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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

U.S. NAVY PORT HADLOCK DETACHMENT (INDIAN ISLAND DEPOT)
PORT HADLOCK, JEFFERSON COUNTY, WASHINGTON


SUMMARY

The Weapons Support Facility, Seal Beach, Detachment Port Hadlock (Port Hadlock) is on Indian Island in Jefferson County, Washington. In 1939, the Navy purchased Indian Island to use as a storage site for explosives, seaplanes, and antisubmarine cable nets. Currently, the site is used to receive, store, segregate, maintain, and issue Naval ordnance. A variety of hazardous materials have been handled, stored, and disposed at Port Hadlock, resulting in soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, and shellfish contamination. Seventeen sites with potential contamination have been identified by the Navy.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conducted a site visit in 1994 because the site was on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL). During the site visit, Port Hadlock's North End Landfill (Site 10) and Central Island disposal site (Site 21) were identified as areas that could be associated with potential health hazards. ATSDR also identified community concerns, which are addressed in this document. One of the community concerns--consumption of contaminated shellfish along the north-northwestern shores of Marrowstone Island--was identified as a potential health hazard.

ATSDR has conducted a public health assessment (PHA) for the Port Hadlock site to determine whether releases to the environment pose past, current, or potential future health hazards. In June 1998, ATSDR released a Public Comment Release PHA and asked the public, site representatives, and regulators to provide comments. The comments were incorporated into the PHA, and the Agency released a final PHA on September 30, 1998. After this release date, however, ATSDR received additional shellfish monitoring data and new information on shellfish consumption patterns. This version of the PHA has been updated to incorporate these new findings.

Consumption of Contaminated Shellfish Located Adjacent to Site 10 and Along Boggy Spit

Shellfish harvesting from beaches immediately adjacent to Site 10 (beach 19) and along Boggy Spit (beaches 1 and 2) has been banned since 1988. The Navy issued this ban because these areas have been impacted by contaminants from Port Hadlock's Site 10. Metals, ordnance compounds, pesticides, and semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) have been detected in shellfish samples collected from beds adjacent to Site 10 and along Boggy Spit.

ATSDR's analysis of consumption patterns and data collected prior to 1988 indicates that it is unlikely that exposures to shellfish caused health hazards in the past. Nevertheless, because contaminants were present in the shellfish, a ban was installed in 1988 to prevent exposures. This ban is still in place, thus making it unlikely that anyone is eating the shellfish. Available data are not adequate to firmly conclude whether contaminant levels could pose health hazards if the ban were not in place. There is great interest in reopening these areas to shellfish harvesting activities in the future. Measures taken by the Navy will prevent future health hazards by (1) minimizing further contamination of the marine environment, and (2) ensuring that the beaches remain closed until the contaminant concentrations are at levels that do not pose a health hazard.

Consumption of Contaminated Shellfish Along the North-Northwestern Shores of Marrowstone Island

Only very limited past sampling data exist. ATSDR was unable, therefore, to conclusively state whether consuming shellfish along the north-northwestern shores of Marrowstone Island posed a past health hazard. Based on data recently collected by ATSDR, current and future consumption of shellfish is not expected to pose health hazards, however. Although community members suspect that contaminants from Port Hadlock's Site 10 could affect Marrowstone Island's shores, Foster Wheeler Environmental Corporation's Final Site Work Plan; Site 10 North End Landfill document and the ROD do not identify Site 10 as a likely source.

Consumption of Groundwater Potentially Impacted by Site 21

The only production wells in the vicinity of Site 21 are backup water supply wells No. 1 (located 1,500 feet north of Site 21) and No. 2 (located 100 feet south of Site 21). The wells were installed in 1941 and may have been used from 1941 to 1945; however, data are not available to address possible exposures to groundwater contamination during this 4-year period. Because these wells are not currently in use, they do not pose a current public health hazard. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that future consumption of groundwater in the vicinity of Site 21 will pose a public health hazard. The Washington Department of Ecology, EPA, and the Navy are analyzing groundwater reports that are associated with the area. If these agencies decide that contaminant concentrations pose a public health hazard, then backup water supply wells Nos. 1 and 2 will be abandoned and deed restrictions will be implemented to prevent the installation of future wells.

The Other 15 Sites Identified at Port Hadlock

An analysis of the other 15 Port Hadlock sites indicates that these sites do not pose a public health hazard because (1) no site-related contaminants were present; (2) contaminant concentrations detected are too low to pose a health hazard; (3) past and current exposures to the general public have been prevented by strict security measures; (4) past and current exposures to Naval and remedial workers are infrequent and, if deemed necessary, conducted with personal protective equipment (PPE); and/or (5) affected areas have been or will be remediated.


BACKGROUND

Site Description and History

    Site Description

The Weapons Support Facility, Seal Beach, Detachment Port Hadlock (Port Hadlock) is on Indian Island in Jefferson County, Washington (see Figure 1). Indian Island is 5 miles long, ½ mile wide, and consists of 2,700 acres. Indian Island is bordered by Kilisut Harbor to the east, by Port Townsend Bay to the west and north, and by Oak Bay and Portage Canal to the south. Indian Island is connected to Olympic Peninsula and Marrowstone Island by public highways (see Figure 2). A variety of hazardous materials have been handled, stored, and disposed at Port Hadlock, resulting in soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, and shellfish contamination.

    Operational Activities

In 1939, the Navy purchased Indian Island to use as a storage site for explosives, seaplanes, and antisubmarine cable nets. Currently, the site is used to receive, store, segregate, maintain, and issue Naval ordnance (EFA Northwest 1998a; URS 1995a). Contaminants generated during operational activities include ordnance compounds, metals, semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides (Navy 1996; URS 1995a).

    Remedial and Regulatory History

Investigations at Port Hadlock are being conducted through the Navy's Installation Restoration (IR) program. The IR program is designed to identify, evaluate, and clean up environmental contamination resulting from past waste management practices. Port Hadlock was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) in June 1994. The Navy has identified 17 sites with potential contamination at Port Hadlock (Navy 1996, EFA Northwest 1998b).These sites are listed in Appendix A and some are depicted in Figure 2.

Local Demographics

There are 14 military residences located at Port Hadlock, and 250 private residences (approximately 500 people) on the adjacent Marrowstone Island (EFA Northwest 1995; URS 1995a). The nearest Olympic Peninsula communities, Hadlock and Irondale, are located approximately 1.1 and 1.7 miles west of Indian Island, respectively (URS 1995a). Port Townsend is the most populated area in the vicinity of Port Hadlock and is located across Port Townsend Bay and approximately 2 miles north (SCS Engineers 1987).

Land Use and Natural Resources

    Marine Environment

Shellfishing along the shores of Indian Island is limited to Native American tribal members and Naval employees, all of whom must have state licenses (EFA Northwest 1997a). Shellfish harvesting is currently allowed along certain parts of Indian Island, the northern end of Marrowstone Island (e.g., Fort Flagler State Park), the northwestern end of Marrowstone Island, and between Marrowstone and Indian Island (e.g., Mystery Bay State Park).

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the shellfish beds near Site 10 are some of the most productive in the state (URS 1995b). Prior to 1988, Port Hadlock employees collected shellfish from beaches immediately adjacent to Site 10 (beach 19-see Figure 3) and along Boggy Spit (beaches 1 and 2-see Figure 3) on a recreational basis (Marconi 1998). According to one site representative, community members (including native American tribal representatives) may have harvested shellfish from the beaches on a sporadic basis in the past, but they could not have used the area for subsistence fishing because strict security measures prevented regular access (Marconi 1998).

According to site reports, materials from Site 10 have been released into the marine environment via erosion, surface water runoff, and groundwater discharge (Navy 1996; URS 1995b). The releases from Site 10 prompted the Navy, with the concurrence of the Washington State Department of Health (WDOH), to place a ban on shellfishing activities at beaches 1, 2, and 19 (WDOH 1991, 1996; EFA Northwest 1996a). The ban has been in place since 1988 as a precautionary measure and will remain in place until the shellfish are considered safe to eat (Marconi 1998). Signs are posted to inform people of the bans in these areas (EFA Northwest 1997a).

Before the ban was installed, Native American tribes had initiated an effort to gain access to beaches 1, 2, and 19. They were granted access one year after the shellfish ban was installed. Therefore, the tribes have not been able to harvest along the beaches since they gained access to the area (Marconi 1998). There is significant public and tribal interest in reopening beaches 1, 2, and 19 for shellfish harvesting (EFA Northwest 1995; Foster Wheeler 1996a).

    Water Supply

Backup water supply wells Nos. 1 and 2 were drilled on Indian Island in 1941, and the water from these wells may have supplied the island until 1945. Port Hadlock has been purchasing its water from Port Townsend since 1945. Port Townsend's water is treated according to the EPA's Safe Drinking Water Act and is safe to drink.

ATSDR Involvement

    Site Visit

From March 29 to 31, 1994, staff members from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) met with personnel from the Navy, EPA-Region 10, Washington Department of Fisheries, Washington Department of Ecology, WDOH, and local citizens and conducted a site visit of Port Hadlock. Although no immediate public health hazards were identified, ATSDR identified two sites that could pose health hazards:

  • the North End Landfill (Site 10), which is associated with shellfish contamination; and
  • the Central Island disposal site (Site 21), which is associated with groundwater contamination.

ATSDR also identified community concerns. Sites 10, 21, and all community concerns will be discussed in subsequent sections of this Public Health Assessment (PHA).

ATSDR visited Port Hadlock again on April 27-30, 1998. ATSDR performed an exposure investigation of Marrowstone Island during this site visit and met with personnel from the Navy, Washington State Department of Health, and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    ATSDR Technical Review of the Final Record of Decision (ROD) for the Port Hadlock Detachment, Indian Island, Washington

A ROD is a document outlining activities that need to be pursued for sites identified as potentially contaminated. In 1995, a ROD was issued by the Navy for Port Hadlock. The ROD outlined corrective activities for Sites 10 and 21, but stated that no further activities are required for Sites 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, and 22. In October 1995, ATSDR released a Technical Review of the ROD stating ATSDR's concurrence with their recommendations.

    ATSDR's PHA

ATSDR has conducted a PHA for the Port Hadlock site to determine whether releases to the environment pose past, current, or potential future health hazards. (ATSDR conducts these assessments to determine whether health advisories or additional studies need to be issued or conducted to evaluate and mitigate adverse human health effects.) In June 1998, ATSDR released a Public Comment Release PHA and asked the public, site representatives, and regulators to provide comments. The comments were incorporated into the PHA, and the Agency released a final PHA on September 30, 1998. After this release date, however, ATSDR received additional shellfish monitoring data and new information on shellfish consumption patterns. This version of the PHA has been updated to incorporate these new findings.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing the PHA, ATSDR relies on the information provided in the referenced documents and contacts. Documents prepared for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) programs must meet specific standards for adequate quality assurance and control measures for chain-of-custody procedures, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The validity of the analyses and conclusions drawn in this document are determined by the availability and reliability of the referenced information.



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