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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

ST. MARIES CREOSOTE
ST. MARIES, BENEWAH COUNTY, IDAHO


SUMMARY

The St. Maries Creosote site (the site) is on the outskirts of the city of St. Maries, Idaho, along the south bank of the St. Joe River, in Benewah County. The site is within the boundaries of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. The facility operated as a creosote wood pole treating plant from the 1930s to 1960, and then was used for peeling, sorting and storage of untreated wood poles until January 2003. The site is no longer active. The former creosote treating operation covered approximately 0.7 acre. The Bureau of Environmental Health and Safety (BEHS), Division of Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reviewed available environmental data, health information, and community health concerns for the development of this public health assessment. The St. Maries Creosote site was proposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priority List (NPL) in December 2000. Currently, EPA is delaying a final decision on its proposal to add this site to the NPL while the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) is conducted. This document fulfills the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Congressional mandate for conducting public health assessments for sites proposed to the NPL. BEHS prepared this public health assessment under a cooperative agreement with ATSDR.

Conclusions

Based upon the data and information reviewed, BEHS has drawn the following conclusions:

  • Only potential exposure pathways exist at the St. Maries Creosote site. These potential pathways include soil, sediments, and surface water. Potential exposures for the general public and children are most likely infrequent and limited in duration. It is unlikely that children and the general public are being exposed to significant levels of site-related contamination. Based on the available information, it is also unlikely that the public was exposed to significant amounts of site-related contaminants in the past. According to ATSDR's Interim Public Health Hazard Categories, the exposure pathways related to surface soil, sediment, surface water, ground water, fish, and air are categorized as no apparent public health hazard (Appendix D).

Recommendations

Based upon the data and information reviewed, BEHS has made the following recommendations:

  • The public should be informed that swimming in the river close to the site or entering the site could expose them to hazardous chemicals. As a precaution, signs should be posted at the site boundary in obvious locations as well as on the river warning the public about the presence of site-related contaminants. This precautionary measure is needed because prolonged contact with the site contaminants may result in adverse health effects. Prolonged contact with site contaminants could occur if exposure is increased through behavior changes such as swimming or wading next to the site. Precautionary signs could prevent potential behavior changes by the public.

  • Access to the site should continue to be restricted.

Public Health Action Plan

  • BEHS will provide health education to the community in the form of a fact sheet summarizing this document as well as developing curriculum for students, outlining how to avoid exposure to hazardous substances.

  • BEHS will review additional information as it becomes available.

  • BEHS will reevaluate and expand the public health action plan, if needed.

  • EPA will complete a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the site. Once the RI/FS is complete, BEHS will evaluate the report and additional environmental data. Conclusions and recommendations in this public health assessment may be revised based upon the evaluation of the RI/FS. BEHS will publish the RI/FS evaluation in the form of a health consultation.

1. PURPOSE AND HEALTH ISSUES

The St. Maries Creosote site was proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL) in December 2000. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is required by Congress to conduct public health assessments on all sites proposed to the NPL. The Bureau of Environmental Health and Safety (BEHS), Division of Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has a cooperative agreement with ATSDR to conduct public health assessments and consultations for hazardous waste sites in Idaho. BEHS completed this public health assessment under this cooperative agreement.

A public health assessment is a tool used to determine if and what kind of activities are needed to protect the health of a community residing/working near a hazardous waste site, and to determine the need for follow-up health activities (e.g., health study). In this public health assessment, BEHS evaluates the public health significance of the St. Maries Creosote site. BEHS has reviewed available environmental data, potential exposure scenarios, and community health concerns to determine whether adverse health effects are possible. In addition, this public health assessment recommends actions to prevent, reduce, or further identify the possibility for site-related adverse health effects, as appropriate.


2. BACKGROUND

2.1 Site Description

A summary of the description and regulatory history of the St. Maries Creosote site (the site) was obtained from documents provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [1, 2, 3, and 4]. The site is on the outskirts of the town of St. Maries, in Benewah County, Idaho. The site is located along the south bank of the St. Joe River (Appendix A, Figure 1), approximately 2,600 feet downstream from its confluence with the St. Maries River. The site is within the boundaries of the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. The site lies on a portion of the property which was used as a pole peeling and storage yard (no treating) by Carney Products Company, Ltd (Carney Products) until January 2003. The yard is partially public reserve land and partially owned by the City of St. Maries. The site is relatively flat and consists of log decks and haul roads between decks. The edge of the site that forms the bank of the St. Joe River consists of various fill materials, including concrete, treated poles, scrap metal, and other debris.

The site operated as a creosote wood pole treating plant from the 1930s to 1960. The bottom or butt portion of the poles were treated by soaking them in large vats filled with creosote, a wood preservative containing 80% polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), to prevent the poles from rotting once installed in the ground. The former creosote treating operation covered approximately 0.7 acre. The vats were located approximately 50 to 75 feet from the bank of the St. Joe River. Historically, as the treated poles were loaded onto rail cars by a stiff arm, creosote dripped onto the soil around the vats and rail cars. If several cars were loaded at once, poles would drip creosote onto the soil beneath the rail line. Records indicate that creosote was the only treating solution used at the plant [1, 2, 3, and 4].

From approximately 1965 to January 2003, the site and surrounding area was used for peeling, sorting, and storage of untreated wood poles and was not used for treating poles. Operations and structures on the site were limited because this area was located on the river side of the flood levee and was subject to periodic flooding. The site is no longer active. For the purposes of this document, the site is defined as the former pole treating area only.

2.2 Regulatory History

In December 1998, the City of St. Maries reported a product sheen observed on the river bank and in the water of the St. Joe River to the federal National Response Center. On January 26, 1999, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) to both the City of St. Maries, who leased the property to various entities since the 1930s, and Carney Products, the former property lessee (potentially responsible parties [PRPs]). The UAO required: (1) mitigation of observed creosote seeps, (2) removal of creosote-contaminated soil along the riverbank, and (3) performance of a site investigation to characterize soil and ground water contamination in and around the area of the former wood treating facility. Since notification of the release, the PRPs have maintained boom and sorbent pads at the site in an effort to control any impacts to surface water from the upland area.

In February 1999, the City of St. Maries and Carney Products conducted a removal action at the site with EPA oversight. That action included excavation and removal of approximately 195 tons of debris and contaminated soil along the St. Joe riverbank in the area of the observed seeping creosote. The area of excavation was about 85 feet long, 10 feet wide, and up to 9 feet deep. Since completion of the removal action, small areas of sheen have been observed intermittently on the river surface near the removal area. Observations indicate that the petroleum sheens originate some distance below the water surface and migrate upward through the water column before reaching the surface and appearing as sheen.

EPA conducted additional sampling in November 1999 to further characterize the extent of contamination in river sediments. The results of this sampling event indicated elevated levels of PAHs in St. Joe River sediments, particularly along the riverbank adjacent to the site. Contamination was also detected in samples collected from the river sediments as far as 500 feet downstream of the site and 50 feet beyond the south shore of the St. Joe River.

Since then, substantial work has been completed in evaluating the extent of contamination in the soil and ground water of the upland portion of the site. This work included the installation of eight ground water monitoring wells (four shallow and four deep), 18 subsurface soil borings, and the collection of soil and ground water samples for analysis. In addition to this, approximately 190 soil, sediment, ground water, and surface water samples have been collected and analyzed by Ecology and Environment (E&E).

In December 2000, EPA proposed adding the site to the NPL. EPA has also approved the Final Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Work Plan and Sampling and Analysis Plan. The RI/FS is scheduled to be completed by February of 2004. At present, EPA is delaying a final decision on its proposal to add the St. Maries site to the NPL until the RI/FS is completed. Listing still remains an option for the future. Decisions on listing will depend on the type of cleanup remedy that is identified for the site, as well as the willingness of the PRPs to voluntarily perform the cleanup. The leases for the two properties comprising the Site were terminated effective May 31, 2003. Carney Products Co., Ltd. continues to own property immediately south of the site.

2.3 Demographics

There are about 2,647 residents, with 304 children under 6 years of age, within a one-mile radius of the site. The population is predominately white (98%), with American Indian (0.9%), Asian or Pacific Islander (0.6%), and other (0.3%) ethnicities.

2.4 Land and Natural Resources Use

The site itself is relatively flat and consists of log decks and haul roads between decks. The elevation is 4 to 8 feet above the river level, depending on the season. The site is located in between the river and a flood control levee and is surrounded primarily by industrial properties. There do not appear to be any residences on the same side of the river between the site and the confluence with the St. Maries River. There are some farms on the opposite side of the river. The closest farm is reported to be about 0.3 mile upstream of the site (Personal Communication, EPA Projector Manager, Oct. 29, 2002). Along the St. Joe River is an Aqua Park, which is located approximately 0.3 mile upstream of the site (Personal Communication, EPA Projector Manager, Oct. 29, 2002). The Aqua Park is a combination of public and privately owned riverfront land. It is upstream from the creosote site and is not adjacent to or near the site. Swimming in the river is limited to a very small beach area for swimming and playing next to the shore, and away from any boat activity. Swimming in the river depends upon the weather and it usually is warm enough to swim for 2-3 months of the summer (Personal Communication, St. Maries City Attorney, April 21, 2003). It is unlikely Aqua Park users will swim to the site area because of the distance and designated swimming area postings. There are no swimming pools at the Site. Downstream of the site is an industrial area. It is unlikely that people fish or swim regularly within a quarter mile downstream of the site because this is an industrial area. There is some limited, recreational boating activity on the St. Joe River near the creosote site.

According to site documents, ground water at the site is not used for drinking water purposes. Most residents obtain their water from the City [4]. The City of St. Maries withdraws water from a stream approximately 5 miles upstream of the site and supplements this surface water with water from a ground water well 1.5 miles northeast of the site [4].There are no drinking water wells within a 0.5-mile radius of the site.

2.5 Site Visit

Representatives of BEHS informally visited the St. Maries Creosote site twice to better understand the physical setting of the site and its relationship to the people living and working nearby, and to evaluate the site exposure pathways. However, they were not permitted access to the site. Based on the personal communication with the attorney of Carney Products (Feb. 5, 2003), there is an earthen flood-control levee on the south side of Carney Products (the "Property"), which protects the town of St. Maries from seasonal floods. On the north side of the Property is the St. Joe River. East of the Property is the aqua-park. Along the border of the aqua-park and the Property is a fence that is owned and maintained by the City of St. Maries. The west side of the Property is bordered by property operated by Potlatch. The Potlatch property has a manned gate that prevents access to their property by the public. Potlatch employees do not have any reason for coming onto the Property, since Carney Products is not conducting any business with Potlatch. According to informal discussions with local residents, BEHS learned that people rarely, if ever, trespass on the site, and children were unlikely to obtain access to the site. Those people who do trespass on the pole yard are likely to stay for only short periods of time.


3. DISCUSSION

3.1 Data and Information Used

The data evaluated in this document came from the following sources: a removal site assessment and removal action report prepared by EMCON in April 1999 [2] and an integrated assessment prepared by EPA in August 1999 [3].

The conclusions reached in this document are based on the data available at the time, the information obtained from site visits, community concerns, etc. Conclusions may be modified based on the results of additional samples that will be collected during the RI/FS process.

3.2 Evaluation Process

The process by which BEHS evaluates the possible health impacts of environmental contaminants is summarized here and described in more detail in Appendix B. The first step involves screening the available data for contaminants of concern (COCs). BEHS uses conservative comparison values (CVs) to determine which chemicals to examine more closely. CVs are concentrations of chemicals in the environment (air, water, or soil) below which no adverse human health effects should occur. Exceeding a CV does not mean that health effects will occur, just that more evaluation is needed. BEHS also considers sampling location and data quality, exposure probability, frequency, duration, and community health concerns in determining which chemicals to evaluate further.

3.3 Exposure Pathways and Contaminants of Concern

The following sections describe the various ways people could come into contact with contaminants at the site. Each of these is called an exposure pathway. Appendix C summarizes the exposure pathways. If people are unlikely to be exposed to contaminants in a given pathway, then that pathway will not be evaluated further for human health risks.

3.3.1 Soil Ingestion Pathway

Soil from the site has been sampled and analyzed for contaminants. Table 1 lists the contaminants that were found in on-site soil at levels above residential soil CVs. These CVs are concentrations of chemicals in the soil below which no adverse human health effects should occur based on the residential conditions for long term exposure.

Table 1.

Soil Contaminants above Residential Soil Comparison Values
Contaminant Concentration Range in parts per million (ppm) Frequency of Detection / Total Average Concentration in parts per million (ppm) Conservative Comparison Value (CV) in ppm CV Source1
2-methylnaphthalene ND - 9300 5 / 7 1538 4000 EMEG2
arsenic 3 - 7 3 / 3 5 20 / 0.5 EMEG / CREG3
carbazole ND - 3300 5 / 7 562 32 RBC4
dibenzofuran ND - 1000 5 / 7 176 290 R9 PRG5
dieldrin ND - 0.4 1 / 3 0.13 3 / 0.04 EMEG / CREG
iron 12500 - 31800 7 / 7 21871 23000 R9 PRG
naphthalene ND - 12000 15 / 22 1399 1000 RMEG6
acenaphthene ND - 3080 16 / 22 409 3000 RMEG
anthracene ND - 30000 19 / 22 2027 20000 RMEG
benzo(a)anthracene ND - 5500 19 / 22 433 0.9 RBC
benzo(a)pyrene ND - 3500 19 / 22 312 0.1 CREG
benzo(b)fluoranthene ND - 3400 19 / 22 290 0.9 RBC
benzo(g,h,i)perylene ND - 890 20 / 22 106 - -
benzo(k)fluoranthene ND - 3200 19 / 22 254 9 RBC
chrysene ND - 16000 21 / 22 998 87 RBC
dibenz(a,h)anthracene ND - 590 18 / 22 50 0.09 RBC
fluoranthene ND - 18000 21 / 22 1455 2000 RMEG
fluorene ND - 2220 16 / 22 328 2000 RMEG
indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene ND - 1200 19 / 22 137 0.9 RBC
pyrene ND - 24000 21 / 22 2162 2000 RMEG
Source:

ND = non-detectable
1 These comparison values are described in Appendix B.
2 EMEG = environmental media evaluation guide.
3 CREG = cancer risk evaluation guide.
4 RBC = EPA Region 3 risk based concentration.
5 R9 PRG = EPA Region 9 preliminary remediation goal.
6 RMEG = reference media evaluation guide.

There do not appear to be any residents on the same side of the river between the site and the confluence with the St. Maries River. There are some farms on the opposite side of the river, and the closest one appears to be about 0.3 miles upstream of the site (Personal Communication, EPA Projector Manager, Oct. 29, 2002). Along the St. Joe River is an Aqua Park, which is located approximately 0.3 mile upstream of the site (Personal Communication, EPA Projector Manager, Oct. 29, 2002). It is unlikely Aqua Park users will swim to the site because of the distance and designated swimming area postings. Downstream of the site is an industrial area. It is unlikely that people swim to the site from downstream because this is an industrial area and access is restricted. Based on personal communications and conversations between BEHS and the attorney of Carney Products, as well as local residents, people rarely, if ever, trespass on the site. Those people who do trespass are likely at the pole yard for only short periods of time with little opportunity for exposure. This is considered a potential exposure pathway for residents, rather than a completed pathway. The potential exposure scenario is likely infrequent and for short periods of time.

3.3.2 Surface Water Pathway

Table 2 lists the contaminants that were found in surface water on-site at levels above drinking water CVs.

Table 2.

Surface Water Contaminants Detected Above Drinking Water Comparison Values
Contaminant Concentration Range in parts per billion (ppb) Frequency of Detection / Total Average Concentration in parts per billion (ppb) Comparison Value (CV) in ppb CV Source1
arsenic ND - 6 6 / 10 3 3 / 0.2 EMEG2 / CREG3
bromomethane ND - 10 1 / 10 5 10 RMEG4
carbazole ND - 72 3 / 12 16 3 R9 PRG5
dibenzofuran ND - 83 5 / 12 16 24 R9 PRG
heptachlor ND - 0.05 2 / 10 0.03 20 / 0.008 RMEG / CREG
lead ND - 17 8 / 10 5 15 AL6
methylene chloride ND - 20 1 / 10 7 600 / 0.5 EMEG / CREG
naphthalene ND - 980 8 / 12 140 200 / 100 RMEG / LTHA7
benzo(a)anthracene ND - 10 4 / 12 5 0.09 R9 PRG
benzo(a)pyrene ND - 10 3 / 12 4 0.2 / 0.005 MCL8 / CREG
benzo(b)fluoranthene ND - 10 3 / 12 4 0.09 R9 PRG
benzo(k)fluoranthene ND - 10 3 / 12 4 0.9 R9 PRG
phenanthrene ND - 100 6 / 12 21 none9 -
Source:

ND = non-detectable
1 These comparison values (discussed in Appendix B) are conservative drinking water comparison values since we do not have others to use, even though we do not suppose the surface water will be used as drinking water.
2 EMEG = environmental media evaluation guide.
3 CREG = cancer risk evaluation guide.
4 RMEG = remedial media evaluation guide.
5 R9 PRG = EPA Region 9 preliminary remediation goal.
6 AL = EPA action level.
7 LTHA = lifetime health advisory.
8 MCL = maximum contaminant level.
9 No comparison value available.

There are no CVs for surface water; therefore, BEHS evaluated the surface water pathway using CVs for drinking water, which are concentrations of chemicals in the drinking water below which no adverse human health effects should occur even if people use that as the sole drinking water for long time. Residents of St. Maries do not use the St. Joe River for drinking water. However, there is a potential for the public to be exposed to site contaminants in surface water through swimming and wading.

There do not appear to be any residences on the same side of the river between the site and the confluence with the St. Maries River. There are some farms on the opposite side of the river; however, the closest one appears to be about 0.3 mile upstream of the site (Personal Communication, EPA Projector Manager, Oct. 29, 2002). Downstream of the site is an industrial area. It is unlikely that people swim regularly downstream from the site because this is an industrial area and access is limited. Residents who do swim near the site do so in the designated area at the Aqua Park, which is located approximately 0.3 mile (Personal Communication, EPA Projector Manager, Oct. 29, 2002) upstream of the site. Results of the sediment samples collected upstream of the site reflected the background sediment chemistry. Therefore, neither surface water, nor sediments upstream from the site are being impacted by contaminated site sediments. Because of the distance and designated swimming area postings, it is unlikely Aqua Park users will swim to the site area, where the site-related surface water contaminants exist. However, since Aqua Park users are not prevented from contacting the stream bank near the site, there is a potential that Aqua Park users could be exposed to site contaminants through contact with surface water.

3.3.3 Sediment Pathway

Table 3 lists the contaminants that were found in sediments on-site at levels above residential soil CVs.

Table 3.

Sediment Contaminants above Residential Soil Comparison Values
Contaminant Concentration Range in parts per million (ppm) Frequency of Detection / Total Average Concentration in parts per million (ppm) Conservative Comparison Value (CV) in ppm CV Source1
arsenic 4 - 11 10 / 10 7 20 / 0.5 EMEG2 / CREG3
carbazole ND - 2700 7 / 10 272 32 RBC4
dibenzofuran ND - 2600 7 / 10 266 290 R9 PRG5
iron 16700 - 45100 10 / 10 26210 23000 R9 PRG
naphthalene ND - 89000 5 / 10 8913 1000 RMEG6
pentachlorophenol ND - 760 1 / 10 43 50 / 4 EMEG / CREG
acenaphthene ND - 4300 9 / 10 442 3000 RMEG
benzo(a)anthracene 0.02 - 980 10 / 10 109 0.9 RBC
benzo(a)pyrene 0.02 - 360 10 / 10 44 0.1 CREG
benzo(b)fluoranthene 0.03 - 270 10 / 10 34 0.9 RBC
benzo(g,h,i)perylene ND - 78 8 / 10 10 - -
benzo(k)fluoranthene ND - 300 9 / 10 37 9 RBC
chrysene 0.03 - 1400 10 / 10 153 87 RBC
dibenz(a,h)anthracene ND - 60 7 / 10 7 0.09 RBC
fluoranthene 0.04 - 3500 10 / 10 375 2000 RMEG
fluorene ND - 3800 9 / 10 389 2000 RMEG
indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene ND - 120 8 / 10 17 0.9 RBC
pyrene 0.05 - 2800 10 / 10 302 2000 RMEG
Source:

ND = non-detectable
1 These comparison values are discussed in Appendix A.
2 EMEG = environmental media evaluation guide.
3 CREG = cancer risk evaluation guide.
4 RBCL = EPA Region 3 risk based concentration.
5 R9 PRG = EPA Region 9 preliminary remedial goal.
6 RMEG = reference media evaluation goal.

The residents recreating at the Aqua Park, swim about 0.3 mile upstream from the site in the St. Joe River in designated areas marked by vertical poles. Site-related contaminants have not been detected in upstream sediments. People are not expected to swim near or downstream from the site where contaminated sediment exists, because of the industrial nature of the area. Consequently, it is unlikely that local residents will come into contact with the contaminated sediments. However, since Aqua Park users are not physically prevented from contacting the stream bank near the site, there is a potential that Aqua Park users could be exposed to site contaminants through contact with sediments.

3.3.4 Ground Water Pathway

Table 4 lists the contaminants that were found in ground water onsite at levels above the drinking water CVs. To evaluate the ground water, BEHS used CVs for drinking water, which are concentrations of chemicals in the drinking water below which no adverse human health effects should occur even if people use that as the sole drinking water source for long periods of time. Most of the contaminated ground water identified is underneath the creosote-treating facility. The migration of contaminants in ground water appears to be in the general ground water flow direction, toward the St. Joe River. The concentrations of contaminants diminish as the distance from the source areas increases, and seem to be confined within an approximately 90-foot radius of the creosote-treating facility [4].

The site is located in the city of St. Maries. Under city code all houses, buildings, or properties used for human occupancy are required to utilize public (city) water. According to the data gaps report [4], ground water at the site is not used for drinking water purposes; city water is available. The City of St. Maries draws drinking water for the city from a stream approximately 5 miles upstream of the site 335 days a year [5]. For the remaining 30 days, the City blends the drinking water supply with ground water from a backup well at the rate of approximately 400,000 gallons per day, or 20% of the water system's total pump capacity [5]. According to the city's public works personnel, local wells have not been used a great deal for drinking water because high concentrations of manganese make the water distasteful [6].

The area within 0.5 mile of the site lies within the city boundaries. Due to the city's Ordinance requiring use of city water, no known active wells exist in this area. Well logs available since 1987 were reviewed to confirm that no wells are present. According to the integrated assessment [3], there are no drinking water wells within a 0.5-mile radius of the site. One well is present at approximately 0.5 mile from the site. Location information indicates that this well is located close to the St. Joe River, across the River and upstream from the site. Four wells are located between 0.5 and 1 mile south, upstream from the site. Three wells are located approximately 1 mile downstream from the site; two of them are located across the river (north) and the third well is located south of the river. Water wells are located in areas hydraulically isolated from the site by the river, upstream, or upgradient from the site (cited from the draft Final Remedial Investigation/Baseline Risk Assessment, July 2003).

As discussed above, ground water at the site flows generally toward the river. The site is located downstream from the surface water supply, and downstream and some distance from ground water wells. Ground water use indicates that the beneficial use of the site ground water is recharge to surface water. Therefore, it is unlikely that the drinking water is affected by site contamination. This is an incomplete exposure pathway.

Table 4.

Ground Water Contaminants Detected Above Drinking Water Comparison Values
Contaminant Concentration Range in parts per billion (ppb) Frequency of Detection / Total Average Concentration in parts per billion (ppb) Comparison Value (CV) in ppb CV Source1
2,4-dimethylphenol ND - 1700 3 / 11 334 200 RMEG2
4,4'-DDE ND - 0.1 2 / 8 0.05 0.1 CREG3
4-methylphenol ND - 1900 3 / 11 276 180 R9 PRG4
arsenic 2 - 30 11 / 11 8 3 / 0.2 EMEG5 / CREG
benzene ND - 14 3 / 11 7 5 / 0.6 MCL6 / CREG
bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate ND - 14 2 / 3 7 200 / 3 RMEG/CREG
carbazole ND - 270 3 / 10 35 3.4 R9 PRG
chromium ND - 149 7 / 11 21 30 RMEG
dibenzofuran ND - 250 3 / 8 49 24 R9 PRG
dieldrin ND - 0.1 1 / 4 0.04 0.5 / 0.002 EMEG / CREG
heptachlor ND - 0.1 1 / 4 0.05 20 / 0.008 RMEG / CREG
iron 192 - 139000 11 / 11 47945 11000 R9 PRG
lead 1 - 23 5 / 5 4 15 AL7
manganese 282 - 12600 11 / 11 2165 500 RMEG
naphthalene ND - 7430 23 / 34 1267 200 / 100 RMEG / LTHA8
benzo(a)anthracene ND - 65 15 / 27 6 0.092 R9 PRG
benzo(a)pyrene ND - 22 11 / 23 2 0.2 / 0.005 MCL / CREG
benzo(b)fluoranthene ND - 37 12 / 23 4 0.092 R9 PRG
benzo(g,h,i)perylene ND - 10 10 / 23 1 None9 -
benzo(k)fluoranthene ND - 11 9 / 23 1 0.92 R9 PRG
chrysene ND - 42 14 / 26 5 9.2 R9 PRG
dibenz(a,h)anthracene ND - 10 4 / 23 1 0.0092 R9 PRG
fluorene ND - 438 20 / 31 59 400 RMEG
indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene ND - 10 10 / 23 1 0.092 R9 PRG
phenanthrene ND - 858 23 / 34 85 None -
thallium ND - 5 1 / 3 3 2 / 0.5 MCL / LTHA
vanadium ND - 30 6 / 11 9 30 EMEG
Source:

ND = non-detectable
1 These comparison values are discussed in Appendix A.
2 RMEG = remedial media evaluation guide.
3 CREG = cancer risk evaluation guide.
4 R9 PRG = EPA Region 9 preliminary remediation goal.
5 EMEG = environmental media evaluation guide.
6 MCL = maximum contaminant level.
7 AL = EPA action level.
8 LTHA = lifetime health advisory.
9 No comparison value available.

3.3.5 Fish Pathway

According to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Service, the St. Joe River is a critical migratory pathway for Bull Trout (a threatened species) and Westslope Cutthroat Trout (under review for Federal threatened/ endangered status) [1]. These fish spawn in streams upstream of the St. Maries Creosote site and migrate to Coeur d'Alene Lake via the St. Joe River [1]. The reach of the St. Joe River adjacent to the site is not a spawning area [1]. No information on contaminant concentrations in fish near the site is available. However, due to relatively sparse desirable game fish populations (Personal Communication, the staff of Idaho Department of Fish and Game, May 2, 2003), fishing is limited. Therefore, the fish pathway is unlikely to result in any adverse health effects to the local residents. Due to low use, fish sampling is not warranted. BEHS will further evaluate the fish pathway if fish tissue data becomes available.

3.3.6 Air Pathway

There are no data on air contaminants from the site. None of the site-related COCs are very volatile. Based on the available soil, surface water, and sediment sampling, there appears to be no exposure for the local residents from the air exposure pathway. Thus, the air pathway is unlikely to result in any adverse public health effects to the local residents. However, if future air sampling results are available, BEHS will evaluate the data.

3.4 Public Health Implications of Potential Exposure Pathways

Soil Ingestion Pathway:

Based on the soil sampling results, PAHs, especially benzo(a)pyrene, are considered the major contaminants of concern. Benzo(a)pyrene is the contaminant of concern with the highest cancer risk. Its average concentration in soil is about 3120 times higher than its CREG, which is based on a lifetime exposure (365 day/year x 70 years). However, it is unlikely to result in any appreciable increase in cancer risk to the local residents who may be exposed for short periods of time throughout their lifetime by occasional trespass on the site.

For non-cancer health effects, the chemical with the highest ratio (1.4) of average concentration with respective to its CV is naphthalene. Because local residents only trespass occasionally (several hours per year), their exposures are unlikely to result in any non-cancer health effects.

Therefore, even if occasional exposure were to occur to contaminated surface soil on the site because of trespassing, it is unlikely that this exposure would result in any adverse cancer or non-cancer health effects to the local residents.

The workers were aware of the contaminants on the site, and did not spend much time on the site. Any actual site worker exposure dose would likely be low.

Surface Water Pathway:

Benzo(a)pyrene is the contaminant of concern with the highest cancer risk detected in surface water. Its average concentration is about 800 times higher than its CREG, which is based on a lifetime exposure (365 day/year x 70 years) to contaminated drinking water. Exposure to benzo(a)pyrene in surface water is unlikely to result in any appreciable increase in cancer risk to a lifetime local resident swimmer by occasional and accidental consumption of small amounts of the surface water.

For non-cancer health effects, the average concentrations are lower than their respective CVs. Even if someone occasionally used the surface water for drinking water, no non-cancer effects would be expected if the use was less than 6 days a year. Since swimmers would accidentally swallow only a small fraction of what people would normally drink, no health effects are expected from any occasional exposure of swimmers to the surface water.

Therefore, even if exposure were to occur to contaminated surface water, it is unlikely that this exposure would result in any adverse cancer or non-cancer health effects to a local resident swimmer.

Sediment Pathway:

Benzo(a)pyrene is the contaminant of concern with the highest cancer risk. Its average concentration is about 440 times higher than its CREG, which is based on a lifetime exposure (365 day/year x 70 years) to the residential soil. It is unlikely to result in any appreciable increase in cancer risk to a lifetime resident swimmer by occasional and accidental ingestion of small amounts of sediment while swimming.

For non-cancer health effects, the contaminant with the highest ratio (8.9) of average concentration with respective to its CV is naphthalene. Even if someone accidentally swallowed 200 mg of sediment each day they were on the site, no health effects would be expected if the use was less than 3 days a year. However, 200 mg is a conservatively high number, and swimmers would probably accidentally swallow a much smaller amount of sediment. Therefore, no health effects are expected from any occasional exposure of swimmers to sediment.

Even if exposure were to occur to contaminated sediment, it is unlikely that this exposure would result in any adverse cancer or non-cancer health effects to a local resident swimmer.

3.5 ATSDR Child Health Considerations

ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more vulnerable to exposures than adults in communities faced with contamination of their air, water, soil, or food. This vulnerability is a result of the following factors:

  • Children are more likely to play outdoors and bring food into contaminated areas.
  • Children are shorter, resulting in a greater likelihood of breathing dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground.
  • Children are smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight.
  • The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages.
  • Young children are more prone to put foreign objects (including soil) into their mouths and have high hand-to-mouth contact.

There are no completed exposure pathways with respect to site contaminants, only potential exposure pathways. As delineated in the discussions for different exposure pathways, this site is highly unlikely to result in any adverse health effects to local residents, including children.

3.6 Health Outcome Data

According to ATSDR guidelines, health outcome data (HOD) should be considered in a public health assessment. Health outcome data may include mortality information (e.g., the number of people dying from a certain disease) or morbidity information (e.g., the number of people in an area getting a certain disease or illness). In order to thoroughly evaluate health outcome data as it relates to a hazardous waste site, the following elements are necessary: (1) the presence of a completed human exposure pathway, (2) sufficiently high contaminant levels to result in measurable health effects, (3) sufficient number of people in the completed pathway for the health effect to be measured, and (4) a health outcome database in which disease rates for populations of concern can be identified.

The site does not meet the requirements for including an evaluation of health outcome data in a public health assessment. Evaluating HOD is unlikely to provide any meaningful data or information to help determine the public health implication of this site.

3.7 Community Health Concerns

EPA invited community members to participate in interviews with EPA representatives on June 17 and 18, 2002. Fourteen people, including citizens, local officials and others, participated in the interviews [17]. The majority of interviewees said the site was small and they felt that any contamination present did not pose any serious health or environmental risks. Many voiced the concern that the cleanup would be economically damaging to the City of St. Maries. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is concerned about ecological risks posed by the site. Public and PRP comments on the draft version of this document are included and addressed in Appendix F.


4. CONCLUSIONS

Based upon the data and information reviewed, BEHS has drawn the following conclusions:

  • Only potential exposure pathways exist at the St. Maries Creosote site. These potential pathways include soil, sediments, and surface water. Potential exposures for the general public and children are most likely infrequent and limited in duration. It is unlikely that children and the general public are being exposed to significant levels of site-related contamination. Based on the available information, it is also unlikely that the public was exposed to significant amounts of site-related contaminants in the past. According to ATSDR's Interim Public Health Hazard Categories, the exposure pathways related to surface soil, sediment, surface water, ground water, fish, and air are categorized as no apparent public health hazard (Appendix D).

  • According to ATSDR's Interim Public Health Hazard Categories, the exposure pathways related to surface soil, sediment, surface water, ground water, fish, and air are categorized as no apparent public health hazard (Appendix D).

  • The conclusions in this report only apply to the current site conditions and current residents. If land uses change, these conclusions might not be applicable.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS

Based upon the data and information reviewed, BEHS has made the following recommendations:

  • The public should be informed that swimming in the river close to the site or entering the site could expose them to hazardous chemicals. As a precaution, signs should be posted at the site boundary in obvious locations as well as on the river warning the public about the presence of site-related contaminants. This precautionary measure is needed because prolonged contact with the site contaminants may result in adverse health effects. Prolonged contact with site contaminants could occur if exposure is increased through behavior changes such as swimming or wading next to the site. Precautionary signs could prevent potential behavior changes by the public.

  • Access to the site should continue to be restricted.

6. PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The public health action plan for the St. Maries Creosote site contains a description of actions that have been or will be taken at the site by BEHS, ATSDR, and/or other government agencies. The purpose of the plan is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards at the site, but also outlines a plan of action to prevent or minimize the potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to site-related hazardous substances. BEHS will follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.

  • BEHS conducted a site visit in order to verify site conditions and to gather pertinent information and data for the Public Health Assessment.

  • BEHS will provide health education to the community in the form of a fact sheet summarizing this document as well as developing curriculum for students, outlining how to avoid exposure to hazardous substances.

  • BEHS will reevaluate and expand the public health action plan, if needed.

  • EPA will complete a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the site. Once the RI/FS is complete, BEHS will evaluate the report and additional environmental data. Conclusions and recommendations in this public health assessment may be revised based upon the evaluation of the RI/FS. BEHS will publish the RI/FS evaluation in the form of a health consultation.

7. REFERENCES

  1. US Environmental Protection Agency. St. Maries Creosote HRS Documentation Record. November 22, 1999.

  2. EMCON. Removal site assessment and removal action report. Prepared for Carney Products Company and the City of St. Maries, Idaho. Spokane (WA): EMCON; April 1999.

  3. US Environmental Protection Agency. St. Maries creosote site integrated assessment. Seattle (WA): EPA Region 10 Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team (START); August 1999.

  4. The RETEC Group. Summary of data gaps report. Prepared for Marten Brown. Seattle (WA): The RETEC Group; March 2002.

  5. Provance, Lee, May 10, 1999, Public Works Department, City of St. Maries, telephone conversation with Lilin Li, Ecology and Environment, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

  6. Bell, Mike, April 14, 1999, Public Works Department, City of St. Maries, telephone conversation with Lilin Li, Ecology and Environment, Inc., Seattle, Washington.

  7. US Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure factors handbook. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency. Office of Research and Development. EPA/600/C-99/001; February 1999.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for arsenic: update. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; September 2000.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for cadmium: update. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; July 1999.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for copper. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; December 1990.

  11. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Institute of Medicine; 2001.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for lead: update. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; July 1999.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for mercury: update. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; March 1999.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for zinc: update. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; May 1994.

  15. US Environmental Protection Agency. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) website. Washington (DC): EPA Office of Research and Development. Accessed electronically on May 6, 2002 at: http://www.epa.gov/iris

  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate: update (draft for public comment). Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; September 2000.

  17. US Environmental Protection Agency. Community Involvement Plan. Region 10. August 2002.

8. PREPARERS OF REPORT

Authors of Report

Lijun Jin, Public Health Assessor/Toxicologist
Bureau of Environmental Health and Safety
Division of Health
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
450 W. State Street, 4th Floor
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0036

Jill J. Dyken, Ph.D., P.E.
Environmental Health Scientist
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


Reviewers

Elke D. Shaw-Tulloch, M.H.S., Chief
Aaron Scheff, M. Ed., Program Manager
Bureau of Environmental Health and Safety
Division of Health
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
450 W. State Street, 4th Floor
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0036


ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Gregory V. Ulirsch, M.S., Environmental Health Engineer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
1600 Clifton Avenue, Mailstop E-32
Atlanta, Georgia 30333


ATSDR Regional Representatives

Karen L. Larson, Ph.D., Regional Representative
Office of Regional Operations, Region X
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
1200 Sixth Avenue, Room 1930 (ATS-197)
Seattle, WA 98101


9. CERTIFICATION

The Idaho Bureau of Environmental Health and Safety prepared this Public Health Assessment under a 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 Public Health Assessment was initiated.

Gregory V. Ulirsch
Technical Project Officer, SSAB, DHAC


The Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB), Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC), ATSDR has reviewed this health consultation and concurs with its findings.

Roberta Erlwein
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR



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