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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

CHEM-CENTRAL
GRAND RAPIDS, KENT COUNTY, MICHIGAN


SUMMARY

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) listed the Chem Central site on the NationalPriorities List (NPL) on September 8, 1983. Chem Central, a distributor of bulk chemicals, islocated in Wyoming, Michigan. Between 1957 and 1962, a fault in the piping at this facilityallowed chemicals to leak into the ground. In 1977, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources(MDNR) discovered that a section of ditch 1,000 feet north of the Chem Central property wascontaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). TheMDNR traced this contamination to Chem Central, and identified a plume of VOC contamination inthe groundwater between the Chem Central property and the ditch. They also found areas of VOCcontamination in soil on and north of the Chem Central property.

The contaminated ditch has been thoroughly excavated and the contaminated materials disposed ofoff-site. The company has installed a purge well system to extract contaminated groundwater fortreatment after which it is discharged into the local municipal waste treatment system. The U.S.EPA has recommended extension of the purge well system to ensure that the entire plume will becaptured. They have also recommended treatment of the contaminated soil areas to extract the VOCcontamination.

The site poses an indeterminate public health hazard under present conditions because the possibilityof exposure to PCBs from the site through the biota of Cole Drain and Plaster Creek has not beenfully investigated. The known completed exposure pathway, through surface soil on the site, posesno significant health hazard. Potential exposure pathways include the possible future use ofcontaminated groundwater. City of Wyoming municipal water is available throughout the sitevicinity, and the private wells in the site area are not threatened by the groundwater plume. Thecontamination that was found in the ditch has been removed. The Chem Central property is fenced,and the concentrations of contaminants detected in surface soil north of the property are not of healthconcern. There has been minimal public attention regarding this site and no documented healthconcerns expressed. This is possibly attributable to the site's location in an industrial andcommercial land use area with no immediate residential neighbors. Recommendations for the siteinclude continued confinement and remediation of contaminated groundwater and additionalinvestigation of contaminant impact on biota, water and sediments in Plaster Creek.


BACKGROUND

A. Site History and Description

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) listed the Chem Central site on the NationalPriorities List (NPL) on September 8, 1983.

Chem Central/Grand Rapids Company, formerly Wolverine Chemicals and Solvents Inc., hasoccupied two acres at 2940 Stafford Avenue, S.W., Wyoming, Kent County, Michigan, since 1957.Chem Central is a distributor of industrial chemicals in both bulk and packaged forms. A PennCentral Railroad right-of-way runs along the west side of the Chem Central property. The ColeDrain, located west of the railroad, flows northward. U.S. Highway 131 is located west of theDrain. The Consumers Power Company owns land on the north extending from the Chem Centralproperty to 28th Street. Figure 1 in Appendix A shows the location of the site. Figures 2 and 3(taken from Reference 1, Figures 5 and 12, respectively) show the site vicinity in more detail,including sampling locations from recent investigations of the site.

In 1977 the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) found toxic contaminants,including PCBs and metals, in the oily sediments of a ditch along the north side of 28th Street. Hydrogeologic investigations, conducted by the MDNR, traced these contaminants to the ChemCentral property, which is approximately 1,000 feet south of the contaminated area. File documentssuggest that most of the contaminants originating from Chem Central leaked between 1957 and1962 from a faulty T-pipe used to transfer chemicals from above ground tanks. The MDNR built adam across the west end of the ditch to prevent contaminants from migrating to the nearby ColeDrain. The owner of the ditch built a fence around it and put up warning signs. In 1978, the U.S.EPA excavated sludge from the ditch. Together with the MDNR, the U.S. EPA continued to samplesoil and the groundwater that seeped into the dredged ditch.

The MDNR brought suit against Chem Central over this contamination in 1984. The Kent CountyCircuit Court found for the State, ordering Chem Central to initiate remedial action to remove ChemCentral-originating contaminants from the groundwater and from the 28th Street ditch. The courtorder required the installation of a purge well and underdrain system to capture groundwatercontaining contaminants from the Chem Central site. The extracted groundwater was to be treatedby air stripping to meet the standards required for discharge to the municipal waste water treatmentsystem. Air containing volatile contaminants from the air stripping process is passed throughactivated carbon filters before discharge into the atmosphere. The discharged air is monitored byChem Central and the MDNR to ensure that it complies with the limits set in the air dischargelicense issued by MDNR to Chem Central. The Court also ordered Chem Central to excavate,remove, and appropriately dispose of contaminated soil and water from the fenced-in section of the28th Street Ditch and to subsequently replace it with clean, graded fill (2). Chem Central excavatedand regraded the ditch and installed the purge well and underdrain system before the end of 1984(Figure 4, taken from Reference 1, Figure 9).

The U.S. EPA and Chem Central signed an Administrative Order by Consent on June 30, 1987, inwhich Chem Central agreed to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RIreport was issued in March 1991 (1) and the Feasibility Study in July 1991 (3). The U.S. EPAsigned a Record of Decision (ROD) for remediation of the site on September 30, 1991 (4). TheU.S. EPA-selected remedy for the site includes continued operation of the groundwater collectionand treatment system, expansion of the system to more completely collect the contaminatedgroundwater, soil vapor extraction to remove volatile chemicals from soil on and near the site,groundwater monitoring to verify the effectiveness of the remedy, and institutional controls to deterfuture development of the site area. On April 7, 1992, the U.S. EPA issued an Administrative Orderto Chem Central that mandated continuous operation of the groundwater purge system and theadoption of deed restrictions that forbid use of the contaminated groundwater (5).

A Preliminary Health Assessment prepared by MDPH and released in March 1989 determined thesite to be of potential health concern and recommended further characterization of on-site and off-site contaminated media and posting warning signs at the open portion of the Cole Drain adjacent to the Chem Central Site (6).

The geology of the site area is primarily glacial drift over shale and gypsum bedrock. The bedrockis part of the Michigan Formation. At the site, the upper layer of subsoil is sand which varies inthickness from 8 feet at one point in the site area to 56 feet at another. The sand is underlain by aclay layer, which also includes occasional sand lenses, that ranges in thickness from 10 feet to morethan 38 feet.

The sand contains an unconfined aquifer, with groundwater flow to the north. The flow turns to thenorthwest, north of the site, and discharges into the Cole Drain. The sand lenses in the clay arediscontinuous but there is some hydraulic connection between the lenses, forming a deeper aquifer. The shale and gypsum of the Michigan Formation do not generally contain sufficient amounts ofgood quality water for use. Beneath the Michigan Formation is a sandstone layer, the MarshallFormation, which does contain a regional aquifer that some residents of southwest Michigan use as awater supply. There is little information available about the geology and hydrogeology of thebedrock at the site area.

Surface water in the site area flows west and northwest toward Cole Drain, which drains this andother industrial sites along U.S. 131 into Plaster Creek one-half mile north of the site (Figure 1). Plaster Creek empties into the Grand River approximately 3 miles north-northwest of the site, andthe Grand River empties into Lake Michigan approximately 40 miles west-northwest of the site.

B. Site Visits

Brendan Boyle, MDPH, visited the site with MDNR staff on May 4, 1988, and again in July, 1991,with James Bedford of MDPH. On both visits there was little evidence of human activity on theproperty behind Chem Central outside of the plant fence. Boyle and Bedford walked the landbetween the railroad tracks and the covered and open portions of Cole Drain from the Chem Centraldriveway north to the highway bridge. They observed the land use characterized by the presence ofhotel, industrial and other commercial operations and noted the distance to the nearest residentialneighborhood. Other information and observations obtained during these visits are included inappropriate sections of this document.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

The City of Wyoming is a southwestern suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Land use in the sitearea is primarily industrial, although a residential area is located 0.1 mile southeast of the site. Based on the average population density of Grand Rapids, the population residing within a 1 mileradius of the Chem Central site is estimated to be less than 15,000 people.

The primary water supply in the site area, the Wyoming Municipal Water System, obtains its waterfrom the Grand Rapids Municipal Water System whose primary source is Lake Michigan. Asecondary intake for the Grand Rapids system, used in high-demand periods, is on the Grand Riverupstream of the Chem Central area. The Grand River intake was shut down permanently in October1992 (7).

There is an industrial supply well approximately 300 feet southeast of the site (5). The nearestirrigation well is 1 mile to the east, and the nearest public supply well is 1.5 miles to the south.

There is no known recreational use of the Cole Drain. Long time area residents indicate thatchildren use Plaster Creek for wading and fishing. The Grand River is extensively used for boating,swimming, and fishing.

The Butterworth Landfill NPL site is approximately 3 miles north-northwest of the Chem Centralsite, at the confluence of Plaster Creek and the Grand River. The Kentwood Landfill NPL site,approximately 5 miles southeast of the Chem Central site, is located on Plaster Creek upstream ofthe Cole Drain outlet.

D. Health Outcome Data

Based on the evaluations performed as part of this Public Health Assessment, there are noindications that humans have been exposed to site-related contaminants. In addition, there were nocommunity health concerns regarding the site identified during this evaluation. Health outcome datawere not evaluated in conducting this assessment but will be considered in the future should data or information become available to indicate the need for such analysis.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

The Chem Central site has drawn little attention from the community. Few residents of the site areaattended a U.S. EPA public meeting, on July 18, 1991, announcing the proposed plan for the clean-up of the site. The site is surrounded by other industrial or commercial properties and is therefore insulated from the community, though there are residences within 0.1 mile.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS AND OTHER HAZARDS

To identify facilities that could contribute to the environmental contamination near the ChemCentral site, the MDPH searched the Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) database for 1987,1988, 1989, and 1990. The TRI is maintained by the U.S. EPA from chemical release informationprovided by industries. No entries for the Chem Central site were listed. A search of the TRI for thezip code including the site (49548) found seven facilities. Three of these facilities were locatedmore than 1 mile from the site, based on the addresses in the TRI. The other four reported no releases of any chemicals found at the Chem Central site.

Unless noted otherwise, results reported here are taken from the final RI report for the site (1).

Contaminants of concern for this assessment were those whose concentrations have exceeded ahealth-based comparison value in some environmental medium at the site. Comparison values usedinclude the Environmental Media Evaluation Guides (EMEGs) issued by the ATSDR,concentrations computed from the Reference Dose for chronic exposure by ingestion, Cancer RiskEvaluation Guides (CREGs) based on an estimated 10-6 lifetime cancer risk, and MaximumContaminant Levels (MCLs) promulgated by the U.S. EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The comparison values used are listed in the Tables at the end of this assessment. The contaminantsof concern for this site are listed in Table 1.

A. On-Site Contamination

For purposes of this report, the site will be defined as the Chem Central property and the area northof Chem Central, between the Consumers Power substation property and the Penn Central Railroadright-of-way, extending as far as the now-abandoned drainage ditch north of 28th Street.

Groundwater

The maximum concentrations of various chemicals found in samples from monitoring wells on thesite are listed in Table 2. The Table also includes data on water collected from a trench dug in 1979immediately north of the Chem Central property. The PCBs concentration in the water from thetrench is probably due to PCBs in solids suspended in the water, since the concentration is far abovethe solubility of PCBs in water (2.7 to 590 ppb, depending on formulation, from Reference 8, Table3-2). Since 1983, groundwater monitoring has indicated that a plume of volatile and semi-volatileorganic chemicals in the shallow aquifer extends from the Chem Central property north to 28th Street.

Between 1984 and 1986 and during the RI, investigators collected water samples from sixmonitoring wells (monitoring wells SCH-2, 29B, 39D, 41D, 41E, and 42D on Figure 3) that arescreened in sand lenses within or beneath the clay layer that lies beneath the shallow sand (the deepaquifer). The letters on the well designations indicate that they are components of clusters of wellsat the positions marked on the Figure. SCH-2 and 39D are on the Chem Central property, the othersare at the periphery of the study area. Well SCH-2 has contained high concentrations of variousVOCs in every sampling round (see Table 3). None of the other deep aquifer wells has containedmore than 3 parts per billion (ppb) of any of the VOCs. The other deep aquifer wells contained upto 2,600 ppb oil and grease, 26 ppb bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, and 14 ppb di-n-octyl phthalate,none of which was detected in well SCH-2. Hydrogeological studies and pump tests carried outduring the RI indicate that there is little hydraulic connection between the deep aquifer wells, orbetween the deep aquifer and the water-table aquifer, or between the deep aquifer and Cole Drain. The presence of man-made chemicals in the water from the deep aquifer indicates that there is some connection between the deep aquifer and the surface, on the other hand.

Sampling of purge wells during the RI in 1987-1989 showed the following maximum contaminantlevels in ppb: toluene (13,000) trichloroethylene (8,800), vinyl chloride (1,400), ethyl benzene(1,700), 1,1-dichloroethane (1,500), total 1,2-dichloroethylene (7,700), chloroethane (3,000), tetrachloroethylene (400), and total xylenes (3,600).

An oily layer was found floating on the water in the purge wells. Samples of this layer collectedfrom separate purge wells in January and March 1989 contained up to 120,000 parts per million(ppm) tetrachloroethylene, 130,000 ppm toluene, 33,000 ppm ethylbenzene, 110,000 ppm xylene,95,000 ppm 1,1,1-trichloroethane, 29,000 ppm trichloroethylene, 4,100 ppm naphthalene, 4,000ppm bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, 4,500 ppm butyl benzyl phthalate, 1,100 ppm di-n-butylphthalate,2,500 ppm 2-methylnaphthalene, 110,000 ppm various substituted benzenes, 140,000 ppm other hydrocarbons, and 196 ppm PCBs.

Soil

Table 4 lists the maximum concentrations found of the contaminants of concern in soil on ChemCentral property during investigations between 1979 and 1988. The concentrations listed weretypically found at the water table, 4 to 6 feet below the surface. The only samples from any of theinvestigations referred to as "surface soil" were those collected in the RI and were composited fromthe top 2 feet of soil. The ATSDR prefers surface soil samples to be 3 inches deep. "Surface" soilsamples (0 to 2 feet deep) collected from the plant area during the RI did contain detectable levels ofsome contaminants of concern (Table 5). The only contaminants of concern that exceeded acomparison value in the "surface" soil samples were arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and PCBs. Thearsenic and chromium levels are within the range found in Michigan background soils (Reference 1, Appendix G).

Table 6 lists maximum concentrations of organic chemicals found in surface and subsurface soilssampled between the Chem Central property and 28th Street, again from 1979 through 1988. Theseinclude "surface" soil samples (0 to 2 feet deep) and subsurface soil samples. Metals in subsurfacesoils were within the range found in Michigan background soils (Reference 1, Appendix G). The RI did not include metals analysis of any surface soil samples from this area.

Table 7 lists sub-surface soil concentration data from the area of the 28th Street ditch, from 1978through 1988. The ditch was excavated and the contaminated sediments transported off-site fordisposal in late November or early December 1985. The PCB concentrations before and after theexcavation are included in Table 7. The RI (1988) data is for samples collected beneath the base of the 1985 excavation.

According to the U.S. EPA, the on-site soils beneath the Chem Central building and paved areas onthe Chem Central property have not been adequately investigated and could be a continuing sourceof contamination. In the Record of Decision for the site, the U.S. EPA states the soils beneath thebuildings and paved areas will need to be investigated further after the major components of theselected remedial actions have been implemented (4).

Soil Gas

During the RI, a Hnu organic vapor analyzer was passed over the soil samples collected to screen forfurther analysis. On Chem Central property, samples from the top 2 feet of soil had "Hnu readings"as high as 120 ppm organic vapors. Deeper samples had readings as high as 400 ppm. In the areabetween Chem Central and 28th Street, only sub-surface samples at the water table, had positivereadings, as high as 160 ppm. Positive readings were found in borings 26 through 30, 37, and 38(Figure 3). No positive readings were found in borings 24 and 25 (west of Cole Drain), and 31through 36 (along the Consumers Power fence) (Figure 3). No positive readings were found in the samples from the 28th Street Ditch area (borings 16-23 in Figure 3).

B. Off-Site Contamination

Groundwater

Water collected in December 1981 from monitoring well 14 (Figure 2) east of the site containedvarious chlorinated volatile organic chemicals, as listed in Table 8. 1,1,2-Trichloroethane and 1,1-dichloroethylene were found at concentrations above comparison values. In August 1982, acontractor for Chem Central sampled and analyzed groundwater from an off-site monitoring wellsouth (upgradient) of the plant (Monitoring Well 17 in Figure 2). The analysis found 6.4 ppmchlordane and "primarily less than 1 ppm" of toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, methylene chloride, 1,1-dichloroethylene, 1,1-dichloroethane, trans-1,2-dichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, benzene, ethylbenzene, chlorobenzene,and carbon tetrachloride.(1) The reported chlordane concentration is far above the solubility of thechemical in water, as well as being above any comparison value. If any the other chemicals listedare present at approximately 1 ppm, they would exceed their comparison values.

In 1988 and 1989, the RI contractors drilled and sampled seven clusters of monitoring wellsupgradient (south) of the site (monitoring wells 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49 on Figure 3). Waterfrom these wells contained various chlorinated volatile organic chemicals and semivolatile organicchemicals, as listed in Table 8. Concentrations found of bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, 1,1-dichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene exceeded comparison values. The site islocated in an industrial area, so there are many possible sources other than the Chem Central site for these contaminants.

In 1984 and 1985, a contractor for the PRPs installed monitoring wells in 10 locations north of 28thStreet, as far north as Mart Street (monitoring wells 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 37, and 38 onFigure 2). Sampling and analysis of the water from these wells found a plume of VOCcontamination extending north from the site and bending west to enter the Cole Drain, apparentlybetween Terminal and Mart Streets. Wells 25, 26, 27, 29, 37, and 38 were sampled again duringthe RI in 1988, and some of the same chemicals were found, though at lower concentrations. Concentrations of contaminants of concern found in wells north of 28th Street are summarized in Table 9 in Appendix B.

Surface Water

In May 1979, the MDNR and U.S. EPA collected four water samples from Cole Drain, thoughinformation on the sampling locations is unavailable. The samples contained up to 95 ppb bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (BEHP) and no detectable levels of other contaminants of concern. The BEHP concentration exceeded the CREG for drinking water (2.5 ppb).

In August 1982, "Traces of phthalates (0.01 mg/L) were identified in [water from] Cole Drain."(Reference 1, p. 9) The specific phthalates identified were not named in the reference. Ten parts per billion of bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate would exceed the CREG for drinking water (2.5 ppb).

In 1988, the RI contractors sampled and analyzed surface water samples from Cole Drain. Only onesample included any detectable organic chemical, 4 ppb of trans-1,2-dichloroethylene in a sampleupstream from Chem Central. A downstream sample contained 340 ppb of chromium (above the comparison value for chromium(VI) in drinking water of 50 ppb).

Sediments

In May 1979, the MDNR and U.S. EPA collected four sediment samples from Cole Drain, thoughinformation on the sampling locations is unavailable. The samples contained up to 230 ppb PCBs,90 ppb bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, and 80 ppb di-n-butyl phthalate (Table 10). Only the PCBs exceeded comparison values.

When the RI contractors sampled and analyzed sediments from Cole Drain in 1988, they found noVOCs, PCBs or pesticides. Concentrations of contaminants of concern they did find are listed inTable 10. There was no substantial difference in the analytical results between upstream of theChem Central property and downstream (see Table 11). The downstream samples included ones beyond the probable discharge point of groundwater from the site.

Biota

There has been no investigation of contamination in the aquatic biota of Cole Drain or PlasterCreek. PCBs, which bioaccumulate strongly, were found in the 28th Street Ditch, which drained into the Cole Drain, and in Cole Drain sediments.

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this Public Health Assessment, the MDPH relied on the information provided in thereferenced documents and assumed that adequate quality assurance and quality control measureswere followed with regards to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. Thevalidity of the analysis and conclusions drawn for this Public Health Assessment is determined bythe reliability of the referenced information.

The accuracy of off-site groundwater data generated by a contractor for Chem Central from samplescollected in August 1982 is in question. The reported concentration of 6.4 ppm of chlordane inwater is not realistic in that it far exceeds chlordane's solubility in water. This may cast doubt uponthe other parameters from that sampling event.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

Based on site visit observations, there are no physical hazards other than those normally associatedwith an active industrial facility. Access to the Chem Central business site is completely restrictedby chain link fencing topped with barbed wire. The area under which the contaminant plume flowsoutside the Chem Central fence, along the Cole drain and a railroad track, is accessible to the public. The open portion of the drain could be a physical hazard.


PATHWAYS ANALYSIS

To determine whether nearby residents are exposed to contaminants migrating from the site,ATSDR evaluates the environmental and human components that lead to human exposure. Anexposure pathway contains five major elements: a source of contamination, transport through anenvironmental medium, a point of exposure, a route of human exposure, and an exposed population.

An exposure pathway is considered a completed pathway if there is evidence that all five of theseelements are or have in the past been present. A pathway is considered a potential pathway if one ormore of these elements is not known to be or have been present, but could be or have been. Anexposure pathway can be eliminated from consideration if one of the elements is not present andcould never be present. The following sections discuss the most important exposure pathways at thissite.

A. Completed Exposure Pathways

As shown in Tables 5 and 6, surface soil on the site contains arsenic, cadmium, PCBs,tetrachloroethylene, and trichloroethylene at levels exceeding comparison values, based on the"surface" soil samples (0-2 feet deep) collected in the RI. Employees of Chem Central and peopleusing the area north of the site for recreation can be exposed to contaminants in the soil throughdirect contact, incidental ingestion, and inhalation of fugitive dust and volatilized chemicals. Thereare tracks and trails from dirt bikes or similar vehicles, indicating recreational use, in the area north of the Chem Central property.

B. Potential Exposure Pathways

Groundwater at the site is heavily contaminated with organic chemicals. Consultation with localhealth officials and area business owners indicated that there is no known residential or industrialuse of the contaminated groundwater. The area of contamination has been well defined, as primarilyunderlying the undeveloped area between Chem Central and 28th Street. The contaminated aquiferdischarges to Cole Drain under natural conditions, limiting the spread of contamination in thegroundwater. The purge well and underdrain system currently installed intercepts most of thecontaminated groundwater before it reaches the drain. All surrounding businesses and residencesare on the Wyoming municipal water supply which draws from Lake Michigan and the GrandRiver. The nearest known wells are upgradient of the contaminated area, and any downgradientwells are outside the maximum possible extent of the contaminant plume. Under current ownershipand land use patterns, use of the contaminated groundwater will not occur. The highly contaminateddeeper groundwater, that from SCH-2, is in a very isolated sand lens, and the potential yield fromthe well is inadequate to be a usable supply.

Volatile chemicals in the groundwater could volatilize into the interstitial air in the soil, then betransported by diffusion to the surface or to a basement or other underground structure, wherehumans could be exposed to them. Organic vapor analysis of soil gas during the RI found nodetectable concentrations above the water table outside the Chem Central property. There are nobasements or underground structures in the area where organic chemicals were found in the soil gas. Dilution when the vapors reach the surface will probably reduce the concentrations of anycontaminants below levels of concern. Restrictive covenants to the deed for the Chem Centralproperty are in place which restrict the use of the property and proscribe use of the groundwater. These reduce the likelihood that these exposure pathways will become complete.

Ingestion of and, to a lesser degree, dermal contact with contaminated water in the Cole Drain arethe foremost potential pathways of human exposure. The Cole Drain/Plaster Creek surface watersystem remains as the only significant pathway for the public to accidentally ingest or come intodirect contact with contaminated water. The level of contaminants still reaching this system is likelyhighest during periods when the purge well/underdrain operation is inoperative due to breakdown ormaintenance. MDNR records indicate that the system has been out of operation for periods as longas several months at a time since it was started in 1984. In late 1992, Chem Central arranged withthe City of Wyoming for limited disposal of untreated purged groundwater through the city's sewersfor short periods when the on-site water treatment system is not operating. This should minimizefuture discharge of contaminated water to the drain.

Long time area residents indicate that Plaster Creek is utilized for wading and fishing by manychildren. Such activity is more likely upstream of the confluence of Cole Drain with the creek thandownstream. Land use upstream is more residential and recreational, downstream is moreindustrial. There are, however, two parks along the creek downstream of the drain.

Volatile chemicals that reach Cole Drain from the groundwater could evaporate into the air abovethe drain. The groundwater collection system is designed to prevent any detectable VOCs fromreaching Cole Drain. Dilution in the drain and in the air above it would probably prevent theconcentrations in the air from reaching any levels of concern should VOCs in the groundwater reach the Drain.

Access to the contaminated water, sludges, and sediments in the 28th Street ditch could haveresulted in exposure to the contaminants through dermal contact and incidental ingestion. It is notknown whether anyone actually did get into the ditch while the ditch was accessible and thecontaminants were present. Given the land use pattern in the area, it is unlikely than anyone did. The ditch was fenced and posted in 1978 and excavated and filled with clean soil in 1985.

A person using Cole Drain for recreation, such as fishing or wading, could be exposed to anycontaminants present in the sediments via dermal contact or incidental ingestion. No one is knownto use the Drain for recreation.

PCBs have been found in the sediments of Cole Drain and the 28th Street Ditch when it wasconnected to the Drain. PCBs can be taken up from sediments by aquatic plants and bottom-feedingfish. PCBs tend to accumulate in the food chain, as herbivores eat plants and predator species eattheir prey. Fish from Cole Drain containing PCBs from the site area could migrate to Plaster Creek,and people fishing in the creek could catch and consume the fish, and be exposed to thecontaminants. Recent samples of sediment and water from the drain did not contain detectablelevels of PCBs. The ditch has been excavated, contaminated soils and sediments have been disposedof off-site, and the excavation has been refilled with clean soil. There is no data available on contamination of fish from Cole Drain or Plaster Creek.


PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS

A. Toxicological Evaluation

This assessment will evaluate the exposures of a worker in the Chem Central plant and a youngperson who regularly rides a dirt bike in the area between the Chem Central property and 28thStreet, based on incidental ingestion of surface soil. The adult worker weighs 70 kilograms, andincidentally ingests 100 milligrams of soil per day, of which 50 milligrams comes from the ChemCentral property. The young dirt biker weighs 35 kilograms, and incidentally ingests 250milligrams of soil per day. He or she spends three hours per day, two days a week, six months peryear on the site. His or her average incidental ingestion rate of soil from the site through the year is 7 milligrams per day.

The soil concentrations used are those in the "surface" soil samples (0-2 feet deep) from the RI(Table 5, Table 6), and the metals concentrations from samples on the Chem Central property willbe used for the area outside the property. Minimum Risk Levels (MRLs), developed by theATSDR, and Reference Doses (RfDs), developed by the U.S. EPA, have been established on thebasis that exposures below these values are generally considered to not be likely to result in non-cancer adverse health effects. The chances of cancer from exposures at the site will be evaluated separately.

Neither the worker nor the dirt biker is likely to ingest enough arsenic at the site to exceed the RfDfor non-cancer health effects. The U.S. EPA has classified arsenic as a human carcinogen (U.S.EPA Class A), because ingestion of the metal or its compounds can induce skin and other cancersand inhalation can induce lung cancer (9). The exposures to the arsenic in the soil at this site at thissite will result in no apparent increased risk of contracting cancer.

Neither the worker nor the dirt biker is likely to incidentally ingest enough cadmium from the soilon the site to exceed the MRL for non-cancer health effects. There is no information available thatingesting cadmium causes cancer in animals or humans (10).

Neither the worker nor the dirt biker is likely to ingest enough chromium from the soil on the site toexceed the RfD for non-cancer health effects, regardless of the oxidation state the metal is in. Thereis no information available to link ingestion of chromium to cancer. Inhalation of some compoundsof chromium, those in which the chromium is in the hexavalent oxidation state, or chromium(VI),has been linked to cancer in workers using the compounds. The U.S. EPA has classifiedchromium(VI) as a human carcinogen by the inhalation route (U.S. EPA Class A). There is no dataon what oxidation state the chromium present on the site is in. However, chromium(VI) compoundstend to undergo chemical reactions in the environment in which the oxidation state of the chromiumis reduced to trivalent, or chromium(III). Chromium(III) compounds are generally much less toxicthan chromium(VI) compounds, and there is no evidence available that chromium(III) compoundscause cancer by any exposure route (11). It is not likely that exposure to the chromium in the soil at the site will result in any increased risk of cancer.

There are no MRLs or RfDs available for naphthalene. The exposures to naphthalene from the soilat the site are very much lower than any doses at which adverse health effects have been reported inexperiments on animals. There are not likely to be any adverse health effects due to naphthalenefrom this site. There is no evidence available that naphthalene causes cancer (12).

Neither the worker nor the dirt biker is likely to ingest enough PCBs from the soil on the site toexceed the MRL for non-cancer health effects. The U.S. EPA has classified all PCBs as probablehuman carcinogens (U.S. EPA Class B2), based on animal studies linking exposure to cancer of theliver (8). Neither the worker nor the dirt biker will incur any increased risk of cancer from the PCBsin the soil on the site.

Neither the worker nor the dirt biker is likely to ingest enough tetrachloroethylene from the soil onthe site to exceed the RfD for non-cancer health effects. Based on laboratory studies on animals thatlinked exposure to tetrachloroethylene with liver cancer, the U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices National Toxicology Program has classified the chemical as Reasonably Anticipated to bea Carcinogen (13). The exposures at this site are not likely to pose a significant increased risk ofcancer.

There are no MRLs or RfDs currently available for exposure to trichloroethylene. Neither theworker nor the dirt biker is likely to ingest enough of the chemical from the soil on the site toapproach the doses at which adverse health effects have been reported in laboratory and workerstudies. There is some evidence from studies on laboratory animals that exposure to trichloroethanecan be linked to liver cancer. The data is currently under review (14). The exposures totrichloroethylene at this site are not likely to result in a significant increased risk of cancer.

B. Health Outcome Data Evaluation

Based on the evaluations performed as part of this Public Health Assessment, there are noindications that humans have been exposed to site-related contaminants. In addition, there were nocommunity health concerns regarding the site identified during this evaluation. Therefore, healthoutcome data were not evaluated in conducting this assessment.

C. Community Health Concerns Evaluation

There were no community health concerns regarding the site identified during this evaluation.


CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Chem Central site poses an indeterminate public health hazard. The completedpathways for human exposure at this time, through contaminated surface soil on the site, donot result in significant health risks (See Public Health Implications Section). However,the potential for exposure to PCBs from the site through the biota of Cole Drain and PlasterCreek has not been fully investigated. Based on the information from the RemedialInvestigation study of Cole Drain, it is not necessary to post warning signs along the drain at this time.

  2. The soil and groundwater at the site is contaminated with volatile organic chemicals. Thelevels of contaminants in the groundwater may result in adverse health effects over timeshould the water be used as a drinking water supply.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following actions are recommended:

  1. The continuous operation, except for regular maintenance, of a remedial operation to contain and remove contaminated groundwater should be made mandatory. The U.S. EPA issued an Administrative Order to Chem Central on April 7, 1992, that includes this requirement (5). Chem Central has also made arrangements with the City of Wyoming for limited disposal of untreated purged groundwater through the City sewer system when the on-site treatment plant is off-line for maintenance.

  2. The impact of contaminant movement into Plaster Creek should be more thoroughlyevaluated, including the possibility of contaminated fish.

  3. Institutional controls should be investigated to prevent future uses of contaminatedgroundwater in the affected area. The U.S. EPA issued an Administrative Order to ChemCentral on April 7, 1992, that includes this requirement (5).

HEALTH ACTIVITIES RECOMMENDATION PANEL STATEMENT

A Health Activities Recommendation Panel convened by ATSDR and MDPH has evaluated thedata and information developed for the Chem Central Public Health Assessment for appropriatefollow-up health actions. The panel determined that there is no indication of human exposure tocontaminants or community health concerns regarding the site. No follow-up health actions areappropriate at this time. If further information concerning this site indicates that a substantivecompleted exposure pathway exists or that the community has expressed specific health concerns,the site will be reevaluated for follow-up health actions.

If future ATSDR evaluations indicate that a substantive completed exposure pathway exists or thatthe community has expressed specific health concerns, then health outcome data bases should be evaluated in future assessments for this site.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

Public Health Action Plans (PHAP) are developed to describe actions to be taken by ATSDR and/orthe Michigan Department of Public Health (MDPH) at and in the vicinity of sites subsequent to thecompletion of Public Health Assessments. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that Public HealthAssessments not only identify public health hazards, but also provide a plan of action designed tomitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substancesin the environment. No public health actions have been identified as necessary at this site at thistime.

ATSDR and MDPH will coordinate with federal and state environmental agencies to carry out therecommendations made in this assessment.

ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan when needed. Newenvironmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the aboveproposed actions and recommendations may determine the need for additional actions at this site.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Michigan Department of Public Health

Brendan Boyle, Health Assessment Coordinator

John Filpus, Environmental Engineer

John Hesse, Principal Investigator

James Bedford, Environmental Toxicologist

ATSDR Regional Representative

Louise Fabinski
Regional Services, Region V
Office of the Assistant Administrator

ATSDR Technical Project Officer

William J. Greim
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


CERTIFICATION

The Chem Central public health assessment was prepared by the Michigan Department of PublicHealth under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health assessment was initiated.

William J. Greim
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this health assessment and concurs with its findings.

Director, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. WW Engineering and Science. Remedial Investigation Report for ChemCentral/GrandRapids Corporation. April 1990.

  2. Kent County Circuit Court. Court Record, State of Michigan vs. Chemcentral. May 3,1984.

  3. WW Engineering and Science. Feasibility Study for ChemCentral/Grand RapidsCorporation Site, Draft. May 1990.

  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Record of Decision and Responsiveness Summary, Chem Central Site, Wyoming, Michigan. September 30, 1991.

  5. Duda, D., MDNR Site Manager. Memo to Filpus, J., MDPH, Subject: ChemCentral/GrandRapids Superfund Site Public Health Assessment. May 19, 1993.

  6. Michigan Department of Public Health, for ATSDR. Preliminary Health Assessment forChemcentral. March 10, 1989.

  7. McClellan, T.D. Historic filtration plant shuts its pumps off today. Grand Rapids Press. October 27, 1992.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Selected PCBs (Aroclor -1260, -1254, -1248, -1242, -1232, -1221, and -1016), Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Cadmium, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chromium, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile forNaphthalene/2-Methylnaphthalene. ATSDR/TP-90/18. December 1990.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile forTetrachloroethylene, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile forTrichloroethylene, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  15. WW Engineering and Science. CHEMCENTRAL/Grand Rapids Corporation Site,Remedial Investigation, Baseline Risk Assessment. December 1989.

  16. EDI Engineering and Science. CHEMCENTRAL/Grand Rapids Corporation Site RI/FSWork Plan, Draft. March 1988.

  17. Parkerton, T.F., Connolly, J.P., Thomann, R.V., Uchrin, C.G. Do Aquatic Effects orHuman Health End Points Govern the Development of Sediment-Quality Criteria forNonionic Organic Chemicals? Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 12, 507-523. 1993.

  18. Warzyn Inc. Remedial Investigation Report, South Branch Shiawassee River, Howell,Michigan. January 1992.

OTHER INFORMATION SOURCES NOT SPECIFICALLY CITED IN TEXT

  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Benzene, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile forBenz(a)anthracene. ATSDR/TP-88/04. March 1990.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile forBromodichloromethane. ATSDR/TP-89/04. December 1989.

  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chlordane, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1992.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chloroform, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  6. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile forDibenzo(a,h)anthracene. ATSDR/TP-88/13. March 1990.

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Di-n-butylphthalate. ATSDR/TP-90/10. December 1990.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethane. ATSDR/TP-90/12. December 1990.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethane, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1992.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethene, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1992.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethene. ATSDR/TP-90/13. December 1990.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,3-Dichloropropene, Draft for Public Comment. October 1990.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Ethylbenzene. ATSDR/TP-90/15. December 1990.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Isophorone. ATSDR/TP-89/15. December 1989.

  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Methylene Chloride, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  17. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. ATSDR/TP-90/20. December 1990.

  18. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane. ATSDR/TP-89/22. December 1989.

  19. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Toluene, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1992.

  20. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxicological Profile for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane. ATSDR/TP-90/27. December 1990.

  21. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,2-Trichloroethane. ATSDR/TP-89/24. December 1989.

  22. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for VinylChloride, Update, Draft for Public Comment. October 1991.

  23. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for TotalXylenes. ATSDR/TP-90/30. December 1990.

  24. Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Site Status Report. 1/15/86.

  25. Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Site Description/Executive Summary. 2/27/86.

1. Quote from Reference 1, pg. 8. In full, "Wells 1, 6, 16, 17 and 18 contained many of these same VOC compounds [those listed here] with concentrations primarily less than 1 ppm." As shown in Figure 2, wells 1, 6, and 16 are north of the Chem Central property, well 17 is to the south. Well 18 is not marked on the map.


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