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1. The SMWT site poses an indeterminate public health hazard, because additional information is needed to evaluate the possible groundwater and air exposure pathways. There may have been completed air and dermal exposure pathways in the past. However, there is no information documenting exposure duration or levels.

2. Based on 10-year average rates for 1979-1988, St. Mary's County ranked eleventh among Maryland's 23 counties in cancer deaths. The average cancer death rate for women living in the county was similar to the rate for the U.S. The average cancer death rate for men living in St. Mary's County was close to the average for Maryland. Men in Maryland and in St. Mary's County had cancer death rates higher than the national average. Existing health outcome data cannot be used to determine if a cause and effect relationship exists between exposure to hazardous substances and the rates of cancer.

3. The on-site production well could transport contaminants to deep aquifers that are the main source of drinking water for residents in the area.

4. Site-related surface water and sediment contamination have been identified in Old Tom's Run. The small amount of water or sediments to which children might occasionally be exposed while playing in the stream is unlikely to adversely affect their health.

5. The groundwater monitoring program does not adequately characterize area hydrogeology and allow timely detection of potential off-site migration. Analysis of waters from residential wells near the site did not include PAHs and phenolic compounds.

6. The characterization of the Upper Chesapeake Aquifer downgradient of the site does not adequately identify potential migration of contaminants. The potential for contaminant migration into the deep drinking water aquifers, Aquia and Piney Point-Nanjemoy, has not been evaluated beneath the site.

7. The on-site buildings do not pose a public health threat. ATSDR's previous public health assessment identified the buildings as a possible exposure pathway. The scrape tests used to make that determination were later found not to be representative of contamination from facility operations.

8. Further evaluation is needed to determine if the on-site tanks may be a source of additional contamination. Those tanks do not meet current federal and state standards for corrosion protection, leak detection, or secondary containment.

9. Data used by ATSDR in its previous public health assessment indicated the possibility of lead-contaminated drinking water, but the data supplied to the Agency were later found to be in error.

10. To respond to community concerns regarding EPA's proposed remediation for the SMWT site, ATSDR commits to a comprehensive review of incinerator design and operating plans, trial burn plans and test results, air pollution control systems and other safeguards, as well as contingency and monitoring plans.


A. Recommendations and HARP Statement


1. The integrity of the storage tanks should be evaluated to determine if alternative storage/disposal options for the liquid wastes are required to prevent additional releases.

2. Efforts should be made to determine why men in St. Mary's County and Maryland have a cancer death rate that exceeds the rate for men in the United States.

3. The on-site production well should be properly closed to prevent future contamination of drinking water aquifers.

4. The downgradient residential wells near the site should be analyzed for phenolic compounds and PAHs to ensure that off-site migration of groundwater is detected if it occurs. Continue sampling monitoring wells on the west side of the site because low levels of contaminants have been detected.

5. Additional hydrogeologic characterization data should be collected for all drinking water aquifers to detect potential migration of contaminants. The deeper drinking water aquifers, Aquia and Piney Point-Nanjemoy, beneath the site should be evaluated with respect to vertical hydraulic gradients.

6. Although occasional exposure to contaminated surface water and sediments in Old Tom's Run is unlikely to adversely affect health, ATSDR recommends that persons limit activities that would expose them to contaminated media in Old Tom's Run.

7. Air monitoring stations should be established at the perimeter of the site and near residences downwind of the site during remediation activities. The stations should collect samples of particulates smaller than 10 microns and contaminants associated with the SMWT site. Remedial workers should be monitored as specified by OSHA regulations.

8. Consider additional follow-up activities if data become available that suggest human exposure is occurring or has occurred.


The Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) is an ATSDR panel established to determine public health actions that need to be conducted in populations living near hazardous waste sites. The Agency-wide panel is composed of ATSDR staff with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, environmental health, and health education. It serves two purposes: to evaluate the impact of exposure to hazardous substances in the environment; and to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects associated with potential exposure to those substances. HARP meets regularly to evaluate data and information developed in all health assessments, health consultations, and health advisories for appropriate public health actions.

In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, the data and information developed in the Southern Maryland Wood Treating NPL Site Public Health Assessment Update have been evaluated by HARP for appropriate public health actions. There is currently no indication that people are being exposed to contaminants associated with the SMWT site. Although exposures may have occurred in the past, there is insufficient information to document exposure duration or levels. ATSDR has determined that ongoing community dialogue is needed. ATSDR should continue to interact with the community to provide needed information and seek feedback from residents about their concerns and information needs. Specifically, ATSDR recognizes the strong community concern about the proposed remediation (on-site incineration). When more information becomes available, ATSDR will evaluate the data and information to determine if further public health actions, such as health studies, are indicated.

B. Public Health Actions


1. ATSDR conducted public availability (one-on-one) meetings on September 19 and December 10, 1991, and a public meeting on December 9, 1991, in St. Mary's County. At all three meetings, ATSDR staff discussed community health concerns, including contaminants associated with the SMWT site and EPA's proposed soil incineration remediation process.

2. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) advised ATSDR that groundwater samples were collected from the on-site production well on September 3, 1992. According to MDE, analytical results did not identify contamination at levels that exceed drinking water standards.


1. ATSDR will make additional recommendations as needed to reduce and/or prevent exposures associated with the remediation activities that might affect public health.

2. ATSDR will contact the Maryland Health Department and the St. Mary's County Health Department to offer assistance in evaluating whether environmental factors might be related to the cancer mortality rates in St. Mary's County. The Agency will evaluate additional cancer incidence data after the cancer registry data has been updated.

3. ATSDR will contact EPA to ensure that all environmental recommendations are considered for implementation. ATSDR will review and evaluate any new environmental information that is collected by EPA or the Maryland Department of the Environment. The Agency will determine the public health implications of that information and take appropriate public health actions.

4. The Maryland Department of the Environment advised ATSDR that they are evaluating the integrity of the production well on site and well abandonment will begin by mid October 1992.

5. ATSDR will contact the St. Mary's County Health Department to determine appropriate followup mechanisms for communicating the potential exposures to surface water and sediments in Old Tom's Run to the community. ATSDR will work closely with Health Department representatives to ensure that appropriate public health protective measures are taken.

6. ATSDR will maintain an ongoing dialogue with local residents to provide information and assistance in understanding their potential for exposure to toxic substances associated with the Southern Maryland Wood Treating Site.

(listed alphabetically)

              Lorna L. Bozeman, M.S.
              Environmental Health Scientist/Microbiologist
              Federal Programs Branch

              Joseph C. Carpenter, P.E.
              Environmental Engineer
              Community Health Branch

              Mark W. Evans, Ph.D.
              Environmental Geologist
              Federal Programs Branch

              Edward W. Gregory, Jr., Ph.D.
              Sociologist/Demographics Analyst
              Federal Programs Branch

              Cynthia R. Lewis, M.D., M.P.H.
              Senior Medical Officer
              Division of Health Assessment and

              Harvey W. Rogers, M.S.
              Environmental Engineer
              Remedial Programs Branch

              Betty C. Willis, M.S.
              Environmental Health Scientist/Chemist
              Federal Programs Branch

ATSDR Regional Representative:

              Charles J. Walters
              ATSDR, EPA Region III
              Philadelphia, PA


  1. Hazardous Waste Remedial Action Predesign Report, Southern Maryland Wood Preservers Superfund Site, Hollywood, Maryland, Dames and Moore, October 8, 1991.

  2. Record of Decision, Southern Maryland Wood Treating Site, Hollywood, Maryland, June 29, 1988.

  3. Census of Population and Housing, 1990. Summary Tape File 1A (Maryland). Prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington, D.C.: 1991.

  4. Minutes of St. Mary's Board of County Commissioners Meeting, Appeal of Planning Commission Decision. September 17, 1991.

  5. Minutes of the St. Mary's County Planning Commission. Request for Approval of Plan for Newton Manor Subdivision. July 8, 1991.

  6. Maryland Vital Statistics Annual Report: 1986.

  7. Maryland Vital Statistics Annual Report: 1987.

  8. Personal communication. Governor's Council on Cancer Control. December 2, 1991.

  9. Centers for Disease Control. Compressed Mortality Data (1979-1988) on Wideranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database.

  10. Final Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Report for the Southern Maryland Wood Treating Site, Hollywood, Maryland, Volume I, CDM Federal Programs Corporation, May 1988.

  11. NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. June 1990.

  12. 1991-1992 Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices, ACGIH.

  13. Southern Maryland Wood Treating Site Trip Report. December 1991.

  14. Personal communication. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3, Remedial Project Manager. December 1991.

  15. Personal Communication. St. Mary's County Health Department Staff. December 1991.

  16. Personal communication. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Water Laboratory. January 16, 1992.

  17. Draft Chemical Data Acquisition Plan, Southern Maryland Wood Preservers Superfund Site, Hollywood, Maryland, Dames and Moore, October 14, 1991.

  18. Biota Investigation of Freshwater Streams Possibly Affected by Southern Maryland Wood Treating Superfund Site, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, April 1990.

  19. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. Atlanta: ATSDR, December 1989.

  20. Integrated Risk Information System.

  21. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Atlanta: ATSDR, February 1990.

  22. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 2,3,7,8-TCDD. Atlanta: ATSDR, June 1989.

  23. World Health Organization Dioxin Statement, Memorandum from the Ast. Director for Science, December 20, 1990.

  24. Personal communication. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. November 26, 1991.

  25. DeVita V. T., et al (eds.). Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, 3rd edition. J. B. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia, 1989.

  26. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Impact on Public Health of Lead-Contaminated Soil at Superfund Sites. Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1991.

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