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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on an evaluation of available information, ATSDR has reached the following conclusions:

  1. WNY and surrounding communities are connected to the Washington, D.C. municipal water system. There are no known private wells in the vicinity being used as a drinking water supply and no known exposures to contaminated groundwater. Therefore, ATSDR concludes that groundwater poses no apparent public health hazard.

  2. Exposure to WNY surface water and sediment is minimal, limited to infrequent dermal contact from fishing, boating, and other recreational activities. People do not swim in or drink water from WNY runoff, outfalls, or the Anacostia River. ATSDR categorizes such infrequent, short-duration exposure to chemical contaminants in surface water and sediment near WNY as posing no apparent public health hazards.

  3. Exposure to contaminated soil at WNY is largely prevented due to the inaccessibility of soils, most of which are covered by pavement. In the past, however, people may have been exposed to elevated lead levels in the surface soil at Admiral's Row. Current and potential future exposures have been prevented by Navy interim measures and education efforts. ATSDR concludes that although past exposure to lead-contaminated soil may have posed a past health hazard to children, current and potential future exposures are minimal, if they occur at all, and pose no apparent public health hazard.

  4. The Anacostia River fish population has been affected by chemical pollutants released from a variety of point (e.g., sanitary sewer pipe discharges) and non-point (e.g., stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows) sources along the river. Some contamination accumulated by fish possibly came from releases associated with former WNY operations. Reported concentrations of chemical residues in locally-caught fish could pose a public health hazard for people who do not follow the Washington, D.C., fish consumption advisory for the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. ATSDR recommends that the Washington, D.C., Department of Public Health continue its fish consumption advisory for the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and post additional fish advisory warning signs in visible locations along the lower reaches of the Anacostia River.

  5. ATSDR recommends that The National Park Service improve the fishing advisory signs so that they are more easily seen in Anacostia Park.

  6. ATSDR will assist local groups in raising awareness among residents and health care providers about the fish consumption advisory.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for WNY contains a description of actions taken and those to be taken, as necessary, by ATSDR, the Navy, EPA, EPA Region III, and Washington, D.C., Department of Public Health at and in the vicinity of the base subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that the public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions that are completed, being implemented, or planned are as follows:

Completed Actions

  1. On the basis of the 1996 Site Investigation report, the Navy has conducted removal actions and/or Engineering Evaluations/Cost Analysis at the following sites:

    • Site 6: A removal action was completed in November 1997 at the Coal Storage Yard (south of Building 116) to remove PCBs, dioxins, metals, PAHs, and the contaminants detected in the 1996 final SI report.

    • Site 10: For the Admiral's Row housing, an EE/CA report was finalized in February 1998 addressing the abatement of lead in soil.

    • Site 14: At Building 292, a removal action was completed in November 1997 to remove PCBs.

    • Site 16: A removal action was completed in June 1999 to remove mercury from subsurface soil. Further soil removal occurred during remedial activities.

    • The Navy sampled for dioxins in the sediment from storm sewer outfalls 1 and 5 but did not find elevated levels.

    • The Navy removed contaminated sediments from the storm sewers.

  2. The Navy has also initiated an awareness program for construction workers, employees, and residents of WNY to alert the public about the hazards of working and living on a 200-year old military base.

  3. The Navy completed site removal evaluations at Sites 7, 11, and 13, and determined that no immediate removal actions were necessary. PCB-contaminated soil was removed from Site 13.

  4. ATSDR conducted site visits to the WNY in February and September 1999.

Ongoing/Planned Actions

  1. The Navy will continue to create and enforce land use controls, as necessary, to ensure that the public is not exposed to any contaminated areas unfit for residential use.

  2. The Navy continues to remediate contaminated groundwater at Site 16 and evaluate base-wide groundwater contamination.

  3. Washington, D.C., Department of Public Health will post additional fish advisory warning signs in visible locations along the lower reaches of the Anacostia River.

  4. ATSDR will reassess any new data when they become available and reevaluate, if necessary, its conclusions of potential public health hazards.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

This report was prepared under the direction and supervision of:

Laura Frazier
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Gary Campbell, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Tom Stukas
Regional Representative
ATSDR Region 3


REFERENCES

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). 1994. Toxicological Profile for Chlordane (Update). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Research Triangle Institute. May 1994.

ATSDR. 1995. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) (Update). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Research Triangle Institute. August 1995.

ATSDR. 1998. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health Consultation, Anacostia River Initiative, Washington, District of Columbia, July 8, 1998.

ATSDR 1999a. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Site visit to Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. February 16, 1999 through February 18, 1999.

ATSDR. 1999b. Toxicological Profile for Lead (Update). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Research Triangle Institute. July 1999.

ATSDR. 2000. Toxicological Profile for Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) (Update). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Syracuse Research Corporation. November 2000.

Bekele, J. 2000. Phone conversation between Jerusalem Bekele, Office of Water Quality, Washington, D.C. Department of Health and ERG, regarding recent Anacostia River water quality and fish tissue studies. ATSDR Record of Communication. July 28, 2000.

Block, E. 1990. Organochlorine Residues and Histopathological Examination of Fish from the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, Washington, D.C., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Annapolis, MD.

CH2MHILL. 1998. Final Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) Admiral's Row - Site 10, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., Department of the Navy, Atlantic Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. CTO-0040. June 1998.

CH2MHILL. 1999. Final Update One Corrective Action Management Plan for RCRA Facility Investigation and Removal Actions, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., Department of the Navy, Atlantic Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. CTO-58. January 1999.

Coffin, R., M. Orr, L. Cifuentes, and J. Pohlman. 1998. Contaminant Distribution and Fate in Anacostia River Sediments: Particulate Transport Survey. Naval Research Laboratory. NRL/MR/6115-98-8139. February 27, 1998.

DC DCRA. 1994a. District of Columbia, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The District of Columbia Water Quality Assessment, 1994 Report to the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Congress Pursuant to Section 305(b) Clean Water Act, DCRA/Environmental Regulation Administration, Washington, D.C.

DC DCRA. 1994b. District of Columbia, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. District of Columbia Fishing Regulations, DCRA/Environmental Regulation Administration, Washington, D.C.

DC DCRA. 1996. District of Columbia, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Environmental Regulation Administration, Washington D.C. Anacostia River Toxics Management Action Plan (Draft). April 8, 1996.

DC Department of Health. 1999. Project Performance Report, F-2-R-13, 1998 Recreational Fishing Survey of the District of Columbia. Government of the District of Columbia. Department of Health. Environmental Health Administration. Fisheries and Wildlife Division. EPA and Chesapeake Bay Program Office. February 1999.

DC Department of Health. 2001. 2001 District of Columbia Fish Tissues Analysis Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1994. Guidance for assessing chemical contaminant data for use in fish advisories. Volume II: Risk assessment and fish consumption limits. Office of Science and Technology. Office of Water. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. June 15, 1994.

DC Department of Health. 2001. Comments on ATSDR's public comment version of the Public Health Assessment for Washington Navy Yard dated September 12, 2001. Environmental Health Administration. Bureau of Environmental Quality. Water Quality Division. October 31, 2001.

EPA and the Chesapeake Bay Program Office. 1999. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Chesapeake Bay Program Office. What Happens When It Rains? Addressing Wet Weather Pollution Challenges in the Washington Metropolitan Area (Draft Report). February 12, 1999.

EPA. 1996. Proposed guidelines for cancer risk assessment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA/600/P-92/003C.

EPA. 2000. EPA Environmental News, U.S. Navy Research Vessel Helps Anacostia Watershed with Chemical Contaminant Cleanup, July 19, 2000.

Interstate Commission. 1996. Anacostia River Toxics Management Action Plan--DRAFT. (Submitted by) Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, (Submitted to) District of Columbia Environmental Regulation Administration. April 8, 1996.

Miller, P. 1999. Paul Miller of the Navy, ATSDR record of communication with Eastern Research Group, regarding a site update and data gaps. July 28, 1999.

MWCOG. 1997. Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Draft Anacostia Watershed Restoration Progress and Conditions Report 1990-1996. Washington, D.C. 1997.

Navy. 1999. Draft Final Site Management Plan Fulfilling Submission Requirements for: Final Corrective Action Management Plan (CAMP). Department of the Navy, Atlantic Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Contract No. N62470-95-D-6007 CTO-58). Norfolk, Virginia. July 1999.

Navy. 2000. FFA Draft Final Remedial Investigation for Site 16, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. Department of the Navy, Atlantic Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Contract No. N62470-95-D-6007 CTO-0039). Norfolk, Virginia. November 2000.

Navy. 2001. Navy consolidated comments on the public health assessment for Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. November 2001.

NFEC. 1996. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Department of the Navy Chesapeake Division. Final Site Investigation, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., Volume 1 of 111, Text. CTO-0289. September 1996.

NFEC. 1999. Draft final management plan. Fulfilling submission requirements for: Final corrective action management plan (CAMP). Department of the Navy. Atlantic Division. Naval Facilities Engineering Command. July 1999.

NFEC. 2001. Personal correspondence from Lance Laughmiller, Installation Restoration Section, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. April 24, 2001.

Final corrective action management plan (CAMP). Department of the Navy. Atlantic Division. Naval Facilities Engineering Command. July 1999.

NGF. No date. United States Naval Gun Factory. Brief History of the Washington Navy Yard: Fact Sheet. United States Navy.

NOAA. 1999. Developed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Response and Restoration, Coastal Protection and Restoration Division. Anacostia River Watershed Database and Mapping Project. Release One. November 1999. CD-Rom database provided to ATSDR June, 2000. Contains water quality, sediment, and fish tissue data from EPA, NOAA, and state departments.

Pinkney, A.E., W.H. Burton, L.C. Scott, and J.B. Frithsen (1993) An Assessment of Potential Effects of the January 1992 Oil Spill in the Anacostia River, Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD.

Pinkney, A., J.C. Harshbarger, E.W. May, and M. Melancon. 2000. Tumor prevalence and biomarkers of exposure and response in Brown Bullheads (Ameiurus nebulosus) from the Tidal Potomac River Watershed. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. CBFO-C99-04. March 2000.

Sommerfield, M. and J.D. Cummins. 1989. Statistical Analysis of Fish Tissue Toxics Data Collected by the District of Columbia. Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, Rockville, MD.

USACE. 1990. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Anacostia River and Tributaries, District of Columbia and Maryland, Reconnaissance Report. USACE Baltimore District, Baltimore, MD.

Velinsky, D.J., H.C. Haywood, T.L. Wade, and E. Reinharz. 1992. Sediment Contamination Studies of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers Around the District of Columbia, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Report # 94-2, Rockville, MD.

Velinsky, D.J., B. Gruessner, and C. Haywood. 1994. Determination of the Volume of Contaminated Sediments in the Anacostia River: District of Columbia (Draft Report). Government of the District of Columbia, Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, Environmental Regulation Administration. 1994.

Velinsky, D.J. and J.D. Cummins. 1994. Distribution of Chemical Contaminants in Wild Fish Species in Washington, D.C., Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Report # 94-1, Rockville, MD.

Velinsky, D.J. and J.D. Cummins. 1996. Distribution of Chemical Contaminants in 1993-1995 Wild Fish Species in Washington, D.C., Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Report # 96-1, Rockville, MD. July 1996.

Velinsky, D.J. 2000. David J. Velinsky of the Academy of Natural Sciences, ATSDR record of communication with Eastern Research Group, regarding a site update and data gaps. August 21, 2000.

Wade, T.L., D.J. Velinsky, E. Reinharz, and C.E. Schlekat. 1994. Tidal River Sediments in the Washington, D.C. Area. II. Distribution and Sources of Organic Contaminants. 1994.

Washington Navy Yard (WNY). 2001. The Naval Center. Washington Navy Yard web page. http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/nhcorg8.htm . January 2001.


TABLES

Table 1. Exposure Hazards Summary, Washington Navy Yard

Exposure Scenario Time Frame Exposure
Yes/No
Hazard Actions Taken/Recommended
Exposure to groundwater underlying WNY. Past
Current
Future
Past, current, and future: No known exposures No apparent hazard • ATSDR supports the Navy's activities in remediating contaminated groundwater at WNY.
Dermal contact with surface water and sediments, both on- and off-site. Past
Current
Future
Past, current, and future: Minimal exposure, if any, to surface water and sediment. Local residents do not swim or drink from WNY runoff, outfalls, or the Anacostia River. No apparent hazard • The Navy has removed contaminated sediments from the WNY storm sewer system.
Dermal contact with surface soil at Admiral's Row (Site 10). Past
Current
Future
Past: Yes
Current, and future: No
Past: possible health hazard for children
Current and future: No apparent hazard
• It is not known whether or not children were exposed to hazardous soil lead levels in the past, but current exposure is prevented by Navy interim actions (fencing, sign posting, and land use restrictions).
• The Navy initiated an education awareness program to further reduce risks.
• The Navy will complete a record of decision with respect to lead in soil at Admiral's Row. The Navy is currently managing the soil in place until a risk assessment can be completed.
Consumption of contaminated fish caught in the lower reaches of the Anacostia River. Past
Current
Future
Past, current, and future: Yes Past, current, and future: Hazard • Anacostia River fish toxicity is a regional issue.
• Washington, D.C., Department of Public Health has instituted an advisory against eating fish caught from the Anacostia River. The advisory was reviewed and updated with stronger language in 1994.
• Washington, D.C., Department of Public Health will post additional fish advisory warning signs and continue its public outreach programs. ATSDR recommends that the National Park Service improve the fishing advisory signs so that they are more easily seen in Anacostia Park.


Table 2. Summary of Lower Anacostia River Fish Tissue Studies

Contaminant Study/Database Maximum Concentration (ppm) Date Sample Collected FDA Level (ppm)
Mercury Pinkney et al. 1993
Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed Database
0.144 (Carp)
0.091 (COC)
0.164 (AE)
1992
1994
1980-1995
1
Lead Pinkney et al. 1993
Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed Database
0.037 (Carp)
0.254 (Sunfish)
2.0 (LMB)
1992
1993
1980-1995
no value
PAHs, total Pinkney et al. 1993
Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed Database
DC Department of Health 2001
0.306 (Carp)
3.4265 (CC)
no data
0.122 (CC)
1992
1993
--
2000
no value
Naphthalene Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed Database
0.052 (CC)
no data
1993
---
no value
PCBs, total 2 Pinkney et al. 1993
Anacostia Watershed Database
Bullhead Study 2000
DC Department of Health 2001
17.951(CC)
2.4 (CC)
0.907 (BB)
2.49 (CC)
1992
---
1997
2000
2
DDT, total Pinkney et al. 1993
Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed Database
Pinkney et al. 2000
DC Department of Health 2001
2.048 (Carp)
0.177 (CC)
0.501 (CC)
0.160 (BB)
0.375 (CC)
1992
1993
---
1997
2000
5
Chlordane 2 Pinkney et al. 1993
Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed
Pinkney et al. 2000
DC Department of Health 2001
2.456 (Carp)
0.182 (CC)
0.622 (CC)
0.187 (BB)
0.338 (CC)
1992
1993
---
1997
2000
0.3
Dieldrin Velinsky and Cummins 19961
Anacostia Watershed Database
Pinkney et al. 2000
DC Department of Health 2001
0.0254 (CC)
0.052 (CC)
0.183 (BB)
0.019 (CC)
1993
---
1997
2000
0.3

Key: BB=brown bullhead; CC=channel catfish; COC=common catfish; AE=American eel. Bolded values exceed FDA action or tolerance level.
1 In addition to presenting new data (1993-1995), Velinsky and Cummins (1996) summarized data for three other studies: Block 1990; Sommerfield and Cummins 1989; and Velinsky and Cummins 1994.
2 Higher PCB (up to 17 ppm) and chlordane (2.456 ppm) concentrations in lower Anacostia River fish were reported by Pinkney et al. (1993), a study which was initiated after a January 1992 oil spill unrelated to WNY operations. It is unclear why fish tissue contaminant concentrations reported in the Pinkney study are much higher than those reported by other studies. A close examination of the methods used and quality assurance/quality control results produced no specific causes. Fish collected for the Pinkney study may have been old, large, and from locations of higher pollutant load, factors that greatly influence fish tissue contaminant concentrations.


Table 3. Exposure Pathways at Washington Navy Yard

Pathway Name Potential Source of Contamination Environ-mental Medium Point of Exposure Route of Exposure Time of Exposure Exposed Population Comments
Groundwater
(on-site)
WNY activities have affected groundwater underlying military property, primarily with metals. Groundwater • None Known

• There are no known private wells in the WNY vicinity and no future plans for groundwater use as potable water.

• None Past, Current, and Future:
• No known exposures have occurred n or are future exposures likely to occur. Underlying groundwater does not supply on-site drinking water.
Past, Current, and Future:
• None known
Past, Current and Future:
• On- and off-site residents receive drinking water from a municipal source which meets federal and state drinking water standards (e.g., EPA's MCL).

Groundwater underlying WNY poses no apparent public health hazard because there are no known exposures.

Surface Water and Sediment
(on- and off-site)
PCBs, PAHs, metals, and pesticides from numerous unidentified point and nonpoint sources in the Anacostia watershed, potentially including WNY activities and on-site storm drainage network. Surface water and sediment Off-site exposure to surface water and sediment (Anacostia River) Dermal contact Past, Current and Future:
• Minimal exposure, if any, to surface water and sediment will occur. Local residents do not swim or drink from WNY runoff, outfalls, or the Anacostia River.
Past, Current and Future:
• Local residents
Past, Current and Future:
• Most of the contamination in the WNY vicinity occurs in WNY drainage ditches and the Anacostia River sediment. There is minimal, if any, public exposure to these sediment.
• No one drinks local surface waters so there is no public exposure to this water.
• Incidental exposure to sediment is not likely to present a public health hazard.

Past, current, and future exposures to on- and off-site surface water and sediment pose no apparent public health hazards.

Soil
(on-site)
Admiral's Row (Site 10) surface soils contained lead concentrations (up to 18,700 ppm) above ATSDR comparison values for residential areas. The primary contamination source is lead paint peeling from WNY buildings. Soil Past:
• On-site surface soil at specific residential houses on Admiral's Row.

Current and Future:
• Exposure to contaminated surface soil is largely prevented because the majority of the land's surface is paved, covered by buildings, fenced, and/or lies in restricted land use locations.

Incidental ingestion of or dermal contact with contaminated soil or inhalation of fugitive dust Past:
• Incidental exposure of unknown duration.

Current and Future:
• None.

Past:
• On-site residents, workers, trespassers, and (most susceptible) children.

Current and Future:
• None.

Past:
• People may have been exposed to elevated lead levels in surface soil that may have posed child health hazards.
• Due to insufficient historical data on the extent of lead contamination, the exact child health implications from past exposures remain indeterminate.

Current and Future:
• The public is not exposed to contaminated surface soils because Navy interim actions (e.g., fencing, sign posting, land use restrictions) prevent exposure to contaminated areas.

Past exposure to Admiral's Row surface soil is a completed exposure pathway that may have posed a child health hazard. Current and future exposures to WNY surface soils pose no apparent health hazard.

Consumption of Local Fish
(Off-site in the lower reaches of the Anacostia River, in the WNY vicinity)
PCBs, PAHs, metals, and pesticides from numerous unidentified point and nonpoint sources in the Anacostia watershed, potentially including WNY activities and on-site storm drainage network. Local fish populations Consumption of locally-caught fish Ingestion Past, Current, and Future:
• Unknown.
Past, Current, and Future:
• Local anglers who disregard the Washington, D.C., Public Health no fish consumption advisory.
Past, Current, and Future:
• Fish in the lower Anacostia River have been impacted primarily by PCBs, although metals, pesticides, and dioxins were also detected in fish tissue.
• PCB concentrations in local fish may pose a public health hazard if consumed.

Past, current, and future consumption of locally-caught fish poses a potential public health hazard; the no fish consumption advisory for the Anacostia River should continue to be observed.



FIGURES

Area Map
Figure 1. Area Map

Demographics Statistics Near the Washington Navy Yard
Figure 2. Demographics Statistics Near the Washington Navy Yard

Location of Installation Restoration Program Sites
Figure 3. Location of Installation Restoration Program Sites

ATSDR's Exposure Evaluation Process
Figure 4. ATSDR's Exposure Evaluation Process



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