Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content

PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

TINKER AIR FORCE (SOLDIER CR/BUILDING 3001)
MIDWEST CITY, OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA


SUMMARY

Tinker Air Force Base (Tinker), an active industrial complex for overhauling, modifying, andrepairing aircraft, was activated in 1942. The 4,277 acre base is in central Oklahoma in thesoutheast section of Oklahoma City and Midwest City. The base is surrounded by residential andcommercial property.

In May, 1988, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued a publichealth assessment pertaining to Tinker. A copy of that public health assessment appears as anattachment to this document. The public health assessment addressed concerns related tocontamination at Building 3001, the National Priorities List site at Tinker. The health assessmentalso addressed, to a lesser extent, contamination of Soldier Creek. Since the release of the publichealth assessment, new public health concerns information and environmental data have becomeavailable that warrant an addendum to the health assessment. The contents and conclusions inthis addendum supersede those in the 1988 Tinker Air Force Base Public Health Assessment.

Groundwater

    Off-base private wells Most residences were connected to the municipal water system in 1993-1994. However,hookups have been refused by some residents with contaminated wells. As of November 1995,12 wells were not plugged. It is not known if all 12 wells are contaminated at levels that pose apublic health hazard or if people are using the well water for potable purposes. Construction ofnew wells in the area northeast of Tinker is prohibited. Since groundwater remediation isincomplete, the potential exist for contamination to migrate to the 12 unplugged wells if they arenear sources of groundwater contamination. Thus, current and future exposures are a potentialpublic health hazard.
      Past Exposures: Public Health Hazard
    In the past, people were exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in contaminated privateresidential wells in the area northeast of Tinker. Contamination levels that may increase the riskof developing cancer after prolonged exposure were detected in several (6-8) of these wells. However, it is not known how long the wells were contaminated. The residences with wellcontamination above the Environmental Protection Agency's Maximum Contaminant Levelswere supplied bottled water by the Air Force the same year contamination was detected (1990). A contamination source for the private wells still has not been identified.

    Base Supply Wells

    Currently the base supply wells in use are in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act; andno one using base water is being exposed to contaminant levels that pose a health hazard.
      Past Exposures: Public Health Hazard
    Contamination was detected in base supply wells 18 and 19 at levels that would have posed apublic health hazard if people were exposed directly to those concentrations. However, thecontaminant concentrations that people were exposed to are unknown but are expected to be lessthan those in the contaminated base wells. Water from several wells enter the base waterdistribution system and is combined in holding tanks. Therefore, water from contaminated wellswas diluted by uncontaminated water from other base wells. However, because trichloroethylene(TCE) concentrations reached as high as 1642 parts per billion (ppb) in well 18, it is likely thatpeople were exposed to concentrations of TCE above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of5 ppb, even with dilution. The Air Force removed the contaminated wells from servicepermanently the same year (1983) contamination was detected.

Air

    ATSDR concluded that current ambient air emissions (based on the 1993 air monitoring study)from the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant (IWTP) pose no apparent public health hazard. However, the ambient air concentrations of hydrogen sulfide were determined to be at levels thatmay be perceived as a nuisance to the nearby community. Since the study, the Air Force hasmade and continues to make numerous upgrades to the IWTP unit processes to reduce airemissions. ATSDR was unable to evaluate past exposure to the IWTP air emissions because appropriateenvironmental data were not available. Past emissions may have been greater than theconcentrations detected in the 1993 IWTP air study because process modifications to reduceemissions had already been implemented. To help determine if exposures to past aircontamination may have caused health problems, ATSDR's Division of Health Studies is in thepreliminary stages of conducting a review of health statistics and cancer mortality data.

Creek Surface Water and Sediments

      Current and Past Exposures: No Apparent Public Health Hazard
    Exposures to surface water and sediment in East Soldier, West Soldier, Elm, Kuhlman, andCrutcho Creeks pose no apparent public health hazard. However, ATSDR recommends thatchildren not use East Soldier Creek as a frequent play area because the base is permitted todischarge treated wastewater from the IWTP to the creek and an atypical/unexpected releasecould pose a health hazard if people were exposed. The Air Force plans to begin dischargingwastewater to the Oklahoma City Regional Water District System by the end of March 1996,however, they will still maintain their permit for discharge to East Soldier Creek.

    ATSDR's Division of Health Education will provide fact sheets regarding IWTP discharges intoEast Soldier Creek. Fact sheets should be available by Spring 1996.

BACKGROUND

Site Description and History

In May 1988, ATSDR issued a public health assessment addressing the contamination associatedwith the Building 3001 complex at Tinker Air Force Base (Tinker). The Public HealthAssessment is included in Appendix A. That document addressed groundwater and soilcontamination under Building 3001 and sediment contamination in East and West Soldier Creeksto a limited degree. Since the public health assessment was issued, additional information hasbeen provided to ATSDR concerning these sites. Information is also available for other siteslisted on Tinker's Installation Restoration Program (IRP). Therefore, this addendum has beenprovided to update the previous public health assessment. New information included in thisaddendum is from site-specific documents and information provided by state and local officialsand area citizens. The contents and conclusions in this addendum supersede those in the 1988Public Health Assessment.

Tinker was activated in March 1942. The base is a major industrial complex for overhauling,modifying, and repairing military aircraft engines and accessory items. Tinker is the home of theOklahoma City Air Logistics Center for the U.S. Air Force. The 4,277 acre base is in centralOklahoma in the southeast section of metropolitan Oklahoma City and adjacent with MidwestCity (Figure 1). The base is surrounded by residential and commercial development to the north,west, and east, with industrial and commercial development to the south.

The IRP includes 36 sites including one National Priorities List (NPL) site, Building 3001 withits several operable units. Figure 2 shows the locations of all sites on the IRP agenda, includingthe NPL sites. Available information concerning contamination is discussed in the "On-BaseContamination" section of this document.

Descriptions of the IRP/NPL sites follow:1

The public health evaluation of Tinker determined that 12 of the 36 IRP/NPL sites are potentialsources and/or areas of contamination that have public health significance (i.e., each of thesesites have or may contribute to contamination of environmental media that people come incontact with). These 12 sites are sites 1, 2, 4-9, 14, 15, 30, and 31. The environmental media ofconcern include private and base supply wells, surface water and sediments in the creeksassociated with the base, and air emitted from the IWTP.

Figure 1
Figure 1. Site Vicinity, Tinker Air Force Base

Figure 2
Figure 2.

Site 1--Building 3001

Building 3001 occupies approximately 50 acres and houses an industrial complex used in theoverhaul and modification of aircraft. All phases of aircraft disassembly, engine overhaul,inspection, plating, testing, repair, and reassembly are conducted within Building 3001. Beforethe mid-1970s, industrial wastes were stored in concrete or steel-lined pits at various locationsaround and inside Building 3001. In the early 1970's pits were replaced with degreasingequipment.2 Also, some solvents and wastewaters were drained to the storm drain system in thebuilding due to improper tie-in connections between industrial waste lines and storm drains. In1987, Building 3001 was placed on the NPL. Numerous cross-connections to the storm watersewer were identified in 1989 and have been eliminated.3,4 By fall 1993, the Air Force had replaced over half of the industrial waste lines with a double walled system.5 The replacement of the remaining industrial wastewater lines is progressing at this time.

The past activities within Building 3001 have resulted in contamination of the on-basegroundwater with chlorinated solvents and heavy metals. A Record of Decision (ROD) wassigned August 1990 for Building 3001.1 The ROD includes provision for a groundwatertreatment system. This system includes 33 extraction and containment wells, 5 horizontal wellsand 28 vertical wells. Construction began on the five horizontal wells in October 1992 and wascompleted in January 1993.6 These wells are primarily for extraction of contamination belowBuilding 3001. The vertical wells are located around Building 3001 and are used primarily forcontainment of contamination. The Air Force began intermittent pumping of this system inFebruary 1993. The wells were pumped continuously beginning August 1994.6

Site 2--Drinking Water Wells 18 and 19

Wells 18 and 19 were base drinking water supply wells. These wells were removed from servicein 1984 after trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) were detected in samplesdrawn at the wellhead. Both wells were plugged in September 1986. No further response actionis planned.7 Past activities within Building 3001 resulted in contamination of the groundwaterwith chlorinated solvents and heavy metals. Wells 18 and 19 were inside Building 3001 near thearea of maximum groundwater contamination.

Site 3--Pit Q-51

Pit Q-51 was inside Building 3001. It was a 8 x 10 x 20 feet concrete-lined pit. Pit Q-51 wasused from the 1940s to the 1970s to hold industrial solvents and wastewater from industrialoperations. The pit contained approximately 45 gallons of liquid; contaminants detectedincluded 42 ppm TCE, 3 ppm cadmium, 4 ppm chromium, and 22 ppm lead.8,9 The pit showedno signs of leakage into the subsurface. The contents of the pit were removed and the pit wascleaned, backfilled with sand, and capped in 1991.9 The site cleanup was coordinated with theOklahoma State Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),Region VI.9

Site 4--North Fuel Area

This site is at the northwest corner of Building 3001 and covers approximately one acre. Site 4 issurrounded by an asphalt and concrete parking lot. The area is about 1000 feet east of WestSoldier Creek and 1650 feet northwest the nearest on-base water supply well, WS-15. Fiveunderground storage tanks were installed at this site between 1943 and 1963. Tank 3404, a235,000 gallon heating oil tank, is known to be the main source of contamination at the site.10 Fuel oil is the primary hazard at the site and has been released over several decades.11 Appreciable soil contamination has not been discovered at the site.11 Forty-three monitoringwells were installed at this site between 1985 and 1993 to investigate subsurface contamination.

Site 5 - Soldier Creek

Soldier Creek Site was placed on the NPL July 22, 1987.12 The Soldier Creek Site includesSoldier Creek and its tributaries (East and West Soldier Creek and tributaries A and B) and anyarea underlying or adjacent to the waterway that may be contaminated by the migration ofcontaminants from Tinker (Figure 3). Soldier Creek is primarily east of the base and flows northfrom its headwaters just north of Southeast 59th Street. It joins Crutcho Creek approximately sixmiles downstream. West Soldier Creek is the tributary that originates on the west side ofBuilding 3001. East Soldier Creek is the tributary which flows along the east side of Building3001 and past the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant (IWTP).

The primary sources of contamination at Tinker include leaks from on-base storage tanks andpits, discharge from industrial outfalls (cross connections corrected in 1990), contaminant spills,and runoff from runways and industrial facilities.12 Soldier Creek and its tributaries receivesurface runoff from an area consisting of approximately 9,000 acres which includes the IWTP,Building 3001, and North and Southwest Fuel Areas. East and West Soldier Creek receivedischarges or runoff directly from Tinker. East Soldier Creek receives discharge directly fromthe IWTP.

Figure 3
Figure 3. Phase I and Phase II Sampling Locations for Soldier Creek, Tinker AFB.

Site 6--IWTP/Sewage Treatment Plant Soil
Site 7--IWTP Groundwater

Industrial wastewater used at the base is treated at the IWTP and then discharged to East SoldierCreek. The groundwater under the treatment plant has been determined to contain contaminantssimilar to those found at Building 3001.13 Eleven groups (16 tanks total) of concrete tanks usedfor processing were removed July-December 1992.9 One group of tanks contained industrialwastewater containing cyanides. Another set of tanks contained wastewater with chromium andone tank held wastewater with phenols. Two groups of tanks were used as chemicals additiontanks for the combined waste stream and six groups of tanks were used to adjust the pH of thecombined waste stream.9 Soils under two of the groups of tanks contained contaminants, some of which were also found in the groundwater.13 These sitesare currently under evaluation.

Site 8--Southwest Tanks Area

The Southwest Tanks Site consists of 17 abandoned fuel and solvent tanks. The site coversabout 2.5 acres and is southwest of Buildings 3001 and 3108. Records indicate that the tankshave held gasoline, lubricating oil, naphtha, Stoddard solvent, JP-1 (jet fuel) and PD 680 solventsince their installation in the 1940's. Six of the seventeen tanks were removed. Three of theseventeen tanks were closed in-place. The remaining tank and vault (with seven tanks) are beinginvestigated and will be scheduled for closure following completion of the ongoinginvestigations.

Several Innovative Technology Demonstration projects (in situ sensors, soil gas monitoring, soilfracturing and bioventing) are currently being used at the Southwest Tanks site. Toluene,benzene, xylene, ethylbenzene, DCE and TCE have been detected in the groundwater or soil inthis area. Contamination may have resulted from past leaks or spills from the tanks.2

Site 9--Fuel Farm

The original Fuel Farm consisted of five 18,000-gallon underground storage tanks (USTs) andtwenty 25,000-gallon USTs. Motor fuel, aviation gasoline, and JP-4 were stored in the tanks. The USTs were drained and replaced with above-ground storage tanks in 1988. In 1979 and1980, two spills of 6,000 and 10,000 gallons occurred. Investigations in 1985, 1987, and 1988detected fuel-related contaminants in the soil and groundwater at the site. Currently, the site isbeing investigated to determine the amount of contamination in the soil and the extent ofgroundwater contamination.6,7

Site 10--Four Fuel Sites

These sites are in two distinct locations: near Building 201 and near Building 214. Sites nearBuilding 201 are the South Alcove Site, West Alcove Site, and North Side Site. The site nearBuilding 214 is the Southwest Corner Site. Fuels, primarily diesel fuel, and solvents were storedin underground storage tanks in these areas. Leaks from the underground storage tanks and/orlines resulted in contamination of soils and groundwater.14

The South Alcove Site is south of site 22. The abandoned underground storage tank isapparently under a pump and fill pad. The Phase I RI reports that the Air Force identified thetank as Tank 204, a 500 gallon steel tank used to store solvents from 1944 until 1972, when itwas abandoned. Equipment left near the area suggests that the tank may have also been used forhydraulic fluid.14

The West Alcove Site lies within a narrow, grass covered alcove west of Building 201. Nothingis present at ground surface to indicate the presence of an underground storage tank. The Phase IRI describes the tank as a 500 gallon diesel tank. Air Force documents describe the tank as#201A, a 500 gallon steel tank constructed in 1944 and abandoned in 1975. The tank reportedlystored fuel for an emergency generator. No record of tank removal has been found by the AirForce.

The North Side Site is in a concrete, paved, fenced, hazardous materials storage area on the northside of Building 201. When the Phase I investigation was performed, the tank was reported to befilled with liquid that may have been water. The Air Force listed the tank as a 1500 gallon steeltank constructed in 1942 for solvent storage.2 The Phase I RI reports that workers said the tankmay have been used for sewage storage rather than waste solvents and that another tank may bein the vicinity. Chemical analysis of the water in the tank indicated that the tank likely containedsome solvents.14

The Southwest Corner Site is at the test bay portion of Building 214. The Air Force lists the tankas #214, constructed in 1944 for the collection of unspecified wastes from the engine test bays. The tank was abandoned in 1987.14

Sites 11, 12, and 13--Fire Training Areas 1, 2, and 4

Fuel oils mixed with other wastes were burned in unlined pits at these sites by the Tinker FireDepartment. Some of the areas have been tentatively identified through old records and aerialphotographs.

Site 11, Fire Training Area 1, was used from 1959 to 1962. The site is on the west side of Tinkerand is bounded by Crutcho Creek to the southwest, Patrol Road to the east, and the old municipalsewage treatment plant site to the north. The area is circular with a diameter of approximately125 feet. No documents or records are available to identify the chemicals used during training. The remedial investigation was completed in May 1992.

Site 12, Fire Training Area 2, was used between 1962 and 1966. The site is on the southernportion of Tinker, northwest of the control tower, and near Crutcho Creek. No records werefound to identify the actual frequency of use and amount of fuel burned at the site.15 The site isa level grassy area with no visible signs of use as a fire training area. No significantcontamination was detected at the site.16

Site 13, Fire Training Area 4, was suspected as a fire training area. Investigations confirmed thatthis area was not used as a fire training area.6

Site 14--Area A Fuel Station (POL Area "A")

Area A Fuel Station is centrally located along the north boundary of the base at the northeastcorner of the 5th Street and E Avenue intersection. The site was the base's service station formilitary vehicles from 1942 until 1990.17 Leaded and unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel werestored in four underground storage tanks. Two of the tanks, both with 12,000 gallon capacity,were installed in 1942 and suspected of leaking in 1978. The tanks were emptied, steam cleaned,and taken out of service in May, 1978.17 The other two tanks were installed in 1975; one leakedin 1982 and was replaced. The station ceased operation in October, 1990.17

A pumping system for the recovery of free fuel product was installed in 1991. The maincomponents of this system are recovery wells, recovery pumps and controls, an oil/waterseparator, and an air stripper. Recovered fluids are processed through the oil/water separator. The effluent from the separator is then treated by the air stripper to decrease the concentration ofdissolved fuel components prior to discharge to the treatment system.17 Samples of water fromthe separator discharge and the treated water effluent will be sampled monthly for oil and grease,BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), and total lead content. The system will beoperated until the floating product has been recovered.

Site 15--3700 Fuel Yard (POL Area "C")

Site 15 is in the east central part of the base. The site, an aviation fuel storage depot in the mid-1950s, was next to a railroad spur to facilitate fuel delivery. It contained six 25,000 gallonunderground storage tanks, which were removed in 1991. About 1,500 cubic feet of backfillmaterial contaminated with fuel was also removed.18 The excavation was backfilled withuncontaminated sand and the surface of the site was restored. JP-4 fuel is now delivered to thesite via tanker truck where it is off-loaded to two surface storage tanks.18

Sites 16, 17, and 19-Landfills 1, 2, and 4

These sites, operated between 1942 and 1968, are on about 50 acres southwest of Reserve Road. The landfills accepted general refuse, industrial wastes, and petroleum products. Wastes wereburied in trenches at the sites. Groundwater contamination has been confirmed to be migratingfrom the landfills. Drainage from the landfills is toward Crutcho Creek. Landfill 1 was cappedin April 1991.

Site 18--Landfill 3

Landfill 3 is in the same area as Landfills 1, 2, and 4. The south end of the landfill had a sludgedump area which operated between 1961 and 1968 and reportedly received waste oils and liquidsfrom Building 3001 and waste fuels and sludge from the Petroleum Oil Lubricant Facility.19 There are four trench holes on the landfill outside the sludge dump area. The three monitoringwells adjacent to Landfill 3 did not have a floating free product layer in January 1989.19 Thelandfill was capped in 1992.

Site 20--Landfill 5

Site 20 is at the corner of Tower Road and Patrol Road. This landfill, approximately 6 acres,was used as a disposal area for general refuse and possibly some industrial wastes from 1968 to1970.

Studies indicate that contaminant migration is minimal.20 A clay cap was installed on thelandfill in the spring of 1990.6

Site 21--Landfill 6

Landfill 6 is off-base, southeast of Tinker. The landfill contains approximately 500,000 cubicyards of general refuse with some industrial wastes. The landfill operated between 1970 and1979. Contamination has been detected in monitoring wells on the eastern, southern, andwestern perimeters of the site. Three monitoring wells were installed on the northern boundaryof the landfill in 1984.21 This landfill was capped in January 1986.6 Approximately five acresof this landfill was damaged by off-road vehicles. In 1991, the damaged portion was recapped,monitoring wells were installed on the northern perimeter, and the site was fenced.22

Sites 22-26--Radioactive Waste Disposal Sites

The past and present industrial activities have utilized many different types of radiologicalmaterials in the construction and repair of aircraft. Until 1951 radioactive waste considered to beof significant nature was sent to the Canadian Radium and Uranium Corporation in Mt. Kisco,New York. From 1951 until the 1960s radiological waste that was considered insignificant wasdisposed in the landfills in the southwest portion of the base.23

    Site 22, Radioactive Waste Site 201S, is adjacent to the south side of Building 201. The site ismarked with a concrete monument and is posted. A survey of the site indicates that there isradium-226 in the top 1-2 feet of soil and that there are no buried radioactive objects at the site. A radium paint room in Building 201 in the 1950s may be the source of this contamination. Approximately 45 cubic yards of soil is contaminated with radium-226.9

    Site 23, Radioactive Waste Site 1022E is northwest of site 18 and southwest of the SupernatantPond. The site was identified through a records search conducted in 1989 and throughinterviews of base personnel conducted in 1981 and 1982. The site was excavated July 8-12,1991. The site was excavated to the depth required to resolve anomalies and to reach undisturbedsoils.23,24 Disposal of contaminated soil has been completed by Tinker through their DefenseReutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO). All of the soils excavated were below the siterelease limit based on 10 mrem/yr above background. The detected activity was also below theEPA standard of < 5 pCi/g above 15 cm depth. The cap for Landfill 3 extends over Site 23.6

    Site 24, Radioactive Waste Site 1030W, is within Landfill 2 (site 17) on the south end of thebase. A tributary of Crutcho Creek flows through the site. The area is adjacent to a picnic areaand was fenced in 1991.25

    The site was used to burn and bury radium dial waste (rags and solvents) in the 1950s. In theearly 1970s, Pistol Pond was constructed on top of Landfill 2 and reportedly covered the site.25 The pond was drained in 1986. The 1988 survey of the approximate site location identified noelevated readings. However, as a result of a surface survey (1990) and a intrusive survey (1991)a removal action was initiated in 1992. Approximately 920 cubic yards of radium contaminatedsoil were removed (1993) and taken to Envirocare in Utah for disposal. It is estimated that 420cubic yards of contaminated soil still exist at the site. Following heavy rainfalls, water sampleswere taken (May 24, 1993) from the tributary to Crutcho Creek; one upstream, one downstream,and one on-site. No elevated levels of radium-226 were detected.9 Picnic tables in the area wereremoved in June 1993. The picnic tables were sampled and no radiological contamination wasdetected.9

    Site 25, Radioactive Waste Site 62598, is north of Crutcho Creek and south of Facility 1025. The site is marked with a concrete monument and a radiation warning sign. The site reportedlycontained a lead still (vault) containing radium paint solids. The Record Search report states thatone Air Force document indicated that the waste had been removed at the site, but no recordswere located to confirm the removal.23 No elevated gamma radiation levels were reported in the1990 Phase II investigation, but some subsurface anomalies were detected during the geophysicalsurvey.23 Soil was excavated to the depth required to resolve the anomalies and to reach nativesoils. No waste or contaminants of any kind were found at the site during excavation. All soilsremoved were below the release limits for organics and metals and the 10 mrem/yr TotalEffective Dose Equivalent. The detected activity was also below the EPA standard, < 5 pCi/gabove 15 cm depth.

    Site 26, Radioactive Waste Site 4000 is at a tributary of Elm Creek near Douglas Boulevard and59th Street. The site is not physically marked as a suspected radioactive waste disposal site (). The 1989 Records Report states that a base employee remembers burying engine stader cases in aravine on the eastern side of an Elm Creek tributary. The engine cases were marked asradioactive and indicated they contained thorium. The 1990 Phase II radiological andgeophysical survey found no radioactive waste disposal on the site.24,9

Site 27--Industrial Waste Pit 1

Site 27 is in the south central portion of the base, southwest of Building 2121. This shallow,unlined pit was used from 1947 to 1958 to receive industrial wastes streams from various aircraftplating and maintenance facilities. The pit was closed in 1958 by filling it with soil and gradingit. Investigations of the site were conducted from 1982-1983, and the RI was issued in August,1991. Metals were detected in both soil and groundwater samples, however the results for theone soil sample were in the low end of the detection range and the metal concentrations ingroundwater were below the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs).26 The RI concludes that nofurther action is required at the site.26

Site 28--Industrial Waste Pit 2

This pit was used to bury industrial wastes including oils, cyanides, chromates, and acids from1958 when Industrial Waste Pit 1 was closed until the waste treatment plant was built in 1963.27 The pit was filled and graded in 1965. The site was investigated in 1984 by Radian Corporationat the request of the Air Force.27 Minor groundwater contamination was reported, but thedocument did not specify the types of contaminants or their concentrations found at that time. Groundwater sampling conducted from June 1989 to April 1990 revealed that no significantcontamination had migrated from this site into the perched water zone or top-of-regional zone. The final decision document for this site states that no further action is necessary.28 However,the perimeter wells (MWs 80-82) will continue to be monitored on an annual basis for anypossible migration of contaminants.

Site 29--Supernatant Pond

This site covers approximately 25,000 square feet and is directly east of Fire Training Area 1along Air Depot Blvd. The site appears on Tinker base maps in 1954. The unlined pond wasused as an impoundment for sewage effluent from the 1950s to the 1960s until the sewagetreatment plant was constructed.29 The pond continued to be used for disposal of liquid wastesuntil 1984. Those wastes reportedly contained petroleum hydrocarbon sludge, solvents, andcyanide-contaminated liquids.29 The pond overflowed periodically during rain storms, and theoverflow entered Crutcho Creek. The pond was filled with soil in 1984. Based on the outcomesof the 1991 RI and the Risk Assessment (RA), it was determined that the site did not pose animmediate threat to human health or the environment.30 Because of this, the limited site size,and the extent of contamination, the Supernatant Pond was selected for demonstrating theinnovative technology of soil solidification/stabilization.30 The demonstration project began inJune 1992 and the soils were solidified and stabilized in place.

Sites 30 and 31--Crutcho and Kuhlman Creeks

Crutcho Creek originates south of Tinker and flows northward through the base to the NorthCanadian River. Kuhlman Creek is a tributary of Crutcho Creek and originates in the north areaof the base. These two creeks receive runoff, drainage from some base industries, andgroundwater discharge from various IRP sites. Baseline field activities were conducted in Julyand October 1991. Confirmation data collection was confined to base boundaries and wasperformed in February and May 1992. The RI was issued in October 1992 and the FinalDecision Document was signed in September 1993. These two documents state that knownconditions at these creeks pose no current or potential threat to human health or theenvironment.31,32 A long-term monitoring program is planned for these sites.

Site 32--Facility 1123

Building 1123 was part of the Directorate of Distribution storage area near the south boundary ofthe base. Hazardous material drums containing flammable materials and solvents, such asmethyl ethyl ketone and tetrachloroethylene, were stored in this building.33 Spills are reportedto have occurred and in 1984 to 1985 the dirt floor was covered with a concrete floor. During theinstallation of the new floor, about six inches of soil were removed and replaced. The buildingwas removed for the construction of the Navy runway approach project. In March 1990, eightsoil samples from this site were analyzed for metals, volatiles, and semi-volatiles and noneexceeded EPA guidelines.33 The Air Force decided on a "no action" decision for this site and itwas removed from the IRP in June 1991.33

Site 33--Multiple Creeks

This site was deleted as an active IRP site in 1991 and is now divided into two sites, CrutchoCreek and Kuhlman/Elm Creeks.34

Site 34--Bonnewell

Bonnewell was deleted as an active IRP site in 1991 and is being addressed as part of theIWTP/Soldier Creek Groundwater Operable Unit.34

Site 35--Discharge Ditch - Building 17

Building 17 is in the north central portion of Tinker and was built in the 1950s as a paint shopand remains in that capacity. Over the years, chemicals associated with painting such as solventswere stored outside in a fenced, paved area, approximately 50 by 60 feet, next to Building 17. This area drains to a storm water culvert. The site was discovered in May 1989. Chemicals havenot been stored at this site since that time.35 Based on visual indication of contamination andemployee interviews, the Air Force decided to remove the discolored pavement andcontaminated soil underneath. Samples were taken from the removed material and nocontaminants were detected.35 Following completion of the investigation, this site was removedfrom the IRP in September 1992.

Site 36--Purge Facility (Waste Fuel Dump Site)

This site covers an area about 500 feet in an east-west direction by 600 feet in a north-southdirection. It is in the southeast corner of Tinker approximately 400 feet south of Building 2121along 59th Street. This facility was in operation from 1975 to 1990. Waste fuels (JP-4 and JP-5)from aircraft in the maintenance facility were drained and then transported by truck to this sitefor disposal. Numerous spills allegedly occurred in this area during its operation.36 Surfacerunoff flows from the Purge Facility in a southwesterly direction to an unnamed intermittentstream that flows to the northwest towards Crutcho Creek. In 1990, this facility underwentmodifications which included a new concrete pad and a new bunker with spill-containmentprotection. From 1990 through 1992, three subsurface investigations were conducted todelineate the hydrocarbon contamination. The second investigation identified two areas ofcontamination at this site: one area is around the old bunker site and the other lies about 15 feetwest of the first area. 36 The Air Force has no plans for interim measures at this site and none arecurrently required.

Site Visit

On May 13-16, 1991, ATSDR staff conducted a site visit to Tinker Air Force Base. During thesite visit, ATSDR attended a base-sponsored Technical Review Committee (TRC) meeting. ATSDR met with state and local agencies to discuss their environmental sampling data andconcerns about the installation. ATSDR also accompanied local health departmentrepresentatives into the off-base communities while the county representative collected privatewell water samples for analyses. ATSDR gathered community concerns from local citizens atthat time.

On May 4-6, 1992, ATSDR staff met with representatives of Tinker Air Force Base, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Brooks Air Force Base at Tinker to collect data generated since thesite visit the previous year. ATSDR learned that new information on many of the sites wasavailable and would be provided. Sites were re-visited to clarify questions about previousobservations. ATSDR also met with Oklahoma State Health Department representatives forclarification of data and to request information about new concerns expressed since the last sitevisit.

On May 19-20, 1993, ATSDR staff again met with Tinker officials to review new environmentalsampling data and plans. Several of the hazardous waste sites were toured. Public availabilitymeetings were held in the local community to gather community concerns.

On November 1-3, 1994, ATSDR met with Tinker officials, Oklahoma Department ofEnvironmental Quality, and Oklahoma City/County Health Department to discuss issues relatedto the public health assessment. ATSDR held a public meeting on November 3, 1994 to updatethe community on ATSDR activities at the site.

During the site visits, ATSDR toured the sites that were determined to be of concern. Access tomany of the sites toured was not restricted to base personnel and residents. Observations of thesites toured are discussed below:

Site 1--Building 3001

ATSDR toured the work areas of Building 3001. Both forced and natural ventilation are used inthe building. Work areas include degreasing operations, plating operations, painting operations,aircraft hangers, and other activities involving the refurbishing of aircraft and aircraft engines.

Site 4--North Fuel Area

ATSDR observed progress on remediation activities during the 1992 site visit. The remediationplan is described in documents issued in March, 1992. At the time of the site visit, the tank topwas off for sampling and cleaning.

Site 5--Soldier Creek

The creek flows through neighborhoods and trailer parks where children were seen in yards. During the May 1993 site visit, ATSDR staff walked the bank of East Soldier Creek fromDouglas Boulevard past Evergreen Trailer Park. Most of the area had limited access due to theheavy vegetation along the creek. However, along the creek just behind the Evergreen TrailerPark the banks were relatively clear of vegetation. The area had trails along the creek.

Sites 6 and 7--Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant

In 1992 and 1993, ATSDR toured the IWTP area accompanied by Tinker representatives. Batchprocessing tanks were being removed in 1992 and the removal had been completed by the 1993site visit. The facility is about 200 yards south of a residential community and the future ChildDevelopment Center. Wastewater discharges to Soldier Creek that flows on the east side of thefacility.

Sites 16-19 and 24--Landfills 1-4 and Radiation Waste Site 1030W

Landfill 2 is adjacent to a family camp ground, a recreational pond, and play area. Therecreational pond that is part of the camp ground is bermed. Drainage from the site does notappear to flow in the direction of this pond. Radiation Waste Site 1030W is in the northwestportion of Landfill 2 at an area that was Pistol Pond before the pond was drained. The radiationwaste site was unrestricted at ATSDR's initial site visit, but was fenced in 1992. During the May1993 site visit, a couple of hundred shipping containers and approximately 75 drums containingexcavated soil were in a roped off area. The radiation waste site is near one of the former picnicareas.

Crutcho Creek flows along the eastern borders of Landfills 1 and 3. Drainage from theselandfills flows toward the creek. A cap was under construction at Landfill 3 in 1991 and wascomplete at the 1992 visit.

Site 21--Landfill 6

Landfill 6 is on 59th Street 1/2 mile ease of Douglas Boulevard near a communications and radarfacility owned by Tinker. A depression, which acts as a drainage ditch, transects the site in anorth/south direction. County potable water lines were being installed along the roadsideadjacent to the northern border of the site in 1991. At the time of the site visit in 1991,monitoring wells were on all sides of the site. At the time of the site visit in 1992, the landfillcap had been repaired and a fence had been installed around the landfill.

Sites 11 and 29--Fire Training Area 1 and Supernatant Pond

During the 1991 site visit, piezometers and other signs of site investigations were present on bothsites. In 1992, site investigations were continuing.

Site 28--Industrial Waste Pit 2

Industrial Waste Pit 2 is fenced. Drainage is toward ditches which carry runoff into CrutchoCreek and Elm Creek.

Site 30--Crutcho Creek

ATSDR observed two areas of Crutcho Creek: an area that receives drainage and runoff fromLandfill 3 (Site 18) and the Supernatant Pond (Site 29) and an area that flows near a recreationalarea near the golf course. Access to the area receiving runoff is not restricted; however, the areais not likely frequented by base residents because of the proximity to the landfills. At the areanear the golf course, the creek is separated from the recreational area by a chainlink fence. Afoot bridge provides access from one side of the creek to the other. A large number of at leasttwo species of turtles were swimming in this area of the creek.

The creek flows through the base housing area in the western section of the base. The creek nearthe school is posted "Playing in Creek Prohibited".5 The posting is due to potential physicalhazards.37

Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

Demographic information is included in the public health assessment to characterize people (bynumber, race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) potentially exposed to site contaminants. Particularattention is paid to people known to be susceptible (often the young, immunocompromised, orelderly). Although census data provide general information about population and householdcharacteristics, they cannot be used to help interpret exposures of people who live in one area,but are exposed to site contaminants where they work. Personal habits that affect the results ofexposure to contaminants (e.g., smoking) also cannot be measured.

Tinker is located on the eastern fringe of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The base isimmediately south of Midwest City and east of Del City. Summary statistics from the 1990Census are presented in Table 1a for the base, the area adjoining Crutcho Creek, and an area to the north and east of the base (see Figure 4a).38

There were 3,699 persons living in the census tract that contains the base in 1990. Over 25percent were under age 10. This figure is high relative to the general population but is typical ofareas near military installations where high percentages of young couples with children reside. Nearly all households are renter-occupied, which reflects the transient nature of militarypopulations. Base housing consists of 530 family housing units and seven dormitories. Lessthan 800 people lived in barracks in 1990. The Navy Facilities, completed in 1993, added twodormitories housing 208 personnel.

The area near Crutcho Creek (Figure 4) had a population of over 400 people. This neighborhood is racially diverse with a slightly above average percentage of persons under age 10 and a low percentage age 65 and older. Only 2.17 persons per household live in this area. This is a lower number than would be expected in a neighborhood with a high percentage of children.

One conclusion that can be drawn from these data is that a number of single-person householdsare in the area. This is consistent with the large percentage of rental units (82.4%).

The area north and east of the base (Figure 4b) had a 1990 population of 945. Nearly two-thirds of the households are owner-occupied, which indicates a nontransient population. This population is further subdivided into areas 1, 2, and 3; the statistics are presented in Table 1b. Those are the areas with confirmed contamination in drinking water wells. However, a large portion of residences and businesses in the three areas receive municipal water as the drinking water source.

Tinker is the largest single site employer in the state with approximately 22,000 employees.

Figure 4a
Figure 4a.

Table 1a.

Population Characteristics and Vital Statistics

BaseNortheast of BaseCrutcho Creek
Total persons3699945408
     % Male58.248.050.2
     % Female41.852.049.8
     % White72.989.255.9
     % Black17.51.331.6
     % Other9.69.512.5
     % Under age 1025.617.418.1
     % Age 65 and older10.810.46.1
Households*789369264
Persons per household3.712.532.17
% Households
owner-occupied
3.965.317.6
% Households
renter-occupied
96.134.782.4
Median value, owner-occupied households28,30039,40043,300
Median rent paid413229238
*      A household is defined as an occupied housing unit.

Figure 4b
Figure 4b.

Table 1b.

Population Characteristics of Areas Northeast of Tinker AFB
POPULATION DATA

Area 1Area 2Area 3
Total persons245543152
Total area (sq mi)0.140.470.54
Persons/sq mi17501155281
% White85.786.692.1
% Black3.71.31.3
% American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut6.19.26.6
% Asian or Pacific Islander2.42.50.0
% Other2.10.30.0
% Hispanic origin6.50.93.3
% Under age 1827.828.224.3
% Age 65 and older11.89.017.1
HOUSING DATA

Area 1Area 2Area 3
Householdsa9222061
Persons/household2.662.412.49
% Households
owner-occupied
63.062.360.7
% Households renter-occupied37.037.739.3
% Persons in group quarters0.02.40.0
Mean value, owner-occupied households37,500NA72,000
Mean rent, renter occupied households212223262
a A household is an occupied housing unit, but does not include group quarters such as military barracks, prisons, and college dormitories.

NA Data not available.

Source: 1990 Census of Population and Housing, Summary Tape File 1BExtract on CD-ROM (Oklahoma) [machine-readable data files]. Prepared by theBureau of the Census. Washington, DC: The Bureau [producer and distributor],1991.

Land Use

Midwest City is primarily composed of residential areas with small businesses, such asconvenience stores, automotive repair shops, and rental storage, in neighborhoods adjoining thebase. Del City is also composed primarily of residential areas and small businesses. Fourelementary schools, three junior high schools, three high schools, and one junior college arewithin three miles of Tinker's northern border. Small home gardens are present in residentialareas near Tinker, but no major agricultural operations are on base or within the immediate area.

One major industry, the General Motors Assembly Plant, is at the southern border of the base. The other major industrial facility in the area is Building 3001 at Tinker.

Base housing is on the west side of the installation near Crutcho Creek. A family campground,picnic area, and fishing pond are available for recreational purposes for base personnel andvisiting military families at Tinker. A recreational park is near the golf course at Tinker. Twoparks are within three miles of Tinker's northern border.

Natural Resources

Groundwater is used extensively in the area as a source of drinking water. Wells in the Kimseyresidential area are within 50 yards of Tinker. Most of the wells in the area adjacent to Tinker(northeast of base) have been abandoned and plugged. Those residences have been providedmunicipal water.

Drinking water at Tinker is obtained from two sources. The first source is on-base groundwaterwells (Figure 5).39 Water is pumped out, chlorinated, and fluoridated at the pump stations. Thiscomprises about 80 percent of the total amount of drinking water consumed on base. The secondsource is purchased water from Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City water may come from theStanley Draper Lake System which is subsidized by the Otoka pipeline. Oklahoma City alsoprovides water from Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser. City water enters the base at twolocations. On the eastern side of the base, city water is pumped to a 500,000 gallon storage tankbefore entering the base-wide distribution system. On the south perimeter, city water isconnected to the base-wide distribution system at facility 1106. Both base water and city waterblend randomly in the system.

Crutcho Creek flows to the north and northwest of Tinker and empties into the North CanadianRiver about 5.5 miles north of the base. Both Kuhlman and Soldier Creeks empty into CrutchoCreek north of Tinker. Soldier Creek, which flows from Tinker into adjacent neighborhoods, isreportedly used for wading and playing by area children. Crutcho and Kuhlman Creeks are likelyused by children for play areas since they flow through residential neighborhoods. Elm Creek isan intermittent stream that flows through an undeveloped area on base and an industrialized areaoff base. However, the area is not heavily populated with private residents. Therefore, it isunlikely that area children play in Elm Creek. This creek, however, discharges to Stanley DraperLake.

Tinker has a small fishing pond at the campground area that is fished by base residents,personnel, and visitors. Soldier and Crutcho Creeks are large enough to support edible fish.40 People fish in the Canadian River and in Stanley Draper Lake. No hunting or fishing has beenreported to occur in the immediate area outside of Tinker, and hunting is not permitted on base.

Health Outcome Data

Health data that are available for the Tinker area include:

  1. Vital statistics data (birth certificates, death certificates, and fetal death reports) at the state level.
  2. A state tumor registry, currently being developed, that will provide cancer incidence data at the zip code level.
  3. Riggin's Mortality Tapes are produced by the National Cancer Institute and EPA. Theyprovide a comparison of the number of deaths resulting from a specific cancer type in a specifiedcounty and state with the number of deaths from the same cancer for the entire United States overa period of 30 years (in 10-year increments).

These data are further discussed in the "Health Outcome Data Evaluation" section of thisdocument.

Figure 5
Figure 5.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

ATSDR held public availability sessions on July 7 and 8, 1992, at the First Church of theNazarene in Midwest City. Over 30 citizens attended and discussed their health andenvironmental concerns with ATSDR staff. Also, ATSDR held public availability sessions onMay 19 and 20, 1993, at the Midwest City Public Library. Twenty eight citizens attended thosesessions. The health concerns discussed are listed below. The health concerns are evaluated inthe Community Health Concerns Evaluation section. The environmental concerns are listed inAppendix B.

The public availability sessions held July 7 and 8, 1992, and May 19 and 20, 1993, allowedcitizens to talk about their concerns one-on-one with ATSDR staff. In addition, ATSDR talkedwith citizens and state and local health and environmental agency representatives during the sitevisits conducted at Tinker. Tinker's Community Relations Plan dated July, 1990, summarizes theconcerns about the installation that were expressed to ATSDR by the state and local healthdepartments and citizens. The health concerns are:

  1. How extensive and harmful is the contamination of the Garber-Wellington aquifer? What about future water use?
  2. How safe are the drinking water supplies?
  3. Is the drinking water and coffee made with it safe to consume in building 3001?
  4. Is our well water safe for laundry and showering --it has black particles in it and is greasy?
  5. Could washing a parking lot with well water cause rashes and sores on legs?
  6. Could past exposures to contaminated groundwater cause heart defects or chronic diarrhea in my daughter?
  7. I live near the base. Is my fetus safe from contamination?
  8. Is there an unusually high cancer rate in the communities surrounding Tinker?
  9. Could lupus be related to base contamination?
  10. How can the volatilization of jet fuel from the recent fuel spills affect our health?
  11. Can children wading in Soldier Creek develop chloracne?
  12. Is it safe for children to play in or around Soldier Creek?
  13. Two children developed skin irritations after playing in East Soldier Creek downstream of the IWTP in August 1993. Could chemicals from Tinker have caused their skin irritations?
  14. When wastewater from the base overflows into Crutcho and Soldier Creeks, can contaminants that are harmful enter these water systems?
  15. Are the fish caught in Soldier Creek safe to eat?
  16. Is it possible that contaminants have entered yards adjacent to Soldier Creek and would garden vegetables from those yards be harmful if consumed?
  17. Our garden vegetables and plants have black, oily particles on them? What could it be and is it safe?
  18. Is the air safe in the vicinity of the IWTP?
  19. I live adjacent to the base and experience sinus problems and a tight chest periodically. Could this be caused by contaminated water and air pollution from the IWTP?
  20. I live adjacent to the base and have experienced dermal reactions such as dry and itchy scalp, rashes, open sores, and skin growths. Could this be caused by contaminated water and air pollution from the IWTP?
  21. Will children enrolled at the Childhood Development be safe from contamination?
  22. Is it safe for employees to work near the hazardous waste sites?
  23. Is it safe to hunt? Is the wildlife safe?

These concerns are evaluated in the Public Health Implications: Community Health Concerns Evaluation section of this document.


Next Section       Table of Contents

  
 
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #