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EXPOSURE INVESTIGATION

VOGEL PAINT AND WAX COMPANY
MAURICE, SIOUX COUNTY, IOWA


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) were requested by area residents to review site remediation activities and air emission data from the Vogel Paint and Wax Company Site (VPW), and to determine if the cleanup was adversely impacting persons off-site. Health concerns expressed by one nearby residence's occupants included odor complaints, headache and dizziness. In addition, frequent sinus and ear infections occurred in the family's children.

The site is located in an agricultural area approximately 2 miles south and 1 mile west of Maurice, Iowa. The site is bordered by cropland on all sides. Two residences are located approximately 1/4-mile northwest and 1/4-mile southwest of the site. The Southern County Rural Water System well fields are located within 3 miles of the site (Figures 1 & 2). The closest residents rely on groundwater for crops and livestock (wells are located just west of the site). An intermittent stream runs by the northwest edge of the property. This stream flows to the northeast.

The VPW site was place on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. The northern portion of the 2-acre property was originally a gravel pit; the southern portion was used for agricultural crop production. From 1971-1979 the VPW Company used the property for disposal of paint sludges, resins, solvents, and other paint manufacturing wastes. Liquid wastes were dumped into 12, 8- to 12-feet deep trenches. Filled or partially filled drums, wooden pallets, and packing materials were dumped on top of the liquid waste. The trenches were eventually covered with 1- to 2-feet of topsoil. Company records indicate that approximately 43,000 gallons of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons (primarily toluene, xylene, ethyl benzene, and methyl ethyl ketone), and 6,000 pounds of mercury, lead, zinc, and chromium were disposed at the site [1].

Remedial investigations by the potential responsible party (PRP) indicate a contaminated groundwater plume extending approximately 1,000 feet south of the disposal area and evidence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) floating on the groundwater table. Soil, groundwater, and surface water contained elevated levels of metals and VOCs (Table 1).

The Record of Decision for the site included air stripping of the contaminated groundwater, excavation, on-site land farming/bioremediation, and stabilization of the contaminated soils [1]. Air stripping of contaminated groundwater began in 1991 and is expected to continue for an unspecified period of time. Contaminated soil excavation and landfarming began in September, 1991, and is expected to continue for approximately 2 more years. The soils are excavated, placed in a dumptruck, transported and dumped into one of the waste treatment cells just east of the excavation area, and tilled. In 1992, the number of treatment cells was increased from one 1-acre cell to four 1-acre cells [2]. Finally, pure product is being removed from the groundwater table via pumping. As cold temperatures are not conducive to air stripping or excavation/landfarming, these activities occur from approximately May through October each year.

During site excavation and other activities, the following air sampling/monitoring is conducted: daily OVA monitoring in the work areas and on the site perimeter; weekly breathing-zone personal sampling of the workers (organic vapor badges); and an annual 8-hour time-weighted sampling at the site perimeter for VOCs. No realtime particulate monitoring, worker sampling, or time-weighted ambient air sampling/analysis for metals was available for review.

Realtime OVA monitoring in the work zone occurs approximately every hour during excavation/spreading/tilling activities. Table 2 provides a summary of results from 1991 through 1995. Worker breathing zone samples are taken weekly using organic vapor badges. A badge is placed on the worker thought to have the highest levels of exposure throughout the 8-hour day. Samples are analyzed for methyl ethyl ketone, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and total xylenes. A summary of these results is provided in Table 3. According to the Air Monitoring Plan [3], worker protection monitoring will follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). If worker exposure exceeds a PEL, work will cease until personal protective equipment (PPE) is upgraded and/or engineering controls are added. If contaminant levels are within 25 percent of the PEL, resampling will occur to determine if an upgrade in PPE is warranted.

One time per year, 4 sampling stations are set up at the downwind perimeter of the site and an ambient air sample is collected for up to 8 hours and analyzed for MEK and BTEX. Table 4 summarized the results of this sampling from 1991 through 1995. This sampling is to indicate whether off-site migration of VOCs is occurring above the health-based Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs) developed for this site [5].

In August, 1995, a nearby resident contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) with concerns of odorous emissions from the site activities. In response to this concern, the on-site contractor conducted realtime monitoring on the resident's property. Monitoring was conducted using a total organic vapor analyzer (OVA). Readings up to 4 units were detected (average of 0.26 units); some readings exceeded the "air quality standard" of 1 unit that was developed for residential areas around this site. Realtime readings on the on-site perimeter driveway were detected up to 21 units (average of 0.99 units). The contractor indicated that during this monitoring event the wind and humidity was high, and the residents were downwind from the site. Although no excavation was occurring during this event, contaminated soil had recently been off-loaded from the trucks for removal of metal debris prior to landfarming. Based on this event, it was decided that on days when a southeast wind was observed, excavation and related activities would be limited and the frequency of realtime monitoring around the site perimeter would increase [6].

In June 1996, the Iowa Department of Health (IDPH) and IDNR visited the site. The site was fenced and posted. Contaminated soil was being excavated and off-loaded around the excavation area. Paint-like odors were detected during these operations. Once off-loaded, workers manually removed wooden pallets and small paint containers from the contaminated soil. Soil was then taken to a staging area where it was stored until it could be spread onto one of the treatment cells. Treated soils from one of the treatment cells was being removed and stockpiled in another area on the property.

As part of the ATSDR/EPA environmental monitoring initiative, air sampling was conducted during excavation and landfarming activities on September 17 and 18, 1996 [7]. Paint-like odors were noted downwind of both of these areas. Air sampling included up-wind and down-wind air sampling during excavation activities on the 17th, and up-wind and down-wind air sampling during soil off-loading and spreading in the landfarm cells on the 18th. On both dates, real-time ambient air analyses for MEK and BETX were performed downwind of the areas of activity using a mobile Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer (TAGA), an open-path fourier transform infrared analyzer (FTIR), and a fourier transform ultraviolet analyzer (FTUV). Results of this sampling effort are displayed in Tables 5,6,&7. Ambient air sampling at the predicted worst-case fall out location from the air stripper could not be conducted, as the air stripping pump was non-functional during this site visit. Attachment A outlines the health and safety concerns for on-site workers noted by ATSDR during this trip and a response to these concerns from the cleanup contractor.

ATSDR representatives also met with the occupants of the two nearest residences. Occupants of one residence indicated that they are concerned about headaches and a high number of colds and flus--especially when the wind comes from the site. They indicated that the odors were not as noticeable in the winter months, and that the odors have lessened since 1995 (they used to detect them frequently in the evenings and at night during the summer months). Other concerns raised include the dying off of fruit trees that were planted in 1991, and their recently-painted barn was molding. Occupants of the second residence had no health concerns, but were interested in obtaining the sampling results from their agricultural well (they had not received data for the past several years).



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