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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

PADUCAH GASEOUS DIFFUSION PLANT (U.S. DOE)
PADUCAH, MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KENTUCKY


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) was added tothe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency'sSuperfund National Priorities List (NPL) on May 31,1994, because elevated concentrations of trichloroethylene (TCE) and technetium 99 (Tc-99) werefound in off-site groundwater (residential wells). The Superfund law (CERCLA) requires that theAgency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conduct a public health assessment forall sites listed on the NPL. This public health assessment evaluates contaminant distributions,community health concerns, and available health outcome information to determine the potential forcommunity exposures to hazardous substances and the resulting adverse public health effects.

The plant, which is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Paducah, Kentucky, began operation in1952. PGDP produces enriched uranium with a higher than natural concentration of uranium 235,processing a gaseous form of uranium (uranium hexafluoride). TCE was used as a solvent to cleanmetal parts. Tc-99, a radioactive constituent of reprocessed uranium, was introduced at the site whenuranium used in reactors was reprocessed and used at the site. This public health assessment presentsan evaluation of these and other chemical and radioactive contaminants in human exposurepathways. ATSDR also considered other hazards--such as accidents involving the depleted uraniumcylinders stored at and potentially transported to and from this site--in evaluating the public healtheffects of past, current, and future PGDP operations on the surrounding community.

According to the information reviewed by ATSDR, under existing conditions and normal operations,the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant site poses no apparent public health hazard for the surroundingcommunity from current exposure to groundwater, surface water, soil and sediment, biota, or air."No apparent public health hazard" means that people may be exposed to contaminated media nearthe site, but that exposure to the contamination is not expected to cause adverse health effects. Wedefine "current" as ranging from 1990 to the present. This conclusion assumes the effectiveness ofaccess restrictions to Little Bayou Creek, the outfalls, and the North-South Diversion Ditch; the fishadvisories issued for Little Bayou Creek and some of the ponds in the Western Kentucky WildlifeManagement Area; and existing regulation of discharges to air and surface water.

In the future, the rupture or destruction of one or more depleted uranium cylinders from atransportation accident involving a fire, a plane crash, severe weather, or natural disasters wouldcreate an urgent public health hazard for anyone near the damaged cylinders. Weather conditionsand duration of exposure would affect the distance from the cylinders at which there would be ahazard; however, for transportation accidents, we predict that (1) the maximally exposed individualwould be 100 feet (30 meters) or less from the cylinders and (2) an urgent public health hazard couldexist out to 230 feet (70 meters) from the cylinders. Less-severe health effects could be experiencedby individuals within several thousand meters of the cylinders. These types of accidents orincidences are unlikely but must continue to be recognized as possible.

In our assessment, historical groundwater exposure to TCE and lead was a public health hazard forchildren routinely drinking water from four residential wells. This means that long-term exposureoccurred at concentrations that may have caused adverse health effects in children. A futuregroundwater exposure pathway could exist if new wells are drilled into the northwest or northeastplumes. No current exposure pathways to contaminated groundwater exist, but the currentrestrictions between DOE and the property owners do not restrict the drilling of new wells by futureowners of this land. Although it is unlikely, potential future exposures could occur if new wells aredrilled into these plumes.

Groundwater exposures to vinyl chloride (a degradation product of TCE) and acute air exposures touranium and hydrogen fluoride are an indeterminate public health hazard for past and potentialfuture exposures. This means that the information available is incomplete.

Information on vinyl chloride exposures is incomplete because the detection limits (DLs) in mostanalyses of samples from tested residential wells were well above the levels of concern. Also, not allresidential wells in or near the plume were tested for vinyl chloride. Future groundwater monitoringDLs for vinyl chloride and other TCE degradation products should be sensitive enough to determinewhether concentrations exceed health-based guidelines. However, there appears to be no currentexposure to vinyl chloride since these wells are not being used.

Past short-term, or acute air exposures to uranium and hydrogen fluoride pose an indeterminatepublic health hazard, because total release quantities and completed exposure pathways areuncertain. The worst reported accidental release happened at 4:00 am on November 17, 1960.Potentially hazardous uranium and hydrogen fluoride concentrations, estimated using air dispersionmodels, reached off-site areas, but because the accident occurred at 4:00 a.m., it is not known if anyresidents were exposed. If people were exposed at the concentrations estimated by the model, adversehealth effects may have resulted. Also, in the past, it has been reported that UF6 was released at nightthrough jets on top of the process buildings to accelerate the reduction of UF6 concentration in theprocess gas system in order to perform maintenance and inspection on process gas equipment. Thesereleases, called "midnight negatives", potentially contained significant quantities of uranium andhydrogen fluoride; however, the quantities released and the frequency of releases are unknown.Currently, we have no reports of health effects related to these releases; however, if data becomeavailable suggesting that health effects did occur, we will re-evaluate the need for followup activities.

Past long-term, or chronic uranium and hydrogen fluoride exposures were below levels of publichealth concern.

ATSDR representatives reviewed available health outcome data, such as cancer registries and vitalstatistics. We evaluated the data using age-adjusted rates, concentrating mostly on nine general typesof cancer. The health outcome data reviewed do not apply specifically to small groups of people whohave been, or could be, exposed to PGDP contaminants. The data are recorded for larger areas (areadevelopment districts or counties) which include many people with no exposures to contaminantsfrom the site (approximately 63,000 in McCracken County, 8,000 in Ballard County, and 15,000 inMassac County). The population of concern for the exposure pathways in the PDGP area(approximately 15 to 90 persons) is small. The associations between exposure from this site and anyadverse health effects would be obscured or distorted by the presence of the much larger unexposedpopulation.

ATSDR has collected people's concerns from the communities around PGDP for this public healthassessment. Many people expressed concerns related to the incidence of cancer and other illnesses inthe area and the possibility of exposure to contaminants through various media. Community concernsand our responses are presented in the main part of this document.

Based on the data and information obtained and evaluated for this public health assessment, ATSDRrecommends the following:

  1. All depleted uranium shipments to and from PGDP should continue to be shipped in transport cylinders or overpacks approved for transport by the appropriate regulatory authorities.

  2. Put in place institutional controls that prevent installation of new wells in the contaminated groundwater plume areas.

  3. Prevent the future use of contaminated wells by such means as disconnecting water pipes to homes or businesses and plugging or dismantling the wells.

  4. Encourage residents who are concerned about lead in their drinking water to have their water tested. (Lead did not appear to be related to the groundwater plumes.)

  5. Continue groundwater monitoring, including monitoring in areas possibly affected by the plumes and areas near Little Bayou Creek, Bayou Creek, and the North-South DiversionDitch.

  6. Ensure that detection limits of degradation products of TCE, such as vinyl chloride, in the groundwater analyses are sensitive enough to determine whether concentrations exceed health-based guidelines.

  7. Continue monitoring the McNairy Aquifer wells to detect possible migration of contaminants from the Regional Gravel Aquifer--if monitoring wells do not create a conduit for vertical migration.

  8. Continue to restrict access to Little Bayou Creek, the outfalls, and the North-South Diversion Ditch. Determine if existing signage adequately restricts public access to the southwest inactive landfill and the adjoining area.

  9. Continue monitoring biota to ensure that it is safe to consume.

  10. Develop a spatially and statistically consistent soil sampling program to assess accumulation of airborne contaminants in residential areas.

Several of these recommendations may already be addressed by actions taken by DOE or otheragencies. These actions are discussed in the Public Health Action Plan in the main part of thisdocument.

ATSDR staff will continue to monitor environmental issues and remedial activities at PGDP, as wellas proposals related to storage and transport of the depleted uranium cylinders. The interpretation,conclusions, and recommendations provided in this public health assessment are based on the dataand information referenced. Additional data could alter those conclusions and recommendations. Theconclusions and recommendations are site specific and should not be considered applicable to any other situation.


BACKGROUND

Site Description and History

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) owned,contractor-operated uranium enrichment facility. It is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of the cityof Paducah and 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers) south of the Ohio River in McCracken County, Kentucky(Figure 1) [1,2]. The site was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's)Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) on May 31, 1994, because elevated concentrations oftrichloroethylene and technetium 99 were found in off-site groundwater.

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant primarily produces enriched uranium hexafluoride with higher than natural concentrations of uranium 235.The primary plant process, gaseous diffusion, is aphysical process to enrich uranium hexafluoride(UF6)--that is, to increase the percentage of uranium235 (U-235) above natural concentrations in the UF6.In the process, solid UF6 containing about 0.7% U-235is heated to form a gas. The gas is fed through diffusionstages--compressors and converters. PGDP has 1,812 diffusion stages housed in six buildings, whichcover about 74 acres (30 hectares) [3]. The "product" (UF6 enriched in U-235 [4]) and "tails" (UF6depleted in U-235) are removed and put in cylinders [5]. The product had been shipped to anotheruranium enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio for further enrichment; however, the Piketonenrichment operation was shut down in the summer of 2001. PGDP has been upgraded to enrichuranium up to 5% U-235 [6]. Most of the tails have been stored in cylinders in storage yards on site.

The enrichment process requires large amounts of electric power, lubrication, water, and air cooling.Electricity for the diffusion processes came from the steam plant in Joppa, Illinois, and from theTennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Shawnee Steam Plant, north of the site on the Ohio River, buttoday it comes from a power-grid associated with these plants . The compressed gases are cooled byheat exchange fluid, which in turn is cooled by recirculating water processed through four sets ofcooling towers.

The PGDP facilities include six process buildings, four major electrical switchyards, a three-boilersteam plant, a water treatment facility, a chemical cleaning and decontamination building, thenorthwest groundwater treatment facility, the northeast groundwater treatment system, maintenanceand laboratory facilities, two active landfills, and several inactive facilities inside a fenced securityarea [1,7]. The steam plant provides process and comfort heating for other buildings on site. In 1974and 1975, two boilers were converted to burn low-sulfur coal and oil instead of natural gas. The thirdboiler burns natural gas or oil but cannot be converted to burn coal [8,9]. The site also includes araw-water treatment plant, a residential landfill, an inert landfill, a former sanitary landfill, twoindustrial treatment lagoons, and several concrete rubble piles outside the fenced area.

Plant location and vicinity
Figure 1. Plant location and vicinity

PGDP was built on a portion of 16,126 acres (6,450 hectares) of farmland acquired by the U.S.Department of Defense (DOD) during World War II. DOD acquired this land for a munitionsfacility, the Kentucky Ordnance Works (KOW), which was operated by Atlas Powder Company untilit was closed in 1946 [1]. The KOW included a trinitrotoluene (TNT) manufacturing area; an acidproduction area; coal, sulfur, toluene, and ordnance storage areas; a sewage treatment plant; a watertreatment plant; and burning grounds. PGDP now uses the water treatment plant. In 1950, 7,556acres (3,022 hectares) of the land east of the former KOW were acquired by the Atomic EnergyCommission as a site for a uranium enrichment facility--that is, PGDP. The plant began operating in1952, but construction was not completed and the plant did not become fully operational until 1954.The facility reservation covered a total of 3,424 acres (1,397 hectares), with about 750 acres (300hectares) within the security fence. The rest of the land was transferred to TVA for the ShawneeSteam Plant and to the Commonwealth of Kentucky for wildlife conservation and recreationalpurposes [2].

The uranium hexafluoride manufacturing plant converted natural uranium trioxide and reprocessed uranium to uranium hexafluoride, which was used at the gaseous diffusion plant.In the early years, the facilities included thegaseous diffusion plant, the uraniumhexafluoride manufacturing plant, theuranium metal plant, and over a hundredsupport buildings [10,11]. The uraniumhexafluoride manufacturing plant convertednatural uranium trioxide to UF6. It also converted uranium reprocessed from plutonium productionreactor tails. The reprocessing of uranium brought to the site other radioactive materials notassociated with naturally occurring uranium, e.g., technetium 99 (Tc-99), americium 241 (Am-241),neptunium 237 (Np-237), and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). Tc-99 was first reported in airborne releasesin 1953 [12]. Tc-99, Np-237, and Pu-239 were first reported in liquid releases in 1953. The uraniumhexafluoride manufacturing plant was deactivated in 1964, but reactivated in 1968 and used until1977. At the uranium metal plant, depleted UF6 was reacted with hydrogen to recover hydrogenfluoride and to convert the volatile UF6 to more easily stored uranium tetrafluoride (UF4). Some ofthe UF4 was reduced with magnesium to uranium metal. The uranium metal plant stopped operatingin 1975 [13]. Also, between 1952 and 1986, PGDP operated several secondary smelters to recyclescrap metals [14].

The uranium metal plant converted depleted uranium hexafluoride to uranium tetrafluoride (a more easily stored form) and uranium metal.In 1974, the responsibility for PGDP was givento the newly formed U.S. Energy Research andDevelopment Administration, which becameDOE in 1977. DOE's primary contractor for alloperations was Martin Marietta EnergySystems, Inc., which later became Lockheed Martin Energy Systems (LMES) and Lockheed MartinUtility Services (LMUS). Beginning July 1, 1993, LMUS operated and maintained PGDP undercontract to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the government-owned corporationformed by the National Energy Policy Act of 1992 to take over the nation's uranium enrichmentbusiness [2]. DOE remains as site owner of the original property. Environmental compliance andwaste generated from the operating plant since July 1, 1993, are the responsibility of the USEC. TheU.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission assumed oversight of these activities on March 3, 1997 [15].DOE and LMES retained the responsibility for environmental remediation and waste handling fromactivities performed prior to July 1, 1993 [2]. As of April 1, 1998, the new DOE contractor for theseresponsibilities is Bechtel-Jacobs Company [16]. On July 28, 1998, USEC became a private-sector corporation licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Site Visits and Collection of Community Concerns

ATSDR representatives visited the PGDP site in May 1994, as part of a program to evaluate DOENPL sites and to develop a workplan to address those sites. Some community health concerns wereidentified during this site visit and during ATSDR's participation in six DOE public meetings in June1994, May 1995, July 1995, November 1996, January 1998, and July 1999 [17].

Community concerns also were identified through written correspondence, telephone conversations,informal meetings, and public availability sessions. In 1995 ATSDR solicited concerns fromcommunity members by direct mail inquiry: a package containing a query letter, an informationbrochure about ATSDR, and a self-addressed business reply envelope was mailed to about 1,700community members. A total of 60 people responded to this mailing. In May 1996 ATSDR held fivepublic availability sessions in Paducah and Heath, Kentucky to solicit additional concerns. Thepublic availability sessions were informal and allowed citizens to discuss their health concerns relatedto the site, one-on-one, with an ATSDR team member [18]. Staff from ATSDR and BostonUniversity gathered concerns by attending several Site Specific Advisory Board (SSAB) meetingsand DOE technical presentations. All in all, ATSDR received about 500 community concerns. Theseconcerns are discussed in Appendix B and in the community health concerns section later in thisreport. Most of the concerns relate to the incidence of cancer, the incidence of other illnesses, and thepossibility of exposure through various media.

ATSDR staff members visited the site in January 1996 to discuss the ATSDR public healthassessment (PHA) process and ATSDR's data needs with DOE and LMES officials [19].

In March 1996, ATSDR representatives visited the area to discuss the PHA process with citizens,gauge the community's interest in public availability sessions, and meet with the newly formed SiteSpecific Advisory Board (SSAB) and local health officials [20]. They toured the Western KentuckyWildlife Management Area (WKWMA) with a community member and staff from Kentucky'sDepartment of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Kentucky's Department for EnvironmentalProtection.

ATSDR representatives visited the area in December 1996, to gather relevant demographic and land-use data and to investigate possible exposure pathways in the community near the facility [21]. InJune 1997, the ATSDR team conducted another site visit to address the SSAB and to meet withvarious officials and residents in the area [22]. In February 1998, staff attended the SSAB meetingand the first public meeting for the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement forAlternative Strategies for the Long-Term Management and Use of Depleted UraniumHexafluoride [23]. In July 2000, ATSDR staff attended DOE's public meeting on the GroundwaterOperable Unit Feasibility Study and the SSAB meeting.

On September 11, 2000, an ATSDR representative addressed Active Citizens for Truth (ACT), alocal community group, to discuss ATSDR and ATSDR's role at the PGDP site.

Demographics

Demographic information characterizes the people in the communities potentially affected by the site,how long these people have lived there, and the current population trends [24]. Delineating thenumber of children and elderly people is particularly important, because these people tend to be moresensitive to environmental exposures than the general population [25]. Also, information onoccupation, education level, poverty status, and household income can give clues to factors such asaccess to health care and subsistence fishing, hunting, or farming. Demographic information isessential when analyzing health outcome data and behavior patterns in a community.

PGDP is in northwestern McCracken County, Kentucky, near the border of Ballard County. North ofthe site (on the north side of the Ohio River) lies Massac County, Illinois. In the past, this area ofKentucky and southern Illinois was predominantly rural, with little population growth; now,however, McCracken County's population is growing [26]. The addition of new housingsubdivisions west of the city of Paducah accounts for the bulk of the growth [27]. Also, there is aninitiative to bring new industries into the area, which will undoubtedly affect the make-up of thepopulation near the site. McCracken County, at 60,000 residents, has the largest population of thethree counties near the site [28].

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, the largest cities in a 10-mile (16-kilometer) radius of the siteare Paducah, Kentucky (27,256 persons); Metropolis, Illinois (6,734 persons); and Joppa, Illinois(492 persons) [26]. There are several small communities closer to the site: Heath, Grahamville,Rossington, Woodville, and Kevil. The two closest are Grahamville at 1.24 miles (2 kilometers) andHeath at 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) east of the plant [4].

The three counties encompassing the site have more people over 65 years of age than under 10 yearsof age [26]. This is unusual compared to the 1990 national averages, but not unusual for rural areas.

In the census tracts surrounding the site, approximately 70% of people 25 and older have high schooldiplomas, and approximately 15% are below the poverty level [29]. Over 75% of the residents live inowner-occupied housing units, which suggests a stable, non-transient population. Also, 25% of thehousing units get their water from drilled wells or sources other than public or private suppliers. DOEhas offered to provide municipal water to some residents of western McCracken County (in an areadescribed in DOE's Water Policy), who previously used private wells (see the groundwater section ofthis report). For more detailed demographic information for this site, refer to Appendix A.

Land Use and Natural Resources

Land-use patterns and natural resource use in the area of the site can demonstrate if or how peoplecould be exposed to environmental contaminants. Using well water, farming or gardening, andhunting or fishing are some of the activities that can result in exposure to site contaminants. Knowingthe locations of schools, hospitals, and nursing homes is also important, since the populations of theseinstitutions tend to be elderly, sick, or very young, and consequently may be at higher risk for adversehealth effects. Reviewing zoning patterns helps us understand future use of land around the site andhelps us evaluate the potential hazard to the community.

PGDP is in a rural/suburban area of McCracken County. The residential area near the plant is in astate of transition. Farmlands are increasingly being subdivided for additional residentialdevelopment. The area west of Paducah, along Hinkleville Road (the old US Route 60; Figure 1), isthe site of new subdivisions. A new US Route 60 has been built to accommodate the projectedheavier traffic in the corridor between Paducah (Interstate 24) and the emerging suburbs. Accordingto a December 1997 communication with the McCracken County Planning Office, US Route 60 willnot be moved near the plant entrance, but will be widened. The closest residences to the site areapproximately 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) north and 3,609 feet (1,100 meters) east of the PGDP fenceline [30]. The closest schools are Heath Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. These are 1.86 miles(3 kilometers) southeast of the plant. According to information obtained from Heath Elementaryschool, there was another school--Forestdale Elementary--1.16 miles (1.86 kilometers) southwestof the plant; that school was closed in 1981 when Heath Elementary opened (Figure 2).

According to a June 1997 communication with the West McCracken County Water District, newhomes being built in the area are served by municipal water through their local water districts, whichreceive water from the Ohio River. Other residents use drilled wells, except for those residents livingin the Water Policy area that DOE has connected to a municipal water supply. Neither the KentuckyDepartment for Environmental Protections (KDEP)'s Division of Water nor the Purchase DistrictHealth Department routinely test existing wells; however, the health department will do limitedtesting on a well if asked. Newly drilled wells are tested for bacteria, iron, copper, and nitrates. Hand-dug (shallow) wells are illegal in Kentucky and are not under regulation by the Division of Water.Heath Elementary, Middle, and High Schools are supplied with municipal water from the WesternMcCracken County Water District. The high school was put on municipal water in 1968.

Property boundaries and other features
Figure 2. Property boundaries and other features

McCracken County, Kentucky has approximately 400 active farms with 45 to 50 operating nearPGDP [31]. Soybeans, wheat, corn, and tobacco are the dominant crops being cultivated. Thenumber of tobacco farms has declined, but the acreage used for this crop has been steady: farms haveconsolidated under fewer owners. The dominant crops grown in the area are mostly shipped tonational and international markets. People grow their own vegetables for personal use, but thispractice (as well as cultivating specialty crops for commercial sale) is on the decline. Approximately350 head of dairy cattle and 4,000 head of beef cattle are in McCracken County.

Hand-dug wells are not used for irrigation of farmland. The farms rely on rainfall to water their cropsand to supply large ponds used for recreation and watering livestock. The water for these ponds is notsupplied by wells. The area receives an average of 47 inches (1.19 meters) of precipitation per year;the heaviest precipitation usually comes in March, April, and May [8,9,32].

Industrial activity now accounts for less than 5% of the land use [5]. With increasing residential useand the widening of US Route 60, however, this percentage may increase in the near future. TheTVA Shawnee Steam Plant and PGDP are the main employers in the area. There is also a privatelyowned steam plant in Joppa, Illinois, across the Ohio River. (The steam plants, both coal-fired, werebuilt in the early 1950s to supply electricity to PGDP). The Allied Signal Plant, which makesuranium fluoride products for PGDP, is across the Ohio River west of Metropolis, Illinois. CalvertCity, a major industrial area, is approximately 13 miles (21 kilometers) east of the city of Paducah. Ithas the largest concentration of industry in western Kentucky; however, it is not believed to have animpact on public health in the PGDP area [33].

The WKWMA includes a 2,781-acre (1,125-hectare) buffer zone that surrounds PGDP [5]. Thisarea is open to the public and is a popular location for local sports, fishing, and hunting. TheWKWMA is accessible from Dyke Road, Ogden Landing Road, McCaw Road, and Woodville Road(Figure 2). Within the WKWMA are signs denoting DOE property and a fence separating the Federalfacility from public areas. Two families live on or within the WKWMA. One person who lives theremaintains the area for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The WKWMAsupports an abundance and diversity of wild animals. Deer, fowl, turtles, fish, and small mammalssuch as raccoons are some of the animals caught in the area. Most community members believe thatthese animals are consumed by the hunters and fishers themselves [18]. Sports enthusiasts tend tocome from a wide area within the region, whereas subsistence users tend to live near the city ofPaducah. We found no evidence of camping.

The WKWMA includes the former KOW, where abandoned bunkers and other debris associated withpast activities still exist. The former KOW's remedial investigation and cleanup are being managedby the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) [17]. Some of the old bunkers have been used forhunting clubs, dog pens, and horse barns. Six ponds (or gravel pits), which are used for fishing, arepart of the USACE's investigation and cleanup. Mercury advisories are posted at Fire Hydrant Pond,Horseshoe Pond, New Pond, Box Factory, and Gravel Pit #1 for largemouth bass [34]. No advisorieshave been issued for channel catfish or bluegills, which also are present.

One of the largest organized annual events to take place in the WKWMA is Earth Day, which takesplace in the spring. On Earth Day, large groups of preteens gather to learn about nature and theenvironment [1]. Many area schools participate in this event, which is sponsored by DOE, BechtelJacobs Company, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

PGDP is on relatively flat land--ranging from 367 to 380 feet (112 to 116 meters) above sealevel--on a drainage divide between Bayou and Little Bayou Creeks [13]. Both creeks flow north tothe Ohio River, and receive surface water discharges from the plant. When the TVA Shawnee PowerPlant was built in 1951 and 1952, Little Bayou Creek was diverted to the west, where it now joinswith Bayou Creek before entering the Ohio River (Figure 1) [35,36]. Bayou Creek flows past aresidential area to the west of the plant and overflows into people's fields during times of flooding.Channel catfish and bluegill appear in Bayou only when it is filled with backwater from the OhioRiver, and fishing occurs occasionally. Little Bayou Creek is an intermittent stream on the eastside ofthe plant. Little flow occurs in Little Bayou Creek except for effluent from the plant [8,9]. Fishingdoes not normally occur in this creek. Warning signs for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)contamination in fish are posted at access areas along this creek, and these areas are partially fencedoff. Fences and "No Trespassing" signs are present at all plant outfalls; however, in the past, access toLittle Bayou Creek was generally unrestricted.

Residents of the surrounding communities also use the Ohio River and Metropolis Lake forrecreational purposes. These surface water bodies are located approximately 3 miles (4.8 kilometers)north and northeast of PGDP, respectively. Metropolis Lake connects to the Ohio River and is part ofa nature reserve. There is a warning issued against eating bass, carp, channel catfish, paddlefish andpaddlefish eggs caught in the Ohio River due to chlordane and PCB contamination. Recently, a fishadvisory was issued for Metropolis Lake due to mercury and PCB contamination.

At PGDP, the wind predominantly comes from the south-southwest, at an average speed of 14.4 feetper second (4.4 meters per second) [8,9,32]. The monthly average temperatures vary from 34ºF (1ºC)during January to about 77ºF (26ºC) in July. The average annual temperature is 59ºF (14ºC).


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