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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

LONE STAR ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT
TEXARKANA, BOWIE COUNTY, TEXAS


SUMMARY

Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant (Lone Star) is a 15,546-acre government-owned contractor-operated industrial facility 12 miles west of Texarkana, Texas in Bowie County. Lone Star is near the communities of Hooks and Leary to the north, and Redwater and Maud to the south. The western boundary of Lone Star adjoins Red River Army Depot (RRAD). Lone Star has been in operation since 1941. The Old Demolition Area (ODA), a 19-acre section of land on the Lone Star facility used for the disposal of explosives by detonation, was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) on July 22, 1987. Lone Star is still an active facility although the ODA is not. Because the facility is still in operation, all waste and effluent are regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA such waste disposal activities are required by law to be conducted in a manner protective of human health and the environment. The requirements of an Agreed Order between Lone Star and the state of Texas are pending in 1999. This order will ensure that actions to protect public health are taken at Lone Star. The ODA is being addressed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Texas Department of Health (TDH) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluated the environmental information available for the site and identified several exposure situations for evaluation. These exposure situations include possible contact with site contaminants in sediment, soil, ordnance debris, surface water, and groundwater. Based on available data we have concluded that overall there are no public health hazards related to environmental contamination at the ODA. In the future, the conclusion category for the whole site could change if additional information indicates that a public health hazard exists. A brief review of the exposure situations that were considered is presented below.

NO PUBLIC HEALTH HAZARDS

ATSDR concluded that the following exposure situations pose no public health hazard because people are not likely to come into contact with site contaminants or because institutional controls are sufficient to protect human health.

  1. Sediment from the area near the ODA poses no public health hazard because contaminants were reported below detection limits, below levels of health concern, or at concentrations similar to background.

  2. Soil from the ODA poses no public health hazard because contaminants were reported below detection limits, below levels of health concern, or at concentrations similar to concentrations normally found in background soil.

  3. Contaminants found in ordnance debris at this site do not present a public health hazard because access to the site is restricted and remedial workers should be adequately protected and trained in the hazards associated with the debris. In the future, if access to the site changes, the potential public health hazards associated with contaminants in the ordnance debris, should it remain on the site, should be reevaluated.

  4. Surface water from the drainage area south of the ODA poses no public health hazard because contaminants were reported below detection limit, below levels of health concern, or at concentrations similar to those found in background samples.

  5. Groundwater beneath the ODA currently does not present a public health hazard because the water is not used for potable purposes and the contaminant plume has not reached off-site at this time. If additional on-site groundwater development is included in future use plans, it would be prudent to determine the suitability of the water for the proposed uses.

INTRODUCTION

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was established under the mandate of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980. This act, also known as the "Superfund" law, authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct clean-up activities at hazardous waste sites. EPA was directed to compile a list of sites considered hazardous to public health. This list is termed the National Priorities List (NPL). The 1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) directed ATSDR to prepare a public health assessment (PHA) for each NPL site.(1)

In conducting the PHA, three types of information may be used: environmental data, community health concerns, and health outcome data. The environmental data are reviewed to determine whether people in the community might be exposed to hazardous materials from the NPL facility. If people are being exposed to these chemicals, ATSDR will determine whether the exposure is at levels which might cause harm. Community health concerns are collected to determine whether health concerns expressed by community members could be related to exposure to chemicals released from the NPL facility. If the community raises concerns about specific diseases in the community, health outcome data (information from state and local databases or health care providers) can be used to address the community concerns. Also, if ATSDR finds that harmful exposures have occurred, health outcome data can be used to determine if illnesses are occurring which could be associated with the hazardous chemicals released from the NPL facility.

In accordance with the Interagency Agreement between the U.S. Army and ATSDR and through a Cooperative Agreement between ATSDR and the Texas Department of Health (TDH), ATSDR and TDH have prepared this PHA for Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant (Lone Star), a federal facilities NPL site.

This PHA presents conclusions about whether exposures are occurring, and whether a health threat is present. In some cases, it is possible to determine whether exposures occurred in the past; however, often a lack of historical data makes it difficult to quantify past exposures. If it is found that a threat to public health exists, recommendations are made to stop or reduce the threat to public health.


BACKGROUND

Site Description

Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant (Lone Star) is an active, government-owned contractor-operated industrial facility situated on approximately 15,546-acres 12 miles west of Texarkana, Texas in Bowie County (Figure 1). The 19 acre Old Demolition Area (ODA) is the only part of Lone Star included on the National Priorities List and is the only part of Lone Star being evaluated in this public health assessment. Other activities on Lone Star are regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA corrective actions on Lone Star are being overseen by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).

Approximately 80 percent of the 15,546-acres consists of undeveloped, wooded areas. Nearby communities include Hooks (1990 Census population 2,789) and Leary (population 420) to the north, and Redwater (population 862) and Maud (population 1,062) to the south [1]. The Red River Army Depot (RRAD) is adjacent to Lone Star on the west and south. Other nearby communities include New Boston (population 5,000) Texarkana, Arkansas (population 23,000) and Texarkana, Texas (population 33,000). Within one-mile of the site boundaries the total population is estimated to be 5,360 people (Figure 1). Approximately 450 persons are employed at Lone Star [2].

Site History

Prior to acquisition by the Army, the land that comprises both Lone Star and RRAD was used for farming, grazing, and timber production. The construction of both facilities began in 1941 and military activities on Lone Star began in the summer of 1942. Lone Star produced munitions and RRAD shipped and stored the munitions. Munitions training of troops also took place on RRAD. These activities continued until November 1945, when Lone Star and RRAD were combined and designated as the Red River Arsenal, with a joint mission of demilitarization and renovation [2]. The joint mission continued until early 1951, when Lone Star actively resumed production of munitions, and RRAD resumed shipping and storing munitions and also started maintaining vehicles. The installations were no longer combined, and additional facilities were constructed at Lone Star.

Production cutbacks began immediately after the Korean War ended in 1953 and continued through 1960. Most of the areas and facilities at both installations were inactive during this period. All activities increased again during the Vietnam War which lasted from 1964 to 1975. However, production has gradually declined from early 1969 to the present [2].

Lone Star, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM), performs and maintains the various functions necessary to load, assemble, and pack ammunition for the Army. It consists of an administration area, 13 production load lines, seven storage areas, maintenance shops, a railroad classification yard, a sewage treatment plant, demolition areas, a high explosives burning ground, landfills, and a fire fighting pumping station [2, 3].

The Remedial Investigation (RI) for Lone Star, conducted by the environmental contractor, Dames and Moore, began in the fall of 1987, determining and evaluating areas of potential concern. Among these were landfills, paint filter sites, pyrotechnic test pits, settling ponds, burning grounds, fuel storage areas and a chrome plating area. Remedial Investigation Reports were completed in January 1989 and March 1997 [2, 3].

The ODA is a 19 acre section of land on the Lone Star site used from 1943-1944 for the disposal of explosives by detonation (Figure 2). Groundwater located beneath the ODA is contaminated with arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium and explosives. Surface soil at the ODA is contaminated with heavy metals, explosive debris, and metal fragments. Buried metal objects likely associated with unexploded ordnance also were mapped within the ODA and extend beyond the north fence. Debris suspected of containing explosives was found on the surface at this site. The ODA was placed on the National Priorities List of Federal Superfund sites on July 22, 1987 and is the only CERCLA site at the installation.

Other areas within the installation have been investigated as RCRA Corrective Action sites. In 1992, the installation began a RCRA Facility Investigation for the RCRA Corrective Action sites and a Corrective Action was completed at one underground storage tank site. The TNRCC has an Agreed Order with the Lone Star facility to address contamination at the G and O Ponds. In 1992, the TNRCC (formerly the Texas Water Commission) issued Lone Star a Part B Operating Permit which required a RCRA Facility Investigation of several Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) to determine whether hazardous constituents have been released into the environment. A brief description of known groundwater and other information about each of these sites is included in Appendix C. Because access is restricted to Lone Star there is little likelihood that the public will be exposed to contaminants associated with these sites.

Previous ATSDR Involvement

ATSDR's initial involvement with this site began in 1988, when a preliminary health assessment was prepared for the site [4]. Based on the information available at that time, ATSDR concluded that "this site is considered to be of little or no public health concern because of the absence of exposure to hazardous substances." ATSDR recommended that "Further environmental characterization and sampling of the site and impacted off-site areas during the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study should be designed to address the environmental and human exposure pathways" [4]. In February of 1991 ATSDR and TDH participated in a Site Scoping meeting. In April of 1997 ATSDR and TDH met with representatives from Lone Star and examined the current condition of the ODA.


1. NOTE: acronyms, abbreviations, and definitions used in this document are defined in Appendices A and B.

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