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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

FAIRFIELD COAL GASIFICATION PLANT
FAIRFIELD, JEFFERSON COUNTY, IOWA


CONCLUSIONS

IDPH and ATSDR conclude that in the past, based on data reviewed, this site posed a public health hazard. Completed exposure pathways for contaminants in air and drinking water have occurred. Currently, however, the site poses no apparent public health hazard. Site remedial activities have been implemented. Contaminated on-site soils have been excavated and disposed off-site, and a groundwater pump and treat system is in operation. The contaminated private well has been plugged and is no longer used.

Some residences connected to the municipal water supply system may still be using private wells within the shallow aquifer immediately down-gradient of the site. To date, those wells are not contaminated, but they could become contaminated if the groundwater pump and treat system fails and contaminants migrate to those wells. The community water supply system is available to all residences not connected to it.

At least one private well, described as cross-gradient of the site, and one municipal well, described as up-gradient of the site, has contained low levels of contaminants in the past. Although these wells are not believed to be affected by the site, no other source of possible contamination was identified in documents reviewed.

During previous excavation activities at the site, the community complained of odors and health effects that may have been related to contaminants released in air. The community requested to have their health monitored and to be informed about health and environmental issues related to site remedial activities. The containment structure over the soil excavation areas has minimized further emission of site contaminants.

Exposure to airborne contaminants released during excavation of source areas at the site in 1993 cannot be evaluated because monitoring done at the fenceline did not include all contaminants that could have affected the people in the immediate area.

Soil remediation was completed in May 1995.


RECOMMENDATIONS

The purpose of this section is to provide recommendations needed to protect the public health during remedial activities at the site. Currently, conditions exist that could result in exposure to site-related contaminants. The recommendations listed, if implemented, will prevent exposure.

  1. Continue sampling all monitoring wells to detect levels of contamination and to monitor plume migration. Additionally, consider sampling any down-gradient private wells near the site used for watering gardens or other domestic purposes. If a well is found to be contaminated at levels of health concern, it should be abandoned.
  2. Sample the municipal well and private well that showed low-level contaminated in the past to verify that the wells do not contain contamination. If contamination is present, consider taking the wells out of commission or sampling twice a year until either the source of contamination is found or four consecutive samples are clean.
  3. Consider institutional controls to prevent installation of wells for public and domestic purposes within the contaminated portion of the aquifer.
  4. Monitor the groundwater pump and treat system for optimum efficiency.

Should new data become available, IDPH and ATSDR will assess and determine the need for further follow-up activity. Affected community members and other agencies will be informed as necessary.

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL (HARP)
RECOMMENDATIONS

The data and other information applicable to the Fairfield Coal Gasification site Public Health Assessment were evaluated by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for follow-up health actions. Although exposures to site-related contaminants have occurred in the past, we cannot thoroughly evaluate the public health implications of those exposures with available information and data. Because of community health concerns expressed at previous public availability meetings, a Physicians/Nurses Education Workshop and community education activities were recommended. If additional data become available, ATSDR and IDPH will re-evaluate this site for any other indicated follow-up health actions.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

This section contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR, IDPH, or other governmental agencies at this site. The purpose of the public health action plan is to ensure that this Public Health Assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

A. Actions Undertaken

EPA has posted warning signs at the site and provided an after-hour security system. EPA has also agreed to keep the community informed about future remedial activities at the site.

IDPH conducted a Physicians/Nurses Education Workshop on September 8, 1994, at the Jefferson County Hospital. Site Fact Sheets were issued to the public. IDPH and ATSDR also furnished information to area health care providers about possible health effects resulting from exposure to site contaminants. Both written and verbal responses were provided to area residents with site-related concerns.

B. Actions Planned

ATSDR and IDPH will be available to address new community concerns that may arise after remediation activities are completed.

New data will be reviewed to determine if other public health actions are needed. This includes the review of monthly status reports and any other data concerning site activities.


PREPARERS OF THE REPORT

IDPH Public Health Assessment Team

Russell Currier, D.V.M., M.P.H.
Environmental Epidemiologist
Division of Health Protection

Mike Guely, Bureau Chief
Bureau of Environmental Health
Division of Health Protection

Brad V. Cudal, M.D.
Environmental Specialist
Division of Health Protection

Richard L. Welke, B.A.
Environmental Specialist
Division of Health Protection

Elena Babak, Ph.D.
Environmental Specialist
Division of Health Protection

ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

David Parker
Regional Representative
Office of Regional Operations
Region VII

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

Gail D. Godfrey
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


CERTIFICATION

The Fairfield Coal Gasification site has been prepared by the Iowa Department of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It has been prepared in accordance with approved methodologies and procedures existing at the time this Public Health Assessment was initiated.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
for Director, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

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  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Benzene. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/03, May 1989.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benz(a)Anthracene. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/04, March 1990.

  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benzo(b)fluoranthene. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/06, March 1990.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benzo(a)Pyrene. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/05, May 1990.

  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Cadmium. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/08, March 1989.

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Chromium. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/10, July, 1989.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chrysene. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/11, March 1990.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Cyanide. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/12, December 1989.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Atlanta: Toxicological Profile for Lead (Update), April 1993.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Manganese. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-91/19, July 1992.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Mercury. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/16, December 1988.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological Profile for Nickel. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-88/19, December 1988.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Phenol. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-89/20, December 1989.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, (Update). Atlanta: August, 1995.

  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Toluene. Atlanta: Publication No. ATSDR/TP-89/23, December 1989.

  17. B & V Waste Science and Technology Corporation. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Studies (RI/FS). Fairfield Coal Gasification Site, Fairfield, Iowa. July 28, 1989.

  18. B & V Waste Science and Technology Corporation. Report on Additional Sampling and Monitoring Activities. Former Manufactured Gas Site, Fairfield, Iowa. September, 1992.

  19. Casarett & Doull's. Toxicology, The Basic Science of Poisons, 4th Edition, (191-192, 634-646; 685-690): 1991.

  20. D.B. McDonald Research Associates. Investigation at the Fairfield, Iowa, Manufactured Gas Plant Site. April 1986.

  21. Ecology and Environment, Inc. Expanded Site Investigation of the Fairfield Coal Gasification Plant Site. May 1987.

  22. Ecology and Environmental, Inc. Field Investigation Team (EPA/FIT). Preliminary Assessment of the Iowa Electric Light and Power Company's Former Coal Gasification Plant at Fairfield. July 1986.

  23. Ellenhorn, M.J., Barceloux, D.G., Medical Toxicology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Human Poisoning, New York, Elsevier Publishing Co., (852): 1988.

  24. Elinder C.G., Respiratory Effects. Friberg L., Elinder C.G., Kjellstrom T., Nordberg G.F., eds. Cadmium and Health: A Toxicological and Epidemiological Appraisal. Vol. II. Effects and Response, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, (1-20): 1986.

  25. EPA 1986. Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Benzene. Review Draft. Carcinogen Assessment Group, Office of Health and Environmental Assessment. OHEA-C-073-29. EPA 1988b. Integrated Risk Information System, Benzene Part II, March 1, 1988.

  26. Hass, B.S., Brooks, E.E., Schumann, K.E., Dornfield, S.S. Synergistic, Aadditive and Antagonistic Mutagenic Responses to Binary Mixtures of Benzo(a)pyrene and Benzo(e)pyrene as Detected by Strains TA98 and TA100 in the Salmonella/Microsome Assay, (Environ. mut. 3: 159-166): 1981.

  27. Davis, J.M., Grant, L.D. The Sensitivity of Children to Lead. Guzelian, P.S., Henry, C.J., Olin, S.S., eds. Similarities and Differences Between Children and Adults: Implications for Risk Assessment, ILSI Press. Washington, D.C., 1992.

  28. Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Fairfield Coal Gasification Plant Site, State Abandoned or Uncontrolled Site Registry (SAUSR) Site Information Package. January 1989.

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  30. National Research Council. Drinking Water and Health Vol. I. Washington, D.C., National Academy of Sciences, (209-216): 1977.

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  32. U.S. DHHS, PHS, CDC. Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children, A statement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. October 1991.

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