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HEALTH CONSULTATION

Groundwater Wells On and Off Site

CONROE CREOSOTING COMPANY
CONROE, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TEXAS


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

The Texas Department of Health Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology Division (TDH)under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR), reviewed environmental data to assess the potential public health impact ofcontamination associated with the Conroe Creosoting Company site. This health consultationwas prepared to address the community's concern that area groundwater wells might be affected.

Site Description and History

The Conroe Creosoting Company (CCC) site is a former wood treatment facility outside the citylimits of Conroe, Montgomery County, Texas. For more than 50 years, workers at this facilitypreserved wood by treating it with either pentachlorophenol (PCP), creosote, or copper-chromated-arsenic (CCA). Because groundwater wells within one mile of CCC are the source ofdrinking water for approximately 2,400 people, the Texas Natural Resource ConservationCommission (TNRCC) (1) tested well water samples to determine if the CCC site had affected areadrinking water.

On November 27, 2001, the TNRCC collected seven well water samples from six different wellsthat were representative of both public water supply wells and private water wells. Each aredescribed in more detail in Table 1. The samples were tested for volatile organic compounds(VOCs), semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs), and metals [1].

One of the wells was on the CCC property near the CCA process area. Low concentrations ofVOCs, SVOCs, and metals were detected in this well; however, the concentrations measured didnot exceed health-based screening values. In other words, the levels of the contaminantsmeasured would not be likely to cause health problems for anyone who might drink or otherwisebe exposed to this well water.

The other water wells tested included both public water supply wells and private, residentialwater wells and were representative of area groundwater. None of these wells had detectable amounts of harmful contaminants.


ATSDR'S CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE

We recognize that the unique vulnerabilities of children demand special attention. Windows ofvulnerability (critical periods) exist during development, particularly during early gestation, butalso throughout pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adolescence -- periods when toxicants maypermanently impair or alter structure and function [2]. Unique childhood vulnerabilities may bepresent because, at birth, many organs and body systems (including the lungs and the immune,endocrine, reproductive, and nervous systems) have not achieved structural or functionalmaturity. These organ systems continue to develop throughout childhood and adolescence. Children may exhibit differences in absorption, metabolism, storage, and excretion of toxicants,resulting in higher biologically-effective doses to target tissues. Depending on the affectedmedia, they also may be more exposed than adults because of behavior patterns specific tochildren. In an effort to account for children's unique vulnerabilities, and in accordance withATSDR's Child Health Initiative [3] and EPA's National Agenda to Protect Children's Healthfrom Environmental Threats [4], we considered the potential exposure of children as a guide inassessing the potential public health implications of the contaminants.


CONCLUSIONS

Based on the sample results of area well water, TDH has concluded that the well water in thevicinity of the CCC site poses no public health hazard to children or adults who may use thewater for drinking or other household uses.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

Actions Planned

TDH/ATSDR will evaluate additional sampling data collected by the EPA as it becomesavailable.

Actions Recommended

None at this time.


REFERENCES

  1. Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC). Expanded ScreeningInspection Report. Conroe Creosoting Company. June 2002.

  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2000. Strategy for research on environmentalrisks to children. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency, Office ofResearch and Development. EPA/600/R-00/068, Section 1.2.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Child health initiative.Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1995.

  4. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The children's environmental health yearbook; 1998.

Table 1.

Water Wells Sampled by TNRCC November 2001
Background On Site Off Site
GW-01 GW-07 GW-05 GW-02 GW-03 GW-04 GW-06
Conroe Public Water Supply Well #12 1.5 miles north of CCC site Private water well 0.6 mile northeast of CCC site On-site water well for CCC site between boiler and CCA process area Water well at Conroe Truck and Tractor 2010 E. Davis 0.3 mile east of CCC site Conroe Public Water Supply Well #5 1 mile northwest of CCC site at 1199 N 1st Street Dup of GW-03 Residential drinking water well 295 Mabel 0.4 mile east of CCC site


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Susan L. Prosperie, M.S., R.S.
Environmental Health Specialist

John F. Villanacci, Ph.D.
Director
Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology Division


ATSDR REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Jennifer Lyke.
Regional Representative
ATSDR - Region 6


ATSDR TECHNICAL PROJECT OFFICER

Robert B. Knowles, M.S., R.E.H.S.
Environmental Health Scientist
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
State Programs Section


1 The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission recently had its name changed to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).


Table of Contents

  
 
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