute fact sheets summarizing the findings of the public health assessments.


  5. CDHS/ATSDR will investigate the feasibility of doing an appropriate health study linking chromium exposures to health effects.

Recommendations for Further Action:

  1. CDHS/ATSDR recommends that the horizontal and vertical extent of the chromium contaminated groundwater plume be fully characterized, so that the potential impact on other municipal water supply wells can be better understood.


  2. CDHS/ATSDR recommends that the sampling frequency of the SCWC wells should be increased to at least annually unless sampling analysis indicates that chromium has migrated into the wells.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH EFFECTS ASSESSORS:

Tracy Barreau
Research Specialist
Impact Assessment Contractor to the
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

Marilyn C. Underwood, Ph.D.
Staff Toxicologist
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

COMMUNITY RELATIONS COORDINATOR:

Tivo Rojas, M.P.H
Impact Assessment Contractor to the
Environmental Health Investigations Branch
California Department of Health Services

ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES:

William Nelson
Gwen Eng
Regional Representatives, Region IX
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER:

Tammie McRae, M.S.
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch, State Programs Section


CERTIFICATION

This Evaluation of Potential Exposure to Chromium contamination in the Bell Gardens Municipal Water Supply Public Health Assessment has been prepared by the California Department of Health Services under Cooperative Agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was initiated.

Tammie McRae
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
Chief, SPS,, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substance Control. Sampling Analysis/Quality Assurance Project Plan: Prepared for Suva Elementary and Intermediate School Site. 24 Sept. 1998.


  2. California Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substance Control. Suva Schools Environmental Investigation. 25 Jan. 1999.


  3. County of Los Angeles, Project Planning and Pollution Control Division. Inspector's Report. 23 June 1981.


  4. Brown and Caldwell. Site Assessment Report for J&S Plating Company, Inc. Bell Gardens California. May 1987.


  5. California Department of Health Services, Division of Drinking Water and Environmental Management. Drinking Water Standards, Action Levels, and Unregulated Chemicals Requiring Monitoring. 29 Oct. 1999. http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/ddwem/chemicals/mcl/mclindex.htm.


  6. California Department of Health Services, Drinking Water Field Operations Branch, Los Angeles Region. Annual Inspection Report for the Southern California Water Company- Bell/Bell Gardens System No. 1910011. 17 Nov. 1998.


  7. California Department of Health Services, Drinking Water Field Operations Branch, Los Angeles Region. Annual Inspection Report for the City of Bell Gardens System No. 1910108. 16 July 1998.


  8. California Department of Health Services, Drinking Water Field Operations Branch, Los Angeles. Water Quality Data for City of Bell Gardens Municipal Water Supply Wells: Jan. 1988 through Nov. 1998.


  9. Southern California Water Company. Water Quality Data for the City of Bell Gardens Well No. 1: Dec. 1999 through July 2000.


  10. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region. Report of Drinking Water Sampling at Suva Elementary and Intermediate School and Surface Soil Sampling at Chrome Crankshaft Company and J&S Chrome Plating Company, Bell Gardens, California. 23 December 1998.


  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service. Atlanta: 1992.

APPENDIX A

Tables 2 & 3
Figures 1, 2, 3

Table 2. Levels of Total Chromium in the SCWC Bell Gardens Municipal Water Supply Wells
Well Name Operational Status Total Chromium Levels (g/L or ppb)
Sample Date 9/27/88 6/13/89 7/22/91 9/24/91 4/13/92 5/6/94 8/9/94 12/13/94 5/26/95 7/25/97 5/7/98 11/18/98
Darwell No. 1 Off-line (since 6/87) <10 g/L

N.S.

62.0 g/L 17.0 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

42.9g/L

N.D.

N.D. 2

86.0 g/L
127.0 g/L 3

N.S.

N.S.

Florence No.1 Off-line (since 3/98)

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

3.7 g/L
Clara No. 1 Active

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.D.

N.S.

Gage No. 1 Active

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

N.D.

N.D.

N.S.

Gage No. 2 Active

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.D.

N.S.

Priory No. 2 Active

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L 1

N.S.

N.S.

N.S.

<10 g/L

N.S.

N.D.

N.S.

(N.S.): Indicates not sampled
(N.D.): Indicated non-detected
Superscript indicates actual sampling date: 1. 5/18/92: 2. 6/12/95: 3. 10/17/97
Laboratory reporting limit 10 g/L  (1.0 g/L reporting limit for Florence well sample collected 11/17/98)


Table 3. Elements of Potential Exposure Pathway for Different Receptor Populations
Receptor group
Pathway Name

Source

Environmental Medium

Point of Exposure

Route of Exposure

Exposed Population

Time

Residential Exposure in the Bell Gardens System

Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating

Groundwater

House Tap

Ingestion

Adult Residents

Future

Worker Exposure in the Bell Gardens System

Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating

Groundwater

Business tap

Ingestion

Worker

Future

Frequent Visitor or Customer to a Business in the Bell Gardens System

Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating

Groundwater

House or Business Tap

Ingestion

Frequent Visitor or Customer

Future


City of Bell Gardens Showing Chrome Crankshaft, J&S Plating
Figure 1. City of Bell Gardens Showing Chrome Crankshaft, J&S Plating

City of Bell Gardens Water System and SCWC Bell/Bell Gardens Water System
Figure 2. City of Bell Gardens Water System and SCWC Bell/Bell Gardens Water System

Approximate Locations of SCWC Bell Gardens Municipal Water Supply Wells
Figure 3. Approximate Locations of SCWC Bell Gardens Municipal Water Supply Wells


APPENDIX B

Public Comments

On August 4, 2000, copies of this public health assessment (PHA), "Evaluation of Potential Exposure to Chromium Contamination in the Bell Gardens Municipal Water Supply, Bell Gardens, California," were distributed to the Suva Advisory Committee for review. There were approximately 5 weeks (August 4, 2000 to September 8, 2000) allotted to the public to comment on this document. Copies of this health assessment were placed in the Bell Gardens Public Library and at City Hall for all interested parties to review. Also, additional copies were sent to community members and interested individuals for their review. Furthermore, the major points of the health assessment were presented by staff at the Suva Advisory meeting held in February 2000.

This appendix contains the comments received, and CDHS's responses to the comments. CDHS received comments from McLaren/Hart, Inc., an environmental consultant hired by the Chrome Crankshaft Company and the City of Bell Gardens. A few sections of the health assessment have been updated based on the comments received.

McLaren/Hart and the City of Bell Gardens comments are listed under the corresponding section in the health assessment. CDHS's responses are presented in italics.

McLaren/Hart's Comments:

Background Statement and Issue Section:

  1. Comment: "Chrome Crankshaft soil impacts were discovered in January 1990 and groundwater impacts identified in July 1990 (not 1989 as stated)."
  2. CDHS Response: We appreciate your comment and the appropriate changes have been made to the text.

  3. Comment: "As of August 2000, Chrome Crankshaft had submitted a Remedial Investigation Work Plan to DTSC for approval."
  4. CDHS Response: We have confirmed this information with DTSC, and the appropriate changes have been made to the text.

  5. Comment: "There is no discussion of the history of J&S's contamination discovery. Documentation can be found in the Site Investigation Report (June 1999) prepared for J&S by Arcadis-Geraghty & Miller and other references. Also, the status of J&S's investigation and remedial actions is not discussed. According to DTSC, J&S is not proceeding with any work to either investigate or remediate its property and DTSC will have to seek funds to either address groundwater contamination at J&S."
  6. CDHS Response: We have added a discussion regarding the discovery of contamination at the J&S Plating site. Also, CDHS staff contacted DTSC and we have updated the health assessment to reflect the most current status of the remedial activities at J&S Plating and Chrome Crankshaft.

    Land Use Section:

  7. Comment: "West adjacent to Chrome Crankshaft is the Suva Schools property, not residences. The description of the surrounding land uses is only from Chrome Crankshaft (not J&S). The description should consider Chrome Crankshaft and J&S concurrently (e.g., to the east of CCC and J&S are industrial properties, to the west are the Suva Schools, to the north are vacant lots and industrial properties, to the south are residential properties) or give surrounding land use descriptions for both properties."
  8. CDHS Response: We appreciate your comment and the appropriate changes have been made to the text.

Municipal Drinking Water Systems for the City of Bell Gardens Section:

  1. Comment: "Discuss the new City well located on the northeast corner of Perry Road and Florence Place (Well #1). This well was brought on-line in April 2000. At what depths is this well pumped?"
  2. CDHS Response: On March 2, 2000 CDHS distributed a technical review draft to the various agencies responsible for management and oversight of the water systems. At that time, CDHS was not aware of the new well (City of Bell Gardens Well #1) scheduled to be brought on-line, and we did not receive any information regarding this well during the technical review comment period. Since the release of the public comment draft of this health assessment, we have received information regarding the new City of Bell Gardens Well #1, including the screening depths of the well, and have incorporated the information into the health assessment (please refer to the "Municipal Drinking Water Systems for the City of Bell Gardens" section).

Chromium Measurements Section:

  1. Comment: "Are there any chromium results from Well #1? If so, what are they?"
  2. CDHS Response: All sampling results for chromium were reported at less than 10 g/L.

  3. Comment: "What analytical method was used to measure hexavalent chromium in Florence Well No. 1?"
  4. CDHS Response: USEPA method 218.6 was the analytical method used to measure hexavalent chromium in the Florence Well No. 1.

  5. Comment: "Was Darwell #1 properly abandoned in December 1999?
  6. CDHS Response: According to SCWC, due to resource constraints, Darwell #1 was not formally abandoned until August 2000.

  7. Comment : "Based on data from Chrome Crankshaft, groundwater flows toward the west with slight variations toward the north and south during the year. Groundwater flows across (or under) J&S and Chrome Crankshaft properties (not just across Chrome Crankshaft, as stated)."
  8. CDHS Response: The description of the groundwater flow as stated in the document "regional groundwater flow is generally in a west-southwest direction..." was cited from a DTSC document (Reference 1). While we did not indicate "slight variation towards the north," the description in the health assessment and description in your comment are generally the same. CDHS recognizes the importance of groundwater flow. However, the point of emphasis in the health assessment is that the general groundwater flow is in the direction of city wells, and the ability to predict future impacts on these wells is limited by the lack of plume characterization.

  9. Comment: "DTSC has stated that J&S is not proceeding with any work to either investigate or remediate its property and that DTSC will seek state funds to address groundwater contamination at J&S."
  10. CDHS Response: Comment noted. DTSC is in the process of coordinating field work activities for capping a portion of the J&S site.

Community Concerns Section:

  1. Comment: "Did AQMD request J&S to reduce its air emissions at the same time as it requested this action from Chrome Crankshaft?"
  2. CDHS Response: This comment is out of the scope of this document. CDHS will address these issues in a future health assessment focusing on air emissions.

  3. Comment: "Did community members also express concerns about emissions from J&S?"
  4. CDHS Response: The document states, "concern about exposures to past aerial emissions from the sites." We believed using the word sites (plural form of site) indicated both Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating. CDHS has added the names of both facilities for clarification.

Recommendation for Further Action:

  1. Comment: "The following should be added to this statement: "if chromium concentrations exceed the MCLs in any well during future sampling, the affected well will be immediately severed from the water supply system."
  2. CDHS Response: Under title 22 of the State Drinking Water Act, if a inorganic contaminant exceeds the MCL, then the water purveyor must notify the Division of Drinking Water and the persons served by the water system (see section 64464.3). The notice must "provide a clear, readily understandable explanation of the violation, the potential adverse health effects of contaminants present, the population at risk, the steps that the water supplier is taking to correct the violation, and the necessity for seeking alternative water supplies" (see section 64467). We do not have the authority to recommend actions that are inconsistent with state laws. Thus, we have not changed the document based on the comment.

City of Bell Gardens' Comments:

Summary Sheet-Background Section:

  1. Comment: "The first sentence is not clear. Southern California Water Company (SCWC) distributes water for both their own service area within the City of Bell Gardens and for the City of Bell Gardens service area. The well that first detected chromium in 1991 was the Darwell Well within the SCWC service area. The cause for chromium was not from Chrome Crankshaft or J&S Chrome Plating facilities, as these businesses are approximately one half mile from the Darwell Water Well.
  2. The cause at the Darwell Well was from an old industrial business that operated in the 1960's adjacent to the Well site. That business was torn down in the 1960's. This is correctly stated on page 5, Paragraph 6."

    CDHS Response: CDHS has added clarification to the text regarding the SCWC service areas. The health assessment as it is currently written correctly states the history of events with regard to the first detection of chromium in 1991. Thus, no changes have been made to the document.

    In September 2000, during the public comment period for this document, CDHS was contacted by staff from the City of Bell Gardens and told that an "old industrial business" was responsible for contaminating the Darwell. CDHS requested documentation and supporting data from the City of Bell Gardens regarding the "old industrial business." We have not received any documentation about this site from the City of Bell Gardens. Therefore, contrary to your comment, we have not cited the alleged reason for the contamination in the well.

Page 6 - Chemical contamination in the groundwater other than chromium

  1. Comment: "The wells are all in the SCWC service area and do not serve the City service area."
  2. CDHS Response: Please refer to the preceding section, "Municipal Drinking Water Systems for the City of Bell Gardens," as a detailed description of the two systems is provided.

Page 8 - Potential exposure pathway

  1. Comment: "Note: City will test City Well No. 1 annually for chromium."
  2. CDHS Response: Comment noted


APPENDIX C

Spanish Version of the Public Health Assessment and Public Comments

Appendix C was not available in electronic format for conversion to HTML at the time of preparation of this document. To obtain a hard copy of the document, please contact:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Attn: Chief, Program Evaluation, Records, and Information Services Branch E-56
1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

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