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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

BELTSVILLE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER
BELTSVILLE, PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND


CONCLUSIONS

On the basis of its evaluation of available information, ATSDR has reached the following conclusions:

1. Drinking water is provided to BARC-West by the WSSC, which samples the water it distributes regularly in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The BARC-East on-site drinking water supply has been treated according to accepted standards of the day since the 1940s. Since 1990, sampling of finished water distributed to consumers has not revealed levels of any chemicals above safe drinking water regulatory limits. Based on the locations and extent of site contamination and the fact that few removal actions have been conducted, ATSDR does not believe that levels of contamination in the Patuxent Aquifer, from which all BARC production wells draw, would have been higher before 1990. Based on this information, ATSDR concludes that the BARC water supply poses no apparent public health hazard.

2. Certain private residences within and near BARC probably obtained their drinking water from private wells in the past, and a small number of private residences near BARC and on inholdings probably still use private wells. Little information is available about these wells, however. Based on the lack of information about these off-site wells, ATSDR considers exposure to drinking water from private wells in the immediate vicinity of BARC an indeterminate public health hazard.

3. Surface water and sediment sampling has been conducted at certain BARC AOCs, but many investigations are pending, so complete information about the extent to which the facility has impacted surface water and sediment is unavailable. On-site exposure to surface water, sediment, and fish is expected to be minimal, as no recreational use of the surface water bodies within BARC property is allowed. Based on the currently available data for Indian Creek and Beaver Dam Creek, even if people were exposed to the elevated levels of contaminants (metals and VOCs) reported to date, adverse health effects would not be expected. Conclusive information on the extent of downstream surface water use and consumption of fish is not available. Also, ATSDR did not identify any fish tissue, surface water, and sediment samples from locations immediately downstream of BARC. Although contaminant levels are generally low, given the insufficiency of sampling and exposure data, ATSDR considers contact with surface water, sediment, and fish downstream of BARC to pose an indeterminate public health hazard.

4. Information collected to date indicates that any past public exposure to the soil within contaminated areas at BARC would have been infrequent, incidental, and of short duration. The public is no longer allowed to access any BARC AOCs. ATSDR does not expect that exposures to the levels of contaminants found and likely to be found would cause adverse health effects. Thus, soil contamination at BARC poses no apparent public health hazard.

5. Most physical hazards previously present at BARC have been mitigated. However, it is currently possible for individuals to trespass at one or more sites where remaining debris may pose a physical hazard. The possible hazards at sites such as ENTECH R5 pose potential public health hazards.

6. The potential exists for contaminants to enter or be conducted along the bedding of water or sewer pipelines that intersect areas of groundwater contamination. However, areas in which contaminants and pipelines may be co-located are not well understood, and contaminant levels in these areas have not been measured. Thus, ATSDR cannot evaluate the public health hazard that may exist in any such areas. This is considered an indeterminate public health hazard.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for BARC contains a description of actions taken and those planned by ATSDR, EPA, MDE, and USDA-ARS at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP 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 health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions that have been implemented, are being implemented, are planned, or are recommended by ATSDR are as follows:

Completed Actions:

  1. A review of all potential AOCs within BARC was performed and AOCs were prioritized for further investigations.

  2. A landfill remediation project involving the removal of over 70,000 tons of soil, waste, and debris from BARC 6, the Biodegradable Site, has occurred. The landfill material was disposed of at a permitted off-site disposal facility.

  3. A CERCLA removal action occurred at BARC 9, the Dump Off Odell Road, subsequent to the 1995 ATSDR-EPA site visit. The two agencies were concerned about the possibility of exposure to the wastes on the site by the neighboring community.

  4. Non-CERCLA surface debris removal actions have occurred at various sites, including the following AOCs: BARC 1, BARC 2, BARC 11, BARC 12, BARC 17, BARC 22, BARC 30, BARC 31, BARC 34, BARC 34A, BARC 35, BARC 36, BARC 44, EPIC 16, EPIC 31, EPIC 34, EPIC 39, FDA 1, FDA 2, ENTECH 7, ENTECH M12, ENTECH M22, ENTECH R1, ENTECH R15, and ENTECH R23.

  5. An Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis has been prepared for BARC 18, the Low-Level Radiation Burial Site.

  6. EPA and BARC have determined that no further action is necessary at BARC 2, BARC 10, BARC 11, EPIC 8, and EPIC 9, and reports addressing these sites have been drafted.

Ongoing or Planned Actions:

  1. SSP Reports addressing BARC 3, BARC 4, BARC 5, BARC 26, BARC 36, BARC 41, ENTECH M6, ENTECH R3, EPIC 7, and EPIC 11 have been drafted and are being finalized. In light of the information provided in these reports, BARC and EPA will determine what further actions, if any, should be conducted at each AOC.

  2. SSP Investigations and Reports are planned for the remainder of BARC AOCs and are slated to be completed by the end of 2002. The SSP Reports will recommend further remedial actions, as appropriate. After sampling results are validated, a removal is planned to clean up the remaining debris at ENTECH R5.

  3. RI/FSs are planned or ongoing for BARC 6, the Biodegradable Site; BARC 18, the Low-Level Radiation Burial Site; BARC 22, the College Park Landfill; and BARC 12, the Chemical Disposal Pits. Following the completion of these reports, records of decision will be issued to initiate remedial actions at the sites.

  4. USDA-ARS keeps the community surrounding BARC apprised of activities at the site, in keeping with the Community Involvement Plan for BARC. It maintains a mailing list of interested individuals and organizations and holds periodic public meetings to discuss site-related issues and events. An on-site Information Repository also allows public access to documents about the site screening and risk assessment processes.

  5. All the BARC-East production wells currently in use are undergoing sampling for the full range of analytical parameters currently required by the state of Maryland for permitting a new well.

  6. If contaminants are detected at levels of concern, ATSDR will review the results of additional studies characterizing site-related contamination and exposure as they are provided to us.

Recommended Actions:

  1. BARC should continue monitoring its water supply system because of the possible horizontal and vertical migration of existing contamination. Wells should be sampled for parameters identified at BARC AOCs and the W.P. Ballard & Company site. In particular, water from BARC production well #4 should be analyzed for radiological parameters in light of its proximity to a source of radiological contamination. Additionally, production wells #9 and #10 should be properly sealed so that contamination cannot move through them to the BARC water supply.

  2. Private wells at the three residential inholdings located near the Baltimore-Washington Parkway should be sampled as a part of BARC's investigations. If ongoing groundwater characterization investigations suggest that groundwater contamination might reach any of the other residential inholdings or any off-site private residences, ATSDR recommends that a comprehensive survey of private well use be performed and that any potentially affected private wells be sampled.

  3. Surface water and sediment sampling and analyses at AOCs within BARC are ongoing. If these analyses detect contamination at levels that might be a concern regarding contamination of fish in water bodies within BARC, a use survey conducted by BARC or regulators can determine whether fish are regularly caught and consumed from Indian Creek immediately downstream from BARC. If this survey finds that there is a significant level of consumption of such fish, sampling might be necessary. If requested, ATSDR will evaluate the data.

  4. A fence should be placed by BARC around ENTECH R5 until physical hazards are removed. Access controls and signage at each AOC located near an area frequented by children should be re-evaluated to minimize the potential risk of exposure to physical hazards and possible on-site soil contamination.

  5. ATSDR recommends that MDE (which is overseeing remedial activities at the Ballard site) and BARC remedial project managers coordinate with WSSC and BARC public works managers to determine if there are areas in which water or sewer pipelines intersect groundwater contamination. ATSDR recommends that air and water samples be collected from these areas. In addition, mass transport rates for PCE and TCE into water lines should be determined. In any areas where small diameter water lines (8" or less) contact groundwater contamination, ATSDR recommends that samples of water from taps served by the water lines be collected and analyzed so that appropriate measures can be taken to protect people from any potential public health hazard posed by this contamination.

REFERENCES

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Apex Environmental, Inc. 1994a. Environmental Monitoring Summary Report of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Radiation Burial Site. Draft. March 25, 1994.

Apex Environmental, Inc. 1994b. Phase II Environmental Investigation, BARC Biodegradable Site. August 24, 1994.

ARI. 1996. Anacostia River. Anacostia River Initiative. U.S. EPA. http://www.chesapeakebay.net/anacostia/index.htm. August 21, 1996.

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ATSDR-DHAC. 1995a. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation. Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Site Summary. September 1995.

ATSDR-DHAC. 1995b. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation. Trip Report, ATSDR Site Scoping Visit to BARC, September 18 through 21, 1995.

ATSDR. 1999. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Ionizing Radiation. September 1999.

BARC. 1999. Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Site Visit conducted by ATSDR. March 15 to 18, 1999.

BARC Information Repository. 1992. Sampling Results and Locations of Sampling at Indian Creek. BARC Document Accession Number F-01-0028. February 13, 1992.

BARC Information Repository. 1993. BARC-East Groundwater Wells. BARC Document Accession Number F-01-0104. September 27, 1993.

BARC Information Repository. 1995a. Letter from John Grace of MDE to D. Little of BARC and attached sampling results. BARC Document Accession Number F-01-0072. February 3, 1995.

BARC Information Repository. 1995b. Test Results from Water Wells at BARC-East. BARC Document Accession Number F-01-0071. September 29, 1995.

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ENTECH, Inc. 1997a. After-Action Report: Removal Action at BARC 9 (Dump Off Odell Road). Draft. September 1997.

ENTECH, Inc. 1997b. Site Screening Process Work Plan: BARC 2, BARC 10, BARC 11, BARC 12, BARC 22. November 1997.

ENTECH, Inc. 1997c. Desktop Data Collection Report: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Beltsville, Maryland. Volume I. Final. December 1997.

ENTECH, Inc. 1997d. Desktop Data Collection Report: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Beltsville, Maryland. Volume II. Final. December 1997.

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ENTECH, Inc. 1997f. Potential AOCs Subject to Screening. USDA-ARS-BARC. Revised May 1997.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998a. After Action Report: Surface Debris Removals, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Beltsville, Maryland. January 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998b. Baseline Groundwater Sampling, After-Action Report: BARC 6 (Biodegradable Site), BARC 12 (Chemical Disposal Pits), BARC 27 (Beaver Dam Road Landfill). Volume I: Text. Draft. March 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998c. Remedial Investigation Work Plan: Biodegradable Site (BARC-6). March 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998d. Site Screening Process Work Plan (Airport AOCs): BARC 14, BARC 15, BARC 36, BARC 37, BARC 44, EPIC 47, ENTECH 20. November 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998e. Site Screening Process Work Plan (Selected Central Farm AOCs): BARC 27, BARC 41, EPIC 31, ENTECH 15, ENTECH M12, ENTECH R1, ENTECH R13. November 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998f. Correspondence from Jeffrey C. Tuttle, P.G., to Mary Cooke, EPA. Reference: Remedial Investigation (RI), Low-level Radiation Burial Site. Subject: Request to Limit Semi-Annual Groundwater Monitoring to Target Analytical Parameters. October 20, 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998g. Site Screening Process Report No. 01: BARC 2, BARC 10, BARC 11, BARC 12, BARC 22, Draft. October 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1998h. Correspondence from Jeffrey Tuttle, ENTECH, to Mark Schoppet, BARC. Subject: Biodegradable Site Remedial Investigation. May 18, 1998.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999a. Site Management Plan: Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Beltsville, Maryland. January 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999b. Letter from Jeffrey Tuttle to Mary Cooke, EPA. Reference: Remedial Investigation (RI), the Biodegradable Site (BARC 6). Subject: Request to Limit Target Analyte List for Semi-Annual Groundwater Sampling. February 24, 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999c. Site Screening Process Work Plan: BARC 1, BARC 17, EPIC 16, ENTECH 3, ENTECH 7, ENTECH R5. March 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999d. Low-Level Radiation Burial Site Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. June 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999e. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Work Plan for the College Park Landfill, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Draft. June 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999f. Summary of Analytical Results: Site Screening Process Group 2 (BARC 14, BARC 15, BARC 36, BARC 37, BARC 44, EPIC 47, and ENTECH 20). June 4, 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999g. Site Screening Process Work Plan: BARC 9, BARC 26, ENTECH R3, EPIC 34, FDA 1, FDA 2. Draft. February 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 1999h. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Work Plan for the Chemical Disposal Pits. Draft. October 1999.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000a. Remedial Investigation Report: Biodegradable Site (BARC-06), Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Draft. April 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000b. Site Screening Process, BARC 2 Human Health Risk Screen. November 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000c. Site Screening Process, BARC 10 Human Health Risk Screen. November 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000d. Site Screening Process, BARC 11 Human Health Risk Screen. December 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000e. Site Screening Process, BARC 41 Human Health Risk Screen. December 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000f. Site Screening Process, EPIC 8 Human Health Risk Screen. December 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2000g. Site Screening Process, EPIC 9 Human Health Risk Screen. December 2000.

ENTECH, Inc. 2001a. BARC Production Wells Results. Analytical results from 1999 sampling, provided by ENTECH March 8, 2001.

ENTECH, Inc. 2001b. BARC Water Treatment Plant Data. Analytical results from 1999 sampling, provided by ENTECH March 15, 2001, via electronic mail.

ENTECH, Inc. 2001c. Site Screening Process, BARC 3 Human Health Risk Screen. January 2001.

ENTECH, Inc. 2001d. Site Screening Process, BARC 19 Human Health Risk Screen. January 2001.

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ENTECH, Inc. 2001j. Site Screening Process, BARC 5 Human Health Risk Screen. February 2001.

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