PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION ROSS COMPLEX
VANCOUVER, CLARK COUNTY, WASHINGTON
This area, located in the northeastern section of the site, comprises Van's Way Oil Storage and the Wood Pole Storage East areas. The Wood Pole Storage East area is covered with gravel to minimize migration of contaminants and to control dust generation and erosion. Residences border the south side of this waste unit, with Cold Creek bordering the northwest and western sides.
A. Van's Way Oil Storage Area (1975 to 1988)
When the area was in operation, 41 storage tanks were in use with a combined capacity level of 185,250 gallons. Oils stored in the tanks contained PCBs at levels less than 50 mg/kg. The tanks were replaced in 1988 with six 10,000 gallon tanks. Surface soil sampling revealed concentrations of PCBs that ranged from 0.05 to 2.25 mg/kg. Concentrations of 1,1,1-TCA ranged from 0.0001 to 0.224 mg/kg.
B. Wood Pole Storage East Area
The storage of treated wood poles began in the early 1970s and continues today. In the past, poles treated with pentachlorophenol (PCP) and/or creosote were purchased, but more recently poles treated with copper naphthanate have been purchased. According to the site manager, more than 1,000 creosote poles were stored at one time, but today the number is between 50 and 60 (26). Investigations done prior to the RI identified soil samples that contained concentrations of PCP as high as 405 mg/kg, and benzo(b)fluoranthene, a PAH, at 101 mg/kg (23).
- This area is scheduled for enhanced bioremediation.
Waste Unit 2
Located just west of Waste Unit 1, this area includes the Utilization and Disposal Yard, the Hazardous Waste Storage Building, and the Herbicide Storage Building. The Herbicide Storage and Hazardous Waste Storage Buildings lie below the Utilization and Disposal Yard.
A. Utilization and Disposal (U&D) Yard
This area has been used for the temporary storage of capacitors since 1962 (4). Oils that might have contained low concentrations of PCBs were sprayed in the yard to control dust generation. Approximately 3,500 cubic yards of soil were removed in the mid-1970s and disposed of in the Cold Creek Fill Area; the entire yard was then paved. The buildings, which house the capacitors, are designed to contain the wastes should any of the tanks leak or rupture. PAHs ranged from 0.32 to 30.6 mg/kg, which is significantly higher than the Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs) standard of 0.18 mg/kg. ARARs are federal and state legal requirements that apply to chemicals of concern and actions taken to remediate the site. PCBs were detected at a maximum concentration of 85.3 mg/kg.
B. Hazardous Waste Storage Building
The building has been in use since 1979 and is still used to store inorganic acids, solvents, and pentachlorophenol. A total PAH concentration of 45.5 mg/kg was detected in a surface soil sample.
Remedial action has taken place in the area surrounding the Hazardous Waste Storage Building to remove the high levels of PAHs detected in the RI. The excavation involved the removal of soil covering a 15' x 15' x 1' area. Sampling confirmed no PAH concentrations in the surface soils.
Waste Unit 3 "Industrial Core"
This area is the only waste unit the RI classifies as industrial. The area includes the Capacitor Testing Laboratory, the Paint Storage Facility, the Paint Shop, and the PCB Storage Building.
A. Capacitor Testing Laboratory (1966 to 1984)
The building hasn't been used for capacitor testing since 1984. The testing involved stressing the capacitors to the point of rupturing. As a result, oils containing PCBs leaked onto surrounding surfaces. In 1981, 42 samples were taken from the surface to a depth of 6 inches. Contamination was detected, and the contaminated soil was removed and taken to a hazardous material landfill. In 1986, 141 soil samples were taken from the area. A concrete sample from the floor of the lab revealed PCB concentrations as high as 47,000 mg/kg. The maximum surface soil concentration was 1,640 mg/kg. Two removal actions have taken place in the lab. Subsurface soil samples performed in 1987 revealed PCB concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 120 mg/kg. During the RI, PCBs identified in surface soils ranged in concentration from 0.15 mg/kg to 42 mg/kg. Also, PCBs were not detected in subsurface soils in those locations that had previously reported PCB concentrations ranging from 0.05 mg/kg to 120 mg/kg between 0.2 and 9.75 feet. The building is currently being used for storage purposes.
B. Paint Shop
Elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected, possibly caused by operation of the solvent recycling equipment west of the former underground storage tank. Surface soil total VOC concentrations reached 2,913 mg/kg, and at 3.5 feet below the surface they peaked at 6,413 mg/kg. An area covering 28' x 26' x 9.5' was excavated during remediation, and post remedial sampling revealed undetectable amounts of PAHs and VOCs (27).
C. PCB Storage Building
From 1970 to 1973, spent solvents, believed to be trichloroethane, were disposed of into a storm drain that discharged to Cold Creek at a rate of 10 gallons per week. Capacitors, transformers, and tanks containing PCB-laden oils at greater than 50 ppm are stored in this building. Previous soil sampling from 1986 to 1990 detected PCB concentrations ranging from 0.08 to 32.7 mg/kg. Soil vapor sampling revealed concentrations of total VOCs in the range of 3 to 323 ppm. Total PAHs ranged in concentration from 0.173 to 15.6 mg/kg, which exceeds the ARARs concentration of 0.18 mg/kg.
Waste Unit 4
A. Sandblast Area
Sandblasting of equipment such as transformers, circuit breakers, trailers, and underground storage tanks took place in this area for approximately 7 years. High concentrations of metals,
specifically lead, found at a maximum concentration of 2,250 mg/kg, and PAHs were detected as a result of past operations. Two locations in the sandblasting area have been remediated to remove the PAHs and metals that were present. One location covered an area encompassing 170' x 125' x 1.5', and the other was 15'x 15'x 1' (27). Samples collected after remediation indicated below background concentrations of lead and very low levels of PAHs that would not be a threat to public health.
Waste Unit 5
A. Untanking Tower
This area was used for the maintenance of large electrical equipment where large amounts of trichloroethane were used for cleaning the equipment. During the RI characterization process, total VOCs were detected at 52.7 mg/kg at a depth of 3.5 to 9.5 feet below the surface. Sampling conducted in December of 1987 yielded a surface soil sample containing PCBs at a maximum concentration of 5.9 mg/kg.
A 15'x 15'x 1' area was excavated during remediation, and confirmatory sampling revealed undetectable amounts of PCBs in surface soils (27).
B. Laboratory Waste Storage
Storage of laboratory wastes began in this area in 1979 and continues today. During the RI, soil sampling detected PAHs at concentrations as high as 3.67 mg/kg and a BNA at a concentration of 0.31 mg/kg.
During remediation, an area approximately 60' x 40' x 1' was excavated (27). Post remedial sampling did not detect any PAHs or BNAs.
Waste Unit 6
A. Ross Substation and Capacitor Yard
Access to this area is restricted. In August 1989, small spills of PCB oils from capacitors occurred in the Capacitor Yard. PCBs were detected at concentrations ranging from 0.13 mg/kg to 130 mg/kg. Lead was found in the soil at 2,360 mg/kg. However, sampling performed in September 1992 revealed concentrations of lead as high as 80 mg/kg. The area is scheduled for soil and equipment removal in 1995.
Waste Unit 7
A. Fog Chamber Dump Trench #2
Past aerial photographs reveal six subparallel lineaments, and it is believed that the trench contains various metallic debris. The area was first used sometime between 1939 and 1942 and continued to be used until 1965 (1). Materials contained in the trench included metal scrap and shavings, burnt wood, drum lids, and concrete debris.
B. Wood Pole Storage Area South
This area was used to store treated transmission poles before their distribution throughout the Pacific Northwest. In the past, they were treated off site with PCP and/or creosote to increase their longevity in the environment. The storage area was used from the late 1950s until the present, with a peak in use in 1970. Leachate from the wood-treating compounds is present in surface and shallow soils because of the insolubility of the compounds and their ability to bind to soils. Two locations with an approximate area of 15' x 15' x 1' each were excavated during remediation (27). Sampling conducted after remediation tested for PAHs, metals, and PCBs. No PAHs or PCBs were detected, and lead concentrations were below background levels.
C. Undersea Cable Test Area
This area was used for testing an undersea cable project that was reportedly initiated in 1949. Budget restraints in 1951 and 1952 resulted in the testing program being discontinued. The pipe that had been installed is believed to be in the trench still, and it might contain highly refined oils. The highly refined oils did not contain PCBs, and BPA has no record or recollection that this oil was released into the environment (28). It is possible that the trench accumulated oil cans and lead cable during cable testing. However, BPA conducted two excavations along the cable's pathway in the mid-1980s and found no evidence of oil cans or lead cable (28).
D. DOB-1 Drain Line (1953 to 1978)
A chemistry laboratory located in the DOB-1 building was the source for the drainage of liquid hazardous wastes into drain lines and the drainfield. Hazardous compounds disposed of in the drain lines included mercury, arsenic, lead, pesticides, paint thinners, pentachlorophenol, herbicides, and other organic compounds. The DOB-1 was used to test transformer oils, top coat preservatives for transmission poles, herbicides, clean oil bottles, and glassware (1). A disruption of the drainfield occurred when the Dittmer Building was constructed in 1970. A second drainfield, DOB-2, might have also received wastes from the laboratory. Construction of the Dittmer Building and an asphalt parking lot reportedly covered a large portion of the DOB-2 drainfield. A new drainfield was constructed, and the drain line was equipped with a drum sump that extended to the drainfield.
The RI analytical results identified PCBs at an estimated concentration of 13 mg/kg and total PAHs at 10.93 mg/kg. During remediation, a 160-square-foot area was excavated at a depth of 3.5 feet on the western end and 5 feet on the eastern end. Post- remediation sampling indicated levels of PCBs and PAHs ranging from undetectable to less than 1 mg/kg.
E. Top Coat Test Area (1962 to 1973)
This area was used to test wood transmission poles that had been treated with pentachlorophenol.
Also, drums of spent transformer oils and chemical wastes were stored in the area. The area was
paved over with asphalt in 1973. Soil sampling performed between 1985 and 1991 detected lead
concentrations in the range of 1.6 to 3,000 mg/kg and chromium concentrations in the range of
57 to 210 mg/kg (1). Grading and other construction activities might have caused blending or
removal of the contaminated surface soil to the Cold Creek Fill Area.