PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
TULSA FUEL AND MANUFACTURING
COLLINSVILLE, TULSA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA
The Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing Company operated a zinc smelter and lead roaster from 1914 through 1925 on a 50-acre site just south of the city of Collinsville, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. The site was originally reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as Acme Brick Strip Mines, and later corrected to the current name, Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing (TFM) site. The majority of the facility structures have since been demolished and the site is currently covered with approximately 30,000 cubic yards of waste material from the smelter operation. A home also exists on-site near the former office building and has been occupied since 1935. The TFM site was listed on the National Priorities List in January 1999.
Sampling data of the on-site soil, sediment, and surface water show elevated levels of metal contaminants, including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, manganese, and zinc. Limited sampling data exist for on-site groundwater and off-site soil, sediment, and surface water.
Exposure to the site contaminants are limited by the isolated, rural location of the site. Some recreational activity has occurred on the site, such as fishing, but it is assumed that the number of people fishing is small. The only access road to the site leads to the on-site residence, where one adult man lives.
Currently, the TFM site poses no apparent health hazard because of the limited exposure to on-site soils, sediment, and surface water. Frequent, long-term exposure to on-site soil would be a health concern. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is unable to evaluate the health implications of off-site contamination because of the limited data available. EPA is planning to conduct a remedial investigation, in the near future, which will address environmental data gaps at the TFM site.
ATSDR recommends that access to the site be restricted and that future residential exposures be considered in soil removal or remedial efforts. Because of limited off-site sampling data, ATSDR also recommends that extent of contamination from the TFM site be determined and that, as a precaution, young children in the area should have their blood tested for lead.
In this public health assessment, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluates the public health significance of the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing (TFM) site in Tulsa County, Oklahoma. ATSDR has reviewed available environmental and health outcome data and community health concerns to determine whether adverse health effects are possible. In addition, these evaluations considered whether actions are needed to reduce, prevent, or further identify the possibility for site-related exposure and associated adverse health effects.
As a former smelter, the health concern at the TFM site is focused on metal contamination. Most of the environmental sampling conducted so far has been on the site itself; therefore, the health evaluation of exposure to on-site contaminants will be addressed in this document. As more off-site data become available, ATSDR will then evaluate the associated exposure pathways.
ATSDR, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is required to conduct public health assessments of sites proposed for the National Priorities List (NPL), under authorities provided by the Superfund law (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 [CERCLA]) and its amendments. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed in September 1998 that the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing site be added to the NPL. It was finalized on the list in January 1999.
Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing Company (TFM) operated a zinc smelter and lead roaster on this 50-acre site from 1914 through 1925. The site was formerly known as Acme Brick Strip Mines. It is located approximately 12 miles north of Tulsa and 1 mile south of Collinsville, Tulsa County, Oklahoma. Old Highway 169 and railroad tracks form the eastern boundary of the site and a former strip mining operation borders the site to the south. Agricultural lots are located to the north and west. See Figure 1 in Appendix A for a map of the area. (1)
The former smelting operation utilized nine furnaces, a mechanical kiln building, a condenser room, a two-million gallon reservoir, and a laboratory at this site. The furnaces were likely fueled by natural gas from nearby wells. Large amounts of ore were stored in the northeastern area of the site. (2)
The majority of the facility structures have been demolished. The site is currently covered with approximately 30,000 cubic yards of waste consisting of broken retorts, condensers, slag, building debris, ash, bricks, and other materials derived from the smelting operations. Vegetation is sparse on most of the site. (3, 4)
Three ponds, which are assumed to be remnants of the old reservoir, are located in the northern area of the site. A water-filled impoundment is located immediately south of the site and is part of the former strip mining area (1, 5). A home exists on-site near the former office building and has been occupied since 1935. The residence has a water well, which was used in the past to obtain drinking water (2). See Figure 2 for a sketch of the site.
Although the site has a fence on one side, access is possible. Fishing activity in the northern ponds and in the southern impoundment have been reported on several occasions (5, 6, 7). A goat has been observed on the site several times, but it is not known to whom the goat belongs or if it is used for milk (5). In addition, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) stated recently that individuals were picking blackberries on the site.
A number of visits and investigations have been conducted by the ODEQ for this site. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently completed a Removal Assessment Report (4) and is planning to conduct a remedial investigation at this site in the near future.
ATSDR representatives visited the site and community on July 27-28, 1999. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representatives led the tour of the site. Waste from smelter activity covers most of the site. Vegetation on the site was patchy, thick in some areas because of recent rain and bare in other areas. Some of the waste piles from the old smelter were approximately 10 feet high. In the northeast corner of the site, the waste material sloped down to a drainage ditch next to the railroad. A large waste pile was observed next to the southern impoundment and appears to have eroded into the water in the past. No recreational activity, such as fishing, was observed during this site visit, but there was evidence of past activity near the southern impoundment.
The only direct road to the site leads to a single-family home, occupied by an adult man. No children live on the site. The on-site resident has had a number of conversations with ODEQ representatives in the past and is aware of the contamination from the smelter. He expressed no health concerns about the site to ATSDR staff during the site visit.
A public meeting was held on July 27, 1999, at the Collinsville City Hall Annex, in order to update the citizens on future site activities, to introduce the various agencies involved, and to gather community concerns. The health concerns of community members are listed later in this document.
Besides the one resident currently living on-site, the next closest dwellings are located about ½ mile southeast of the site, across the railroad tracks and Old Highway 169, in a trailer park. According to the 1990 census, there are 1463 persons living within one mile of the site, which would include part of the city of Collinsville. Of these individuals, 88% of the people are White and 12% are American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleutian. Approximately 147 children, ages 6 and under, live within one mile of the site. See Figure 1 in Appendix A.
The area immediately surrounding the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing site is mostly agricultural, except for the former Acme Brick strip mine area to the south. Another smelter operated in the area from 1910 to 1918. It was called the Collinsville Smelter and was located about ½ mile to the northeast of the TFM site. Currently, there are no facilities within five miles of the site reporting a hazardous substance release to the environment, according to the 1997 Toxic Release Inventory database. The predominant wind direction in the area is to the north-northeast and secondarily to the south-southeast, according to area wind roses (8).
Surface water runoff from the site flows to the eastern side of the site, where it collects in ditches that parallel the railroad tracks. The water then flows through a culvert under the tracks and Old Highway 169 into a wetland on the east side of the highway. The water pools in this wetland and may gradually flow towards Blackjack Creek. The creek flows intermittently for about a mile before it reaches a point where it flows year-round. Blackjack Creek eventually flows into Horsepen Creek and the Caney River. The creeks and river are not drinking water resources for the area. (1, 5)
Although groundwater is not widely utilized in the area, there is one private well on-site, at a depth of 50 feet, which has been used for drinking water in the past. Currently, the occupant does not use the well for drinking water because of concerns about bacterial contamination (3). No public water supply wells are located within four miles of the site. There are thirteen private wells within four miles of the site, although only the well on-site is within a one mile radius. (1)
The superfund law requires that health outcome (i.e., mortality and morbidity) data (HOD) be considered in a public health assessment (9). This consideration is done following ATSDR's Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual and a 1996 amendment to that document (10, 11). The main requirements to evaluate health outcome data are presence of a completed human exposure pathway, great enough contaminant levels to result in measurable health effects, sufficient people in the completed pathway for the health effect to be measured, and a health outcome database where disease rates for populations of concern can be identified.
This site does not meet the requirements for including an evaluation of health outcome data in a public health assessment. While there are completed human exposure pathways at this site, neither the contaminant levels nor the exposed population are great enough to result in a meaningful measurement of health outcome data.