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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

HANLIN-ALLIED-OLIN
MOUNDSVILLE, MARSHALL COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA


BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION

The SRU was a review of available information and data for the HAO site and evaluated the public health status of the HAO site and the need, if any, for public health activities. This Public Health Assessment (PHA) document has been developed by reorganizing information presented in the SRU into a format that conforms to ATSDR's Interim Guidance on the Structure of Public Health Assessments.

Site Location and Setting

The Hanlin/Allied/Olin site is approximately 3 miles southwest of Moundsville, Marshall County, West Virginia, and is bounded by the Ohio River, WV Route 2, and the Moundsville Golf Course (see Figure 1). The site lies between River Miles 105 and 106 and encompasses approximately 420 acres.

Approximately 70 residences are within ¼ mile of the site. The nearest residences lie on a narrow strip of land on the east side of Route 2 (Figure 1). The residential area begins across from the Hanlin portion of the site and extends southward. The nearest homes are within 200 feet of the site property line but are about 1,200 feet from the nearest production and waste facilities. An elementary school is about ½ mile south of the site (Figure 1). No nursing homes are in the area. On the Ohio side of the river, the area within ¼ mile of the site has essentially no residences or commercial/industrial activity.

Public Service District #2 (PSD2) supplies water to about 3,000 people in the nearby area. PSD2 began service in the 1960s and uses two wells that are located near the river about 3,000 feet south of the site (Figure 1). PSD2 also purchases some of its water from the Moundsville municipal water system.

Site Background and History

Ownership and Operations

Chemical production occurred on the site from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Allied Chemical (now AlliedSignal) owned and operated the entire site from 1953 to 1980. In 1980, Allied sold the south portion of the site to LCP Chemicals -- West Virginia (now Hanlin Chemicals -- West Virginia). Allied sold the northeastern portion of the site to Olin Corporation, which operated those facilities until 1984. Hanlin filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991. Allied continues to own the northwest portion of the site.

The south part of the site (Hanlin) was primarily used for the production of chloromethanes, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen from brine using a mercury cell process. The brine was obtained by pumping (and retrieving) well water into a salt layer approximately 6,500 feet below the site. Several ponds and solid waste disposal facilities are on the south portion.

The northeast part of the site (Olin) was used primarily for the production of aniline, dinitrotoluene, fumaric acid, methylene dianiline, maleic acid, nitrobenzene, phosgene, toluenediamine, and toluene diisocynate. The area has a few closed ponds and solid waste disposal units.

The northwest portion of the site (Allied) contained several ponds and solid waste disposal units. Those units have been closed. No processing was conducted there.

Process water was supplied by several well systems (Ranney wells) located along the river bank. Plant drinking water initially was obtained from the Ranney well system, with a carbon filter in place. Later, the plant connected to the PSD2 system.

The owners' representatives reported that plant operations included comprehensive worker safety and industrial hygiene programs. Worker health records were maintained. The work force typically totaled about 400 to 600 employees.

Consent Decree

Under terms of a 1981 Consent Decree initiated by the state Division of Water Resources, Allied and other owners were obligated to prevent migration of contaminated groundwater to off-site areas and to close some inactive disposal facilities.

Investigations and Remedial Activities--Overview

ATSDR has conducted no prior activities at the site. Extensive decommissioning activities have been performed on the Olin and Allied parts of the site. Decommissioning continues on the Hanlin part. Three Ranney wells are being pumped to prevent off-site migration of contaminated groundwater. The need for continuing groundwater pumping and for further site remediation is being addressed in ongoing Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) activities.

Current Site Conditions

Site Visit

A site visit was made on April 10-11, 1996, by ATSDR-Atlanta personnel: Don Gibeaut, Déborah Boling, Cate McKinney, and Greg Mahoney. Tom Stukas (ATSDR Region III Representative) also attended. They met with representatives from the West Virginia Health Department, the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection, EPA, and the site owners. The group toured the property and discussed site production and remediation issues that may be associated with public health concerns.

Observations and Related Information

Three of the five Ranney wells are pumped continuously to control the direction of contaminated groundwater flow on the site. The water withdrawn is discharged into the river, via outfall systems. Surface water runoff also is discharged via outfalls. State officials report that outfall discharge permit applications have been received under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.

The entire site perimeter is enclosed with a high chain-link fence, except along the river. Access to the dock area and the Ranney well structures is restricted by fencing. An active rail line traverses the site, paralleling the river. Owners' representatives reported that unauthorized access to the site is not known to have occurred. A security force was present during site operations. Daily surveillance is now provided by an Olin representative and Hanlin personnel.

Production facilities on the Hanlin part of the site continue to undergo removal actions. Two open lagoons were observed. Other disposal units have been closed and capped. Waste storage facilities have been removed.

On the Allied Park part, former basins, lagoons, and landfills have been closed and capped. Waste storage facilities have been removed.

Production and related operational facilities on the Olin portion have been removed from the site. Basins and lagoons (including underlying liners and leachate collection systems) have been removed. Chemical residuals and substantial quantities of contaminated soils also have been removed from the site.

All of the closed disposal areas were observed to have good vegetative cover. Those disposal areas that are sometimes inundated by river floods showed no evidence of water damage. Former brine wells are not yet plugged; that activity is in the planning stages.

Current Issues

The need for and type of future remediation will be shaped, in part, by the Environmental Engineering/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) work plans owners have submitted to the EPA for review. In general, the EE/CA process includes steps to characterize contamination on the entire property and to conduct cost and other analyses to identify any specific remediation activities needed to achieve conditions that are compatible with human and ecological health needs. The draft work plans ATSDR read include sampling on-site soil and groundwater.

Media Contamination

Groundwater beneath the site is contaminated with an array of organic and inorganic chemicals, some at elevated concentrations.

Under terms of a 1981 Consent Decree initiated by the state Division of Water Resources, owners were obligated to prevent migration of contaminated groundwater to off-site areas. ATSDR staff reviewed water table contour maps constructed from water table measurements taken in on-site monitoring wells. These map contours seem to show that groundwater on site flows in the direction of the Ranney wells. However, monitoring wells at the south property line show contaminated groundwater has migrated to that location, and no wells have been installed off-site near the property line to confirm whether off-site migration has occurred. Samples have been taken from a golf course irrigation well about 1,000 feet south of the property. Most have been analyzed for only a few constituents. None of the contaminants analyzed for have been detected--except in 1989 when 1,1,1-trichloroethane [TCA] and trichloroethylene [TCE] were found at low levels. Continuing quarterly analyses have not detected any contamination; however TCA and TCE are not among the few chemicals being analyzed. Thus, the ongoing sampling of the irrigation well may not be a convincing indicator of groundwater quality or contaminated groundwater flow at that location.

Review of data for the PSD2 water supply wells located 3,000 feet south of the site does not show any evidence of contaminants. ATSDR also received data for some wells that supply the Moundsville municipal system. The city's wells are located along the river hydraulically up gradient from the site; ATSDR believes these wells are not affected by site contamination. The Moundsville well data reviewed show that somewhat elevated levels of manganese and sodium occur (at least at times) in the municipal water supply. Because the PSD2 sometimes purchases water from Moundsville, potable water being supplied by PSD2 may sometimes contain manganese and sodium levels that are not related to the site.

ATSDR believes that the one known private well in the vicinity is sufficiently far away and hydraulically up gradient that it should not be affected by site releases to groundwater.

The river receives contaminated groundwater discharged via the Ranney wells, without treatment. Sampling of the discharge has shown it is contaminated with various organic and inorganic chemicals including: carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, manganese, methylene chloride, sulfates, and tetrachloroethylene. Analysis of a few river sediment samples show that sediments immediately downstream of the Ranney well outfalls have somewhat elevated levels of mercury when compared with samples taken upstream of the Ranney well outfalls. ATSDR cannot establish the site as the sole source of elevated levels of contaminants found in the river water and sediments given the multiple potential sources of contamination along the river.

A fish advisory has been issued about eating carp and catfish caught along many miles of the river because chlordane and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recommended action levels. Game fish sampled near the site have been shown to contain low levels of chlordane and PCBs. Other contaminants were also found, including mercury. It's possible some of the mercury could be associated with site release.

Given the air quality concerns raised by community members, the types of processes conducted on-site, and the results of on-site sampling of other media; ATSDR believes that ambient air (at least in the past) has been contaminated through various site releases. ATSDR is unable to evaluate the extent of the contamination because ambient air monitoring data are not available. Soil gas samples taken on the site since 1989 have been shown to be contaminated with several volatile organic compounds (e.g., carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, and methylene chloride), which may migrate and release to the atmosphere.

Off-site soil sampling data at the golf course and residences are not available for evaluation. On-site soils and wastes are contaminated with various inorganic and organic chemicals. Essentially all the soil samples reported in the documents ATSDR reviewed were taken below the ground surface. Many of the waste disposal units on the site have been closed and capped. Chemical residuals and substantial quantities of contaminated soils have been removed from the site. A good vegetative cover was observed over areas where soil removal and disposal unit closings have occurred.

Description of Exposure Pathways

ATSDR staff reviewed currently available on-site and off-site monitoring and sampling data and identified some populations that plausibly have been or are being exposed to contaminants.

On-site groundwater is considered a former completed exposure pathway because persons who worked on the site properties probably were exposed via ingestion at least to low levels of contaminants when potable water was supplied by Ranney wells, with carbon filters attached. The maximum number of employees during any given year was 400-600. The magnitude and duration of that exposure could not be evaluated.

Based upon results of sampling of treated and finished water for the Moundsville municipal water system, groundwater from city wells is currently considered a nonsite-related completed pathway for past and current users of the water supply. Moundsville has a population of about 10,000. Also, because the PSD2 sometimes purchases water from the city, the PSD2 system users sometimes are exposed to elevated, nonsite-related levels of manganese and sodium via ingestion, and dermal contact. PSD2 supplies about 3,000 people. .

Although contaminants in river water and sediment may be only modestly site related, these media are considered by ATSDR to represent completed environmental exposure pathways (past, current, future). Persons swimming and boating along many miles of the river very likely have been exposed to contaminants in water, and possibly in sediment via incidental ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation. The number of people who use the Ohio River for recreational purposes is not known.

Based upon available data, river biota represent a completed exposure pathway (past, current, future) because persons consuming fish (especially bottom feeders) caught along many miles of the river have been exposed to contaminants that enter the river via various sources. In 1992, Ohio issued a fish advisory concerning chlordane and PCB levels in carp and catfish. ATSDR's review of the site contamination data has shown no evidence that the site has released either of these contaminants. Game fish sampled near the site also have been shown to contain lower levels of chlordane and PCBs plus other contaminants (including mercury) than those sampled further away from the site. It's possible some of the mercury could be associated with site releases. The number of people who consume fish (especially bottom-feeders) caught in contaminated waters of the Ohio River is not known.

Based upon community comments concerning a chlorine smell during operations; ambient air is considered to represent a completed environmental exposure pathway via inhalation. Although ambient air monitoring data are not available, ATSDR believes that in the past the community surrounding the site was exposed to site air releases. The extent of exposure would have decreased with increasing distance from the site. An estimated few hundred people may have been affected. It is also believed that on-site workers potentially were somewhat exposed to contaminants in ambient air from process releases and leaks and possibly from soil gas emissions. About 400 - 600 persons worked on the site. The worker protective equipment and other industrial hygiene measures reported mitigate the potential for workers to receive substantive exposure and make it difficult to estimate realistic exposure concentrations and durations.

Ambient air may currently represent a potential exposure pathway via inhalation for on-site maintenance and remedial workers. However, worker protective equipment and other industrial hygiene measures mitigate the potential for workers to receive substantive exposure and make it difficult to estimate realistic exposure concentrations and durations.

On-site soils and waste represent a completed pathway for some of the past on-site workers as well as current and future maintenance and remedial workers. However, worker protective equipment and other industrial hygiene measures mitigate the potential for workers to receive substantive exposure and make it difficult to estimate realistic exposure concentrations and durations.

People on nearby and adjacent properties are potentially exposed via incidental ingestion to contaminants in surface soils (contaminants potentially deposited off site via site-related airborne or surface-runoff-borne transport). Surface soil data on nearby properties are not available to evaluate the potential exposure.

Future users of the site likely will be exposed to residual contaminant levels remaining in multiple media after the ongoing (and any future) remediation of the site. The EE/CA process, when completed, will establish the intended concentrations of residual contaminants that will remain in environmental media. Thus, future site activities will, in large measure, influence the character and frequency of any exposures. Site owners expect the future use will be industrial or commercial.

Public Health Implications

Water quality data have not been located for the Ranney well that once had a carbon filter attached and was used as the on-site potable water source. Therefore, ATSDR cannot determine whether adverse health effects may have occurred to on-site workers who used the well water as a drinking water source.

The data for potable public water are extremely limited. Based upon the available data, ATSDR believes that long-term use of Moundsville city water containing the level of sodium (nonsite-related) reported for the samples reviewed could potentially pose a health problem for persons on sodium-restricted diets. Sodium is somewhat difficult to remove from drinking water supplies. The amount of manganese shown by samples of the Moundsville system water exceeds the 0.05 milligrams per liter of water established under EPA's National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (primarily relate to aesthetic acceptability). The maximum concentration found potentially may cause adverse health effects for some people via ingestion, and the water quality may not be aesthetically pleasing. The limited PSD2 well water data ATSDR has seen show no evidence of contamination. Thus, persons connected to that system would not be expected to experience adverse health effects from use of that water. However, when the PSD2 purchases water from the Moundsville system, some exposure to elevated sodium and manganese could occur. The extent of PSD2 system users' exposure would hinge on the frequency and duration of the water purchase and the extent to which the city and PSD2 well water are blended prior to distribution. Thus, associated potential health effects for affected PSD2 users cannot be evaluated.

Based upon currently available data and likely scope of river use, ATSDR believes that the frequency, magnitude, and duration of contaminant exposures associated with river water and sediments are not likely to be at levels that would be of public health concern.

Fish caught between river miles 102.5 and 118 have been shown to contain some mercury. Although a fishing advisory for chlordane and PCBs is in effect, people are known to catch and consume fish from the Ohio River. Mercury has been shown to bioaccumulate in fish in the organic form of methyl mercury. The maximum concentration of mercury in the fish sampled (based upon the reviewed data) is 0.11 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). The FDA Action Level for methyl mercury in edible portions of fish and shellfish is 1 mg/kg. None of the fish sampled in the data reviewed contained mercury at concentrations that exceeded the FDA action level.

ATSDR is unable to evaluate the public health significance of past and current exposures to ambient air both on-site and off-site due to unavailability of ambient air quality data and mitigating effects of worker protection measures.

Off-site soil sampling data are not yet available for evaluating potential exposures and associated health effects, if any, for residents, golfers, etc., on nearby properties. On-site, essentially all the soil data reviewed by ATSDR were for samples taken below the ground surface, and the positions of waste samples taken relative to the waste surface are not described. In the absence of specific contamination information for surficial soils and wastes and because of the mitigating effect of worker protection measures, ATSDR is unable to evaluate the impact, if any, of soil and waste contaminants on worker health.

Until EE/CA future site use is established and remediation criteria have been determined ATSDR is unable to evaluate future health-related issues.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Concerns Associated with Past Plant Operations

During a site visit (April 10-11, 1996) ATSDR staff interviewed local elected officials, some residents, nearby school representatives, and public health officials. Those interviews revealed that when the plant was in operation, people had several health-related concerns, including: smelling a chlorine odor every day, increased asthma in elementary school children, and an unspecific cancer death. The cancer death reported was a former on-site worker who may have been exposed to asbestos while employed at the site, however, it is not known if the worker died of lung cancer. A non-health concern expressed related to the effects of plant emissions on automobile paint.

ATSDR believes that people were exposed to site emissions via inhalation. However, we are unable to determine if these emissions could have been concentrated enough to cause adverse health effects because ambient air monitoring data are not available. In the absence of hospital records and other medical history, it is difficult to determine whether or not health problems could have occurred or will occur in persons exposed to the site contaminants.

The party concerned about a former site worker who died of cancer believes that the worker was exposed to asbestos at the site. While asbestos exposure may lead to lung cancer, it is not known which type of cancer caused the death of the former site worker. Asbestos was not listed as one of the contaminants in the documentation reviewed by ATSDR. In addition to work place exposure, the manifestation of a carcinogenic health effect would be determined by other factors such as life style, nutritional status, sex, age, familial traits, and overall state of health. More information would be needed to determine if the worker's death was due to an occupational exposure.

Current Concerns

ATSDR's inquiries did not reveal any current plant-related community health concerns except some psychological effects associated with the plant having closed.

Health Outcome Data

Health outcome databases were not reviewed. If future data indicate that people were exposed to site-related contaminants at concentrations that could cause adverse health effects, appropriate health outcome data sources will be consulted.



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