PRELIMINARY HEALTH ASSESSMENT
TEXARKANA WOOD PRESERVING SITE
TEXARKANA, BOWIE COUNTY, TEXAS
EPA FACILITY ID: TX008056152
Office of Health Assessment
Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
HEALTH ASSESSMENT: A NOTE OF EXPLANATION
Section 104(i) (7) (A) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, states "...the term 'health assessment' shall include preliminary assessments of potential risks to human health posed by individual sites and facilities, based on such factors as the nature and extent of contamination, the existence of potential pathways of human exposure (including ground or surface water contamination, air emissions, and food chain contamination), the size and potential susceptibility of the community within the likely pathways of exposure, the comparison of expected human exposure levels to the short-term and long-term health effects associated with identified hazardous substances and any available recommended exposure or tolerance limits for such hazardous substances, and the comparison of existing morbidity and mortality data on diseases that may be associated with the observed levels of exposure. The Administrator of ATSDR shall use appropriate data, risk assessments, risk evaluations and studies available from the Administrator of EPA."
In accordance with the CERCLA section cited, ATSDR has conducted this preliminary health assessment on the data in the site summary form. Additional health assessments may be conducted for this site as more information becomes available to ATSDR.
The Texarkana Wood Preserving Site (TWP) is listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the National Priorities List. The 25 acre site is located in Texarkana (Bowie County), in northeastern Texas. TWP in an inactive wood preserving plant which utilized both creosote and pentachlorophenol in a steam/vacuum pressure treatment process. A public road crosses the site in a north/south direction. TWP is bordered to the east and south by pasture and to the west and north by light industrial facilities. Remedial actions have consisted of pumping the contaminated water from the main process area to evaporation ponds to reduce the potential for overflowing during periods of heavy rainfall. Access to the site is restricted and controlled through the fencing of the site on both sides of the road.
Preliminary sampling results of on-site contaminants have demonstrated furans, dioxins, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's), and pentachlorophenols (PCP's) in soil. In addition, PHA's and PCP were detected in sludge, water and solid waste on-site. Off-site sampling results demonstrated PCP's in surface water.
Potential environmental pathways include those contaminated groundwater, surface water, on-site soils, and volatilization of contaminants in ambient air. Potential human exposure to contaminants include ingestion and direct contact with groundwater both on and off-site. In addition, direct contact with on-site soils and inhalation of volatilized contaminants during remedial operations may be a potential source for human exposure.
TWP is located in a rural area. There are about 3,010 people living within a mile radius of the site. The distance from TWP to the nearest residence is 0.36 of a mile.
On-site soils represent a potential public health concern to workers involved in remediation efforts. On-site soils contain dibenzofurans (ND to 10 ppb) and dibenzodioxins (ND to 15 ppb). Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin was not identified from the soil sampling analysis. In addition, PAH's (23,800 ppm in sludge, and 43,000 ppm in solid waste) and PCP (9,800 ppm in sludge, and 7,700 PPM in solid waste) were detected on-site. Soil sampling results did not demonstrate the presence of site-related contaminants off-site.
On-site ponds are subject to overflow and contaminant runoff and may also pose a potential public health concern to remediation workers. Surface water concentrations of PAH's and PCP were reported to be 64 ppb and 1,600 ppb respectively. Moreover, PCP was detected in an off-site surface water sample at a concentration of 56 ppm. The possibility exists for contaminants to migrate off-site into roadside ditches that empty into Days Creek (approximately 2,500 feet to the south and east). A potential public health concern may result from direct contact with contaminated surface water and sediment as well as ingestion of aquatic organisms including fish. However, it has been reported that surface water is not used for potable or recreational purposes.
The municipal water supply is obtained from Lake Texarkana which is southwest and upstream of TWP. However, approximately 1,200 people obtain their water supply from the aquifer of concern. It is unknown as to whether off-site wells both public and private have been sampled for sited-related contaminants. Moreover, the number of irrigation wells using water from this aquifer was not given.
TWP represents a potential public health concern to workers involved in remediating the site and to persons using off-site surface water for recreational purposes. Information regarding groundwater and ambient air pathways is not adequate for ATSDR to determine if a public health problem exists requiring mitigative action. TWP may pose potential public health concern to area residents that ingest, or come in direct contact with, contaminated groundwater or through ingestion of livestock products.
To determine the public health implications of this site, ATSDR would require additional information on contaminants released, populations potentially exposed, and environmental pathways through which the contaminants can reach these populations. At a minimum, future investigations of this site should include a survey of municipal and private wells used in the area, characterization of the site and site contaminants, and a characterization of the hydrogeology of the area.
Further environmental characterization and sampling of the site and impacted off-site areas during the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) should be designed to address the environmental and human exposure pathways discussed above. When additional information and data become available, e.g., the completed RI/FS, such material will form the basis for further assessment by ATSDR.