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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
VOLUNTEER ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT
CHATTANOOGA, HAMILTON COUNTY, TENNESSEE


FACILITY NO. TN6210020933
September 7, 2004



Potential Exposure to Contaminants in Surface Soil

For most portions of VAAP, there are no potential public health hazards from possible past, current, and future exposure to surface soil at VAAP. Soil data from VAAP-32 suggests some samples contain high concentrations of TNT, however the location and depth (surface or sub-surface soil) of these samples is not known. The potential for past VAAP worker exposures and future construction worker exposures to contaminants in surface soil at VAAP-32 TNTMV can not be determined. ATSDR expects that the planned future investigations and remedial actions will eliminate potential exposure concerns for future workers.

During TNT production operations, on-site workers at VAAP may have been exposed to contaminants in surface soil throughout the portions of the installation used for TNT production and production waste disposal. Physical evidence suggests that trespassers may have been exposed to potential soil contaminants in the non-industrial, storage areas of the installation. In the past, VAAP maintained a deer hunting program for wildlife management (GSA ND, Public Comment 2004b). Current reuse plans call for mixed industrial and recreational use of VAAP, therefore the installation will be accessed primarily by workers in the industrial areas and recreational users in park and recreation land. None of the past TNT production area is planned for future residential development.

Land Use

VAAP was historically used as a TNT manufacturing facility. Production occurred during periods of war from 1942 until 1977 (Army 2003a). A fertilizer (ammonium nitrate) manufacturing facility operated continuously at VAAP from 1962 until 1982 (IT Corp 1994). The main production facilities for both TNT and fertilizer were located in the western portion of VAAP, with the eastern portion of the installation housing TNT storage facilities.

Currently, VAAP is undergoing environmental investigations, remediation, and redevelopment. Redevelopment plans call for a mixture of land uses, primarily industrial areas, recreational areas, and parkland. None of the industrial or storage areas were or are planned to be used for residential homes. Former manufacturing areas in the western portion of the installation have been designated future industrial areas. An area along the western VAAP boundary, beyond the former fertilizer manufacturing facilities, has been identified as a future recreational area and utility corridor. The storage areas in the eastern portion of the installation have been designated as recreational areas and parkland (LDRI 2000).

Nature and Extent of Contamination

Soil sampling has been conducted throughout VAAP as part of ongoing investigation and remediation efforts. As described in Table 2, VAAP has been divided into 18 sites, designated VAAP-1 to 6, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, and 30 to 35. Soil sampling has been conducted in each of these areas except VAAP-30 (1947 Mustard Agent Spill), VAAP-34 (Industrial Surface Water Pollution Control Facility), and VAAP-35 (Groundwater). Soil sampling results for each site are summarized in Table 6.

VAAP sites designated for industrial reuse include VAAP-1, 4, 5, 16, 18, 21, 31, 32, and 33. Soil samples from these sites have been analyzed for explosives, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and/or inorganics. As shown in Table 6, 2,4,6-TNT, 2,4-dinitrotoluene, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, two PCBs (Aroclor-1254 and Aroclor-1260), arsenic, iron, lead, and thallium have been detected above CVs for industrial use at one or more of these sites, except VAAP-32. VAAP-32 was the main TNT production area and sampling found the greatest levels of contamination in this area. Four explosives, di-n-octylphthalate, six PAHs, five pesticides, two PCBs, arsenic, lead, and thallium have all been detected above their CVs in VAAP-32.

Recreational areas and parklands have been identified as the redevelopment plan for VAAP-2, 3, 6, 15, 20, and 23. These areas were typically used as storage areas when VAAP was active. Soil samples from these sites have been analyzed for explosives, VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, and/or inorganics. No CVs for surface soil exposure during recreational use of a site have been developed. ATSDR, therefore, compared the maximum detected contaminant concentrations at recreational reuse area against CVs for residential use. As shown in Table 6, PAHs, Aroclor-1254, arsenic, iron, lead, manganese, and thallium have been detected above their CVs for residential use at one or more of these sites, except VAAP-2. VAAP-2 includes the former fertilizer production plant. The main production area is proposed for industrial reuse, however the lesser used western portion of VAAP-2 is proposed for recreational use. While it is likely that the soil samples were collected from the production area, the information associated with the sample results did not specify the sample location. To be conservative, soil samples were compared to CVs for residential use. 3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine, nine PAHs, DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, seven PCBs, and ten inorganics were detected above their CVs in VAAP-2.

Evaluation of Potential Public Health Hazards

To evaluate whether health hazards could be associated with exposures to contaminants in surface soil, ATSDR estimated potential doses for on-site workers and recreational users (adults and children). Exposure to on-site workers include past on-site workers inadvertently contacting surface soil contamination while walking between work sites, or moving materials or equipment at any site on VAAP. Current and future on-site worker exposures were considered for the industrial areas. Limited recreational use of the installation was permitted when VAAP was active, however empty beverage containers and food wrappers were observed during the site visit suggesting possible current trespasser activity. This activity appeared to typically occur in the eastern portion of the base where soil concentrations were much lower and appeared to occur infrequently; exposures to trespassers would likely be a small fraction of that experienced by workers and were not specifically evaluated. Current and future recreational users may contact surface soil contaminants in areas of VAAP designated for reuse as recreational areas or parkland. To estimate doses, ATSDR used very protective assumptions that overestimate the levels of actual exposure. These assumptions, ATSDR's methods, and the estimated doses are further described in Appendix D and summarized in the following text:
  • Sampling detected contaminants above CVs in only a portion of the total samples collected in soil. In addition, determining the depth of each sample (surface soil versus subsurface soil) was difficult to establish. ATSDR therefore assumed that on-site workers and recreational users would contact the maximum detected contaminant concentration found in soil, regardless of depth, over the entire exposure period. This is unlikely to actually occur.

  • At VAAP-32, substantially elevated contaminant concentrations, as compared to remaining portions of VAAP, were reported in soil samples (Table 6). The depth of each soil sample could not be clearly determined and applying the conservative assumption that all soil samples represented surface soil resulted in elevated doses. ATSDR concluded that insufficient data were available to further refine dose estimates and draw accurate conclusions regarding past surface soil exposures at VAAP-32.

  • ATSDR used conservative assumptions about how often and how long people would be exposed to the chemicals measured in the environment. On-site workers were assumed to be employed at VAAP for 30 years, and to report for work at VAAP 5 days a week for 50 weeks per year (allowing for 2 weeks of vacation and holidays). Recreational users were assumed to visit the site 5 days a week each week from March through November for a period of 30 years for adults and 5 years for children. Actual exposures are expected to be less frequent and over a shorter duration.
Based on these conservative assumptions, ATSDR concluded that exposures to surface soil at VAAP, except site VAAP-32, pose no apparent public health hazard to past on-site workers, past hunters or current trespassers. Although contaminants were detected above CVs at some of these sites, further evaluation of potential exposures and the toxicological literature found that in no case were concentrations high enough to present a reasonable likelihood for harm. (See Appendix D for details of the evaluation.)

At VAAP-32, data were insufficient to fully evaluate potential past exposures to surface soil contaminants. It was not possible to identify if the soil samples were obtained from surface or subsurface soil. There was, and is, no exposure to off-site residents and no exposure is expected for future recreational users enjoying other areas of the base. Some of the soil data samples show high concentrations of explosive-related compounds. The soil data suggests there may be a potential for future construction workers or future industrial employees to come into contact with high concentrations of TNT in the soil at some locations within VAAP-32. Documents reviewed by ATSDR indicate additional investigations and remedial actions are planned for VAAP-32 (Army 2004a). These investigations are intended to identify the corrective actions necessary to protect both future construction and industrial workers. ATSDR expects that future remedial actions at VAAP-32 will eliminate potential exposure concerns for future workers.

At VAAP-2, where the reuse plan indicates recreational use for the western portion of the area and the soil sampling (likely from the actual industrial portion of the area) indicates the potential for high concentrations of metals, the exposure analysis indicates that recreational users would not be expected to contact the soil often enough or long enough to cause a health concern. The planned soil remediation efforts are expected to eliminate any potential exposure concern for future recreational users or construction workers.

VAAP-6, Eastern Magazine Area/New Storage Area, contains 100 Corbetta type magazines that were once used to store TNT prior to shipment. While no contaminants have been detected at this site, the magazines present a potential physical hazard since this area has been identified for future recreational use. ATSDR recommends that while this area is unused, the magazines be secured and periodically inspected to prevent unauthorized access.

VAAP redevelopment plans specify only industrial and recreational applications. No plans for residential development have been proposed; as a result, ATSDR did not specifically evaluate the potential future exposure for residential users of the TNT production area. Considering current and future investigations, remediation, and reuse plans, current and future potential exposures to contaminants in surface soil present no apparent public health hazard for recreational or industrial use.

Potential Exposure to Contaminants in Surface Water and Sediment

There are no potential public health hazards from possible past or current exposure to surface water or sediment at VAAP. Based on current proposed future land uses, no potential health hazards from possible future exposures are expected for VAAP-related chemicals.

Surface water at VAAP flows in two perennial streams, intermittent streams, and man-made drainage ditches and ponds. Past and current exposures to on-post surface water and sediment are limited to on-site workers or by trespassers. Residents living along VAAP boundaries may also have experienced past or current exposure to surface water and sediment leaving the installation. Under current land reuse plans, future exposures would also be limited to on-site workers and trespassers in the industrial areas or recreational users in parkland and recreation areas. The preferred alternative map indicates that almost half of the land will be used for parks or recreational opportunities. Residents living along the installation boundaries may also be exposed to surface water and sediment flowing beyond the installation boundaries. ATSDR evaluated the potential contact and resulting exposure on-site workers and recreational users could have with contaminants in the surface water and sediment.

Hydrology

There are no major streams, rivers, or lakes at VAAP. Surface water flows via two perennial and several intermittent streams. A series of man-made ponds and drainage ditches are in the western portion of the installation (IT Corp 1994). The closest major body of water is Waconda Bay, which lies less than ½ mile from the northern boundary. Waconda Bay is a part of Chickamauga Lake, a man-made reservoir in the Tennessee River, which is west of VAAP (GSA N.D.). The completion of the Chickamauga Dam in 1940 created the Chickamauga Lake (also known as Chickamauga Reservoir), and water levels at VAAP are affected by dam activity. Surface water exits VAAP in six general areas, referred to as Drainage Basins A through F (Figure 4) (IT Corp 1994).
  • Drainage Basins A and B are located in the western third of VAAP. Most of the production facilities at VAAP are housed within these two basins, the primary facility being VAAP-32 (TNT Manufacturing Valley), which straddles both basins. VAAP-2 (CFI Lease Area) is located in Drainage Basin A (except for the northern part that reaches into Drainage Basin B). VAAP-1 (East Acid Area) and VAAP-33 (New Acid Area) are both located in Drainage Basin B. A series of man-made drainage ditches and ponds carried storm water and wastewater from the production facilities to wastewater treatment facilities. VAAP records do not indicate when this storm water system was built. Drainage Basin A includes ICI COE Pond, ICI Silt Retention Pond, and Ponds 1, 4, 5, 7, and 10. Drainage Basin B includes Ponds 1 to 5 in the CFI Lease Area. For the most part, these ponds and streams contain water only intermittently; they are usually dry. Drainage Basin A drains via a stream that exits VAAP to the south and eventually flows into Friar Branch, which is a perennial stream south of VAAP. Drainage Basin B drains northward, eventually reaching Waconda Bay.

  • Drainage Basin C is occupied mainly by VAAP-5 (Western Magazine Area/Old Storage Area), which primarily contains bunkers where TNT was stored before being shipped to support war activities. Other facilities located in the basin are VAAP-16 (WW II Burning Ground), VAAP-18 (Vanadium Pentoxide/Asbestos Burial Area), VAAP-20 (Construction Debris Area/Industrial Landfill Area), VAAP-21 (WW II Landfill Area), and part of VAAP-6 (Eastern Magazine Area/New Storage Area). Drainage Basin C is the largest basin, and drains southward via Poe Branch (a perennial stream at VAAP, which flows by a public soccer field and joins Friar Branch about 1 mile south of the installation boundary).

  • Drainage Basin D is located in the north central portion of VAAP. No TNT production, storage, or disposal activities occurred here. Drainage Basin D is the smallest basin and contains several small intermittent streams that exit VAAP northward, and eventually enter the eastern shore of Waconda Bay.

  • Drainage Basin E borders Drainage Basin D to the east, and although production activities have not been associated with Drainage Basin E, VAAP-15 (New Landfill/Burning Ground), is located in this basin. Harrison Branch, one of the two perennial streams at VAAP, flows through Drainage Basin E and exits VAAP northward, eventually draining into Harrison Bay of the Chickamauga Reservoir.

  • Drainage Basin F is mainly composed of VAAP-6 (Eastern Magazine Area/New Storage Area). VAAP-23 (Redwater Ash-Gypsum Sludge Landfill), occupies 3 acres within VAAP-6. Surface water drains eastward in Drainage Basin F via several intermittent streams, eventually veering north and entering the Chickamauga Reservoir near Carson Springs (IT Corp 1994). Although there were no industrial activities located in this basin, TNT was stored in VAAP-6 and red water ash and gypsum sludge were disposed of at VAAP-23.
Land Use

Current plans indicate that some areas of VAAP will be re-used for industrial or commercial activities, while other areas will be used recreationally. The central part of VAAP (part of Drainage Basin C) is being converted to an industrial park. Southwest of the planned industrial park, a board of education facility currently exists. Areas located in the eastern half of the post and along the western edge have been identified for recreational use. Although access to most parts of VAAP is currently restricted, evidence indicates that trespassers do enter the installation for recreation. Past and current on-site employees, hunters and trespassers, and future on-site employees and recreational users may be exposed to contamination in the surface water and sediment during recreational activities at VAAP. Off-site residents may be exposed to surface water and sediment contamination during recreational use of streams as they leave the installation.

Nature and Extent of Contamination
  • Drainage Basins A and B. Surface water and sediment in Drainage Basin A were sampled in 1999, as was VAAP-23 (the Redwater Ash Landfill). Pond 7 and Pond 10, located in Drainage Basin B, were sampled for surface water and sediment as part of exploratory and confirmatory studies in 1984, and as part of the SI in 1994. Additional environmental studies are planned for surface water, sediment, and drainage ways in VAAP-32 (TNT Manufacturing Valley) (Army 2003a).

  • Drainage Basin C. As part of the 1994 SI, two surface water and two sediment samples were collected from an intermittent stream near the Industrial Landfill Area (VAAP-20) in Drainage Basin C (IT Corp 1994).

  • Drainage Basin D. No surface water or sediment sampling has occurred in Drainage Basin D because TNT production, storage, or disposal did not occur in this area.

  • Drainage Basin E. Surface water and sediment were sampled at Drainage Basin E in 1999.

  • Drainage Basin F. As part of the SI in 1994, surface water and sediment sampling was conducted at VAAP-23 (Redwater Ash/Gypsum Sludge Landfill), as it was the location most likely to be contaminated.
Surface water and sediment from each of these drainage basins was analyzed for VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, and inorganics. Surface water was also analyzed for eight different explosives, whereas sediment was analyzed for only 2,4,-dinitrotoluene and TNT. The type of contaminants detected in the surface water varied significantly between drainage basins. Arsenic and/or manganese were detected above CVs in Drainage Basins C and F. A wider variety of explosives, organics, pesticides, and inorganics were detected above CVs in Drainage Basins A and B. Contaminants detected in the surface water at concentrations above CVs in these drainage basins included five explosives, three organics, two pesticides, and eight inorganics.

The contaminants detected above CVs in the sediments were relatively similar for all of the drainage basins. All of the drainage basins had concentrations of PAHs and most had concentrations of arsenic and lead in the sediment above CVs; Drainage Basins A and B also had PCBs and a wider variety of metals. The concentration of PAHs in the sediments of Drainage Basins A and B were similar to those of the other drainage basins; the concentrations of arsenic and iron were substantially higher. Contaminant concentrations in sediment without CVs or found above CVs included PAHs (acenaphthylene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, and phenanthrene), Aroclor-1260, total PCBs, and inorganics (antimony, arsenic, iron, manganese, vanadium, chromium, thallium, and lead). Tables 7 and 8 summarize maximum contaminant concentrations detected in surface water and sediment.

Significant concentrations of explosives were detected in the surface water samples from Drainage Basins A and B. Those chemicals were not detected in the sediment but were detected in the soil samples from this drainage basin. The half-life of TNT in natural sun-lit surface water is about 0.16 to 1.28 hours due to photolysis and photooxidation; by-products of this process include trinitrobenzene and nitroanilines. Microbial transformation occurs more slowly under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The reported half-life ranges from days to months; by-products include monoaminodinitrotoluenes and diaminomononitrotoluenes. TNT is not strongly absorbed to sediment particles and tends to remain in the water column (ATSDR 1995), and therefore is expected to be available for transformation or degradation.

In soil, solid chunks of TNT may persist for years. In smaller amounts TNT may be degraded by photolysis or microbial processes. The estimated half-life for microbial transformation is approximately 1 to 6 months; the major by-products expected are monoaminodinitrotoluenes. TNT does absorb to some soil particles, but the laboratory studies are inconclusive about if soil sorption is sufficient to prevent transport though the soil column (ATSDR 1995). Given the propensity for TNT to degrade in the water column, the relatively high concentration of TNT in the water column, and lack of significant concentrations of degradation products in the water column, it is possible that there is a source that could continually be adding TNT (and other explosives) to the water column; possibly due to soil run-off. This suggests that surface water concentrations could be indicative of contaminant transport from the soil, therefore future soil remediation efforts could effectively reduce the surface water concentrations measured in the future.

Evaluation of Potential Public Health Hazards

To evaluate whether health hazards are associated with exposures to contaminants in sediment and surface water, ATSDR estimated the potential doses for recreational users (adults and children). To estimate the doses, ATSDR used very protective assumptions designed to overestimate the actual levels of exposure. These assumptions, ATSDR's methods, and the estimated doses are further described in Appendix D and summarized in the following text:
  • Sampling detected contaminants above CVs in only a portion of the total samples collected for each media. However, in evaluating potential health hazards, ATSDR assumed that people who come into contact with the environmental media are exposed to the maximum detected contaminant concentration over the entire exposure period, which is unlikely to occur.

  • ATSDR used extremely conservative assumptions about how often and how long people are exposed to a chemical. People were assumed to use streams at VAAP for recreation for 5 days per week from March through November, over the entire exposure period (30 and 5 years, for adults and children, respectively). Actual exposures are expected to be less frequent and over a shorter duration.

  • Furthermore, drinking water and surface soil CVs were used to evaluate surface water and sediment because media-specific CVs have not been developed. Recreational exposure to surface water and sediment are expected to be much less frequent and of shorter duration than assumed by exposure to drinking water and contact with surface soil.


  • Taking these conservative assumptions into consideration, although low levels of contamination were detected in samples collected from the drainage basins, contact with surface water and sediment is not expected to cause illness for off-site residents, on-site workers, past hunters, trespassers, or recreational users.

    Community Health Concerns

    ATSDR identified community health concerns through meetings with community members, state and local officials, and VAAP personnel, and through review of installation documents. This section describes the various community concerns that were identified to ATSDR and a brief summary of ATSDR's evaluation.

    Community Health Concern #1 Respiratory Problems

    Community members were concerned that the chemicals released by VAAP were causing respiratory problems and inquired how respiratory problems caused by chemical exposure were diagnosed and treated. Respiratory difficulties included difficulty breathing, severe asthma, bronchitis, and other symptoms of varying severity.

    TNT production and its support processes were the only industries operated at VAAP by the Army from 1942 to 1977. Fertilizer production also occurred between 1960 and 1982 on the western side of the base. Currently, there is no public health hazard associated with exposure to air due to those historic production processes. Likely contaminants released to the air during TNT production, and their possible health effects, are discussed in the air pathway evaluation and Appendix C. Insufficient data is available to evaluate if past exposures could lead to long-term health effects.

    Individuals who are experiencing any type of respiratory or pulmonary difficulties are encouraged to contact their physician for diagnosis and treatment. A variety of tests are available to view the lungs (i.e., X-rays) or measure lung function (i.e., spirometry). These test can help diagnose and categorize the disease; they may, or may not, be able to identify the cause of the disease. ATSDR encourages individuals who experience chronic or periodic breathing difficulties contact their physician. Proper diagnosis and treatment can relieve symptoms, slow the progression of many types of disease, and improve the quality of life.

    Community Health Concern #2 Drinking and well water contamination

    Members of the community were concerned about nitrates in the groundwater, particularly for infants drinking this water.

    The primary health effect of exposure to nitrates in groundwater is reduction of oxygen uptake in the blood. Infants are the most susceptible to methemoglobinemia, commonly called blue baby syndrome, which occurs when a baby does not receive enough oxygen in his or her blood (EPA 1991). Older children and adults do not convert as much nitrate into nitrite; therefore, nitrate is of less concern to older children and adults.

    Currently, private wells are not used as potable water supplies, so there is no significant exposure to nitrate. As a result the existing nitrate concentrations in the groundwater do not pose a public health hazard to the community surrounding VAAP. Some of the concentrations of nitrate and nitrate/nitrite in groundwater measured in off-site monitoring wells are at levels that would be of health concern to children who drank water solely from that source. Sampling data for residential wells are limited and do not extend beyond 1994, therefore it is not possible to evaluate if past exposures to nitrate may have occurred at concentrations that could cause health effects. Nitrate was detected in 27 residential wells in the 1994, 2001 and 2002 sampling events. Only two of the samples had concentrations slightly above the CV. Those two occurrences were in two different wells and two different sampling events. One of the wells was sampled at two different times; nitrate was detected during both events, but was only above CVs for one of the sampling events. Based on the information from the residential sampling results, it appears that currently nitrate is not consistently at elevated levels in any of the residential wells. However, there is insufficient information to identify if past concentrations of nitrate were higher or lower than current levels.

    Community Health Concern #3 Rates of Disease

    Specific health concerns that were identified during the public availability session include: cancer (breast, colon, ovarian, and lung), cardiovascular problems, arthritis, asthma, pulmonary/respiratory diseases, brain tumors, and autoimmune diseases. Community members questioned if those diseases could be caused by chemicals used or disposed at VAAP.

    While completing the evaluations presented in the Evaluation of Environmental Contamination and Potential Exposure Situations section of this PHA, ATSDR reviewed available data describing contaminants concentrations in air, groundwater, surface soil, surface water, and sediment. No data were available to assess past exposures to contaminants in air or groundwater, and therefore health effects from past exposures are indeterminate. Review of the types of emissions and wastes released from the TNT manufacturing process-the primary source of contamination from VAAP-identified no contaminants that are known to cause the diseases listed as a concern by community members. As discussed under the evaluation of the air pathway, asthmatics are more sensitive to the nitrogen and sulfur dioxides emitted from TNT production. Whether these chemicals cause asthma, however, is uncertain. Closure of the TNT manufacturing facilities in 1977 and the fertilizer plant in 1982, and connection to public water supplies prevents these exposures from occurring currently and in the future.

    Review of the surface soil, surface water, and sediment data identified several contaminants found above health-based CVs in these media. CVs are not thresholds for health effects; as such ATSDR conducted more detailed evaluations of potential exposure scenarios and reviewed the toxicology literature, as described in the surface soil and surface water and sediment pathway evaluations and Appendix D. The levels of contaminants found in these media were below levels that would be of health concern for recreational users of VAAP and residents living near VAAP.

    Community Health Concern #4 Exposure to a yellow to yellow/brown haze

    Community members inquired about the nature and origin of a yellow to yellow/brown haze. They reported that the haze hung low, smelled bad, was worse in the morning, tended to fade in the late morning/early afternoon, and came periodically from VAAP, when VAAP was operational. Could exposure to chemicals in this haze lead to long-term cardiopulmonary effects?

    Air emissions from TNT production-the primary manufacturing process at VAAP-mainly consisted of nitrogen and sulfur oxides. Nitrogen oxides are colorless to reddish-brown, whereas sulfur oxides and sulfuric acids are generally colorless. As discussed in the air pathway evaluation and Appendix C, the haze likely contained nitrogen and sulfur oxides at unknown concentrations. Health effects reported by residents as occurring during an exposure to the cloud (or haze) are consistent with short-term exposures to nitrogen and sulfur oxides. In most cases the symptoms resolve after the exposure ends.

    Qualitative data and anecdotal evidence report fabric fading, nylon deterioration, and vegetative damage occurring in communities surrounding VAAP. At the concentrations necessary for these effects to occur, people could have experience short-term health effects, such as eye and mucous membrane irritation or respiratory (breathing) effects. Asthmatics and sensitive individuals could have experienced difficulty breathing. Little is known to correlate the long-term effects of short-term exposures. Some evidence has linked short-term exposures to nitrogen oxides to persistent respiratory difficulties (Lipsett 2001). However, chronic exposure studies typically focus on occupational exposures, which are not necessarily representative of environmental exposures to communities. The air concentrations in occupational exposures are typically higher than environmental exposures. These studies have found links between occupational exposures and impaired lung function, aggravated asthma, wheezing, bronchitis, frequent respiratory infections, and lung and throat cancers. These occupational studies, however, include a number of confounding factors that affect the reliability of the study results. Results of a literature review suggest that long-term health effects would be expected to begin during, or shortly after, the exposure. Chronic health effects were not reported to begin occurring many years after the exposure ended.

    Community Health Concern #5 Exposure to Black Powder

    One individual's spouse worked at VAAP in the late 1940s to early 1950s, packing "black powder" into boxes. The spouse had to seek less physically demanding work in the mid-1950s due to breathing difficulties. The couple continued to live and work near the installation and the spouse's respiratory difficulties increased as time went by. What kind of health effects could result from exposures during work at VAAP?

    The term "black powder" is the name of the first known explosive. Black powder is a mixture of saltpeter (potassium nitrate), sulfur, and charcoal and was first used in China in the 10th century. The Army did not manufacture black powder at VAAP. TNT, which was manufactured at VAAP, is typically a yellow solid. Anecdotal information suggests that production by-products may have been packaged into boxes prior to disposal by incineration, this material apparently was black. No information was identified in VAAP documents that described the constituents of this black by-product or the processes by which workers could have been exposed to the material.

    ATSDR reviewed available information about potential health effects associated with TNT and health effects identified in TNT production workers. Much of what is known about human health effects of TNT exposure results from epidemiology studies of TNT production workers during World Wars I and II. These studies found that exposure to TNT could lead to anemia, liver function abnormalities, respiratory complications, dermatitis, and aplastic anemia. However, specific information that describes what type of occupational exposure may be linked to those diseases was not available. In addition, information about the long-term, or lasting effects, of TNT exposure was also lacking (ATSDR 1995). There was no information available to identify if steadily worsening health conditions would be expected from occupational exposures to TNT. In general, health effects in workers became less common after World War II. At that time the link between potential health effects and occupational TNT exposure was being identified and work practices were modified to reduce TNT exposure (ATSDR 1995).

    ATSDR cannot diagnose what type of health condition people may have experienced based on a set of symptoms or identify if the symptoms may have resulted from a particular exposure. The potential for a person to experience health effects is influenced by a variety of factors specific to that individual; such as, general level of health, pre-existing conditions, nutritional status, and life-style choices (i.e., smoking, alcohol consumption, and frequency of hand-washing).

    Community Health Concern #6 Effects on the Local Environment

    Community members expressed concern about the effects of previous VAAP operations on the local environment and the potential effect of future operations on the local environment.

    When created by Congress in 1980, ATSDR was designed to evaluate the impact of environmental contaminant exposure to human health. Addressing general or specific environmental effects is beyond ATSDR's scope. However a variety of state (TDEC), federal (EPA), and regional (EPA Region 4) agencies are responsible for assessing the environmental impacts of past, current, and future VAAP operations. TDEC ensures that Tennessee has a clean, safe, and useful environment by safeguarding its natural resources and overseeing actions to clean past contaminant releases (TDEC 2003b). EPA and EPA Region 4 also work to safeguard the natural environment and protect human health while addressing past, current, and future contaminant releases (EPA 2003b).

    In addition, GSA prepared an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate real property disposal at VAAP. Potential impacts of future uses, as well as potential mitigation measures, were evaluated (GSA 2003).

    For more information about previous VAAP operations and environmental impacts, community members can contact the following agencies and organizations:
    Organization Contact Person Phone Number Topic
    Army Robert Elmore 423-893-6803 Environmental Remediation
    Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) Robert Elmore 423-893-6803 Environmental Remediation
    TDEC Nancy Frazier 423-634-5755 Environmental Impacts and Remediation
    EPA Region 4 Timothy Woolheater 404-562-8510 RCRA Order
    GSA Lori Dennis 601-965-6124 Real Property Disposal
    Regional Planning Agency Steve Leach 423-757-5216 VAAP redevelopment
    Hamilton County Real Property Office Becky Browder 423-209-6444 VAAP redevelopment


    Community Health Concern #7 Community participation in VAAP redevelopment

    One individual stated that previous operations and chemical releases have been kept secret from the local community. Other individuals feel that decisions concerning future operations at the installation are being made without regard to the community safety or health. How can community members become active participants in VAAP clean-up and redevelopment?

    Community members are welcomed and encouraged to become involved in the environmental restoration and redevelopment of VAAP. Several organization and processes are in place to seek community involvement. These are:
    • Restoration Advisory Board (RAB): The RAB for VAAP was established in late 1997 and held its first meeting in February 1998. The RAB consists of community and Army officials who meet to discuss proposed investigations, remediation, and other environmental and health-related issues. Past RAB activities have included installation tours, presentations of installation updates from agencies and organizations involved with VAAP (e.g., GSA, the Army, and redevelopment groups), and discussion of special topics of interest (e.g., the risk assessment process) (Army 2003a). The RAB meets on a bimonthly basis; on the third Thursday every other month with the last meeting held in February 2004. The RAB publishes meeting times and locations in the local paper. Members of the community are encouraged to attend and participate in RAB meetings and activities (TDEC 2003a). As noted under Community Health Concern #6, Robert Elmore can be contacted for additional information.

    • Public Hearings under the Remediation Process: On January 19, 2001, EPA issued a RCRA corrective action order. This order outlines actions that the Army must complete as part of the installation remediation and redevelopment process. In addition, the order requires public participation and involvement throughout the process to ensure that people are fully aware of proposed and completed activities at VAAP (EPA 2001). Public meeting and public hearing notices are published in local papers (TDEC 2003a). Community members can also contact Timothy Woolheater for further information, as noted under Community Health Concern #6.
    Community Health Concern #8 Rare Diseases

    One individual asked if rates for unusual diseases was higher for the neighborhoods around VAAP and if any of the contaminants released from VAAP have been linked to the 'elephant man' disease.

    Thousands of rare diseases, each with its own symptoms and causes, have been identified and described. No single database documents the occurrences of these diseases. As such, ATSDR has no means, beyond anecdotal evidence, for determining whether rates of rare diseases surrounding VAAP are elevated. Proteus syndrome, also known as elephant man disease, is one rare disease reported near VAAP. The Proteus Foundation reports over 120 documented cases worldwide (Proteus Foundation 2003). The syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by overgrowth of bones, fatty tissues, and skin. These overgrowths occur in a mosaic or patchy pattern across the body. This syndrome is considered a sporadic congenital disorder (a disease resulting from random mutations that occur prior to birth), but some studies have shown a possible hereditary factor (NCBI 2003).

    In evaluating potential exposures and assessing the individual contaminants released from VAAP, ATSDR identified no links between contaminants and proteus syndrome. Nor were contaminants linked to other rare diseases. The Evaluation of Environmental Contamination and Potential Exposure Situations section and Appendix D of this PHA describe the possible health effects associated with exposure to contaminants released from VAAP.

    Child Health Considerations

    ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more sensitive to exposures than adults in communities with contamination in water, soil, air, or food. This sensitivity is the result of multiple factors. Children are more likely to be exposed to contamination because they play outdoors and they often bring food into contaminated areas. Children are shorter than adults, so they breathe dust, soil, and heavy vapors close to the ground. Children are also smaller, potentially resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per unit body weight. The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Most importantly, children depend completely on adults for risk identification and management decisions, housing decisions, and access to medical care. ATSDR is committed to evaluating their special interests at installations such VAAP.

    ATSDR has attempted to identify populations of children in the vicinity of VAAP. Approximately 1,700 children age 6 and under live within 1 mile of VAAP (Figure 5). Nine public schools and a variety of child care centers are located within a 1-mile radius of VAAP boundaries.

    In the past, children may have breathed contaminants in acid clouds that reportedly drifted from VAAP to surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, children may have ingested contaminants that possibly migrated beyond VAAP boundaries and impacted private wells prior to their closure as drinking water supplies. Past, current, and future trespassing or recreation at VAAP may lead to exposure to contaminants in surface soil or surface water and sediment. These potential exposures were considered during the exposure analyses discussed in the Evaluation of Environmental Contamination and Potential Exposure Situations and the Community Health Concerns sections of this PHA.

    Based on available information, ATSDR concluded that past exposures to contaminants in air and groundwater presented an indeterminate public health hazard for children. No sampling or monitoring data were available to characterize contaminants in past acid clouds or contaminants in private wells. Potential air exposures to TNT production emission ended in 1977, fertilizer production ended in 1982. No current or future exposures are occurring or expected to occur for air under the current, and currently planned use of VAAP.

    Potential exposure to contaminants in groundwater from private wells used as drinking water supplies ended when homes were provided with bottled water in 1994 and connected to municipal water supplies between 1995 and 1997. Some private wells continued to be used for non-potable purposes. An evaluation of exposure to contaminants in these wells during swimming or from irrigation of gardens found no contaminants at levels of concern for groundwater used to irrigate lawns or garden. Lead was identified in a few residential wells at concentrations above CVs. Children who frequently swim in pools filled with groundwater with a high lead concentration could potentially increase their lead exposure. However, this analysis does not consider the potential effectiveness of the pool's filtration system to remove lead from the water during normal filter operation. Therefore it is not possible to quantify the potential exposure children may have to lead from swimming in those pools. ATSDR suggests as a prudent public health action, that residents who wish to use groundwater to fill their pool and have young children who frequently use the pool, periodically have the pool water tested for the lead concentration.

    Past or current exposures to contaminants in surface soil or surface water and sediment pose no health hazards for children during recreational use. ATSDR estimated potential doses for children exposed to contaminants in these media. To estimate these doses, ATSDR used very conservative assumptions that overestimate levels of actual exposure. A review of environmental data, possible exposures, and the toxicology literature found no contaminants at levels of concern for children trespassing at VAAP or using areas of VAAP for recreation. No future exposures are expected for children to contaminants in soil, surface water or sediment based on the current planned use for the installation.

    Conclusions

    ATSDR evaluated available environmental data, documents describing the planned future environmental investigations and remedial actions, and information describing the planned future reuse of the VAAP. ATSDR considered potential exposures to off-site residents, on-site workers, trespassers, and recreational users. ATSDR evaluated potential past and current exposures to the surrounding residential community from past VAAP operations. ATSDR also evaluated the potential exposure for future users of VAAP associated property to the remaining contaminants, based on the future uses described in the VAAP re-use plan.

    The purpose of the evaluation was to identify 1) if current off-site residents were, are, or could be in the future exposed to hazardous levels of contaminants released by VAAP during its operational years; 2) if future recreational users of planned recreational areas could be exposed to hazardous levels of contaminants present at those sites; and 3) if on-site construction or industrial workers or trespassers in the planned industrial areas could be exposed to hazardous levels of contaminants present at those sites. ATSDR did not evaluate potential exposures that might occur if the remaining VAAP property was used for residential purposes because the re-use plans indicate the future uses will only include commercial, industrial and recreational activities. Based on this evaluation, ATSDR classified current exposures at VAAP as posing no apparent public health hazard. Due to insufficient data about the concentrations of VAAP-related chemicals in the air and groundwater outside the post's boundaries, ATSDR classified most past exposures as an indeterminate public health hazard. (The definition of ATSDR's public health conclusion classifications is provided in Appendix E.) Conclusions regarding pathways-specific exposures are as follows:
    • Exposure to Contaminants in Air. During TNT production operations, nitrogen and sulfur oxides were released to the atmosphere and dispersed to surrounding community. No specific air data are available to characterize the specific contaminants or concentrations released. Anecdotal information indicates that local residents likely did experience periodic exposures to air emissions at levels that could cause short-term health effects. However, there is not enough data to identify the concentrations of the compounds in the air emissions, the duration of the exposure or the frequency of the exposure. Without these data, it is not possible to assess if long-term health effects could result from the exposure. Due to the lack of data about the potential exposure to the air emissions, ATSDR classified past exposures to air contaminants as an indeterminate public health hazard. TNT production ceased in 1977 and fertilizer manufacturing ended in 1982. Currently, there are no air emissions from manufacturing processes at VAAP. ATSDR classified current and future exposures to VAAP-related chemicals in the air as no public health hazard.


    • Exposure to Contaminants in Groundwater. Historically, some people living around VAAP relied on groundwater from private wells, currently all residents are believed to be connected to the municipal water supplies that follow federal and state regulations for safe drinking water. Groundwater monitoring data indicate that contaminants have migrated offsite and site-related contaminants have been detected in some residential wells. However, the data are insufficient to determine if residential wells contained site-related chemicals in the past and if past concentrations were greater or less than those recently measured. Due to the lack of data about past concentrations in the residential wells, it is not possible to evaluate the past potential exposure to contaminants in private wells; ATSDR classified this as an indeterminate public health hazard.

      Current levels of VAAP-related chemicals in private wells are relatively low. However as a prudent public health measure, ATSDR recommends that residents who wish to use private groundwater wells for drinking water first contact the state and local health departments for permit information and instructions on how to properly monitor and maintain the well. Some residents reportedly continue to use their private wells to water their lawns and gardens, or fill their swimming pools. ATSDR evaluated the potential exposure from these activities to contaminants measured in the residential wells. This analysis indicates residents will not be exposed to contaminants that could cause health concern due to the use of private wells to water lawns or gardens. A few residential wells had lead concentrations above EPA's action level for drinking water. However sampling results showing the corresponding concentration in the pool water were not identified. In addition, information describing the effectiveness of pool filtration systems for removing lead from pool water was also not identified. Frequent incidental ingestion of water with lead concentrations above the EPA action level could increase the lead exposure for children and adults. Therefore ATSDR recommends that residents, who wish to use groundwater to fill their pools, periodically have the pool water tested for lead. ATSDR classified the potential exposure to groundwater contaminants when groundwater is used to water lawns and gardens as a no apparent public health hazard. ATSDR classified the potential exposure to groundwater contaminants when groundwater is used to fill swimming pools as indeterminate.

    • Exposure to Contaminants in Surface Soil at VAAP. While operational, the primary activities at VAAP centered on TNT production. A small portion of the installation was also used for manufacturing fertilizer. Currently, the installation is undergoing redevelopment as an industrial and recreational area. On-site workers, hunters, and trespassers may have been exposed to surface soil contaminants when VAAP was an active facility. Under current reuse plans, on-site workers at industrial areas and recreational users at designated recreational areas or parklands may contact surface soil contaminants. ATSDR reviewed available environmental data, planned future investigation and remediation efforts, and the toxicology literature to identify if potential exposures of future construction workers, future industrial area workers, or future recreational users could cause a health concern. ATSDR concluded that past, current, and future exposure to contaminants in surface soil throughout VAAP, except VAAP-32, would not be expected to result in adverse health effects. Therefore ATSDR classified soil exposure throughout VAAP, except VAAP-32, as a no apparent public health hazard.

    • At VAAP-32, the main TNT production area, soil contamination was found at substantially higher concentrations compared to the remaining areas of the installation. The available soil data suggest that there was a potential for workers to come into contact with high concentrations of TNT. Because samples could not be distinguished between surface and subsurface samples, ATSDR concluded that data were insufficient to accurately assess past exposures to soil contaminants at VAAP-32. Therefore ATSDR classified past exposure to soil contaminants at VAAP-32 as an indeterminate public health hazard. Environmental investigation and remediation efforts are continuing at VAAP-32. ATSDR expects that the planned future investigations and remedial actions will eliminate potential exposure concerns for all future users of VAAP-32.

      The old TNT storage magazines located in the Eastern Magazine Area/New Storage Area (VAAP-6) represents a potential physical hazard. ATSDR recommends that as long as the magazines remain vacant, they be secured and periodically inspected to prevent unauthorized access.

    • Exposure to Contaminants in Surface Water and Sediment at VAAP. VAAP is drained by two perennial streams, intermittent streams, and a series of man-made drainage ditches and ponds. ATSDR reviewed available environmental data, potential exposure conditions, and the toxicology literature to assess the potential for health effects from recreational use of these streams and ponds. ATSDR determined that, although contaminants are present in surface water and sediment, concentrations are below levels of health concern. Contact with surface water and sediment during recreational use of streams is unlikely to cause health concerns. Therefore, ATSDR classified this as a no apparent public health hazard.

    Recommendations

    Based on the assessment of environmental data and potential exposure scenarios, ATSDR makes the following recommendations:
    1. Residents living near VAAP (within 1 or 2 miles), who wish to use groundwater from private wells for domestic purposes (i.e., drinking) should first contact the state and local health departments for the applicable local regulations and the residents should have their water regularly tested to ensure it meets all state and federal drinking water standards. Private well operation and sampling should only be conducted in accordance with regulations established by state and local health departments.

    2. As a prudent public health action, residents living near VAAP (within 1 or 2 miles), who wish to use groundwater from private wells to fill their swimming pools and have young children who frequently use the pool for swimming, periodically have the pool water tested for lead.

    3. While the magazines in VAAP-6, Eastern Magazine Area/New Storage Area are unused, they be secured and periodically inspected to prevent unauthorized access.



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