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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

MASON CITY COAL GASIFICATION PLANT
MASON CITY, CERRO GORDO COUNTY, IOWA




CONCLUSIONS

ATSDR and IDPH conclude, based on data reviewed, that the Mason City Coal Gas Site poses no apparent public health hazard. No completed exposure pathways to site contaminants leading to adverse health effects have been identified. Potential exposure pathways, however, exist under current site conditions.

The shallow aquifer on-site and off-site is contaminated with PAHs, benzene, and lead at levels that could cause health problems if people were to come into contact with the contaminants. If contaminants migrate to off-site domestic wells, or if the contaminated groundwater is used for domestic consumption, exposure to site-related contaminants is possible.

The waste pile contains contaminated materials excavated from previous source areas on-site. During remedial activities, exposure can be avoided if workers adhere to current occupational safety standards.

Site access is restricted by a chain-link fence; however, no signs were posted to warn people of hazardous wastes in the area.

ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) determined that potential exposure could be avoided if local health agencies provide appropriate information to clean-up workers and the community.


RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTIONS

The purpose of the Recommendations and Actions section is to provide recommendations and actions needed to protect the public health as activities proceed at the site. Although no completed exposures have been identified at the site, conditions exist that could result in exposure to site contaminants. The recommendations and actions listed, if implemented, will prevent exposure at levels that could cause people to become sick.

Actions Completed:

  1. Provide on-site remedial workers with adequate training and protective equipment in accordance with 29CFR1910.120 and follow appropriate guidelines and standards prescribed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. EPA requires and approves a site-specific Health and Safety Plan that must be followed before workers begin activities. That plan incorporates worker safety requirements.

Actions Planned:

  1. Institutional controls should be considered to prevent the installation of new water supply wells for domestic purposes within the contaminated portion of the aquifer. If wells are developed in those areas, a monitoring program should be implemented. IDPH will notify the appropriate authority about well installations and will make EPA aware of the necessity of well monitoring should wells be developed in the area of contamination.
  2. Protect people on and off the site during remediation from exposure to airborne particulates or vapors that may be released. The local health department will notify workers and community members of their potential for exposure during the clean-up activities at the site and advise them on ways to avoid or minimize exposure.
  3. Warning signs should be posted to prevent trespassing at the site and the integrity of the fence structure should be maintained. IDPH will share this information with EPA for consideration.

No further actions are planned at this time. If new data become available that indicate a need for further follow-up health actions, IDPH will inform the community and other agencies.


PREPARERS OF THE REPORT

IDPH Public Health Assessment Team

Russell Currier, DVM, MPH
Environmental Epidemiologist
Division of Health Protection
Iowa Department of Public Health

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

Arlene Jacob
Environmental Specialist
Division of Health Protection
Iowa Department of Public Health

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

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

ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Denise Jordan-Izaguirre.
Senior Regional Representative
EPA Region VII

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

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

CERTIFICATION

The Mason City Coal Gas Site Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Iowa Department of Public Health 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 begun.


Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR

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


Robert C. Williams, P.E., DEE
Director,
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
ATSDR

REFERENCES
  1. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., Lenexa, KS. Interim Baseline Risk Assessment for the Mason City Former Manufactured Gas Plant, Mason City, Iowa, (Volumes I and II). September 1993.

  2. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., Lenexa, KS. Addendum to the Interim Baseline Risk Assessment for the Mason City Former Manufactured Gas Plant, Mason City, Iowa. June 1994.

  3. Montgomery Watson, Des Moines, Iowa. Remedial Investigation Report, Mason City Former Manufactured Gas Plant, Mason City, Iowa, (Volumes I and II). January 1993, revised August 1993.

  4. Montgomery Watson, Des Moines, Iowa. Remedial Investigation Addendum Report, Mason City Former Manufactured Gas Plant Site, Mason City, Iowa (Volumes I, II, and III). April 1994.

  5. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Removal Action Decision Document, Mason City Coal Gasification site, Mason City, Iowa. March 1995.

  6. U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. Atlanta: December 1990.

  7. U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benzene. Atlanta: April 1993.

  8. U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Cyanide(Draft). Atlanta: February 1992.

  9. U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Toluene. Atlanta: December 1989.

  10. Casarett & Doull's. Toxicology - The Basic Science of Poisons. 4th Edition Pergamon Press, 1991.

  11. National Research Council. Drinking Water and Health. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1980.

  12. U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public health assessment guidance manual. Atlanta: March 1992.

  13. Sittig, M., Handbook of Toxic and Hazardous Chemicals and Carcinogens, 2nd Edition, Park Ridge, NJ, Noyes Publication, 1985


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