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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

USMC MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT
(a/k/a PARRIS ISLAND MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT)
PARRIS ISLAND, BEAUFORT COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA


EVALUATION OF CONTAMINATION
AND EXPOSURE SITUATIONS

ATSDR conducted a site visit of the depot on June 19-21, 1995. The purpose of the visit was tocollect information necessary for developing a public health assessment. Our focus is todetermine if people could come in contact with site contaminants at levels posing health hazardsand, if needed, to recommend actions to stop or prevent such exposures from occurring. Peoplecan be exposed to contaminants if they breathe, eat, drink or have skin (dermal) contact withsubstances containing chemical contaminants. ATSDR does not evaluate biologicalcontamination.

ATSDR staff inspected site conditions at the MCRD, considering the nature and extent ofenvironmental contamination at each site. We looked at the site's proximity to populated areasand the types of human activities that could lead to exposures (exposure pathways). Weconcluded that there is little opportunity for human contact with site contaminants. However, wewere concerned that chemicals could enter the wetland areas and bioaccumulate in edible fish andshellfish species. Two areas that posed the greatest likelihood for concern are the CausewayLandfill (Site 3) and the Rifle Range berm and impact areas because people harvest and consumeseafood from these chemically contaminated areas (Figure 2).

Additionally, we looked at groundwater for possible exposures. However, groundwatercontamination is not a health concern because the water is not used for domestic purposes. Drinking water is supplied to MCRD by the Beaufort/Jasper Sewer and Water Authority (4). Therefore, no one is exposed to contaminants found in groundwater.

I. NO APPARENT PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARDS

    ATSDR concluded that two exposure situations present no apparent public health hazard: 1) fishand shellfish contamination near the Causeway Landfill (Site 3) and 2) shellfish contaminationnear the Rifle Range. We discussed our concern of contaminated shellfish with Marine Corpspersonnel and representatives from federal and state agencies. Several studies addressing theconcern had already been undertaken by the Department of Defense (DoD) in cooperation withthe South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and U.S.Environmental Protection Agency. Sufficient data were collected to determine what, if any,health threat exists for people who eat fish and shellfish harvested from the estuaries bordering the MCRD.

    All contaminants detected were initially screened using ATSDR Health Comparison Values. Media concentrations less than ATSDR's comparison values are unlikely to pose a health threat. Those chemicals with concentrations greater than the comparison values were evaluated further. Only PCBs in fish/shellfish at the Causeway Landfill and lead in oysters at the Rifle Range areaswere above comparison values thus, requiring further evaluation to determine the likelihood ofpublic health hazard. However, none of the contaminants detected in fish or shellfish from theseareas were at levels of health concern. Therefore, based on chemical contaminant levels,consumption of fish or shellfish from the areas near the Causeway Landfill and the Rifle Range aresafe for recreational consumers. We present details of our finding below.

    A. Fish and Shellfish Contamination at Causeway Landfill (Site 3)

      Based on the 1993 chemical analysis of fin fish and shellfish collected from both theimpoundment and the tidal marsh at the Causeway Landfill, ATSDR determined thatconsumption of seafood by recreational harvesters is safe.

      The 0.8 mile long Causeway Landfill (Site 3) contains a two-lane gravel road that connects ParrisIsland and Horse Island. It was constructed in 1960 of solid waste and fill dirt deposited acrossthe tidal march of the Broad River and Ribbon Creek (Figure 2). It was the primary MCRD solidwaste disposal area from 1960 to 1972 (except for an inactive period from 1966 to 1968). Domestic trash was the bulk of the waste disposed in the 10 acre site. Lesser amounts ofconstruction debris, solid paint waste, empty pesticide containers, and mercury amalgam werealso discarded along with some solvent and beryllium wastes, and PCB-contaminated oil (8). During the construction of the Causeway, uncovered waste were burned nightly. In the mid-1970s the Causeway was renovated to improve the culverts connecting the partial impoundedsaltwater pond with the tidal marsh thus ensuring some tidal flow and water interaction (8).

      ATSDR reviewed results from MCRD's analysis of crabs, clams, oysters, mullet, and flounder aspresented in the Extended Site Inspection Report Causeway Landfill, August 1993. Thisthorough report details the Causeway Landfill site history, sampling activities and analyticalresults. Samples were collected from both sides of the Causeway Landfill, the impoundment andthe tidal marsh (Figure 3). Sufficient data are included to assess possible health threats to peoplewho eat seafood harvested from these areas bordering the landfill. ATSDR concludes thesespecies are safe to eat by recreational harvesters. It is estimated that 25 people would be fishing atthis location. (See Appendix for Assumptions and Methodology).

      Because the landfill has no impermeable cap nor leachate collection system, it is not knownwhether contaminant levels in fish and shellfish will increase over time. Therefore, ATSDRrecommends MCRD monitor contaminant levels in fish and shellfish to ensure that edible fish andshellfish species remain safe to eat by recreational harvesters. We suggest that monitoring occurat least every five years based on the estimated longest tour of duty. Because retirees and militarypersonnel are known to fish and crab in the impoundment area recreational fishing assumptionswere used. It is unlikely that anyone subsistence fishes on the depot.

    B. Shellfish Contamination near Rifle Range

      Based on the 1995 chemical analysis of oysters collected from Ribbon, Edding, and ArchersCreeks, and the berm impact areas of the Rifle Range, ATSDR determined that consumption ofoysters by all harvesters is safe.

      The Rifle Ranges are located in the eastern portion of MCRD. Trainees use rifles and small armsto shoot at targets into the berm impact area which abuts marshes along Archer, Edding, andRibbon Creeks. Fishing and shellfish harvesting are allowed during times when the Rifle Rangesare not in use. The creeks are accessible to fisherman every afternoon, portions of Saturday andall day Sunday. Not much oyster harvesting occurs in the marsh behind the range because the areais too muddy (9). Recreational harvesting is the most likely form of harvesting, however, leadlevels are low enough to be safe for subsistence consumption as well. It is estimated that 20people would be fishing at this location. Most of the shellfishing (oysters and clams) in thevicinity of the depot is done off the southeastern end of Parris Island which is not likely affectedby depot contaminants (10).

      To address possible leaching of contaminants into the marsh from the Rifle Range, theDepartment of Defense (DoD) and the South Carolina Department of Health and EnvironmentalControl (SCDHEC) sampled sediment and surface water. Further, shellfish were collected fromestuarine creeks (Figure 4) and analyzed for chemical contamination. Oysters, being relativelynon-mobile, are a good indicator of shellfish contamination in this area. There was concern thatheavy metal contamination from projectiles may have impacted the tidal areas. Becauseprojectiles are currently copper jacketed to prevent them from leaching lead, contaminants fromthe Rifle Range are not expected to dramatically increase over time based on the current land useand past history of use.

      MCRD, in conjunction with SCDHEC, collected and split samples for analysis. The laboratorydetection limits of the SCDHEC analysis were not low enough (based on public health standards),for us to ensure safety. However, MCRD's detection limits of the same samples were sufficientfor us to make a public health determination. ATSDR concludes that based on chemicalcontaminant levels, oysters from Ribbon, Edding, and Archers Creek are safe to eat by allconsumers. (See Appendix for Assumptions and Methodology).

II. NO PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARDS

    ATSDR concluded that the following identified potentially contaminated sites do not present apublic hazard under current conditions because no one is coming in contact with contaminants. However, if land use changes, the likelihood of human exposures will need to be re-evaluated.

    ATSDR evaluated the following sites based on visual inspection, review of site history, andsampling data. Currently, there is little opportunity for people to be exposed to site contaminantsat MCRD. Most sites are not in areas where people commonly go. Many sites are fenced, or areotherwise inaccessible because they are in remote parts of the island that are thickly vegetated,making contact with residual contamination in soils unlikely. Other sites have been cleaned byremoval of contaminated media (soil) and therefore, would not pose a current or future healthhazard.

    There are a few sites with localized contamination that are in light industrial or shop areas. Although workers could enter these areas, their normal activities would not result in frequentcontact with significant quantities of residual contamination to pose a health hazard. These sitesdo not present a current public health hazard. However, if human activities increase or the use ofthe land changes (i.e., from industrial to residential) the risk to human health changes. Proposalsfor such changes need to include evaluation of human exposure by MCRD, SCDHEC, EPA, orATSDR to ensure human safety. At the present time, institutional controls are in place to ensurethat safety measures are implemented when contaminated areas are disturbed either for clean upor for alternative use. If however, the MCRD or parcels on MCRD are turned over to privatecontrol, then the chance for human exposure must be re-evaluated for each specific land usescenario.


Sites with No Public Health Hazard
Potentially Contaminated AreasPotentially Contaminated Areas
1     Incinerator Landfill (Site 1)
2     Borrow Pit Landfill (Site 2)
4     Dredge Soils Area Fire Training Pit (Site 4)
5     Former Paint Shop Disposal Area (Site 5)
6     Former Automotive Hobby Shop Spill Area
      (Site 6)
7     Page Field Fire Training Pit (Site 7)
8     Paint Waste Storage Area (Site 9)
9     MCX Service Station Spill Area (Site 11)
10     Jericho Island Disposal Area (Site 10)
11     Inert Disposal Area A (Site 13)
12     Inert Disposal Area B (Site 13)
13     Inert Disposal Area C (Site 13)
14     Storm Sewer Outfalls (Site 14)
15     Dirt Roads (Site 15)
16     Pesticide Rinsate Disposal Area (Site 16)
17     Page Field Tanks (AS-16) (Site 17)
18     Page Field Tanks (AS-18) (Site 18)
19     Diesel Shop Vehicle Washing Pad
20     Power Station Oil/Water Separator
21     Weapons Plant Oil/Water Separator
22     Motor Transport Car Wash
23     Indoor Dental Lab Satellite Accumulation
        Area (SAA)
24     Dental Lab SAA
25     Paint Shop SAA
26     Pesticide SAA
27     Equipment Parage Deck SAA
28     Power Station SAA
29     Indoor Motor Pool SAA
30     Empty Drum Storage Area
31     Weapons Power Plant SAA
32     Laundry SAA
33     Outdoor Motor Pool SAA
34     Motor Pool Waste Oil Tank
35     Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office
        (DRMO) Salvage Yard
36     Hazardous Waste Storage Building
37     Overflow Storage Yard
38     Underground Waste Oil Tank
39     Electrolyte Basin
40     Sanitary Wastewater Treatment Plant
41     Former Incinerator
42     Sanitary Sewer System
43     Motor Pool Underground Waste Oil Tank
44     Dumpsters
45     Dry Cleaning Facility Spill Area

A     PCB Spill Area A (Site 8)
B     PCB Spill Area B (Site 80)
C     Gasoline Spill Area (Site 10)
D     MCX Service Station (Site 19)

Sites Being Considered for Preliminary
Assessment

Septic Tanks
Old Dry Cleaning Facility
Transformer Staging Area
Hobby Shop
Old Photo Shop
Existing Photo Shop
DRMO
Daylight Infiltration Course
Old Weapons Cleaning Area

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS/HEALTH OUTCOME DATA

No community health concerns regarding environmental contamination at the MCRD wereidentified. We met with base public affairs staffers who reported no community inquiries aboutinclusion of the MCRD on the NPL or other concerns about possible chemical contaminants atthe installation. However, if people have health concernsrelated to possible exposure at MCRD, they can direct them to PERIS Branch RE: MCRD ParrisIsland, ATSDR, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, 1600 Clifton Road, NE (E56),Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

During the public comment period, draft versions of this document were provided to the ParrisIsland, EPA, state regulatory agencies and also public repositories. No comments or suggestedrevisions were received.

We did not evaluate health outcome databases because people are not coming in contact with sitecontaminants at levels that might cause illnesses.

Table 1.

No Apparent Public Health Hazard Situations
PATHWAY
NAME
LIMITING
CONTAMINANT1
COMPLETED EXPOSURE PATHWAYS ELEMENTSTIMECOMMENTS
SOURCEENVIRONMENTAL
MEDIA
POINT OF
EXPOSURE
ROUTE OF
EXPOSURE
POTENTIALLY
EXPOSED
POPULATION
Fish and Shellfish
Contamination at
Causeway
Landfill
PCBs
(Aroclor 1254)
Causeway
Landfill
leachate into
pond and marsh
Fish and Shellfish Eating Fish and
Shellfish
IngestionRecreational
harvesters who
eat
contaminated
seafood
Past
Present
Future
No apparent public
health hazard for
harvesters who
consume fish and
shellfish2. Contaminant
levels were low.
Shellfish
Contamination
near Rifle Range
LeadRifle RangeShellfishEating ShellfishIngestionPeople who eat
contaminated
seafood
1 - Those chemicals with concentrations greater than the comparison values. Only PCBs(Causeway Landfill) and lead (Rifle Range) had concentrations above comparison values thus,requiring further evaluation for public health hazard.

2 - See Appendix for Assumptions and Methodology.



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