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HEALTH CONSULTATION

OLD BLOCK AND GUGENHEIMER PICKLE COMPANY
BAD AXE, HURON COUNTY, MICHIGAN


SUMMARY

The Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company property is the abandoned site of a pickle-producing plant in Bad Axe, Michigan. The plant operated into the 1980s, but it was abandoned by 1989, when the building burned. The property owners have offered to sell the property to the City of Bad Axe for a nominal price for expansion of a neighboring park and construction of a soccer field.

Using the property as a park or soccer field poses no public health hazards, beyond the physical hazards posed by the remnants of the previous installations on the property. The planned redevelopment is likely to remove those hazards since they would interfere with the proposed new use of the property. The shallow groundwater at the property contains arsenic, lead, and manganese at concentrations of human health concern, but that water is not currently used for drinking water nor is it likely to be. The MDCH recommends the shallow groundwater at the property never be used for drinking water.


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has asked the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to evaluate the health risks associated with the Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company property as part of a Brownfields Pilot Project.

The Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company (OB&GP) property is located in Bad Axe, Huron County, Michigan, covering approximately 7.9 acres of land on the east side of South Hanselman Street (Figure 1). The property was formerly occupied by a pickle producing plant. The exact dates when it operated are not available, however, the operation is thought to have continued into the 1980s and was abandoned by 1989. The plant burned in that year, allegedly as a result of children playing on the abandoned property. In approximately 1994, the county built a drain along the eastern edge of the property. The property has otherwise been unused, heavily overgrown with vegetation around the foundations for the burned plant building and several pickling vats (1). The current owners have offered to sell the OB&GP property to the City of Bad Axe for a nominal price. The City reportedly would expand a neighboring park to include the OB&GP property, possibly building a soccer field on it (2).

In 1996, a prospective buyer contracted for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) of the OB&GP property. The ESA made no recommendations and did not establish whether any contamination was present on the property. On August 25, 1997, MDEQ staff conducted a preliminary reconnaissance and building audit for a Brownfields Redevelopment Assessment (BFRA) of the OB&GP property. MDEQ staff carried out field work for the BFRA on the property in November 1997 (1). On November 6, 1997, during the MDEQ field work, MDCH staff visited the property.


DISCUSSION

The sampling results discussed in this consultation were taken from the available investigations of the property, and are not adjusted for limitations or bias in the sampling programs. The Tables presented in this consultation include maximum and median concentrations in the samples collected. Health discussions are based on the maximum concentrations reported and long-term, frequent exposure scenarios, reasonably conservative assumptions.

During the BFRA in November 1997, the MDEQ collected 15 samples of surface soil from around the property. Most of these samples contained arsenic concentrations above the MDEQ Generic Clean-Up Criteria for Residential Use (Table 1) (3,5). The arsenic concentrations in three of the samples exceeded the range found in background soil samples in Michigan (6).

During the BFRA in November 1997, the MDEQ collected 15 samples of subsurface soil from around the property, from the same locations as the surface soil samples. Three of the subsurface soil samples contained arsenic concentrations above the MDEQ Generic Clean-Up Criteria for Residential Use (Table 2) (3,5). The arsenic concentrations in one subsurface soil sample exceeded the range found in background soil samples in Michigan (6). There is no correlation between the concentrations in the subsurface soil and those in the surface soil from the same locations.

During the BFRA in November 1997, the MDEQ collected samples of shallow groundwater (water found at between 7 and 10 feet below the surface) from four temporary monitoring wells on the property, one in the northeast corner of the property, one just north of the main building's foundation, one just south of the main building's foundation and one in the southwest corner of the property (TMW-1 through TMW-4, respectively, in Figure 2). Samples from all four wells contained lead and manganese concentrations above the U.S. EPA/MDEQ Drinking Water Standards (Table 3). Water from TMW-1 also contained arsenic, bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (BEHP), cadmium, sodium, and vanadium at concentrations above the U.S. EPA/MDEQ Drinking Water Standards, water from TMW-2 also contained sodium concentrations above the standards, and water from TMW-3 and TMW-4 also contained BEHP concentrations above the standards (3,5).

Access to the property is not restricted, and there have been reports of children playing on the property. There are the foundations of the previous buildings and vats and drainage ditches on the property, posing physical hazards to visitors. These would also interfere with the use of the property as a park and soccer field, so redevelopment of the property is likely to remove those hazards.

Groundwater in the bedrock in Huron and neighboring counties in Michigan contains as much as 900 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic (the average from Michigan Department of Public Health/MDEQ investigations in Huron County was 51.63 ppb), substantially above U.S. EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs),(1) due to natural sources typically found in a layer of sandstone called the Marshall Sandstone. Water from private wells in the Bad Axe vicinity collected in early 1996 contained up to 195 ppb arsenic (8). The MDCH Division of Environmental Epidemiology, MDEQ Division of Drinking Water and Radiological Protection (DWRP), the Greater Thumb Community Health Department (serving Huron, Tuscola, and Sanilac Counties) and 7 other County Health Departments in the affected area are implementing a program of health education concerning the arsenic in the groundwater for residents of the area and their physicians.

The city of Bad Axe municipal water supply currently uses groundwater as their water source, from three supply wells, two within 0.25 mile northwest of the property, one within 0.5 mile south of the property. The two wells to the northwest are between 250 and 270 feet deep. The city government is reportedly negotiating with the city of Port Austin, 15 miles to the north, to connect to the latter's municipal water system, which uses water from Lake Huron. The Bad Axe municipal wells would then be abandoned. The MDEQ DWRP monitors all municipal water systems for compliance with their drinking water regulations and those of the U.S. EPA. The MDEQ has no record that the Bad Axe municipal water system has ever been out of compliance with drinking water regulations. Well logs for the two municipal wells located northwest of the property each show several layers of shale between the surface and the water-bearing layer tapped by the well (9).

The immediate vicinity of the property is served by the Bad Axe municipal water system. According to MDEQ DWRP records, the nearest private wells to the property are located approximately 0.5 miles to the southeast (8).

The groundwater sampled on the property during the BFRA was found between 7 and 10 feet below the surface. The MDEQ advises that wells used for drinking water supplies be no shallower than 25 feet unless there is a confining layer present to prevent surface contamination from entering the drinking water. There are no known producing wells on the property, and under the proposed future use of the property, as a park or a soccer field, no one will use any water from new wells on the property for household uses or for their primary drinking water source. The following toxicological discussion addresses the potential health impact from using water from such a well, a very conservative assumption in the light of the current and probable future use of the property.

No one is likely to ingest as much arsenic, body weight for body weight, from the soil or shallow groundwater on the property as have humans in epidemiological studies or laboratory animals who experienced adverse health effects. Some people whose water supply contained high concentrations of arsenic for long periods of time developed high rates of cancer of the skin, lung, bladder, liver and other organs. The U.S. EPA has classified arsenic as a known human carcinogen (U.S. EPA Class A). Lifetime consumption of the shallow groundwater from the property might result in a high increased risk of contracting cancer. Lifetime incidental ingestion of soil containing the arsenic concentration in the surface soil on the property might result in a low increased risk of contracting cancer (10).

Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate is a commonly used plasticizer, ubiquitous in the environment, and also a common contaminant in laboratory analysis. No one who uses the shallow groundwater on the property for drinking water is likely to ingest as much of the chemical, body weight for body weight, as did human subjects in epidemiological studies or laboratory animals who evinced adverse health effects. Some laboratory animals whose food contained large amounts of BEHP developed elevated rates of liver cancer. The U.S. EPA has classified BEHP as a probable human carcinogen (U.S. EPA Class B2). Lifetime consumption of water containing the concentrations of BEHP found in the samples from the site might result in a low increased risk of contracting cancer (11).

No one is likely to ingest as much cadmium, body weight for body weight, from the shallow groundwater on the property as have humans in epidemiological studies or laboratory animals who experienced adverse health effects. Some humans working in cadmium industries and laboratory animals who inhaled cadmium-containing dust developed high rates of cancer of the lungs. Some laboratory animals whose food or water contained high concentrations of cadmium developed high rates of cancer of the breast or prostate. The U.S. EPA has classified cadmium as a probable human carcinogen (U.S. EPA Class B1). There is not enough information available on cadmium exposure to evaluate the risk of contracting cancer from ingesting the metal (12).

A child who uses the shallow groundwater on the property as drinking water might ingest as much lead, for his or her weight, as did human subjects in a laboratory study who consumed lead acetate capsules and showed changes in blood chemistry after a few weeks exposure. Some laboratory animals whose food or water contained high concentrations of lead acetate developed high rates of cancer of the kidneys. The U.S. EPA has classified lead as a probable human carcinogen (U.S. EPA Class B2). There is not enough information available on lead exposure to evaluate the risk of contracting cancer from ingesting the metal (13).

The maximum concentration of manganese in the shallow groundwater on the property was comparable to that in the drinking water in a town in Greece whose elderly residents showed higher rates of various minor neurological effects than did those in a neighboring town where the manganese concentration was lower (14). Exposure to manganese has not been observed to be related to cancer rates (15).

Sodium is a necessary nutrient, though consumption of very large amounts should be avoided and certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, can be aggravated by large amounts of sodium. A person with such a condition should not use water containing the sodium concentrations found in the shallow groundwater on the property for his drinking water.

No one is likely to ingest enough vanadium from the shallow groundwater on the property to incur any adverse health effects. There is no evidence linking exposure to vanadium with cancer (16).


CONCLUSIONS

The Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company property poses no health hazards if it is used as proposed, for a soccer field, as long as the foundations of the former buildings and installations on the property are removed. The terrain might pose some physical hazards but they are likely to be addressed in the redevelopment of the property. The shallow groundwater at the property contains arsenic, lead, and manganese at concentrations above safe drinking water standards. The shallow groundwater at the property is not currently and is not likely to be used for drinking water.


RECOMMENDATIONS

No one should use the shallow groundwater at the property for drinking water.

New environmental data or information concerning the future use of this property may require future health consultations.

If any citizen has additional information or health concerns regarding the Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company property, please contact the Michigan Department of Community Health, Environmental Epidemiology Division, at 1-800-648-6942.


REFERENCES

  1. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Brownfields Redevelopment Work Plan for Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company, Bad Axe, Michigan. October 20, 1997.

  2. Walczak, J., MDEQ. Personal communication. November 6, 1997.

  3. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Unpublished laboratory data. February 1998.

  4. Howard, A.J., MDNR ERD. Memorandum to ERD staff, subject: Environmental Response Division Operational Memorandum #14 Revision 2: Remedial Action Plans Using Generic Industrial or Generic Commercial Cleanup Criteria or Other Requirements. June 6, 1995.

  5. Howard, A.J., MDNR ERD. Memorandum to ERD staff, Subject: Interim Environmental Response Division Operational Memorandum #8, Revision 4: Generic Residential Cleanup Criteria. June 5, 1995.

  6. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Waste Management Division. Michigan Background Soil Survey. Revised April 1991.

  7. Howard, A.J., MDEQ ERD. Draft Memorandum to ERD staff, Subject: Interim Generic Utility Worker Contact Criteria: Addendum to Interim Operational Memoranda #8, Revision 4 (June 5, 1995) and #14, Revision 2 (June 6, 1995). April 12, 1996.

  8. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Drinking Water and Radiological Protection. Records. June 20, 1996.

  9. Green, R., MDEQ DWRP. Personal communication. March 10, 1998.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic, Update. ATSDR/TP-92/02. April 1993.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate,(2) Update. ATSDR/TP-92/05. April 1993.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Cadmium, Update, Draft for Public Comment. September 1997.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Lead, Update, Draft for Public Comment. September 1997.

  14. Kondakis, X.G., Makris, N., Leotsinidis, M., et al. Possible Health Effects of High Manganese Concentration in Drinking Water. Arch. Environ. Health, 44, pp. 175-178. 1989.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Manganese, Update, Draft for Public Comment. September 1997.

  16. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Vanadium. ATSDR/TP-91/29. July 1992.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Michigan Department of Community Health

John Filpus, Environmental Engineer

Robin Freer, Resource Specialist

James Bedford, Environmental Toxicologist

Brendan Boyle, Principal Investigator


ATSDR Regional Representative

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


ATSDR Technical Project Officer

William Greim
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch


CERTIFICATION

The Old Block and Gugenheimer Pickle Company Brownfields Health Consultation was prepared by the Michigan Department of Community Health 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 consultation was initiated.

William Greim
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC


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

Richard Gillig
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


APPENDICES

Site Map
Figure 1. Site Map


Table 1. Concentrations of chemicals found in surface soil samples collected from the Old Block and Gugenheimer property by the MDEQ, November 1997.

Chemical Concentration
(ppm)
No. of samples above MDEQ Industrial/Commercial Criteria (Ref. 4) No. of samples above MDEQ Residential Criteria (Ref. 5)
Maximum Median
aldrin

0.0022

ND

0 0
anthracene

0.079

ND

0 0
antimony

2.71

ND

0 0
arsenic

18.4

7.1

0 11
barium

505.27

30.82

0 0
benzo(a)anthracene

0.27

ND

0 0
benzo(a)pyrene

0.17

ND

0 0
benzo(b)fluoranthene

0.38

ND

0 0
benzo(k)fluoranthene

0.088

ND

0 0
beryllium

0.464

ND

0 0
beta-BHC

0.00074

ND

0 0
delta-BHC

0.00098

0.00047

0 0
bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate

0.1

ND

0 0
cadmium

5.57

0.844

0 0
alpha-chlordane

0.00072

ND

0 0
gamma-chlordane

0.0035

ND

0 0
chromium

40.91

9.22

0 0
chrysene

0.33

ND

0 0
cobalt

9.22

4.1

0 0
copper

68.27

11.22

0 0
cyanide

0.484

0.069

0 0
4,4'-DDD

0.068

ND

0 0
4,4'-DDE

0.0046

ND

0 0
4,4'-DDT

0.0045

ND

0 0
dibenzofuran

0.073

ND

0 0
dieldrin

0.25

ND

0 0
endosulfan I

0.00065

ND

0 0
endosulfan sulfate

0.0037

ND

0 0
endrin

0.00093

ND

0 0
endrin aldehyde

0.0071

ND

0 0
endrin ketone

0.0049

ND

0 0
fluoranthene

0.31

ND

0 0
heptachlor

0.00094

ND

0 0
lead

350.92

14.96

0 0
manganese

478.45

269.8

0 0
mercury

12.65

0.098

0 0
methoxychlor

0.0051

ND

0 0
methylene chloride

0.047

ND

0 0
2-methylnaphthalene

0.26

ND

0 0
4-methylphenol

0.36

ND

0 0
naphthalene

0.2

ND

0 0
nickel

36.39

9.78

0 0
PCBs (total)

0.086

ND

0 0
phenanthrene

0.25

ND

0 0
pyrene

0.21

ND

0 0
selenium

1.75

ND

0 0
silver

0.507

ND

0 0
vanadium

26.67

14.34

0 0
zinc

1,570

61.46

0 0

Reference: 3
ND --Not Detected in more than 50% of the samples


Table 2. Concentrations of chemicals found in subsurface soil samples collected from the Old Block and Gugenheimer property by the MDEQ, November 1997.

Chemical Concentration
(ppm)
No. of samples above MDEQ Industrial/Commercial Criteria (Ref. 4) No. of samples above MDEQ Residential Criteria (Ref. 5)
Maximum Median
acetone

0.017

ND

0 0
aldrin

0.00019

ND

0 0
antimony

0.745

ND

0 0
arsenic

12.31

3.3

0 3
barium

82.25

33.36

0 0
beryllium

0.679

0.3625

0 0
alpha-BHC

0.00021

ND

0 0
bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate

2

0.53

0 0
cadmium

1.73

0.751

0 0
alpha-chlordane

0.00013

ND

0 0
chromium

17.72

13.78

0 0
cobalt

11.04

5.7

0 0
copper

16.64

11.76

0 0
cyanide

0.368

0.2115

0 0
4,4'-DDD

0.00028

ND

0 0
4,4'-DDT

0.0019

ND

0 0
di-n-octylphthalate

0.079

ND

0 0
endrin aldehyde

0.00043

ND

0 0
endrin ketone

0.00024

ND

0 0
ethylbenzene

0.005

ND

0 0
heptachlor

0.00053

ND

0 0
heptachlor epoxide

0.00029

ND

0 0
lead

20.39

5.81

0 0
manganese

632.23

278.68

0 0
mercury

0.211

ND

0 0
methylene chloride

0.026

0.013

0 0
nickel

25.05

14.86

0 0
PCBs (total)

0.11

ND

0 0
silver

0.222

ND

0 0
toluene

0.002

ND

0 0
vanadium

30.5

19.56

0 0
xylenes (total)

0.004

ND

0 0
zinc

55.49

31.48

0 0

Reference: 3
ND --Not Detected in more than 50% of the samples


Table 3. Concentrations of chemicals found in water samples collected from temporary monitoring wells on the Old Block and Gugenheimer property by the MDEQ, November 1997.

Chemical Concentration
(ppb)
No. of samples exceeding MDEQ Contact Criteria (Ref. 7) No. of samples exceeding U.S. EPA Drinking Water Standards (Ref. 5)
Maximum Median
arsenic

92

28.5

0 1
barium

332

205

0 0
beryllium

1.6

ND

0 0
bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate

44

9

0 3
cadmium

5

ND

0 1
chromium

68.6

29.6

0 0
cobalt

27.6

9.85

0 0
copper

89.5

50.15

0 0
cyanide

2.9

ND

0 0
lead

123

21.75

0 4
manganese

2,460

731

0 4
2-methylnaphthalene

1

ND

0 0
naphthalene

1

ND

0 0
nickel

77

32.85

0 0
selenium

3.5

ND

0 0
sodium

1,700,000

336,000

0 2
vanadium

115

39.55

0 1
zinc

254

152.2

0 0

Reference: 3
ND --Not Detected in more than 50% of the samples


1. Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the U.S. EPA issues Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) as regulatory values governing the concentrations of toxic chemicals permissible in drinking water supplies. The MCLs are primarily derived from concentrations generally considered to pose no significant threat of adverse health effects, and might be adjusted to account for technical ability to detect the chemical or economic feasibility of removal. The MCL for arsenic is 50 ppb (10).
2. Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, BEHP, di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, and DEHP are names for the same chemical.


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