PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
STATE MARINE OF PORT ARTHUR
PORT ARTHUR, JEFFERSON COUNTY, TEXAS
The State Marine of Port Arthur National Priorities List site, is a 17.197-acre former barge cleaningfacility on a small peninsula in the northeastern part of Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas. Thefacility operated from 1974 until 1988. Barge cleaning operations at the site have resulted in thecontamination of surface soil and sediment with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and metals. Discharges of contaminants into surface water has been documented in the past.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reviewed availableenvironmental information for the site and evaluated several potential exposure situations. Theseexposure situations include potential contact with site contaminants in surface water, sediment,surface soil, and groundwater. Although site-related contaminants have been found in several ofthese media, currently the contaminants on or off the site do not pose a public health threat. Basedon available information, we have concluded that overall, the State Marine site poses anindeterminate public health hazard. Because of insufficient data we identified one exposurepathway as a past indeterminate public health hazard; however, this pathway poses no current publichealth hazard. Because of insufficient data, we also identified another exposure situation as anindeterminate public health hazard. The conclusion category for the overall site could change ifadditional data indicate that this indeterminate public health hazard situation poses a threat to publichealth. A brief review of the exposure situations that were considered is presented below.
TDH and ATSDR concluded that the following exposure situations pose an indeterminate publichealth hazard. In these situations, more information is required to adequately define the potential health hazard.
- Exposure to site contaminants through the food chain is considered to be an indeterminatepublic health hazard. Although discharges of bioconcentrating contaminants into surfacewater have been documented, seafood sampling has not yet been conducted in the vicinity of the site.
- Past exposure to contaminants in the air is considered to be an indeterminate public healthhazard. Although there is some evidence that, in the past, local residents may have beenexposed to sulfur compounds in the air, there were no historical ambient air data and nocommunity-specific health outcome data available to indicate whether the site could havehad an adverse impact on human health. We did not identify any current air emissions from the site.
ATSDR concluded that the following identified exposure situations present no apparent publichealth hazard under current conditions either because there is no evidence that people are cominginto contact with contaminated media or it is unlikely that they are coming into contact with contaminated media often enough to present a threat to public health.
- Exposure to site contaminants in surface water at the State Marine Site presents noapparent public health hazard because it is unlikely that people would be exposed tocontaminants at levels that would be of health concern since: 1) the probability of ingestingsurface water is very low, 2) the frequency and duration of any contact with surface waterwould be very low, and 3) the surface area of skin that potentially could come into contact with contaminated water would be small.
- Exposure to contaminants in soil at this site presents no apparent public health hazard. Although access onto the site is not entirely restricted, we do not consider exposure to sitecontaminants either by ingesting or contacting soil to be a significant exposure pathwaysince: 1) the number of people accessing the site is limited, 2) the probability of ingestingcontaminated soil is very low, 3) the frequency and duration of any contact withcontaminated soil would be very low, and 4) the surface area of skin that potentially could come into contact with contaminated soil would be small.
- Exposure to contaminants in sediment at this site presents no apparent public health hazardbecause it is unlikely that people would be exposed to contaminants at levels that would beof health concern. Although access onto the site is not entirely restricted, we do not considerexposure to site contaminants either by ingesting or contacting sediment to be a significantexposure pathway since: 1) access to the contaminated areas is limited, 2) the probability ofingesting contaminated sediment is very low, 3) the frequency and duration of any contactwith contaminated sediment would be very low, and 4) the surface area of skin thatpotentially could come into contact with contaminated sediment would be small.
ATSDR concluded that the following exposure situations pose no public health hazard eitherbecause people are not likely to come into contact with site contaminants or because institutional controls are sufficient to protect human health.
- Although information pertaining to contaminant concentrations in groundwater were notavailable for review, contaminants in the groundwater would not pose a public health hazardsince groundwater within one mile of State Marine is not used for drinking or other potableuses. Businesses and residents on the peninsula get their drinking water from the City of Port Arthur municipal water supply.
The State Marine of Port Arthur National Priorities List site (State Marine) is a former bargecleaning facility on the small peninsula east of State Highway 87 and Old Ferry Road in thenortheastern part of Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas (Figure 1). This 17.197 acre site is southof the confluence of the Neches River with Sabine Lake and the Intracoastal Canal. The address islisted as Yacht Club Road. Other names for this site are State Marine, State Welding and MarineWorks, and Golden Triangle Shipyard, Inc. This site includes parts of Sabine Lake and theIntracoastal Canal (State Land Tracts 3 and 6). These bodies of water are adjacent to the east sideof State Marine. State Marine was operated from the early 1970s until the late 1980s to cleanbarges carrying petroleum and chemical products. Sources of contamination include buried surfaceimpoundments over a former Port Arthur landfill, an area of contaminated soils adjacent to theshoreline of Sabine Lake, and a former tank farm area. Soil, sediment, and surface watercontamination has been documented by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission(TNRCC) .
The barge cleaning operation at State Marine consisted of a boiler house wash area next to severaldocks along Sabine Lake (Figure 2). A steam boiler first heated the wash water which was thenused to rinse out barge contents. Several vacuum tanks and a vacuum pump were used to removethe wash water and chemicals from the barges. Chemicals were stored in on-site tanks and the washwater was pumped to on-site lagoons and eventually discharged into the Intracoastal Canal.
Barge chemical wastes and wash water were discharged into above ground storage tanks as well asdiked surface impoundments. According to the information reviewed, there were between three andsix unlined surface impoundment pits on the north side of the site . One report indicates that allsix surface impoundments were located directly above the old City of Port Arthur municipal landfill. On the south end of State Marine was the Lauren Tank Farm which consisted of one 20,000 gallontank, two 10,000 gallon tanks and a distillation column for refining waste oils into bunker fuel. These tanks were used to store the oil fractions from barge cleaning activities.
Currently, the site is overgrown with dense vegetation in both the former surface impoundment area,as well as in the former tank farm area. In the tank farm area, a tank and several oily barrels werevisible in the tall weeds. There are dilapidated buildings and rusted equipment throughout the site. Along the shoreline, there are remains of rusted barges which were used as docks. Glass, plastic,rusted metal, and other debris from the former Port Arthur landfill and the former barge cleaning operation are being redeposited or exposed along the shoreline of the State Marine site.
In 1974, State Marine was issued a wastewater discharge permit (No. 01859) from the TexasDepartment of Water Resources (TDWR), predecessor to the TNRCC, to operate a barge cleaningfacility for vessels carrying petroleum and other chemical products. In April 1980, numerouscomplaints were received from area citizens regarding "noxious odors" being emitted from StateMarine. Investigators confirmed these complaints and traced them to emissions from the steamboiler which was burning high sulfur fuel oil .
In July 1980, three pits were in use and, as a result of numerous spills, barge chemical wastecovered part of the site . During a site inspection conducted on August 18, 1980, TDWRpersonnel noted that an area east and south of the treatment pits (approximately two acres) wascovered with waste oils . On the northeast corner of the treatment facility, waste oil and waterhad spilled onto the adjacent property from a breach in a badly weathered levee. On the west side,waste oils covered approximately one acre; the oil was thought to have spilled through another breakin the levee. A small spill covering 200 square feet was documented near the vacuum tanks whichwere adjacent to the Intracoastal Canal. The wastewater treatment facility was not completed orfunctional. The surface impoundment pits indicated on treatment facility flow charts were not in usenor were aerators being used. PVC liners were not present in any of the pits. Constant bubbling ofwaste oils and water in the pits was thought to be due to methane gases escaping from the closedPort Arthur landfill located below the pits.
Following the August 1980 inspection, the Texas Department of Water Resources (TDWR) and theTexas Air Control Board (TACB) cited State Marine for a number of violations of its wastewaterdischarge permit. On June 29, 1981, the State of Texas signed an Agreed Order for TemporaryInjunction, which required proper site closure. In 1981, the surface impoundments were backfilledwith surrounding contaminated soil and covered with a clay cap . On December 9, 1982, aJudgement of Contempt and Order of Commitment was signed, which ordered State Marine tocomply with the Agreed Order.
On December 16, 1982, TDWR inspectors visited the site to evaluate the wastewater pit closure andfound that the pit had not been properly closed. The clay cap was inadequate, areas of contaminatedsoils were still observed around the perimeter of the site, pools of standing water were observed, andthe upper six inches of clay contained municipal landfill debris .
On July 25, 1983, the TDWR, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), and an officer of theU.S. Coast Guard observed the release of material from a barge. The contents of a barge were beingpumped into the leaking hull of another barge which was used as a dock. Samples were collectedfrom the source barge and from the leaking hull of the receiving "dock" barge. Similar organiccompounds were detected in both samples verifying the release of chemicals into Sabine Lake .
By January 1987, the State Marine site was listed second in the Texas Register of hazardous wastefacilities that pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or theenvironment. In March 1988, the State of Texas issued a "Superfund" Administrative Order toState Marine requiring all responsible parties to perform a complete Remedial Investigation (RI) andFeasibility Study (FS) at the site.
State Marine was brought to the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in1987 for evaluation. Under the 1982 version of the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) the site fellbelow the cut-off score required for remedial activities under CERCLA at that time. The site wasagain referred to EPA in 1992 for consideration under the revised 1990 HRS (40 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Hazardous Ranking System).
In January 1995, EPA requested that the TNRCC perform an Expanded Site Inspection at State Marine. During the Expanded Site Inspection, the TNRCC identified three main sources of contamination on the site.
Sample results from the 1995 investigation indicated the presence of organics and inorganics in the buried surface impoundments and the former tank farm area, as well as in the sediments of Sabine Lake adjacent to the site. The information examined in the Hazard Ranking package did not indicate that any type of removal had been conducted at State Marine, although the large above-ground storage tanks have been removed. According to the Hazard Ranking package, surface water is the major pathway of concern . Chemical analysis of sediment samples in Sabine Lake indicated the presence of organics and inorganics. Sabine Lake is a fishery and is used for recreation. In addition, an abundance of wetland areas and a National Wildlife Refuge lie along the banks of Sabine Lake and downstream waterways. The State Marine site was proposed to the National Priorities List of Superfund Sites in March of 1998 and finalized to the List on July 28, 1998.
Representatives of the TDH visited the State Marine site and vicinity in August and September 1998. TDH personnel were accompanied by representatives from the EPA, the United StatesGeological Service (USGS), and the TNRCC. Approximately 6 hours were spent examining the siteand the surrounding area.
During the site visit we saw a dilapidated office building, an old shed, sunken barges, cranes, formerabove ground storage tanks, and other features obscured by overgrown vegetation at the site (Figure2). The site was not surrounded by an intact fence, although a bar blocked the entrance to the roadentering the site. The site is accessible to someone on foot. We did not see any evidence thatchildren or teenagers were frequenting the area, but we did see evidence that someone frequented thesite. There was a radio, pump hand soap, a trash barrel with soft drink plastic bottles and paper, afolded bed sheet, a nearly new water hose, an electrical extension cord, and shotgun shells on thesite.
Because of the dry conditions, we did not see any on-site ponding of water; however, written recordsindicate that surface water runoff, from rainfall, is to the east into Sabine Lake. During the Augustsite visit we saw two fishermen to the northeast of the State Marine site.
The adjacent land use is industrial and businesses currently operate on the peninsula. There weretwo occupied residences on the peninsula approximately one mile west of State Marine. Twoindividuals live in each of these residences . We did not see any evidence that contaminants fromthe State Marine site were affecting these residences.
TDH representatives went door to door September 21, 1998, to each of the businesses and the tworesidences within one mile of State Marine. All reported using water from the City of Port Arthurmunicipal supply; however, the water main had broken at the time of our site visit and businessesand individuals were having to bring in bottled or other potable water (trucked in water) fordomestic and other uses. None of the individuals we spoke with knew of any water wells on the peninsula.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Census, in 1990 the total residential population within a one-mileradius of State Marine is estimated to be 9 people . Although few individuals live in this area,nearly 400 people work on the peninsula . It is not known how many people worked at the StateMarine facility in the past. Currently, the site is not operating and there are no on-site workers.
The closest residential neighborhood to State Marine is approximately 1.5 miles northwest of thefacility along the west side of the Rainbow Bridge on State Highway 87. The other closestresidential areas are the City of Port Arthur (approximately 3.5 miles southwest) with a populationof 58,724, the City of Groves (4 miles southwest of State Marine) with a population of 16,513,Bridge City (approximately 5.5 miles north of State Marine) with a population of 8,034, and PortNeches (approximately 8 miles west of State Marine) population 12,974 .
There are approximately 11 industrial or commercial businesses on the peninsula within 1 mile ofState Marine. Among these are a retail fuel dealer, a ship and boat builder, a boat repair facility, oilfield contractors, industrial building/warehouse contractors, scrap iron and metal dealers, andchemical product wholesalers . There are no parks, playgrounds, schools, hospitals, daycares, ornursing homes within 1 mile of State Marine. There are no recreational beaches in the vicinity ofState Marine.
In addition to being used for shipping, Sabine Lake and the Intracoastal Canal both are used forcommercial and recreational fishing. Commercial and sport fishing is very popular along the SabineNeches Intracoastal Canal which runs adjacent to State Marine along the east side. This area ispopular because the mixing of freshwater and salt water at the mouth of the Neches River results ina wide variety of both freshwater and salt water fish. Fishing along the shoreline of State Marine, onthe northern property adjacent to the site was documented by the TNRCC on May 22, 1996 andobserved by TDH in August 1998. There is unrestricted access to the east side of the State Marinesite along the shoreline .
The site is in the 100-year floodplain and is influenced by tides. Average rainfall for the area rangesfrom 52 to 56 inches per year . Surface water in the vicinity of State Marine is brackish to saltwater and therefore is not potable (good for drinking). There are three surface water intakes within15 miles downstream of State Marine which are used for industrial purposes. No drinking waterintakes are downstream of State Marine. Groundwater within one mile of State Marine is not usedfor drinking or other potable uses. Businesses and residents on the peninsula get drinking water from the City of Port Arthur municipal water supply .
Exposure to, or contact with chemical contaminants drive the ATSDR public health assessmentprocess. The release or disposal of chemical contaminants into the environment does not alwaysresult in exposure or contact. Chemicals only have the potential to cause adverse health effects ifpeople actually come into contact with them. People may be exposed to chemicals by breathing,eating, or drinking a substance containing the contaminant or by skin (dermal) contact with asubstance containing the contaminant.
When people are exposed to chemicals, the exposure does not always result in adverse health effects. The type and severity of health effects that may occur in an individual from contact withcontaminants depend on the toxicologic properties of the contaminants, how much of thecontaminant to which the individual is exposed, how often and/or how long exposure is allowed tooccur, the manner in which the contaminant enters or contacts the body (breathing, eating, drinking,or skin/eye contact), and the number of contaminants to which an individual is exposed(combinations of contaminants). Once exposure occurs, characteristics such as age, sex, nutritionalstatus, genetics, life style, and health status of the exposed individual influence how the individualabsorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes the contaminant. These factors and characteristicsinfluence whether exposure to a contaminant could or would result in adverse health effects.
To assess the potential health risks associated with contaminants at this site we comparedcontaminant concentrations to health assessment comparison (HAC) values. HAC values are mediaspecific contaminant concentrations that are used to screen contaminants for further evaluation. Non-cancer HAC values are called environmental media evaluation guides (EMEGs) or referencedose media evaluation guides (RMEGs) and are respectively based on ATSDR's minimal risk levels(MRLs) or EPA's reference doses (RfDs). MRLs and RfDs are estimates of a daily human exposureto a contaminant that is unlikely to cause adverse non-cancer health effects. Cancer risk evaluationguides (CREGs) are based on EPA's chemical specific cancer slope factors and an estimated excesslifetime cancer risk of one-in-one-million persons exposed for a lifetime. We used standardassumptions to calculate appropriate HAC values .
In some instances, we compare contaminant concentrations in water to EPA's maximumcontaminant levels (MCLs). MCLs are chemical specific maximum concentrations allowed in waterdelivered to the users of a public water system; they are considered protective of public health over alifetime (70 years) of exposure at an ingestion rate of two liters per day. MCLs may be based onavailable technology and economic feasibility. Although MCLs only apply to public water supplysystems, we often use them to help assess the public health implications of contaminants found in water from other sources.
While exceeding a HAC value does not necessarily mean that a contaminant represents a publichealth threat, it does suggest that the contaminant warrants further consideration. The public healthsignificance of contaminants that exceed HAC values may be assessed by reviewing and integratingrelevant toxicological information with plausible exposure scenarios. Estimated exposures may becompared to reported "No Observable" and "Lowest Observable" Adverse Effects Levels (NOAELsand LOAELs) and to known effect levels in humans, when available.
Soil, surface water, and sediment data included in our evaluation of State Marine were collectedduring the 1983 site investigations and during the TNRCC's January 1995 Expanded SiteInspection (ESI). In reviewing these data we relied on the information provided in the referenceddocuments and assumed that adequate Quality Assurance/Quality Control measures were followedwith regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The analyses andconclusions in this Health Assessment are valid only if the referenced information is valid andcomplete. QA/QC and chain of custody requirements were followed for the sampling data collectedin 1983. The data for the 1995 ESI were collected according to the State's QA/QC Work Planwhich was approved by the EPA prior to sampling. All samples were analyzed following EPAContract Laboratory Program (CLP) analytical methods .
The maximum detected concentrations for each contaminant found in the different environmentalmedia are presented in Tables 1-8 in Appendix D. ATSDR comparison values for each of thecontaminants also are listed in the tables. Contaminants whose concentrations were belowATSDR's comparison values were excluded from further consideration. Inclusion of a contaminantin the tables or the fact that a contaminant exceeds a comparison value does not imply that a contaminant represents a threat to public health but that it warrants further consideration.
In this section we evaluated the possible pathways for exposure to contamination at State Marine. We examined these possible exposure pathways to determine whether people near the site can beexposed to (or come into contact with) contaminants from the site. Exposure pathways consist offive elements: 1) a source of contamination, 2) transport through an environmental medium, 3) apoint of exposure, 4) a plausible manner (route) for the contaminant to get into the body, and 5) anidentifiable exposed population. Exposure pathways can be completed, potential, or eliminated. Fora person to be exposed to a contaminant, the exposure pathway must be completed. An exposurepathway is considered completed when all five elements in the pathway are present and exposure hasoccurred, is occurring, or will plausibly occur in the future. A potential pathway is missing at leastone of the five elements but possibly may be completed in the future as more data become availableor site conditions change. Eliminated pathways are missing one or more of the five elements andwill never be completed. Table 9 summarizes the exposure pathways considered in our evaluationof this site. Contaminants whose concentrations did not exceed ATSDR comparison values were excluded from the pathways analysis.
TDH and ATSDR concluded that the following exposure situations pose an indeterminate publichealth hazard. In these situations, more information is required to adequately define the potential health hazard.
III.C.1.a Evaluation of Possible Foodchain Exposure Pathways
Summary: Exposure to site contaminants through the ingestion of seafood is considered to be anindeterminate public health hazard. Although discharges of bioconcentrating contaminants intosurface water have been documented, seafood sampling has not yet been conducted in thevicinity of the site.
There have been documented releases of contaminants (primarily polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons[PAHs]) into surface water and sediment samples have been found to be contaminated withbenzo(a)pyrene and other PAHs. These compounds are known to bioaccumulate in fish and otherseafood. Fishing along the shoreline of State Marine was documented by the TNRCC on May 22,1996, and we observed people fishing in August 1998. Benzo(a)pyrene is considered to be aprobable human carcinogen. Chronic ingestion of fish contaminated with benzo(a)pyrenetheoretically could result in an increase in the lifetime risk for developing cancer.
III.C.1.b Evaluation of Possible Air Exposure Pathways
Summary: Past exposure to contaminants in the air is considered to be an indeterminate publichealth hazard. Although there is some evidence that, in the past, local residents may have beenexposed to sulfur compounds in the air, there were no historical ambient air data and nocommunity-specific health outcome data available to indicate whether the site could have had anadverse impact on human health. We did not identify any current air emissions from the site.
In the past, the Texas Department of Water Resources (TWDR) received complaints from arearesidents regarding "noxious odors" being emitted from State Marine. TDWR investigatorsconfirmed the complaints and traced the odors to emissions from a steam boiler which was burning ahigh sulfur content fuel oil. Sulfur compounds such as SO2 can be highly irritating to the eyes andupper respiratory tract. Symptoms such as eye irritation, tearing, rhinorrhea, cough, shortness ofbreath, chest tightness or discomfort, and choking sensation are common. Controlled laboratorystudies on humans have established that people with asthma are particularly sensitive to therespiratory effects. Because of insufficient data, we could not determine whether past exposure tosulfur compounds posed a public health hazard. Based on available information, exposure to site related contaminants through the air does not pose a public health hazard.
ATSDR concluded that the following identified exposure situations present no apparent publichealth hazard under current conditions because either there is no evidence that people are cominginto contact with contaminated media or it is unlikely that they are coming into contact withcontaminated media often enough to present a threat to public health.
III.C.2.a Evaluation of Possible Surface Water Exposure Pathways
Summary: Surface water contamination at the State Marine Site presents no apparent publichealth hazard because it is unlikely that people would be exposed to contaminants at levels thatwould be of health concern since: 1) the probability of ingesting surface water is very low, 2) thefrequency and duration of any contact with surface water would be very low, and 3) the surfacearea of skin that potentially could come into contact with contaminated water would be small.
Currently there are no on-site ponds or other surface water bodies since the impoundments werefilled in. Other surface water associated with the State Marine site consists of Sabine Lake and theIntracoastal Canal along the east side (Figure 1). In August 1983, TDWR inspectors observed twounauthorized discharges of waste material into the Sabine Neches canal. They observed onedischarge flowing from the Lauren Tank Farm into the Sabine Neches canal and another leakingfrom a dock facility hold (a partially submerged leaking barge used to store waste material). Samples were taken from these areas to confirm the discharges into the surface water. Polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were found in the samples (Appendix D, Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4). Several of the constituents in the barge material and in the discharge material were detected atconcentrations above their respective HAC values (Appendix D, Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4).
Surface water data reflecting current contaminant concentrations were not available; however, sincethe previous samples were obtained during observed discharges, we would anticipate that currentcontaminant concentrations in surface water would be lower. Swimming and other recreationalwater contact activities in the vicinity of State Marine are not likely; although fishing from boatsdoes occur near the site, actual exposure to contaminants through dermal contact or incidentalingestion during these activities would be limited.
III.C.2.b Evaluation of Possible Soil Exposure Pathways
Summary: Contaminants found in soil at this site present no apparent public health hazard. Although access onto the site is not entirely restricted, we do not consider exposure to sitecontaminants either by ingesting or contacting soil to be a significant exposure pathway since:1) the number of people accessing the site is limited, 2) the probability of ingesting contaminatedsoil is very low, 3) the frequency and duration of any contact with contaminated soil would bevery low, and 4) the surface area of skin that potentially could come into contact withcontaminated soil would be small.
Fifty-six surface soil samples (from 0 to 5 inches deep) were collected by the TNRCC during the1995 ESI. Samples were collected in the three identified source areas: the surface impoundmentarea (Source 1), the contaminated soils area (Source 2), and the on-site tank farm area (Source 3). Samples were analyzed for semivolatile organic compounds, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals.
Surface soil from two of the source areas (1 & 2) at State Marine contain contaminants atconcentrations above health-based screening values (Table 5, 6, & 7). At Source 1, benzo(a)pyreneexceeded its carcinogenic risk screening value (Table 5). Antimony and lead exceeded theirrespective non-cancer screening values for children but not for adults (Table 5). At Source 2,benzo(a)pyrene and beryllium exceeded their respective carcinogenic risk screening values. Leadexceeded its non-cancer screening values and zinc exceeded its non-cancer screening value forchildren but not for adults (Table 6). At Source 3, PAHs, chlordane, and mercury were detected butwere not measured at concentrations above their respective health-based screening values (Table 7).
Although workers and trespassers could come into contact with contaminated soil, chronic exposureto benzo(a)pyrene or beryllium (maximum concentrations) by ingesting 100 mg of this soil everyday for 30 years would result in no apparent increase in the excess lifetime risk for developingcancer. Children are not likely to access the site and therefore are not likely to be exposed to sitecontaminants.
III.C.2.c Evaluation of Possible Sediment Exposure Pathways
Summary: Contaminants found in sediment at this site present no apparent public health hazardbecause it is unlikely that people would be exposed to contaminants at levels that would be ofhealth concern. Although access onto the site is not entirely restricted, we do not considerexposure to site contaminants either by ingesting or contacting sediment to be a significantexposure pathway since: 1) access to the contaminated areas is limited, 2) the probability ofingesting contaminated sediment is very low, 3) the frequency and duration of any contact withcontaminated sediment would be very low, and 4) the surface area of skin that potentially couldcome into contact with contaminated sediment would be small.
Nine sediment samples were collected by the TNRCC in January 1995 as part of the ESI. Sedimentsamples were collected from 0 to 24 inches deep from locations along the east side of the StateMarine site in Sabine Lake and the Intracoastal Canal (SE-7, SE-9, SE-8, SE-10, and SE-11). Constituents found in these sediment samples were consistent with those detected in the on-site soilsamples. Only benzo(a)pyrene exceeded its health-based cancer risk screening value (Appendix D;Table 8). Chronic exposure (every day for 30 years) to this contaminant in the sediment wouldresult in no apparent increase in the lifetime risk for the developing cancer.
ATSDR concluded that the following exposure situations pose no public health hazard eitherbecause people are not likely to come into contact with site contaminants or because institutionalcontrols are sufficient to protect human health.
III.C.3.a Evaluation of Possible Groundwater Exposure Pathways
Summary: Although information pertaining to contaminant concentrations in groundwater werenot available for review, contaminants in the groundwater would not pose a public healthhazard since groundwater within one mile of State Marine is not used for drinking or otherpotable uses. Businesses and residents on the peninsula get their drinking water from the City ofPort Arthur municipal water supply.
Groundwater within one mile of State Marine is not used for drinking or other potable uses. Businesses and residents on the peninsula get drinking water from the City of Port Arthur municipalwater supply . On September 21, 1998, Texas Department of Health staff conducted a door-to-door survey of the two households and the 11 businesses on the peninsula in the vicinity of the StateMarine site. All reported using municipal water or bottled water for drinking and other potable uses. No one reported using or having a water well . There are three surface water intakes within 15miles downstream of State Marine which are used for industrial purposes. No drinking water intakes are downstream of State Marine.
We saw physical hazards throughout the site and in the shallow water along the east side of the site. These hazards include rusted equipment, metal parts from on-site activities, broken glass, and debrisfrom the former municipal landfill. The office building on the site is leaning and did not appear tobe safe to enter. Tall vegetation may have obscured other on-site hazards. Currently, physical hazards could pose a hazard to people who trespass on the site.
As part of the public health assessment process, ATSDR and TDH try to learn what concerns peoplein the area may have about the impact of the site on their health. Consequently, attempts are madeto actively gather information and comments from people who live or work near the site. To obtaincommunity health concerns related to the State Marine site, we contacted several different agenciesand individuals by telephone. We contacted the TDH Region 5 South office, the TNRCC Beaumont office, local health departments, and citizens living and working near the site. We didnot identify any health concerns pertaining to the State Marine site.
Health outcome data (HOD) record certain health conditions that occur in populations. These datacan provide information on the general health of communities living near a hazardous waste site. They also can provide information on patterns of specified health conditions. Some examples ofhealth outcome databases are tumor registries, birth defects registries, and vital statistics. Information from local hospitals and other health care providers also may be used to investigatepatterns of disease in a specific population. TDH and ATSDR look at appropriate and availablehealth outcome data when there is a completed exposure pathway or community concern. Due to alack of completed exposure pathways and no identified community health concerns associated with State Marine, we did not review health outcome data.
ATSDR's Child Health Initiative recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and childrendemand special emphasis in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. Children are at greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to hazardous substancesemitted from waste sites and emergency events. They are more likely to be exposed because theyplay outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. They are shorter than adults,which means they breathe dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground. Children are alsosmaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. The developing bodysystems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growthstages. Most importantly, children depend completely on adults for risk identification andmanagement decisions, housing decision, and access to medical care.
ATSDR evaluated the likelihood for children living in the vicinity of the State Marine site to beexposed to site contaminants at levels of health concern. ATSDR did not identify situations inwhich children were likely to have been exposed to site contaminants. Children are not likely to beexposed to contaminants in sediments or soils from State Marine. There is no evidence that childrenare trespassing on the site; however, if children were to frequently trespass on this site they could be at risk from chemical contaminants and from physical hazards/debris on the site.
- Although site-related contaminants have been detected in surface water, soil, and sediment,we were not able to identify any current situations where exposure is occurring at a levelassociated with adverse health outcomes. This is because either contaminant concentrationsare not great enough to be a public health hazard, or contact with contaminated media eitherwould be unlikely or limited. Because of a lack of information, we could not assess the public health significance of exposure to site contaminants through the foodchain(fish/shellfish). We concluded that this exposure pathway was an indeterminate publichealth hazard.
- In the past, people may have been exposed to sulfur compounds in the air; however, becauseof a general lack of historical ambient air data we could not assess the potential public healthsignificance of this pathway. We concluded that in the past this pathway was anindeterminate public health hazard. Currently, this pathway poses no public health hazard.
- Available evidence indicates that in the past, site contaminants were discharged into theSabine Neches Intracoastal canal; however, recent surface water concentrations were notavailable for review. It is unlikely that exposure to contaminants in surface water would beof health concern since: 1) the probability of ingesting surface water is very low, 2) thefrequency and duration of any contact with surface water would be very low, and 3) thesurface area of skin that potentially could come into contact with contaminated water would be small.
- Trespassers and other people who gain access to the site could come into contact withcontaminated soil; however, it is unlikely that periodic contact with this soil would pose an apparent public health hazard.
- Site related contaminants have been identified in sediment. We have concluded thatcontaminants in the sediment pose no apparent public health hazard because: 1) theprobability of ingesting sediment is very low, 2) the frequency and duration of any contactwith sediment would be very low, and 3) the surface area of skin that potentially could come into contact with contaminated sediment would be small.
- We were not able to identify anyone who was using the groundwater beneath the site for potable purposes. Groundwater poses no public health hazard.
- Seafood, including fish and crabs normally caught and eaten by area fishermen, should besampled from Sabine Lake and the Intracoastal Canal in the vicinity of State Marine. Samples should be edible portions and should be analyzed for PAHs to assess the publichealth significance of eating fish and other seafood caught in the vicinity of State Marine.
- TDH/ATSDR should evaluate new data as it becomes available.
- In the absence of remedial activities, the public health significance of contaminants on thesite should be re-evaluated if site conditions change or if the land is used for residential purposes.
- EPA plans to conduct the remedial investigation.
- TDH/ATSDR will coordinate fish and seafood sampling and testing with EPA and TDHSeafood Safety Division.
Susan L. Prosperie, M.S., R.S.
Health Risk Assessment & Toxicology Program
John F. Villanacci, Ph.D.
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program
Matthew Garabedian, MPH
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program
Administrative Technician I
Health Risk Assessment and Toxicology Program
ATSDR Regional Representative
Senior Regional Representative
ATSDR - Region 6
This Health Assessment was prepared by the Texas Department of Health under a cooperativeagreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is inaccordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the Health Assessment was initiated.
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SAB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this Public Health Assessment and concurs with its findings.
Chief, SPC, SAB, DHAC, ATSDR
- Hazard Ranking System Documentation Record for State Marine of Port Arthur.TXD099801102, Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas. November 1997.
- Texas Department of Water Resources. Interoffice memorandum. Site Inspection of State Marine. August 29, 1980.
- Texas Department of Water Resources. Interoffice Memorandum to Carl Forrester, General Counsel from Chip Volz, Solid Waste Compliance Unit. December 31, 1982.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Superfund NPL Assessment Program (SNAP)Database. March 6, 1998.
- Texas Department of Health. Record of Communication Files for State Marine. Site Visit Reports. August 4, 1998 and September 21, 1998.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1991. Census of Population and Housing, Summary Tape File 1 [machine-readable data files]. The Bureau, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1990. Census of Population and Housing, Summary Tape File 3A. The Bureau, Washington, D.C.
- ATSDR Health Assessment Guidance Manual. U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices, Public Health Service. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry:Atlanta, Georgia 1992.