PETITIONED PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
BURLINGTON NORTHERN LIVINGSTON COMPLEX
(a/k/a BURLINGTON NORTHERN RAIL YARD)
LIVINGSTON, PARK COUNTY, MONTANA
1. ATSDR has determined that Burlington Northern Rail Yard poses no apparent public health hazard (see Appendix E for definitions of public health hazard categories). Exposures in the past and present have been identified, and available information suggests that future exposures are possible. However, based on the available data, these exposures are not expected to cause adverse health effects.
2. A past completed exposure to off-site groundwater has occurred for residents drinking water from private wells with VOC contamination. These wells are no longer used for drinking water. Groundwater monitoring off-site at BNRY identified VOCs that have migrated from BNRY. A potential exposure could occur for residents to the north of BNRY and east of the Yellowstone River that continue to use private wells; however, quarterly groundwater monitoring reveals contaminants below levels that would cause adverse health effects.
3. A past, current, and future completed exposure pathway exists for residents using the private well with a confirmed arsenic detection. Exposures to arsenic occur when the water is used for drinking and other domestic purposes. A review of the data suggests the arsenic may be naturally occurring and not associated with BNRY activities. Regardless of the source, no adverse health effects are likely to result from drinking water containing arsenic at the level detected in this well.
4. Off-site residents were exposed to VOCs detected by air monitoring data. Levels of tetrachloroethene (PCE) are above the cancer risk evaluation guide (CREG) comparison value; however, these levels are not expected to be of public health concern. It is not clear from the data whether these contaminants are associated with BNRY activities. Residents of the Livingston community have been and continue to be exposed to these airborne contaminants. On-site workers at BNRY have been exposed to metals (arsenic and cadmium) at levels that exceeded ATSDR CREG comparison values. These exposures, however, are not expected to cause adverse health effects in on-site workers.
5. Residents were exposed to PCE, trichloroethene (TCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), and toluene by way of inhalation in indoor residential air. It is not certain that the contaminants are associated with BNRY activities; sources may be inside the residences. The detected levels of contaminants are not expected to cause adverse health effects.
6. A potential exposure to workers exists for on-site soil gas. VOCs (PCE and TCE) were detected in samples of on-site soil gas. However, soil gas samples are not representative of levels in the breathing zone, and no samples were collected in subsurface structures (such as basements) that workers would occupy. Additional data from these areas would be needed to evaluate this potential exposure pathway. However, on-site soil gas probably represents a temporary exposure pathway that will be eliminated or minimized by remediation activities.
7. A past potential exposure exists for residents who have inhaled VOCs detected in off-site soil gas. Samples collected revealed levels of PCE and TCE that were slightly above ATSDR comparison values. The number of residential basements sampled was few; however, the basement areas that were sampled are not expected to be a public health concern. Potential exposures to residents also exist for the present and future if soil-disturbing exercises are conducted.
8. Available health outcome data indicate apparent increases of pancreatic cancer in white males in the Livingston, Montana, area from 1980 to 1988. These apparent increases were not associated with proximity to the BNRY facility. Overall mortality in Park County was less than in the state of Montana taken as a whole.
A. Recommendations and HARP Statement
1. On- and off-site groundwater monitoring identified metals and volatile organic compounds. Efforts should be made to prevent human exposure to contaminated groundwater, including institutional controls on the installation of wells in areas of known groundwater contamination. Groundwater monitoring both on- and off-site should continue in the future. Private water wells that are currently in use for consumption of water should be sampled. Specifically, private wells to the north of BNRY and east of the Yellowstone River should be sampled. Monitoring wells east of the river should also be sampled to determine whether a potential for exposure to contamination exists in that area.
2. Air data collected on-site indicate concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, and tetrachloroethene (PCE) were above ATSDR cancer risk evaluation guide (CREG) comparison values. On-site ambient air monitoring should continue. Continued on-site ambient air monitoring should consist of sampling for total suspended solids (for metals) and should be conducted in months other than winter.
3. Air data collected off-site indicated PCE above the ATSDR CREG comparison value. Off-site air monitoring should concentrate on sampling the basements areas of existing homes, or new areas where soil may be disturbed such as the drilling, digging, or excavating of underground or confined spaces.
4. Because a potential exposure to soil gas exists for workers at BNRY, on-site operations should be monitored. Monitoring of any underground or confined spaces on-site should be part of the monitoring program.
In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended, the Burlington Northern Rail Yard site, Park County, Livingston, Montana, has been evaluated by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) to determine if any appropriate follow-up activities are warranted at this site. In the past, completed exposure pathways to site related contaminants occurred, but not at levels that are expected to cause adverse health effects. Potential exposure pathways continue to exist, particularly to soil gas and groundwater contamination. The specific occurrence of lupus and MS are of major concern to the people of Livingston. The Health Activities Recommendation Panel has determined that the exposed population needs assistance in understanding their potential for exposure and in assessing any possible adverse health effects in their community. ATSDR has referred to the Division of Health Education to consider environmental health activities with respect to understanding the potential for exposure and the relationship to site related contamination. ATSDR will evaluate any new data or information it receives about this site to determine if additional public health actions are appropriate.
The actions described in this section are designed to ensure that this public health assessment identifies public health hazards and provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.
1. In September 1992, ATSDR, responding to a request from MDHES, conducted a preliminary investigation of cancer mortality in Park County covering the period 1980-1989.
2. In March 1995, ATSDR and MDHES completed a follow-up study which investigated the association of exposure from rail yard contaminants and pancreatic cancer mortality.
3. MDHES completed a baseline risk assessment concerning resident populations in proximity of the rail yard in May, 1993.
4. ATSDR, MDHES, and citizens of Livingston participated in a public meeting in October, 1990 regarding the BNRY site.
5. Since 1989, MDHES has instituted an interim remediation plan at BNRY. The plan focuses on remediating on-site soil VOCs to specified clean-up levels, contaminated sludge removal, installation of soil vapor extraction systems, and the removal of leaking underground storage tanks (UST). Sludge removal, removal of USTs, and the operations of the soil vapor systems have been completed. Eleven on-site soil areas were sampled for VOCs and all except the electric shop achieved contaminant levels below MDHES clean-up standards. The plan also lists quarterly groundwater monitoring for VOCs on- and off-site at BNRY.
6. BNRY has prepared a draft Feasibility Study (FS), dated September 13, 1996, that presents the options being considered beyond the interim measures for site cleanup. The draft FS describes a range of possible options, including methods to effectively treat site soils and area groundwater and to reach overall site cleanup goals.
1. BNRY will develop a final site cleanup plan, expected to be completed in the fall of 1997. Once approved by DEQ, the plan will be presented in the site record of decision (ROD).
2. DEQ continues to review quarterly groundwater monitoring efforts for VOCs. Areas monitored include: on-site, east of the Yellowstone River, and north of the site as far as Well 89-2 (Gallatin Street). Well 89-2 serves as a monitoring safeguard for the private wells found north of Gallatin Street. In the event that Well 89-2 is found to contain VOCs, the private wells north of Gallatin Street will also be sampled. Private wells east of the Yellowstone River will also be sampled according to DEQ' final remediation plan.
3. ATSDR and DEQ will provide information as appropriate to residents interested in assessment of relationships of exposure and chemical contamination.
4. ATSDR will contact appropriate State officials to request that additional data be sent as it becomes available. ATSDR will ensure that recommendations made in this public health assessment are forwarded to the appropriate agencies for action.
5. If any new data or information are found to be of significant public health concern, the Division of Health Assessment and Consultation will revise the Burlington Northern Rail Yard Public Health Assessment as appropriate.
ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at this site.
David M. Hutchins
Environmental Health Scientist
Petition Response Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Frank C. Schnell, Ph.D., DABT
Petition Response Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Danielle M. Langmann, MS
Environmental Health Scientist
Petition Response Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Glenn Tucker, Ph.D.
ATSDR Senior Regional Representative
EPA Region VIII
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