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HEALTH CONSULTATION

LEFFINGWELL ROAD PIPELINE SPILL
BERLIN TOWNSHIP, MAHONING COUNTY, OHIO
( Number 1 )


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

On December 17, 1997, the Northeast District Office (NEDO) of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) asked the Site Assessment Section of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to review stream sediment data collected by OEPA November 14, 1997, and to assess the human health risks posed by chemical contaminants in these sediments. This sediment sampling was part of an OEPA investigation of a natural gas pipeline spill that occurred in a rural portion of Mahoning County, Ohio, in 1989. Petroleum condensate was released into a nearby intermittent stream and residual petroleum remains in stream sediments and hydric soils underlying an adjacent wetlands area. The November 14, 1997, sediment sampling was recommended by ODH in an earlier health consultation completed for OEPA April 15, 1997. Both health consultations were prepared by the ODH under cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

The pipeline spill site is about 0.5 miles upstream of the Mill Creek embayment of Berlin Reservoir in a semi-rural portion of Berlin Township, Mahoning County, Ohio (Figure 1). Four residential properties abut the intermittent stream along the south side of Leffingwell Road and the east side of Bedell Road, west of the stream (Figure 2). Residents include eight adults and three children under the age of 15. The intermittent stream flows north into Mill Creek, a larger stream that flows west into Berlin Reservoir, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water supply reservoir. The immediate spill area is of low relief with the stream broadening into a swampy, heavily-vegetated wetlands area just south of Leffingwell Road bridge. The stream begins to incise its way into the underlying bedrock north of the bridge. The area east of the stream is a public hunting area maintained by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A number of oil or natural gas production wells and support facilities are on hillsides within a half-mile radius of the spill site.

Emergency response actions at the time of the spill (November 3, 1989) included use of booms to contain natural gas condensate in the adjacent intermittent stream. Subsequent clean-up actions (1991) included removal of 641 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil from either side of the pipeline at the point of the spill (Bart Ray, NEDO-OEPA, pers. comm.). Later sampling events (Jen-Tech, September and October 1996; NEDO-OEPA, November 1996; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, December 1996 and January 1997; and U.S. EPA, August 6, 1997, and September 18, 1997) indicated the continued presence of residual petroleum in sediments in the bed of the intermittent stream in the vicinity of Leffingwell Road. East Ohio Gas, with U.S. EPA oversight, is currently completing a removal action in the intermittent streambed south of Leffingwell Road (Joe Freadle, US EPA, pers. comm.). The goal of this removal action is to remove most of the residual petroleum hydrocarbons still remaining in stream sediments in this area.

Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations from Initial ODH Health Consultation

ODH (1997) evaluated the health risks represented by semi-volatile organic compounds detected by NEDO-OEPA (December 18, 1996) in sediment and soils from six sampling stations along and in the intermittent stream. ODH concluded that residual petroelum contamination resulting from the 1989 spill was not currently impacting local residential drinking water wells or impacting surface water quality in the intermittent stream. Elevated levels of carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), including benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, and benzo(a)pyrene were detected in surfical stream sediments at a sampling station north of the culvert under Leffingwell Road (SE-01) and in soils beneath matted vegetation in a wetlands area south of the road (SO-02) (Figure 2). PAHs were not detected in any of the other sediment samples collected from the stream (ODH, 1997). Health risks presented by PAHs in soils in the wetlands area south of the road (SO-02) were limited people are not likely to come in contact with the contamination because it is buried under four inches of dense, matted vegetation. Elevated PAH levels in surface sediment at the locality north of the road (SE-01) presented a potential human health risk because: 1) PAHs are in the upper one inch of sediment in the creek; 2) people have easy access to the creek at this spot; 3) creeks are attractive to children; and 4) two small children live north of this area. Levels of all five carcinogenic PAHs exceeded background levels for these chemicals in rural soils (ATSDR, 1995), but levels were below those typically encountered in soils in urban environments (Appendix A, Table 1). ODH recommended that local residents (especially children) avoid prolonged contact with sediments in the stream bed on both sides of Leffingwell Road until further evaluation of the contaminants, their concentrations, and their distribution within the stream could be made. ODH also recommended that NEDO-OEPA do additional sampling of sediments north of Leffingwell Road to better characterize the extent, distribution, and concentrations of carcinogenic PAHs in sediments along this portion of the stream. ODH offered to evaluate any additional environmental data collected by NEDO-OEPA with regard to the risks posed by these contaminants to local residents.

RESULTS OF THE NOVEMBER 14, 1997, STREAM SEDIMENT SAMPLING

The NEDO-OEPA (Division of Emergency and Remedial Response) staff sampled stream sediments on November 14, 1997 at 10 locations along the course of the intermittent stream between the culvert at Leffingwell Road and the point where the creek passes underneath Bedell Road 0.25 miles to the north (Figure 3). Sediments samples were analyzed only for semi-volative organic compounds. The analytical results of this sampling are presented in the following table:

Sediment Sampling Results

Sample #    Sample Location SVOC Level (ppm)   Comparison Value
SD-01 West of the
Bedell Road Bridge
ND NA NA
SD-02 West of the
Bedell Road Bridge
ND NA NA
SD-03 East of the
Bedell Road Bridge
ND NA NA
SD-04 East of the
Bedell Road Bridge
ND NA NA
SD-05
& SD-07
Northeast Corner of the
property at 7949 Bedell Road
ND NA NA
SD-06 Southeast of the pond,
east of the property at
7949 Bedell Road
ND NA NA
SD-08 East of 8003 Bedell Road ND NA NA
SD-09 Outlet from quarry pond, east
edge of the property at
17550 Leffingwell Road
Flouranthene
Pyrene
Benzo(a)anthracene
Chrysene
Benzo(b)flouranthene
Benzo(a)pyrene
0.90
0.99
0.46
0.62
0.71
0.50
2,000 RMEG
2,000 RMEG
NONE
NONE
NONE
0.1 CREG
SD-10 Ditch along the north
side of Leffingwell Road,
east of culvert
Flouranthene
Pyrene
1.60
0.65
2,000 RMEG
2,000 RMEG

ppm = parts per million
ND = Not detected
NA = Not applicable
RMEG = Reference Dose Media Evaluation Guide
CREG = Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide for 1 x 10-6 excess cancer risk


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