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HEALTH CONSULTATION

TARPON SPRINGS PRIVATE WELLS
(STAUFFER CHEMICAL COMPANY)
TARPON SPRINGS, PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

In January 1999, a member of the community living near the Stauffer Chemical Companysuperfund site (Stauffer) in Tarpon Springs, Florida asked the Pinellas County HealthDepartment (Pinellas CHD) to sample a number of private wells in the vicinity of the site (1). There is concern that chemicals in the shallow groundwater under the Stauffer site may bemigrating to nearby private wells and contaminating them. In May 1999, the Pinellas CHDcompleted its sampling and analysis of the wells and requested that the Florida Department ofHealth (Florida DOH) assess the public health implications of their results (2).

Florida DOH has determined that a health consultation to evaluate the private well data is anappropriate response to the request. This health consultation will assess the public health threatfrom chemicals found in the private well water samples. The interpretation, advice, andrecommendations presented in this report are situation-specific and should not be consideredapplicable to any other situations.

The Stauffer Chemical Company site in Tarpon Springs (Stauffer) is between Anclote Boulevardand the Anclote River, about one mile east of the Gulf of Mexico, in Tarpon Springs, PinellasCounty, Florida (Figures 1 and 2). It is just south of the Pasco/Pinellas County line. The plant,which extracted elemental phosphorus from phosphate ore, is inactive and many buildings andother structures have been dismantled and removed from the site. Currently, about 10 peoplework on the site performing supervisory, maintenance, and security work.

The main plant site (Figure 3), is south and west of Anclote Road. This area originally includedthe phosphate ore processing and phosphorus production facilities, waste disposal facilities,office and administration buildings, and several railroad spurs used for receipt of raw materialsand shipment of products. The slag storage area to the north (Figure 3), between Anclote Roadand Anclote Boulevard, contained production wells for process water and was also used forstorage of crushed slag and other waste materials. Florida DOH evaluated this site in 1993 (3)and found that the shallow groundwater under the site was contaminated with various site-related chemicals.

According to 1990 census data (4), approximately 9,500 people live within a one mile radius ofthe site boundary. Median annual family income ranges from $20,000-53,000. The population is about 96% white and 2% black. About 15% of the people in this area speak Greek as theirprimary language. Within one mile of the site boundary are a hospital, a mental hospital, anursing home, two public schools, two children's group homes, a foster home, and twelvedaycare centers. There are about 230 private wells within one mile of the site boundary.

In April 1999, the Pinellas CHD collected water samples from six private wells (depths notspecified) around the Stauffer site (Figure 3). These samples were analyzed for metals and theradionuclides Radium-226 and Radium-228.

Table 1 shows the maximum level of each chemical of potential health concern in the well watersamples. We selected the chemicals of potential concern by comparing the maximumconcentration found to standard comparison values. A comparison value is used as a means ofselecting environmental contaminants for further evaluation to determine whether exposure tothem has public health significance. Those contaminants that are known or suspected humancarcinogens were evaluated for both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic adverse health effects. For this evaluation, radium was selected because it is of specific concern to the community.



Table 1.

Maximum Contaminant Levels in Private Well Samples
CONTAMINANT MAXIMUM
CONCENTRATION (g/L)
ARSENIC 8.9
MANGANESE 230
RADIUM (pCi/L) 3.7

g/L - micrograms per liter
pCi/L-picoCuries per liter
Source: (2)

The community near Stauffer is concerned that levels of chemicals in nearby drinking waterwells may be increasing over time. The Pinellas CHD has analyzed water samples from privatewells near the site on two previous occasions in 1990 (5) and 1997 (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,15, 16, 17). The levels of arsenic and manganese measured during this sampling event aresimilar to those measured previously. There is no indication of an increase in the levels of thesechemicals. Radium was not previously analyzed for in private well water.

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