PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
JOLIET ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT (MANUFACTURING AREA)
JOLIET ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT (LAP AREA)
JOLIET, WILL COUNTY, ILLINOIS
The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (JOAAP) is a former munitions production plant located inWill County, Illinois, approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. JOAAP once occupied23,542 acres, split into two main areas by Route 53: west of the highway was the Manufacturing(MFG) Area (9,159 acres) and east of the highway was the Load-Assemble-Package (LAP) Area(14,383 acres). Activities at JOAAP began in the early 1940s. By the end of World War II,JOAAP was the nation's largest manufacturer of munitions. JOAAP was also used tomanufacture explosives during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The perimeter of JOAAP issurrounded by rural farmland with scattered residences. The closest residential communitiesinclude Elwood (just north of JOAAP), Symerton (0.5 miles south), Channahon (2.5 milesnorthwest), and Wilmington (8 miles south of JOAAP).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the MFG Area on the National Priorities Liston July 21, 1987, and the LAP Area on the National Priorities List on March 31, 1989, becauseof site contamination. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issuedpreliminary health assessments for the MFG and LAP Areas on April 10, 1989. ATSDRconducted an initial site scoping visit for the LAP and MFG Areas on June 3, 1991. A second sitevisit was conducted on September 14-15, 1998, at which time no immediate public healthhazards were identified.
ATSDR reviewed and evaluated groundwater data for JOAAP. Contaminant plumes containingexplosives, metals, toluene, and benzene were detected above ATSDR comparison values fordrinking water. No one, however, has been exposed to the contaminated groundwater either atJOAAP or in the surrounding areas. JOAAP drinking water supply wells have never drawn waterfrom the contaminated aquifers, and groundwater plumes have not migrated off site.
Contamination has been detected in on-site soil, primarily at localized sites near productionbuildings and drainage ditches. Explosives, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, petroleumproducts, and sulfur were detected above ATSDR comparison values for soil. In the past, on-siteworkers, hunters, and on-base residents had either little or no access to areas with soilcontamination or infrequent exposures of short duration. Eventually, all of the 23,542 acres atJOAAP will be transferred from the Army to federal, state, and local jurisdictions. About 19,100acres will be used as the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP) for the restoration andenhancement of the native prairie plants and wildlife, as well as to provide recreationalopportunities compatible with prairie habitats. Any land designated for nonmilitary use, such asat MNTP, will be free of harmful levels of contaminants prior to transfer.
Two lakes and several creeks are located within the boundaries of JOAAP. Prairie and GrantCreeks, the two major creeks at JOAAP, traverse the MFG and LAP Areas, respectively. Surfacewater bodies at JOAAP contained some chemicals at elevated levels, including explosives andmetals. However, the surface water bodies at JOAAP have never been used for swimming and intheir current states are unswimmable (too shallow). No harmful exposures are expected fromincidental contact with surface water contaminants that might occur during future MNTPactivities.
ATSDR reviewed all available information and data related to crops and animals found atJOAAP that have been consumed by humans. Contaminants were detected in deer, mice, fish,and crops at levels that are too low to cause adverse health effects in humans.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) are known or suspected to exist at several sites within the LAPArea. Access to these sites has been restricted by a fence that encloses all of the LAP Area andno accidents related to UXO have been reported in the past. The Army is in the process oflocating and addressing UXO at the site.
The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (JOAAP) formerly served as an Army munitions productionplant that was government-owned but, contractor-operated (GOCO) (see Figure 1). The Armyclassified JOAAP as an excess installation in 1993 (ECG 1998). JOAAP is locatedapproximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago and 14 miles south of the city of Joliet, in WillCounty, Illinois (Army 1997a). The entire installation once occupied 23,542 acres, split into twomain areas by Route 53: west of the highway was the Manufacturing (MFG) Area (9,159 acres)and east of the highway was the Load-Assemble-Package (LAP) Area (14,383 acres) (PlexusScientific 1996a). The MFG and LAP Areas are displayed in Figures 2 and 3, respectively.
JOAAP was constructed in the early 1940s on agricultural land that had been purchased by theU.S. government. Originally there were two separate areas known as the Kankakee Unit (MFGArea), which manufactured explosives, and the Elwood Unit (LAP Area), which was a munitionsload, assemble, and pack area. JOAAP was the nation's largest manufacturer of munitions by theend of World War II. In 1945, the production of explosives stopped, the ammonium nitrate andsulfuric acid plants were leased out, and the rest of the production facilities were put on layawaystatus (Army 1997a). The Joliet Arsenal was created in 1946 by combining the Kankakee andElwood Units (Plexus Scientific 1996b).
Explosives manufacturing was carried out between 1953 and 1957, during the Korean War, andwas reactivated again in 1965 for the Vietnam War. Production began to decrease in early 1969and eventually stopped in 1977. Munitions assembly activities for bombs, projectiles, fuses, andsupplementary charges were carried out at the LAP Area almost continuously from World War IIthrough 1975 (Dames & Moore 1990). JOAAP was placed in non-operating status in 1977 andthen in Inactive-Modified Caretaker Status in 1993 (Plexus Scientific 1996b).
From 1965 until 1993, Uniroyal Chemical Company, Inc., operated JOAAP as a GOCO facility(Plexus Scientific 1996b; ECG 1998). In April 1993, JOAAP was declared as excess by theArmy. Alliant Techsystems, Inc., is currently using part of the LAP Area under a facility-usecontract to the Army (ECG 1998). There is no contractor operating JOAAP anymore (Army1999c).
A number of activities at JOAAP generated and released hazardous wastes into the environment.Contaminated process waters were discharged into the drainage systems or treated. Explosiveresidues were washed from buildings and equipment, allowing rinse water to leach into theground or flow into surface waters. Ash from the incineration of production by-products wasplaced in on-site landfills. Other practices at JOAAP that involved hazardous wastes include:burning of demolition materials and equipment to remove residues, training of fire and safetypersonnel, handling and storage of chemicals, burning and detonation of wastes and unusableexplosives, testing munitions, and maintaining vehicles and equipment. Contamination atJOAAP prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place the MFG Area onthe National Priorities List on July 21, 1987, and the LAP Area on March 31, 1989 (Army1997b).
The MFG Area was first investigated as part of the 1978 Installation Assessment conducted bythe U.S. Army Environmental Center (Dames & Moore 1990). In September 1990, the Phase 1Remedial Investigation Results Report was released. The report includes investigation results forStudy Areas 1 through 10, six parcels of land, three creeks, three water supply wells, and a fewmiscellaneous groundwater samples. The Phase 2 Remedial Investigation Report for the MFGArea was published in May 1993. The report includes Phase 2 sampling results for Study Areas 1through 18, residential and installation water supply wells, and background sampling for allmedia at JOAAP. The Oleum Plant Remedial Investigation Report was released in 1996 as anaddendum to the Phase 2 investigation.
Like the MFG Area, the LAP Area was investigated as part of the 1978 Installation Assessmentconducted by the U.S. Army Environmental Center (Dames & Moore 1993b). The Phase 1Remedial Investigation for the LAP Area includes all data collected up to and including thePhase 1 investigation. The report, released in July 1993, contained information on 35 sites andsome miscellaneous locations. The Phase 2 Investigation for the LAP Area was published inDecember 1994. The document contains sampling data for two creeks, background level for allmedia at JOAAP, and sampling data for 19 of the 35 sites investigated in Phase 1.
A Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in October 1998 for the Soil and Groundwater operableunits (OUs) at the MFG and LAP Areas of JOAAP. The Soil OU includes all sites wherecontaminated soil, sediment, and debris were identified. The Groundwater OU includes all siteswhere contaminated groundwater was identified. Surface water was not addressed in either of theProposed Plans because it was determined that it did not pose a risk to human health or theenvironment (Army 1997b). The ROD presents the remedial decisions for 53 sites and 3subareas. Twenty-nine of these 56 sites/subareas were categorized as requiring no further actionfor both the groundwater and soil. Most of the other 27 areas require both groundwater and soilremediation, but a few sites require either cleanup of soil or groundwater. Some of the soilremediation described in the 1998 ROD is considered interim. The final remedial actions chosenfor soils receiving interim remedial actions will be explained in another ROD to be issued in thefuture (ECG 1998). It is expected that all remediation will be complete by the year 2007 (Army1999b). Table 1 lists all of the sites where no remedial actions are required; Table 2 containssummary information for the rest of the sites at JOAAP.
All of the 23,542 acres at the former JOAAP will be transferred from the Army to federal, state,and local jurisdictions. Through the Illinois Land Conservation Act, a total of 19,100 acres isscheduled for transfer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Forest Service) for theestablishment of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP). As much as 15,080 of the19,106 acres identified as requiring no further action were transferred in March 1997 to theUSDA. At MNTP, the USDA hopes to restore and enhance the native prairie population andhabitats of fish, wildlife and prairie crops land, as well provide recreational opportunitiescompatible with prairie habitats. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has begunconstruction on the 982 acres it received for a Veterans Cemetery in 1997. In addition, 455 acresare to be transferred to Will County for the establishment of the Will County Landfill. Theremaining 3,000 acres will be transferred to the state of Illinois for the development of twoindustrial parks (Army 1997a and 1999b). It is important to note that no sites that requireremediation have been transferred or will be transferred until remediation is complete (Army 1999a).
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released preliminary healthassessments for the MFG and LAP Areas on April 10, 1989. Both documents were preparedbefore most of the environmental data for JOAAP was released. The documents conclude thatthe MFG and LAP Areas are of public health concern and request additional environmentalsampling be performed (ATSDR 1989a,b).
ATSDR conducted an initial site scoping visit for the LAP and MFG Areas on June 3, 1991. Asecond site visit was conducted on September 14-15, 1998. During this more recent visit,ATSDR met with an Army representative and a community RAB member. ATSDR also touredthe facility and collected available documents (ATSDR 1998b).
ATSDR examines demographic information, or population information, to identify the presenceof sensitive populations, such as young children and the elderly in the vicinity of a site.Demographics also provide details on residential history in a particular area--information thathelps ATSDR assess time frames of potential human exposure to contaminants. Demographicinformation for the residential areas surrounding JOAAP is presented in this section. ATSDR hasdetermined that 1,619 live within a 1-mile buffer of the site, including 171 children under the ageof 7 and 232 adults aged 65 and older (see Figure 4).
Employment at JOAAP reached 5,000 people at the MAP area (Kankakee) in 1942 and 14,000 atthe LAP area (Elwood) in 1945 (Plexus Scientific 1996b). By the early 1990s, the work force atJOAAP was dramatically reduced to about 300 maintenance, administrative, and securitypersonnel workers (Dames & Moore 1993a). Certain military personnel and their dependentslived in one of two main housing areas at JOAAP that contained a total of about 45 homes. Thehomes were located in Group 60 (Site L32) of the LAP Area and north of the Eastern TolueneTank Farm (Site M10), in the MFG Area (Army 1999b). Today, only two Army employees workat JOAAP (ATSDR 1998b).
The closest residential communities to JOAAP include Elwood (just north of JOAAP), Symerton(0.5 miles south of JOAAP), Channahon (2.5 miles northwest of JOAAP), and Wilmington (8miles south of JOAAP) (Plexus Scientific 1996a,b; Army 1999b). The populations of Elwood,Symerton, Channahon, and Wilmington are 500, 125,000, 8,000, and 5,500, respectively (Army1999b). About 250 people live within 3 miles of JOAAP. The closest residence is approximatelyone-half mile away (Plexus Scientific 1996a). (Please see Figure 4 for more demographicinformation.)
Portions of JOAAP have been used for agricultural purposes since 1942. In 1990, agriculture wasallowed on 60% of JOAAP (Dames & Moore 1994a). As of 1996, approximately 80 agriculturalleases for crops, primarily soybeans and corn, and cattle grazing encompassed 16,700 acres ofJOAAP (Plexus Scientific 1996a and 1996b). Hunting (mostly deer and pheasant) and fishingprograms that once existed at JOAAP were discontinued in 1995 (Army 1999a). In March 1997,the Army formally transferred 15,080 acres (of a total of roughly 19,000 acres) of JOAAP to theUSDA for the establishment of the MNTP. The USDA/USFS will manage the land as open spacefor prairie fish, wildlife, and plants and for outdoor recreation. The USDA will continue tosupport agricultural uses for another 20 years on land that has or will be allocated to them. Otherproperty will be developed by the VA for a National Veterans Cemetery, by Wills County for alandfill, and by the state of Illinois for two industrial parks (Midewin 2001a).
Approximately 65% of Will County, in which JOAAP resides, is used for agriculture (PlexusScientific 1996a). The perimeter of JOAAP is surrounded by rural farmland with scatteredresidences (Plexus Scientific 1996b). The property to the north of the JOAAP's MFG Area isused for Army Reserve Training (not part of JOAAP); property west and south of the MFG Areahas been used as a wildlife refuge since the 1950s. The balance of JOAAP is surrounded byagricultural areas. The Amoco Chemical Superfund site is approximately 2 miles north ofJOAAP and a Mobile Oil refinery lies to the northwest of the MFG Area (Plexus Scientific1997).
JOAAP is located within the northern section of the Central Lowlands Physiographic Province.The province is characterized by fairly flat topography and low relief. A 50-foot high escarpmentextends from the north-central to the east-central boundary of JOAAP (Dames & Moore 1995).
Several creeks are located within the boundaries of JOAAP, including Prairie Creek, JordanCreek, Grant Creek, and Jackson Creek. These creeks receive run-off or drainage from JOAAPsites via man-made ditches. Prairie Creek and, to a more limited extent, Jordan Creek and SpoilCreek drain the LAP Area before discharging into Kankakee River south of the site. Grant andJackson Creeks flow through the MAP Area, eventually draining into the DesPlaines River. TheDes Plaines and Kankakee Rivers converge to the west of JOAAP (ECG 1998). Fishing isallowed in areas outside of JOAAP, including downstream locations such as Grant Creek andPrairie Creek (Plexus Scientific 1996b). Doyle Lake and Kemmery Lake were formed at JOAAPas a result of damming portions of Prairie Creek and Spoil Bank Creek, respectively (Dames &Moore 1993b). Information is not available to indicate why Doyle Lake was formed or how itmight have been used by the Army in the past. Some evidence suggests that it may have beenused for limited recreation (e.g., duck hunting). Kemmery Lake was reportedly used as a sourceof fire water for nearby site operations, but never for recreation (Midewin 2001b).
In preparing this public health assessment (PHA), ATSDR reviewed and evaluated informationprovided in the referenced documents. Documents prepared for the ComprehensiveEnvironmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the ResourceConservation and Recovery Act programs must meet specific standards for adequate qualityassurance and control measures for chain-of-custody procedures, laboratory procedures, and datareporting. The environmental data presented in this PHA are from Army reports, primarilyremedial investigations. The Army sampled the JOAAP drinking water supply system, localprivate wells, groundwater, soil, surface water, and biota. Based on our evaluation, ATSDRdetermined that the quality of environmental data available in site-related documents is adequate to make public health decisions.
In this section, ATSDR evaluates exposure pathways to determine whether people accessing orliving near JOAAP could have been (past scenario), are (current scenario), or will be (futurescenario) exposed to facility-related contaminants.
In evaluating public health hazards, therefore, ATSDR first tries to establish whether individuals could have been (past), are (present), or could be (future) exposed to contaminants originating from the site. ATSDR does this by carefully evaluating the elements of an exposure pathway that might lead to human exposure. These elements include: (1) a source of site-related contamination, such as drums or waste pits; (2) an environmental medium in which the contaminants might be present or from which they might migrate, such as groundwater or soil; (3) points of human exposure, such as drinking water wells or gardens; (4) routes of exposure, such as breathing, eating, or drinking a substance containing the contaminant or by skin contact with a substance containing the contaminant; and (5) a receptor population.
A completed exposure pathway exists in the past, present, or future if all elements of humanexposure link the contaminant source to a receptor population. Potential pathways, however, aredefined as situations in which at least one of the elements is missing, but could exist. Noexposure pathways exist if one or more of the elements is missing.
If a completed or potential exposure pathway exists, ATSDR then considers whether chemicalswere or are present at levels that might be harmful to people. ATSDR does this by screening theconcentrations of contaminants in an environmental medium against health-based comparisonvalues (CVs), such as the ATSDR comparison values. CVs are chemical concentrations thathealth scientists have determined are not likely to cause adverse effects, even when assumingvery conservative/safe exposure scenarios.
If contaminant concentrations are above CVs, ATSDR further analyzes exposure variables (forexample, duration and frequency) and the toxicology of the contaminant. It should be noted thatbecause CVs do not represent thresholds of toxicity, exposure to contaminant concentrationsabove CVs will not necessarily produce adverse health effects. In fact, ATSDR CVs are designedto be many times lower than levels at which no adverse health effects were observed inexperimental animals or epidemiological studies. A public health hazard exists only if peoplecome in contact with, or are otherwise exposed to, harmful levels of contaminated media.
After an initial review of potential health hazards at JOAAP, ATSDR identified the groundwater,soil, surface water, and food chain pathways and possible encounters with physical hazards asrequiring further evaluation. Following the strategy mentioned above, ATSDR examined whetherhuman exposure to harmful levels of contaminants via these pathways existed in the past, existsnow, or could potentially exist in the future. ATSDR summarizes its evaluation of potentialexposure pathways at JOAAP in Table 3 and describes them in more detail in the sections thatfollow. To acquaint readers with terminology used in this report, a list of CVs and a glossary are included in Appendices A and B, respectively.
Hydrogeology and Groundwater Use
Three major aquifer systems exist at JOAAP: (1) the uppermost glacial drift aquifer, (2) ashallow bedrock aquifer (the Silurian Dolomite aquifer), and (3) a confined deep bedrock aquifer(upper part of the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer). The glacial drift aquifer ranges from zero toapproximately 90 feet thick and has not been used as a drinking water supply since it yields lowvolumes of water. The shallow bedrock aquifer is approximately 100 feet thick and can produceusable quantities of water. However, the shallow bedrock aquifer has a strong sulfur odor andcauses iron staining which limits its use. The sulfur and iron are not related to former JOAAPoperations (Army 1997a). Despite the shallow bedrock aquifer's naturally poor water quality, theshallow bedrock aquifer supplies some water to local homeowners, livestock, and a JOAAPoffice building(1) (Brattstrom 2000). The deep bedrock aquifer provided JOAAP with the majorityof its water and remains a potential source for large quantities of water in the future. The deepbedrock aquifer is separated from the shallow bedrock aquifer by 100 feet of impermeable shale.This layer prevents water from moving from the shallow bedrock aquifer to the deeper bedrockaquifer (Army 1997a).
Horizontal groundwater flow for the glacial drift and shallow bedrock aquifers is predominantlyto the west towards the major surface water drainage features. Groundwater moves slowing inboth aquifers at approximately 0.06 feet/day. Groundwater in the deep aquifer once flowed to thesouth and southeast, however, heavy pumpage has forced the aquifer to flow towards majorpumping stations northeast of JOAAP (Dames & Moore 1994b).
JOAAP received its water supply from 14 wells that drew from the deep bedrock aquifer. Twelveof the wells were located in the MFG area and fed into five separate water systems. Informationon the distribution system or which wells fed certain water systems was not available to ATSDR.According to the JOAAP site representative, it is believed that water from each well fed into acommon filtration plant, was diverted as needed for treatment, and then was pumped to watertowers as reserve. Two of the wells, east well and west well, are located in the LAP Area and feda common potable water system (Holz 2001). Other wells were also located in the LAP area, butwere never used to supply potable water for JOAAP. Today, the two LAP wells currently supplynonpotable water and will be closed as part of the Plant closure (Army 1999a). One on-site welland several off-site private and agricultural wells currently draw water from the shallow bedrock(Silurian Dolomite) aquifer (Brattstrom 2000).
Nature and Extent of Groundwater Contamination
Groundwater Monitoring Wells
The Army established a groundwater monitoring network during Phase 1 and Phase 2 of theremedial investigations to determine if contamination had entered the groundwater beneath thesite and, if so, to determine the extent of contamination. In total, the Army investigated 53 sitesand 3 subareas suspected of having groundwater contamination. Groundwater in the glacial driftor shallow aquifer underlying 41 sites and 3 subareas was found to have either no contaminationor contamination present at levels too low to pose human health hazards. Both the Illinois EPA(IEPA) and EPA agreed that, under CERCLA requirements, no further cleanup measures wererequired for these sites. No contamination has reached the deep bedrock aquifer.
Groundwater in the glacial drift or in the shallow bedrock aquifer under the balance of the sites(12 sites) was found to contain contaminants at levels above ATSDR CVs. Groundwater beneaththe 12 sites thus requires further cleanup to reduce the contaminant levels. To facilitate cleanup,the 12 sites have been grouped into 3 groundwater remedial units (GRU) depending on the typeof contaminants. The three GRUs are as follows:
GRU1, Explosives in Groundwater of the LAP Area, includes groundwater plumesemanating from source areas at L1, L2, L3, and L14 (within land managed by the MNTP).The groundwater has become contaminated with elevated levels of 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene(up to 1,300 ppb), 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) (up to 1,900 ppb), 2,4-dinitrotoluene(DNT) (up to 2.01 ppb), 2,6-DNT (up to 8.54 ppb), and cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine(RDX) (up to 56.6 ppb). The plumes extend downward from the glacial drift aquifer tothe underlying shallow bedrock aquifer at Sites L1, L2, and L3. At Site L14 only theglacial drift aquifer is contaminated (ECG 1998).
GRU2, Explosives and Other Contaminants of the MFG Area, consists of plumes thatemanate from sources at Sites M1, M5, M6, and M7 (with the exception of M1, all sitesare within the Industrial Park Areas). The highest levels of explosives were detected atM6 (1,3,5-trinitrobenzene [up to 240 ppb], 2,4,6-TNT [up to 2,600 ppb], 2,4-DNT [up to3,200 ppb], 2,6-DNT [up to 2,700 ppb], 2-NT [up to 21,000 ppb], and RDX [up to 56.6ppb]). The plumes are also present under Sites M8 and M13, but these sites are notconsidered to be source areas for the plumes. The plumes for all sites in this GRU arepresent in the glacial drift aquifer; in some cases contamination has reached the shallowbedrock aquifer. Some plumes also contain metals (antimony, cadmium, and iron). Theplume under site M6 contains elevated levels of tetrachloroethene (ECG 1998).
GRU3, Volatile Organic Compounds in Groundwater, consists of two toluene plumes andone benzene plume. Site M3 (on the MNTP property) is the source of the benzene plume(up to 15.8 ppb) which is located in the shallow bedrock aquifer. The toluene plume (upto 20,000 ppb) in the western portion of Site M10 is in the glacial drift and shallowbedrock aquifers, while the toluene plume (up to 19,600 ppb) in the central part of SiteM10 is only in the glacial drift aquifer (ECG 1998).
It should be noted that none of the identified plumes in the Groundwater OU have migratedbeyond the borders of the former facility due to the low permeability of the contaminatedaquifers (Army 1997a). The selected final remedy proposed in the ROD for groundwatercontamination at the three GRUs includes deed restrictions, periodic site inspections,groundwater and surface water monitoring, and the establishment of groundwater managementzones (GMZ) of the affected aquifers. The state of Illinois requires GWZ areas where thegroundwater does not yet meet drinking water standards, but is undergoing remediation.
The ROD also specifies that contaminant reduction will occur through natural attenuation. It isbelieved that under certain conditions contaminants left in place in the plumes will undergonatural processes that reduce, or attenuate, the contaminant concentrations to safe levels (ECG1996). Direct treatment has not been proposed because (1) the actual risk of direct exposure togroundwater contamination of the glacial drift or shallow bedrock is limited since neither ofthese aquifers is used for drinking water, (2) the plumes are not expected to migrate off site, and(3) active treatment systems would not be able to effectively draw water from the glacial aquiferbecause of its low permeability (ECG 1998).
Drinking Water Supply Wells
On-Base JOAAP Water Supply Wells
Phase 1 and Phase 2 remedial investigations sampled five of the water supply wells--WSWs 1,6, 7, 9, and 10-- located in the MFG Area of JOAAP. The sampled water supply wells drawfrom the deep bedrock (Cambrian-Ordovician) aquifer that has been unaffected by sitecontamination (Dames & Moore 1990 and 1993a). Well water was sampled for contaminantsdetected in the area: water supply wells (WSWs) 1, 6, 7, and 9 were tested for explosives andmetals, while WSW 10 was tested for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). No explosives orsite-related VOCs were detected in the tested water supply wells. Metals were present, but atlevels below ATSDR CVs. Phosphate and sulfate--which do not have CVs--were present, but atlevels below and just slightly above their respective background levels (Dames & Moore1993a).(2) Deed restrictions have been placed on the use of the shallow groundwater beneathcontaminated areas of the JOAAP site. Future potable water supplies for MNTP will likely comefrom groundwater tapped from the deep aquifer. The deep aquifer has been tested and determinedto be free of JOAAP-related contaminants (HRAT 2000).
Off-Base Residential Wells
A records search for private wells within a 1-mile radius of JOAAP identified two-hundredfourteen (214) wells, 80 wells of which were confirmed by aerial photographs. A residential wellsampling program was implemented as part of the Phase 2 remedial investigation for the MFGArea. Through this program, 13 wells were sampled from the shallow bedrock aquifer for site-related contaminants. Some of the wells are located downgradient of source areas at JOAAP.
A number of metals were detected in unfiltered groundwater samples collected from theresidential wells, however, no explosives, VOCs, semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), ortotal petroleum hydrocarbons were detected. Nitrate/nitrite and manganese exceeded their CVsby less than an order of magnitude.(3) Sulfate, which does not have a CV, was detected slightlyabove its maximum background level at 2 of the 13 residential wells (15%). Arsenic wasdetected above its CV of 0.02 parts per billion (ppb) but below EPA's current MCL for arsenic of50 ppb at 3 of the 13 residential wells (23%).(4) The maximum detected value of arsenic was 9.17ppb, which is only slightly above the maximum background level of 6.4 ppb (Dames & Moore1994b). While the source of arsenic in the private wells is not known with certainty, it is verylikely that it is related to the natural occurrence of this metal in the local environment (Dames &Moore 1993a, 1994b).
Evaluation of Potential Public Health Hazards
Groundwater contaminant plumes containing explosives, metals, toluene, and benzene have been identified primarily in the glacial drift as well as in the shallow bedrock aquifers underlying JOAAP. These contaminated aquifers were never used as a source of drinking water by JOAAP. The deep bedrock aquifer has not been impacted by the plumes found in the two upper aquifers because it is separated from them by 100 feet of impermeable shale (Army 1997a). Since water supply wells at JOAAP draw from the deep bedrock aquifer it is not surprising that samples taken from several water supply wells during the remedial investigations did not show any evidence of contamination. Therefore, on-base residents and workers were not exposed to contaminated groundwater in the past. Two wells located in the LAP will be used until plant closure; neither well currently supplies potable water (Army 1999b).
The remedial actions specified in the ROD for groundwater include the implementation of deed restrictions that will prevent the use of groundwater within any of the GMZ as a potable water supply. In addition, plumes will be regularly monitored to track contaminant migration beyond the GMZ. For these reasons, no future use of contaminated groundwater is expected.
None of the identified plumes in the Groundwater OU have migrated beyond the borders of the former facility due to the low permeability of the contaminated aquifers (Army 1997a). This observation is further supported by the lack of contaminants in samples collected from residential wells as part of the remedial investigations at JOAAP. Arsenic, which occurs naturally in soil, was detected in residential wells, but at levels below EPA's current MCL. Therefore, groundwater contamination at JOAAP does not pose a past or present public health hazard for people living off site. The groundwater plumes currently beneath JOAAP will be monitored in the future, so no exposure to JOAAP groundwater contamination via the use of off-site residential wells is expected in the future.
ATSDR concludes, therefore, that groundwater contamination at JOAAP poses no public health hazard.
Nature and Extent of Soil Contamination
Former operations and waste disposal practices at JOAAP have released contaminants, including explosive compounds, metals, and other chemicals, to the surrounding soil. The Army collected soil samples from 53 sites and 3 subareas within the soil operable unit as part of their remedial investigations to determine the nature and extent of contamination in site soil. Soil samples were analyzed for explosive compounds, metals, VOCs, SVOCs, PCBs, and pesticides (ECG 1998).
Based on the findings of their investigations, the Army found that 30 of the 56 sites/subareas had only low levels of soil contamination. Both IEPA and the EPA confirmed that these 30 sites/subareas require no further soil cleanup actions. The housing area in the LAP Area at JOAAP was located within remedial investigation Site L32. This site was not included in a SRU because it does not require soil remediation. Soil samples were collected around a debris area at Site L32 that was used by residents to dispose of inert building debris, asphalt, concrete, dirt, scrap metal, scrap automobile parts, and wood. Arsenic, iron, and thallium were detected at levels above ATSDR's most conservative CVs for soil, but below background levels for the region (Dames & Moore 1994b,c).
The Army determined soil remediation was required, however at 26 of the 56 sites/subareas and then later grouped the sites into 7 soil remediation units (SRUs) by type of contamination discovered. Each site within a SRU is further differentiated by whether it resides on land intended for the USDA prairie restoration at MNTP or on land designated for the state of Illinois for industrial parks. (No sites in need of remediation were identified on land to be allocated for the Wills County Landfill or for the VA National Cemetery.) Land use is an important consideration when developing remediation plans as cleanup standards are intended to be protective of the most sensitive population that is likely to use or visit the area. Table 4 identifies the type of contamination associated with each SRU and whether the site is located on land intended for MNTP or the state if Illinois industrial parks.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Eighteen of the sites (L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L7, L8, L9, L10, L11, L14, L23A, M1, M2, M3, M4, M11, and M12) in the 7 SRUs requiring remediation fall within land intended for/managed by the MNTP. The maximum concentrations of contaminants detected in soil within the MNTP are summarized in Table 5. As indicated in the table, explosive compounds, metals, and PCBs have been detected at levels above ATSDR's CVs.
Elevated levels of explosive compounds were found in L1, L7, L8, L9, L10, M2, and M3--sites assigned to SRU1. The explosive 2,4,6-TNT was found frequently and in the highest concentrations, with concentrations up to 180,000 ppm found in soil at L9. Other explosives, including 2,4-DNT, 2-NT, 1,3,5-TNB, HMX, and RDX, were also measured at levels above their CVs. Most of the contamination in surface soil was found near production buildings and drainage ditches. No tetryl was identified on MNTP property.
Metals were most notable at sites assigned to SRU2 and SRU3. Lead was detected most frequently and in the highest concentrations. In fact, the highest lead concentrations were found at M4 (Lead Azide Area), where up to 260,000 ppm was reported. Lead azide, the suspected source of lead in soil, is a primary initiating explosive that was produced at the site during WW II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict. Very high levels of lead were also found at L2 (Explosive Burning Grounds) and M3 (Flashing Grounds), were explosives and other compounds were burned. Other metals were found less frequently and in lower concentrations (relative to their CV), including arsenic (up to 96 ppm at L2-explosive burning grounds), beryllium (up to 3.76 ppm at M3-flashing grounds), and cadmium (5,800 ppm at L2). majority of metal contamination was found at former production, testing, and waste disposal areas. Most of the metals in the surface soil--arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, and lead--are not readily leachable so they have not contributed to groundwater contamination.
Elevated levels of PAHs were detected in portions of SRU5/L5, a salvage yard. There the PAH benzo(a)pyrene reached concentrations up to 1.5 ppm above ATSDR's CV. A former oil spill located near Building 26-3 is the suspected source of the PAHs.
The October 1998 ROD presents final cleanup measures for sites within SRUs 4, 6, and 7. These measures provide guidance on ways to reduce the levels of contaminants in soil so as to adequately protect park workers who may come in contact with soil in the future. The ROD also presents interim actions for sites in SRUs 1, 2, 3, and 5. Final soil remediation goals will be incorporated into the Final ROD for USDA lands for SRUs 1, 2, 3, and 5 pending the outcome of an assessment of prairie restoration volunteer and worker exposure to contaminants in soil (ECG 1998).
Industrial Park Areas
Eight of the 26 sites requiring remediation fall within land designated for the state of Illinois industrial park areas (L16, L17, M5, M6, M7, M8, M9, M13). Explosive contaminants of concern found at sites on the land intended for industrial use include 1,3,5-TNB, 2,4,6-TNT, 2,4-TNT, and 2,6-DNT. As noted in Table 6, some of the highest levels of explosive compounds were found at site M6. M6 covers more than 27 acres in the central part of the MFG Area and was an active production area for TNT and DNT during WW II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict. Explosives including 2,4,6-TNT (up to 482,000 ppm), 2,4-DNT (up to 86,709 ppm), and 2,6-DNT (up to 2,540 ppm) were primarily found at the TNT wash houses and near other site buildings.
The metals, arsenic, beryllium, and lead, were also found, but generally at concentrations lower than those detected at MNTP property. The highest levels of lead (up to 2,300 ppm) were found at the M5, a 244-acre area located in the central portion of the MFG Area that was used for the production of tetryl during wartime. PCBs were also measured in soil samples collected from the industrial parks land, with the highest concentration of 1,640 ppm detected at the SRU4/L4. PCBs were primarily localized in a drainage ditch (at depths up to 5 feet) located near a sewer outfall. The area was used initially for production of booster munitions and then eventually for repacking of lead azide.
The October 1998 ROD selected bioremediation for soils in SRU1 and SRU3 (selected sites); excavation and disposal for soils in SRU3 (selected sites), SRU4, and SRU6; capping of landfills in SRU6; and excavation and recycling of soil in SRU7.(5) Institutional controls to limit access or use of certain sites will accompany the transfer of a land at these SRUs. Furthermore, deed restrictions are being negotiated for SRU1-SRU5 between the Army and the future land owners, with IEPA and EPA involvement to ensure the safety of future land users. These measures are intended to eliminate, reduce, or control hazards at the site so as to reduce the threat to human health and the environment.
Evaluation of Potential Public Health Hazards
Access to all sites in the Soil OU has been restricted; the LAP Area is completely fenced in and there are also fences around all of the production areas within the MFG Area. All of these fences were constructed in 1940 (Army 1999a,b). Houses within the MFG Area were located outside the fence that contains all MFG Area remedial investigation sites so on-base residents did not have access to contaminated areas within the MFG Area. The living quarters within the LAP Area were located within Site L32, but there is no apparent soil contamination at this site. Therefore, it is unlikely that on-base residents were exposed to soil contamination.
The Army allowed people to hunt pheasant and deer at JOAAP until 1995 (Army 1999a). Pheasants were hunted in agricultural areas, generally corn fields, in which there was no surface contamination (Army 1999c). Deer hunters were required to stay within a 50-foot radius of their assigned deer stand and could only go outside this radius to retrieve a deer (retrieval was by vehicle) (Dames & Moore 1994b and 1995). A review of deer stand maps from the 1990s shows that most deer stands were located far from areas included in the SRUs (Dames & Moore 1994b and 1995; Army 1997b). A few stands were located in the vicinity of areas requiring remediation within Sites L2, M3, and M5. However, all stands at these sites were located at least 50 feet away from the closest area requiring remediation (Army 1999c). Furthermore, deer hunting took place no more than 3.5 months a year. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any past exposure occurred. Since hunting was discontinued in 1995 there are no present or future exposures.
Current and Future Exposures
Access to all sites in the Soil OU is still restricted by fences that enclose the LAP Area and the production areas within the MFG Area while remediation is ongoing and prior to transfer of the land; therefore, no current exposures are occurring. A future ROD will recommend remedial goals for land not yet transferred to the USDA land for the MNTP. No land at JOAAP will be transferred before the necessary remediation has been completed (Army 1999b). Therefore, recreational park users, industrial workers, and USDA prairie workers and volunteers should not come in contact with exposed soil contaminants in the future.
ATSDR concludes, therefore, that soil contamination at JOAAP poses no apparent past, current, or future health hazard.
Nature and Extent of Surface Water/ Sediment Contamination
Grant, Prairie, and Jackson Creeks(6)
Several rounds of surface water and sediment sampling of creeks that flow through JOAAP were conducted during the 1980s and early 1990s. Through the sampling, surface water samples were collected from Grant, Prairie, and Jackson Creeks to assess surface water quality in the MFG and LAP Areas and at off-site downstream reaches. The downstream samples were collected at or near the creek's confluence with either the Kankakee River or DesPlaines River, or other off-site tributaries. Upstream samples were also collected to provide reference concentrations. Surface water and sediment samples collected from the creeks were analyzed for explosives compounds, anions, and metals, and selected surface water samples were also analyzed for VOCs (Dames & Moore 1993a).
Of the chemicals tested, only RDX was measured in a surface water sample at levels above ATSDR's most conservative CV (CREG) of 0.3 ppb for drinking water. No other samples contained contaminants at levels above ATSDR's CVs in on-site of off-site samples. RDX was measured at 7 ppb in a sample collected from Prairie Creek in 1985. Since that time, more recent sampling has detected lower RDX concentrations in the creek. Based on these results, no contaminants at levels above CVs for drinking water have entered the Grant, Prairie, or Jackson Creeks or appear to be impacting the downstream Kankakee River or the DesPlaines River (Dames & Moore 19993a).
Doyle Lake and Jordan Creek
Doyle Lake is a 12-acre surface water impoundment that receives surface runoff from Sites L7, L8, L9, L10, L27, and L28. The Doyle Lake area may have been used in the past for limited recreational activity, such as duck hunting (Midewin 2001b). The lake discharges south to a small creek, and the creek eventually empties into Jordan Creek. During multiple studies of the lake, the Army has collected numerous surface water and sediment samples (Dames & Moore 1993b). Surface water and sediment samples collected from Doyle Lake and Jordan Creek have been tested for explosive compounds, metals, and selected sediment samples have been analyzed for PCBs and pesticides.
RDX was detected in several surface water samples at concentrations above ATSDR's conservative CV. The highest concentrations, ranging from 4.4 ppb to 19 ppb, were found along the drainage pathway from the holding pond to a point downstream from Doyle Lake. Arsenic was detected at concentrations above ATSDR most conservative CV for drinking water of 0.02 ppb, but well below EPA's current MCL of 50 ppb. Lead (47 ppb) was also found, but infrequently (1 of 14 samples) at concentrations above EPA's action level of 15 ppb (Dames & Moore 1993b). Sediment samples collected from Doyle Lake and Jordan Creek contained only low levels of contaminants.
Evaluation of Potential Public Health Hazards
Certain chemicals were detected in the surface water at JOAAP at levels above ATSDR drinking water CVs, but exposure to the contaminants occurred rarely, if at all. The surface water has never been used as a source of drinking water so no one would have been exposed to these contaminants when they drank water. Furthermore, dermal contact with contaminated surface water is unlikely because there has never been a recreational swimming program at JOAAP and access to most surface water bodies is restricted by perimeter fences (ECG 1998; Army 1999b). At this point in time, surface water bodies at JOAAP are too shallow to support swimming so it is unlikely that they will be used for swimming or other recreational activities in the future (Army 1999d; Dames & Moore 1994a and 1995). In addition, no off-site stream contains site-related contaminants that might be harmful for persons using these water bodies.
All of the land at JOAAP will be transferred from the Army to federal, state, and local jurisdictions, of which a total of 19,100 acres is scheduled for transfer to the USDA for the establishment of the MNTP. At MNTP, the USDA hopes to restore and enhance the native prairie habitats of fish, as well provide recreational opportunities compatible with prairie habitats. Workers at the MNTP could, therefore, come in contact with surface water now or in the future during activities to monitor fish and other organisms in the surface water. As much as 15,080 of the 19,106 acres was transferred in March 1997 to the USDA, but required no further action to meet standards acceptable for public use. An additional 4,000 acres will also be transferred once the land has been remediated to acceptable standards. Therefore, we do not expect workers or visitors will come in contact with harmful levels of contaminants during infrequent contact with surface water under future uses at MNTP.
ATSDR concludes that surface water and sediment at JOAAP poses no past, current, or future health hazards.
Portions of JOAAP have been used for agricultural purposes since 1942. As of 1996, approximately 80 agricultural leases for crops and cattle grazing encompassed 16,700 acres of JOAAP (Plexus Scientific 1996a). The major crops grown at JOAAP include soybeans and corn (Plexus Scientific 1996b). JOAAP has also been used for hunting and fishing. Until the hunting program was discontinued in 1995, the most commonly hunted animals were deer and pheasant (Army 1999a). Fishing at JOAAP ended around 1990 because organized recreation at JOAAP was discontinued (Army 1999b). Local residents continue to fish in downstream areas from JOAAP, such as Grant Creek and Prairie Creek.
In 1995, a study on the uptake of explosives by various plants at JOAAP was released. The study involved planting and testing agricultural crops, and testing existing vegetation in areas with TNT contamination (ER Systems 1995b). A study was also conducted at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAP) in areas with both TNT and RDX contamination (ER Systems 1995a).
Consumption of Crops
The groundwater at JOAAP has not been used to irrigate crops (Dames & Moore 1995). In addition, crops have not been grown on soils known to be contaminated. Crops have generally been planted at least 100 feet from the closest area containing contamination (Army 1999d). Therefore, it is unlikely that any crops have been exposed to site-related contamination at JOAAP. Furthermore, the 1995 plant uptake study at JOAAP showed that when crops--specifically oat and perennial ryegrass--were planted on TNT-contaminated soil no contamination was detected in the edible aboveground portions of these plants. These results were confirmed in the IAAP study that found no explosives uptake in corn leaves, stalks, kernels, or roots for corn plants grown on TNT-and RDX-contaminated soil.Contamination of crops in the future is not expected since all areas with soil contamination will be remediated.
ATSDR concludes that the consumption of crops grown at JOAAP poses no apparent past, current, or future public health hazard.
Consumption of Deer, Cattle, and Pheasants
Some people have hunted deer and pheasants at JOAAP in the past. It is possible that these animals have been exposed to contaminated groundwater, soil, and surface water present at JOAAP. Furthermore, these animals could have ingested chemicals via the consumption of contaminated plants. (Although the JOAAP and IAAP plant studies showed that TNT was not taken up by the aboveground portions of existing vegetation, the IAAP study did show that there was the potential for RDX uptake in some plants.)
As of 1992, there were approximately 2,000 white tailed deer at JOAAP. During the 1992 hunting season, a deer study was conducted to investigate the safety of consuming deer at JOAAP. Explosives, organochlorine pesticides, and PCBs were not detected in deer muscle or liver, while some metals were detected. Elevated levels of arsenic were lower than those detected at an off-base reference site and therefore appeared unlikely to pose a health threat. The authors of the study concluded that the health hazard from consuming muscle and liver from JOAAP deer was minimal (U.S. AEHA 1994).
No sampling data had been collected to assess possible contaminants levels in pheasants. Bioaccumulation data are, however, available for other possibly affected small foraging animals. Through the Phase 1 Ecological Risk Assessment, contaminant levels were measured in the white-footed mouse. The reference population of white-footed mice was collected from the Des Plaines Conservation Area adjacent to JOAAP. The sampling results showed no evidence of explosive bioaccumulation in the mice at JOAAP. Results also showed no significant difference between the levels of heavy metals in mice at JOAAP and the mice at the Des Plaines Conservation Area (USACHPPM 1994). Without actual data, we do not know whether or to what extent contaminants have been accumulated by pheasants. In all likelihood, pheasants probably have not accumulated contaminants to levels any greater than those reported for other JOAAP biota. Even if we assume that pheasants accumulated contaminants, exposure through infrequent consumption of the seasonally hunted game bird probably would not reach levels associated with health concerns.
Certain parcels of agricultural land at JOAAP have been used to graze beef cattle (Army 1999a). The Army does not lease contaminated land for agricultural purposes so cattle have not been allowed to graze in contaminated areas (Dames & Moore 1995). Furthermore, because both cattle and deer are ruminants, the levels of explosives, PCBs, metals, and organochlorine pesticides in beef are not expected to be higher than those found in venison at JOAAP. Some local farmers water their livestock from wells drawing from the shallow bedrock aquifer (Brattstrom 2000), which has poor water quality primarily from naturally occurring sulfur and iron and not JOAAP-related contaminants.
The Army discontinued its hunting program in 1995 and all areas with soil contamination that require remediation will be cleaned before transfer (Army 1999a,b). ATSDR concludes that past consumption of deer and pheasant poses no apparent health hazard to hunters. Furthermore, past, current, and future consumption of beef cattle from JOAAP poses no apparent health hazard to consumers.
Consumption of Fish
Potential fish contamination was investigated as part of the Phase 1 Ecological Risk Assessment and the Phase 2 Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment. Fish tissue samples were analyzed for explosives (none detected), metals (barium, iron, and zinc were detected), PCBs (none detected), and pesticides (4,4'-DDE was detected). All metals were detected below CVs and 4,4'-DDE was detected well below the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Action Level of 5 parts per million (USACHPPM 1993 and 1994). Action levels represent limits at or above which the FDA will take legal action to remove products from the market. Therefore, no health hazards are expected to be associated with the ingestion of fish from JOAAP. Furthermore, no one is currently fishing at JOAAP (Army 1999a).
ATSDR concludes that the consumption of fish from JOAAP surface water bodies and downstream surface water bodies poses no apparent public health hazard.
Encounters with UXO
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is known or suspected to exist at sites L2, L3, L11, L34, and parts of L16 and L21 (all within the LAP Area). Access to all these sites within the LAP Area is restricted by a perimeter security fence that encloses the area. According to JOAAP personnel, UXO are suspected to be buried in the areas used by the Army as testing sites (L11), where about 10 ordnance per month failed to explode during normal operations, as burning grounds (L2), or as demolition areas (L3). UXO clearance activities performed to date during field investigations (at L2 and L11) found fragments, fuses, or grenades, but no UXO. UXO at JOAAP have been or will be located and removed (ECG 1998). ATSDR does not have information to suggest that there are any recorded incidents of injuries resulting from encounters with UXO at JOAAP (Dames & Moore 1993b).
In studies conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it was found that the accidents resulting from accidental detonation of UXO on areas where the public is allowed access to former military firing ranges comprised two categories: 1) accidents occurring when UXO were removed and tampered with by members of the public or 2) accidents occurring when employees of the entity currently in control of the property unknowingly dug into buried UXO (Wilcox 1997; QuantiTech 1997). The USACE did not find documentation of accidental detonations occurring in cases where the item was not actively disturbed in the above manners. As a result of the findings of these investigations by USACE, it is not likely that incidental contact with UXO items, such as walking over buried items, or unknowingly stepping on such items located on the surface, will result in detonations (Wilson 1997; QuantiTech 1997).
All areas of known or suspected buried UXO items will be addressed by the Army as part of a non-CERCLA project (ECG 1998). Encounters with UXO items could still occur at certain sites within the LAP transferred for other uses. Nonetheless, most accidental encounters, such as walking over the buried UXO, do not cause UXO items to explode. Only when the item is disturbed or handled without caution would we expect a harmful outcome. As a prudent public health measure, ATSDR suggests that future workers, volunteers, and visitors to the MNTP be informed about the hazards of disturbing UXO items and be provided with guidance on what to do in the event of an encounter with a UXO item.
ATSDR recognizes that infants and children may be more sensitive to exposures than adults in communities faced with contamination of their water, soil, air, or food. This sensitivity is a result of a number of factors. Children are more likely to be exposed to soil or surface water contamination because they play outdoors and often bring food into contaminated areas. For example, children may come into contact with and ingest soil particles at higher rates than do adults; also some children with a behavior trait known as "pica" are more likely than others to ingest soil and other nonfood items. Children are shorter than adults, which means they can breathe dust, soil, and any vapors close to the ground. Also, they are smaller, resulting in higher doses of chemical exposure per body weight. The developing body systems of children can sustain permanent damage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Because children depend completely on adults for risk identification and management decisions, ATSDR is committed to evaluating their special interests at sites such as JOAAP, as part of the ATSDR Child Health Initiative.
ATSDR has attempted to identify populations of children in the vicinity of JOAAP and any completed exposure pathways to these children. Children were not regularly or normally present at contaminated sites at JOAAP in the past or drank water drawn from the contaminated shallow aquifer. Therefore, ATSDR has not identified any completed past exposure pathways from JOAAP that are specific to children. A total of 19,100 acres of JOAAP land is scheduled for transfer to the USDA (Forest Service) for the establishment of the MNTP. Like all other visitors to the MNTP, children could contact soil or drink water while visiting the area. Contaminants in soil on land used by the MTNP, however, will meet standards safe for the child visitor. Likewise, drinking water supplies will be free of contaminants. Deed restrictions prohibiting the use of shallow ground water as a potable water sources have been placed in areas of contamination and drinking water supplies will continue to rely on deep aquifer sources that have been shown to be free of contamination. These potential exposure pathways are discussed extensively in "Environmental Contamination and Potential Pathways of Exposure."
Health concerns have been brought to ATSDR's attention through the public health assessment process at the JOAAP site. JOAAP has prepared a community relations plan (CRP) that details community concerns and develops goals and objectives to better understand the needs of the surrounding community. Through public meetings and interviews, community members expressed concerns about environmental conditions and potential health hazards at JOAAP. Community members and government employees interested in the site formed a Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) in December 1995. Involvement in the RAB process allows community members to review environmental documents and proposed plans and to serve as a liaison between the community and Army. Since its inception, the RAB has held monthly meetings, provided input on the Proposed Plans and the ROD, helped decide on removal actions conducted during 1997 and 1998, and visited other RABs (ECG 1998).
Following are several concerns, stated by community members, regarding contamination and health effects associated with the JOAAP site.
- Concern about volunteers and prairie workers coming in contact with contaminated soil during the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie restoration?
Volunteers and restoration workers should not come in contact with harmful levels of contaminants in soil while working at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP) during prairie restoration. As you know, the MNTP is being established on land formerly occupied by the JOAAP. The Army used the land at JOAAP to manufacture explosives, lead azide, and sodium azide. In 1993, the Army declared the property excess land, and through the Illinois Land Conservation Act, plans to transfer a total of 19,106 acres of the land to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Forest Service) for the MNTP. Restoration operations at MNTP supported by prairie workers and volunteers, could take several decades to complete.
As of March 1997, 15,080 of the 19,106 acres had been transferred to USDA. Testing conducted prior to the land transfer indicated that soil on this land contained only low levels of chemicals, if any, used at JOAAP. ATSDR reviewed these data and concluded that digging in or otherwise disturbing the soil in these areas is not expected to cause any harm to individuals working with soil during prairie restoration. Furthermore, both IEPA and EPA have confirmed that the soil in these areas required no further clean up actions before transfer to the USDA.
Soil in the remaining roughly 4,000 acres contains explosives, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons left over from former site operations and waste handling practices. Contaminant concentrations in soil of certain areas of this property are higher than established health-based standards for soil, suggesting the need for further evaluation to determine whether these areas are safe for individuals who might come into contact with the soil.
Following investigations of these areas the Army studied cleanup options. The October 1998, ROD presented remediation goals to guide cleanup of contaminated soil at JOAAP. The goals were specifically derived to be protective of a non-specific park user. As such, the Army intends to remove contaminated soil at JOAAP land to levels below the derived remediation goals as outlined in the ROD.
Questions arose as to whether achieving the remediation goals based on a hypothetical exposure of a non-specific park user might leave behind contaminants at levels of potential harm to the prairie worker or volunteer. Prairie workers and volunteers are expected to have a lot of contact with soil as they will be involved in soil tillage, planting seeds, weeding, mowing grass, and trail construction and maintenance. A special Health Risk Assessment Team (HRAT), composed of representatives of EPA, IEPA, USDA (Forest Service), Illinois Department of Public Health, U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the restoration advisory board (RAB), was formed to further evaluate potential exposures of volunteers and prairie workers (HRAT 2000). Specifically, the team was charged with:
- Identifying and assessing exposure pathways and appropriate exposure coefficients for the prairie worker and then recommend appropriate soil preliminary remediation goals (PRGs) for each contaminant of concern under different exposure scenarios.
- Suggesting potential remedial actions.
The HRAT team (1) followed EPA's risk assessment methodology, often using estimates of "reasonable maximum exposure" (worst-case exposure scenarios), (2) assumed exposures across different exposure routes were additive, and (3) assessed exposure of a child volunteer to site contamination. In developing their remediation goals, however, the HRAT team's approach considered several additional factors that were not part of the approach presented in the ROD:
- More specific exposure information (for the prairie worker/volunteer). The HRAT team used more specific exposure information as opposed to relying on conservative assumptions about exposure. By relying less on assumptions, they reduced the level of uncertainty in the final PRGs.
- Changes to EPA toxicity values. The HRAT team considered changes to toxicity values such as EPA's reference dose, thus allowing the assessment to reflect the best available scientific knowledge.
- Changes in EPA risk assessment guidance. The HRAT team considered EPA's updated risk assessment guidance that became available since the original remedial goals were developed.
Using a conservative approach and the factors mentioned above, the HRAT team presented their findings in the Human Health Preliminary Remedial Goals Report. As indicated in the report, about one-third of the HRAT team's PRGs are more conservative than the original interim remediation goals. The more conservative, or lower, PRGs are primarily driven by hypothetical exposure of a young child volunteer to the contaminants of concern. The adult PRGs are similar to remediation goals, suggesting that interim remediation goals designed for the park user would also be protective of the adult prairie worker and volunteer.
While it is safe for young children to visit MNTP, excessive long-term contact with soil during volunteer activities, such as digging and weeding, could expose a young child to unhealthy levels of contaminants embedded in the soil. Because of the potential risk to a young child (less than 6 years of age) from exposure to contaminants during significant soil disturbances associated with certain volunteer activities at MNTP, ATSDR supports either: (1) measures to limit a young child's participation in restoration activities at MNTP, or (2) the use of PRGs in guiding cleanup measures at MNTP. The PRGs are protective of young children who may volunteer with tasks suitable for young children.
- Concern that rates of cancer and birth defects seem slightly higher than normal in the area.
In assessing the threats to the public's health, ATSDR first examines the potential exposure pathways related to a site. If ATSDR determines that a completed exposure pathway poses a public health threat, ATSDR may gather health outcome data to complement the environmental and exposure data. In evaluating available data from the JOAAP site, ATSDR has not found a completed exposure pathway posing a potential public health hazard. Based on the data available for review, ATSDR does not believe that contaminants from the JOAAP site are responsible for health problems such as cancer or birth defects.
The Illinois Department of Public Health monitors cancer incidence in Illinois communities. Community members who would like information on cancer rates by Illinois county should review www.idph.il.us/about/epi/cancer/htm. For additional information you may contact a representative of the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-785-1873.
On the basis of its evaluation of available environmental information, ATSDR concluded that exposures to contaminants in groundwater, surface soil, surface water and biota are below levels that cause adverse health effects. Because exposure to low levels of contamination is possible, ATSDR has categorized this site as no apparent public health hazard (a definition of this category is provided in the glossary in Appendix B). Conclusions regarding media- and site-specific exposures are as follows:
- Groundwater plumes containing explosives, metals, toluene, and benzene have been identified at JOAAP, primarily in the uppermost glacial drift aquifer. Contaminated aquifers were never used as a source of drinking water by JOAAP. Furthermore, the plumes have not migrated beyond the boundaries of JOAAP. The plumes will be monitored in the future and deed restrictions will prevent any future use of contaminated water for potable purposes.
- The primary soil contaminants found at sites within the soil remediation units (SRUs) included explosives, metals, PCBs, petroleum products, and sulfur. Contamination in the SRUs was localized to areas where exposure was infrequent or unlikely. Remediation of soil at all sites within the SRUs prior to land transfer will further reduce any possibility of future exposure to soil contaminants on land intended for MNTP or Illinois industrial parks. No sites requiring remediation were identified on land intended for the Will County Landfill or the VA National Cemetery.
- Explosives and metals were detected in surface water bodies at JOAAP above comparison values. However, the creeks and lakes at JOAAP have not been used for swimming and are too shallow to support swimming in the future.
- JOAAP contains several contaminated media. However, plants and animals at JOAAP that have been or are currently being consumed by humans do not pose a public health hazard because contaminants have been detected in these organisms at levels that are too low to cause adverse health effects in humans.
- All areas of known or suspected buried UXO items will be addressed by the Army as part of a non-CERCLA project. Still, there is a small potential for some UXO items to remain buried on transferred land. Only when the UXO is disturbed or tampered with, however, would we expect harmful outcomes. To reduce potentially harmful UXO encounters and to best protect public health, ATSDR recommends that workers, volunteers, and visitors at the MNTP use caution in suspect areas and be educated about hazards of disturbing UXO items.
The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for JOAAP provides a description of actions taken and those to be taken, as necessary, by ATSDR, the Army, and EPA subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of this PHAP is to ensure that the public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions that are completed, ongoing, or planned are as follows:
- A removal action was conducted in 1997 to excavate and dispose of organics-and PCB-contaminated soil at Group 70 (Site L6).
- JOAAP land has been allocated to: the USDA for use as the Midewin Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP), Veteran's Affairs for a National Cemetery, Wills County for a landfill, and to the state of Illinois for two industrial parks. In March 1997, the Army formally transferred 15,080 acres (of a total of roughly 19,000 acres) of JOAAP to the USDA. Land transferred to date does not contain contamination at levels requiring cleanup.
- A ROD has identified remediation goals or cleanup standards and remediation has been initiated at sites on land identified for the Illinois industrial parks and at sites in three SRUs (4, 6, and 7) on land intended for MNTP.
- Remedial goals are considered interim for the land in SRUs 1, 2, 3, and 5, the remaining roughly 4,000 acres of land that will be transferred to the USDA.
- A limited action remedy has been chosen for each of the GRUs. As part of this remedy, deed restrictions on groundwater use will be implemented and a groundwater monitoring program will be established. The hope is that natural processes (natural attenuation) such as biological degradation will reduce contaminant concentrations in the plumes.
- An additional ROD identifying final remediation goals for soil (in SRUs 1, 2, 3, and 5) will be issued for all land to be transferred to the USDA that requires a final remedial action.
Environmental Health Engineer
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Gary Campbell, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Army. 1997a. Proposed Plan for the Groundwater Operable Unit, Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, Will County, Illinois. December 12, 1997.
Army. 1997b. Proposed Plan for the Soils Operable Unit, Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, Will County, Illinois. December 12, 1997.
Army. 1999a. Personal communication with Art Holz, U.S. Army representative for JOAAP. March 31, 1999.
Army. 1999b. Personal communication with Art Holz, U.S. Army representative for JOAAP. May 10, 1999.
Army. 1999c. Personal communication with Art Holz, U.S. Army representative for JOAAP. May 13, 1999.
Army. 1999d. Personal communication with Art Holz, U.S. Army representative for JOAAP, May 17, 1999.
Army. 1999e. Personal communication with Art Holz, U.S. Army representative for JOAAP. May 20, 1999.
ATSDR. 1989a. Preliminary Health Assessment, Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (LAP Area), Joliet, Will County, Illinois. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
ATSDR. 1989b. Preliminary Health Assessment, Joliet Army Plant (Manufacturing Area), Joliet, Illinois. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
ATSDR. 1998a. Draft Public Comment Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. August 1998.
ATSDR. 1998b. Site visit to Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. September 14-15, 1998.
Brattstrom, J. K. 2000. Personal communications (e-mail) with Janet K. Brattstrom, U.S. Army, RE: Questions regarding the Initial Release Public Health Assessment Version. May 3, 2000.
Dames & Moore. 1990. Final Phase 1 Results Report, Remedial Investigation, Manufacturing Area, Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, Illinois. Volume 1 of 2. Prepared by Dames & Moore, A Professional Limited Partnership for the U.S. Army Toxic and Hazardous Materials Agency, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. September 18, 1990.
Dames & Moore. 1993a. Final Report, Phase 2 Remedial Investigation, Manufacturing (MFG) Area, Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, Joliet, Illinois. Volume 1 of 2. Prepared by Dames & Moore, Inc., for the U.S. Army Environmental Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. May 30, 1993.
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1. One of the wells is located in a converted farmhouse that predates the installation. This well drew water from the shallow bedrock aquifer. Although the water met safe drinking water standards, personnel in the buildingdid not drink the water because of the objectionable effects of the water's high sulfur content. Rather, personnel in the building drank bottled water (Holz 2001).
2. No background groundwater samples were taken for the deep bedrock aquifer, so values for the shallow bedrock aquifer were used.
3. The CV for nitrite was used for nitrite/nitrate since it is more conservative than the CV for nitrate.
4. The ATSDR cancer CV for arsenic is considered very conservative. Furthermore, the study from which the CV was derived has a number of weaknesses and uncertainties including a possible underestimate of the levels of exposure (ATSDR 1998a).
5. The cleanup of sites at SRU7 will be conducted outside the Army's CERCLA process because sulfur is not a regulated substance under CERCLA.
6. No environmental monitoring data were available for Spoil Bank Creek during the preparation of this public health assessment.