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HEALTH CONSULTATION

SOUTHERN WOOD PIEDMONT COMPANY
AUGUSTA, RICHMOND COUNTY, GEORGIA


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), with other stakeholders, conducted a site review of the Southern Wood Piedmont (SWP) Site, Augusta, Georgia, to determine if any additional public health assessment activities are appropriate. The files and current status of any public health activity engaged by ATSDR were also reviewed.

ATSDR was petitioned on February 15, 1988, for a public health assessment of the SWP site. The primary community health concerns involved past environmental exposures via air, soil, and water, suspected of causing health disorders (primarily skin rashes, skin cancer).

ATSDR completed a petitioned public health assessment, several health consultations, and an addendum to the original petitioned public health assessment. The public health assessment recommended further characterization of the soil and sediment, the restriction of public access to the site, the removal from service of private wells in communities surrounding the site, and that community health education programs and a community health investigation be conducted. ATSDR has been in contact with the community through a Community Assistance Panel (CAP) and with other federal, state, and local agencies. In addition, ATSDR has responded to general inquiries as well as those concerning the public health assessment and health consultations through letter, memorandums, telephone conversations, and informal/formal meetings.

In ATSDR's addendum to the public health assessment, ATSDR concluded that exposures to contaminants from SWP via contact with groundwater, soil, and sediments posed a public health hazard before 1993, and recommended that the follow-up actions cited in the original public health assessment be carried out. The follow-up actions will help the exposed population and local health care providers to understand the public health implications of their exposures to sediment, soil, and groundwater contamination. ATSDR also concluded that the site currently is not a public health hazard to the surrounding neighborhoods since SWP and state/federal regulatory agencies conducted remedial activities at the site. ATSDR based this conclusion on an evaluation of a considerable amount of additional environmental sampling data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1993, as a follow up to the public health assessment recommendations. No additional environmental sampling data have been collected since then, and additional public health assessment activities are not currently planned.


DISCUSSION

ATSDR's Division of Health Assessment and Consultation communicated with the community members through a CAP throughout the petitioned public health assessment process. The CAP provided much input and direction for ATSDR. Comments from the CAP were incorporated into the health consultations, the public health assessment and the public health assessment addendum.

In June 1997, ATSDR identified the need for this site review when resources became available. No additional public health assessment activities were planned by the Division of Health Assessment and Consultation; thus, closure of the CAP was through mutual agreement on June 19, 1997.

Currently, ATSDR's Division of Health Education and Promotion is assisting the Richmond County Health Department with a project known as the Richmond County Health Intervention Project. As previously recommended in the public health assessment, the project is designed to provide health education and to investigate the health concerns of current and former residents of the Hyde Park, Virginia Subdivision, and other nearby communities surrounding SWP. The Richmond County Health Intervention Project established a new citizen's involvement group named the Citizens Alliance for Community Health. This group will assist ATSDR in providing effective health education and will serve as a liaison to the community and ATSDR.


CONCLUSIONS

  1. In the petitioned public health assessment, ATSDR initially categorized the site as an indeterminate public health hazard based on its evaluation of the available information at the time. To assist the community in assessing its potential for exposure, ATSDR recommended that community health education programs and a community health investigation be conducted. Based on its evaluation, ATSDR recommended the following: 1) that soil and sediment be further characterized (i.e., collect additional environmental sampling data) in drainage ditches east of the site, 2) private wells in the surrounding communities be removed from service, and 3) public access to the site be restricted.

  2. The EPA, in response to recommendations cited in the petitioned public health assessment, provided ATSDR additional environmental sampling data in 1993. ATSDR responded to this new information with an addendum to the original public health assessment. In the addendum, ATSDR concluded that the site currently is not a public health hazard to the surrounding neighborhoods, but that environmental exposures did pose a public health hazard prior to 1993. No additional public health activities other than those previously recommended in the original petitioned public health assessment were identified.

  3. In implementing the follow-up public health activities recommended in the original petitioned public health assessment, ATSDR's Division of Health Education and Promotion is assisting the Richmond County Health Department with the Richmond County Health Intervention Project. The project is designed to address the health education needs and to investigate the health status of current and former residents of Hyde Park, Virginia Subdivision, and other nearby communities surrounding SWP.

  4. No new environmental sampling data have been collected for the SWP site since the additional environmental sampling data was provided by the EPA in 1993. Additional public health assessment activities for the Division of Health Assessment and Consultation were not identified during this site review.

RECOMMENDATION

ATSDR continues to provide assistance to the Richmond County Health Intervention Project through health promotion programs established by ATSDR's Division of Health Education and Promotion.

David S. Sutton, Ph.D.
Environmental Engineer


DOCUMENTS REVIEWED

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation: Southern Wood Piedmont Company, RCRA Site (RC-86-005) Augusta, Georgia. February 13, 1987.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Southern Wood Piedmont Petitioned Public Health Assessment, Final Release. March 16, 1992.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation: Southern Wood Piedmont (4P12) Augusta, Georgia. August 19, 1992.

  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation: Southern Wood Piedmont (4P12) Augusta, Georgia. February 24, 1993.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation: Southern Wood Piedmont (4P12), "Hyde Park Drainage Ditches", Augusta, Georgia. April 15, 1993.

  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation: Southern Wood Piedmont (4P12), "Water Well Near Old Savannah Road", Augusta, Georgia. April 15, 1993.

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Health Consultation: Southern Wood Piedmont (4P12) Augusta, Georgia. March 3, 1994.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Addendum to Southern Wood Piedmont Petitioned Public Health Assessment, Final Release. November 21, 1995.

  9. Letter. From Joseph L. Hughart, Deputy Director of Office of Federal Programs, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. To Deborah Weimer Tess, Senior Attorney of Office of General Counsel, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. February 27, 1996.

  10. Letter. From Dr. Barry L. Johnson, Assistant Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. To Dr. Robert D. Cox, Technical Subcommittee Chair for the Governor's Task Force for Southern Wood Piedmont Residents, State of Georgia. February 29, 1996.

  11. Letter. From Robert C. Williams, Director of Health Assessment and Consultation, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. To Dr. Frank M. Rumph, Richmond County Health Commissioner, Augusta, Georgia. July 12, 1996.

  12. Letter. From Robert C. Williams, Director of Health Assessment and Consultation, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. To Former Southern Wood Piedmont CAP Members, Augusta, Georgia. June 19, 1997.

  13. Facsimile. From Carl Blair, Region IV Regional Representative, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. To Maurice West, PRB Section Chief, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. November 6, 1997.


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