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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

OGDEN DEFENSE DEPOT
OGDEN, WEBER COUNTY, UTAH


SUMMARY

Defense Depot Ogden, Utah (DDOU), which is within the city limits of Ogden, Weber County, Utah, is part of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). DDOU has stored, maintained, and issued ordnance and non-ordnance items to military installations since 1941. In the past, liquid and solid wastes were disposed at DDOU. Several waste disposal areas have been identified at which materials were either burned or buried, wastes were rinsed out onto the ground, or wastes were spilled. Wastes included chemical warfare agents, solvents, oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and metals.

Groundwater on post is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), base/neutral or acid extractable compounds (BNAEs), pesticides, and metals. Contaminant concentrations above the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) have not been detected in groundwater off post (beyond the DDOU boundaries). It is possible that the higher contaminant concentrations detected on post will migrate off post. Because of that, DDOU will begin remediation of the shallow aquifer once the treatment system design is complete. An off-post survey by DDOU determined that seven private wells west of the depot boundary are in use. DDOU will sample those wells and determine their use if requested by the residents. The groundwater contamination plume in the upper aquifer has been defined. EPA and the state agree that to date the deep aquifer has not been contaminated by DDOU sources. EPA is requesting routine sampling of existing deep wells. If routine sampling shows that the deep aquifer is not contaminated and DDOU implements measures to treat the shallow aquifer, then it is likely the deep groundwater would not represent a pathway of exposure.

Burning of waste solvents, oils, and other debris took place at DDOU from the 1940s to the mid-1960s. Air monitoring was not conducted during the burning, however, large volumes of solvents and oils were not reported to have been burned and the burning was likely infrequent.

Drum remnants are visible in several areas of the Ogden Nature Center. An electromagnetometer survey done on Burial Site 1 showed subsurface anomalies, possibly indicating additional burial areas and other ground disturbances. Several areas at the nature center have been excavated to create ponds; none of the ponds were constructed in known or suspected disposal areas.

ATSDR concluded that DDOU poses no apparent public health hazard. The available data do not indicate that humans are now or have been exposed to contamination at levels of public health concern.

Until remediation is complete, continued surveillance of the shallow groundwater is recommended to ensure that the contamination plume does not affect off-post potable or irrigation wells.

DDOU has no plans at this time to remove debris from the Ogden Nature Center. ATSDR recommends that DDOU and the Ogden Nature Center collaborate when future pond sites are selected and that subsurface surveys be conducted in any areas scheduled for excavation. Using those surveys to guide land management decisions should prevent human exposure.

The public health action plan (PHAP) for the DDOU NPL site contains a description of actions to be taken at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of ATSDR to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented. In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, DDOU has been evaluated for public health actions. Because there is no indication that human exposures to site contaminants at levels of public health concern are occurring or have occurred, the site is not being considered for ATSDR follow-up health activities at this time. If during the remediation process, however, data become available indicating that people are being exposed to hazardous substances at levels of public health concern, ATSDR will reevaluate the site for any indicated follow-up activities. ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the PHAP when needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the proposed actions may determine the need for additional actions at the DDOU NPL site. The PHAP is included in this public health assessment.

BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

Defense Depot Ogden (DDOU) is a 1,139 acre installation at 1200 South Tomlinson Road, northwest of the city of Ogden, Weber County, Utah (Figure 1). As part of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), DDOU provides logistics support to the military services, including procurement and supply support, and contract administration. Since 1941, DDOU's mission has included receipt, storage, maintenance, inventory, and issue of centrally managed, ordnance and non-ordnance items to military installations, other Department of Defense (DOD) agencies, and federal civil agencies. Those items include food, clothing, textiles, packaged petroleum and industrial/commercial chemicals, and general medical, industrial, construction, and electronic supplies (1). As a result of the documented contamination of soil and groundwater, DDOU was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) for hazardous waste sites on July 1, 1987.

ATSDR is authorized by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) to conduct public health assessments on NPL sites to evaluate their public health significance. ATSDR determines whether health effects are possible and recommends actions to reduce or prevent them. ATSDR prepared a preliminary public health assessment of DDOU that was released March 15, 1989. The preliminary public health assessment identified direct contact with and ingestion of contaminants as the routes of human exposure. Ingestion of contaminated groundwater by area residents and direct contact with and inhalation of hazardous materials by on-site employees and remediation workers were listed as possible exposure pathways. ATSDR recommended characterizing off-site soil contaminants, determining the status of the waste disposal areas, and characterizing area hydrology. Those recommendations have been adequately addressed.

A federal facilities agreement between EPA, the State of Utah, and DDOU for the cleanup became effective on November 30, 1989. DDOU has completed its Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RI/FS characterized the extent of contamination and evaluated alternatives for cleaning up the site. Cleanup will begin when the remedial design is complete.

To identify waste disposal areas, DDOU conducted a records search on property currently and formerly controlled by DDOU. In the past, liquid and solid wastes were disposed at DDOU. Oil, liquid materials, and combustible solvents were ignited in burning pits, and solid materials were buried or burned. Based on that records search, 43 areas needed further investigation. Fifteen of those areas contained contaminants. To facilitate remediation, the contaminated areas have been divided into four Operable Units (OUs) (Figure 2). Shallow groundwater is considered part of OUs 1,2, and 4.

Operable Unit 1: Riot control agent (chloroacetophenone) and white smoke containers (hexachloroethane) were reportedly buried in trenches at OU 1 at the southwest corner of DDOU. Part of that OU is outside existing DDOU property boundaries on property owned by the City of Ogden. That property encompasses approximately nine acres of the Ogden Nature Center (Figure 3). OU 1 consists of the following:

    Burial Site 1 - riot control agent and white smoke disposal area;
    Burial Site 3-B - rubber boots; and the Plain City Canal (backfilled in 1973 with burning pit ash from 4-A).

Burial Site 1 was reported to be used for disposing riot control agent or tear gas and white smoke containers in 1945. Field observations by DDOU identified 55 gallon drum remnants and small containers on or near the ground surface.

Burial Site 3-B lies west of 17th Street and is approximately 100 square feet. It is reported that over 1,000 arctic-style rubber boots were buried there during the 1960s.

Plain City Canal flowed north from Mill Creek until it was backfilled between 1969-1973 with ash from the open burning conducted at Burial Site 4-A.

Operable Unit 2: Empty pesticide and herbicide containers were rinsed, and the rinsate was discharged into the French drain on the southeast portion of the depot between the early 1970s and 1985 (Figure 4). OU 2 consists of the following:

    French Drain Area;
    Pesticide Storage Building (Building 51); and the
    Parade Ground Oil Burning Pits.

The French Drain is an area 8.5 feet by 20 feet that was excavated to a depth of three to four feet and filled with gravel. The drain was covered by a series of railroad rails spaced about three inches apart and surrounded by an asphalt parking and storage area. Rinsate containing pesticides and herbicides percolated into the ground.

The Former Pesticide Storage Building is approximately 800 feet southwest of the French Drain. The building was used for storage and mixing of pesticides until 1984, when a new facility was built. As of 1980, the most frequently used pesticides were chlordane, diazinon, malathion, and lindane.

The Parade Ground is a grassy lawn southwest of the French Drain. Two oil-burning pits approximately 6 feet by 9 feet are suspected to be in the area.

Operable Unit 3: OU 3 consists of the disposal area and the WWII Mustard Gas Storage Area (Figure 3). Chemical warfare agent identification and detection kits were disposed in Burial Site 3-A.

Burial Site 3 covers approximately 8.5 acres near the southwest corner of DDOU. The area is bounded on the west by 17th Street, on the north by Perry Ditch and the railroad tracks, on the east by undeveloped land, and on the south by open land. Burial Site 3-A is near the center of Burial Site 3, encompasses approximately 70,625 square feet, and is enclosed by a six-foot chain link fence. The site is reported to contain chemical warfare agents, riot control agents, empty 55-gallon drums, and industrial-type compressed gas cylinders with unknown content. The reported disposal method included digging a trench, emptying the contents of the containers and the containers themselves into the pits (with chlorinated lime and soil), and backfilling the trench. During the sampling program in May 1988, 100 vials of chemical surety items were recovered, including tear gas (CN), lewisite (L), and mustard (HD). In addition, 132 defused irritant riot grenades were recovered. Further actions to identify additional waste containers are expected (2).

Historically, the WWII Mustard Gas Storage Area was 1,600 feet east of Burial Site 3-A. The area is currently used as a horse stable and grazing area. From 1942-1946, more than one million pounds of mustard gas was stored in one-ton containers in the igloo area. None of the igloos currently contain chemical warfare agents.

Burial Site 3-C is near the intersection of 17th Street and Perry Ditch and is approximately 75 square feet. It has been reported that excess or unusable water purification tablets (containing Halzone, or chlorine) were buried there between the 1950s and 1960s.

Operable Unit 4: In the past, fluorescent tubes, methyl bromide, waste oils, and waste in solid form were buried or burned at seven sites on the northern property boundary (Figure 5). OU 4 includes the following:

    Burial Site 4A-E - burning pits; and the
    Oil Burning pits fire training area.

Burial Site 4 is approximately 11.25 acres along the northern property boundary of DDOU. Five disposal areas have been identified. Wastes were burned at 4-A beginning in the early 1950s; the burning continued through the late 1970s (3).

The Contamination Screening Sites (CSSs)

CSSs were identified as the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) screening sites, p, p' dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT)/Pesticide Contaminant Screening Study Areas, and the Lead Screening Study Area (1).

The PCB sites include several different DDOU locations where leaking PCB transformers were removed during the early 1980s.

The DDT/pesticide screening sites include Buildings 4X, 5X, and 4A. Approximately 100,000 liters of DDT solutions are stored in Buildings 4X and 5X. Building 4A was used to store DDT.

The lead screening site was identified as the pistol range target area.

Table 1 lists all of the study areas.

Table 1. Description of DDOU Study Areas

The following table was not available in electronic format for conversion to HTML at the time of preparation of this document. To obtain a hard copy of the document, please contact:

    Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
    Attn: Chief, Program Evaluation, Records, and Information Services Branch,
    MS E-56
    1600 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

B. Site Visit

ATSDR representatives Diane Jackson, Lorna Bozeman, and Vicky Carter conducted a site visit March 12-15, 1991. ATSDR staff toured DDOU with representatives from the Utah Department of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and installation officials. The installation officials visited included representatives from environmental, public affairs, industrial hygiene, clinic, water, and natural resources departments. ATSDR staff collected information on monitoring and clean-up activities, on- and off-post community concerns, on-post housing and day care locations, worker safety and medical surveillance, drinking water monitoring, and land use. During the visit, ATSDR staff also met with county and city officials to obtain information about locations, sources, and monitoring of potable water supplies, planning and demographics, natural resource use, and community concerns. ATSDR contacted the state engineers' office to identify private well use near DDOU.

ATSDR staff observed that DDOU is fenced, and a guard is on duty 24 hours a day. Most of the OUs are burial sites covered with fill dirt and grass. Burial Site 3-A is the only site fenced within the DDOU boundaries.

ATSDR representatives toured the Ogden Nature Center property (part of OU 1, Burial Site 1). Empty drum remnants and canisters were visible on the surface at Burial Site 1. The nature center director pointed out a "dead zone" containing many dead trees and several visible drum remnants and canisters. Access to the area is not restricted. Both of these areas (Burial Site 1 and the dead zone) are not used much by the nature center.

DDOU decommissioned (took out of service) PCB transformers during the 1980s. The transformers were stored in the facilities engineering area while awaiting disposal. Soil contamination resulted when oil from the transformers leaked in the storage area. Although the area is fenced, the gate was open during the initial ATSDR site visit. According to the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) manager, there are no reported incidences of unauthorized persons accessing this area. ATSDR saw a playground adjacent to the storage area (on the other side of the fence) and within 100 feet of the spill area; run-off flows to that area. ATSDR recommended that the playground be sampled.

ATSDR representatives Diane Jackson and Lorna Bozeman re-visited DDOU on March 30, 1992, to discuss updates on the environmental characterization. During that visit, ATSDR and DDOU representatives toured the Ogden Nature Center. The nature center director pointed out the dead zone to DDOU officials. DDOU officials showed ATSDR and the nature center director the areas where test pits and borehole samples were taken. Locations of monitoring wells were also noted. DDOU agreed to share a copy of the test pit data with the nature center. Several areas at the nature center have been excavated to create ponds. None of the ponds were constructed in known or suspected disposal areas.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resources Use

Demographics

During the initial site visit, local sources were contacted for demographic and land use information on DDOU and the surrounding area.

Population figures from the 1990 Census are presented for the census tract containing the site, the tracts which surround the site on the north, east, and south, and the large tract to the west of the site. Total population figures are also presented for the city of Ogden and Weber County (4).

Approximately 1,840 civilian and 13 military personnel are employed at DDOU. A military housing development consisting of 16 residential buildings containing a total of 18 living units is located in Sub-Area No. 4; these units are currently occupied. Sub-Area No. 10, which is designated as the Wherry Housing Area, contains an unknown number of rental units; this area was once leased to the Harrisville Heights Corporation, but was recently deeded to Weber County.

The census tract which contains the site had a 1990 population of 3,647. Approximately 52 percent of the population were female and 48 percent were male. Just over 90 percent of all persons were white and two percent were black; the remainder were of other races. Over 23 percent of the population were under age 10; this is a relatively high percentage and indicates the presence of a substantial number of young families in their childbearing years. Just under 10 percent were age 65 or older. There were 1,367 households (occupied housing units) in this tract in 1990 for an average of 2.67 persons per household. Sixty percent of all households were owner-occupied and 40 percent were renter-occupied; over 20 percent were mobile homes. Residents of mobile homes and apartments tend to not remain in that particular residence for an extended period of time, so many of the residents of this tract are likely to move after a relatively short time.

The census tracts surrounding the site had a total 1990 population of 12,858. Approximately 51 percent were female and 49 percent were male. Over 92 percent of the population were white, 2.6 percent were black, and 5.2 percent were of other races. Similar to the tract containing the site, 23.9 percent were under age 10 and 10 percent were age 65 or older. There were 4,151 households and an average of 3.07 persons per household. Nearly 70 percent of all households were owner-occupied and there were few mobile homes, which suggests a less transient population than in the tract containing the site.

Data for the tract to the west of the site are presented separately because the tract covers an extremely large area as compared to the other tracts; many of the residents likely do not live near the site. This tract had a 1990 population of 8,339 persons, 50.5 percent of whom were male and 49.5 percent female. Nearly 98 percent were white. Just under 23 percent were under age 10 and eight percent were age 65 or older. There were 2,341 households and an average of 3.55 persons per household. Almost 90 percent of all households are owner-occupied, which suggests a low level of transiency.

The Ogden Nature Center had 17,000 visitors in 1991; 10,000 were children.

Land Use and Natural Resource Use

Residential districts are east, north, and south of DDOU. As stated previously, population density west of the installation is low. Light industry and some commercial areas are also west of the installation. According to a 1991 DDOU well survey of the area outside the western boundary, wells are used for irrigation and not human consumption. City water is available to residents in the area. DDOU believes that most of the wells are used to water lawns and gardens; a few are used for commercial crops, including alfalfa, barley, and wheat. DDOU plans to gather additional information about specific water uses. DDOU uses city water for consumption.

The Ogden Nature Center, which contains Burial Site 1, covers 151 acres adjacent to the southwestern corner of DDOU. The property was acquired from DDOU by the City of Ogden in 1973 and has been leased by Ogden Nature Center since 1975. The nature center has a natural history museum, picnic areas, a tree house, restrooms, and trails. The nature center uses city water. No activities take place in the area containing buried and partially buried drums; however, access to the area is unrestricted.

Approximately 400 acres of DDOU property are leased to local farmers for dry farming, which requires no water.

D. Health Outcome Data

Health data for the area surrounding DDOU were not reviewed because no completed exposure pathways were identified, and no specific community health concerns were identified for which health outcome databases are available.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

ATSDR identified community health concerns by reviewing citizens' correspondence with elected officials; reviewing citizens' interviews conducted during development of the Community Relations Plan; and by holding discussions with Ogden city officials. ATSDR will gather additional information on community health concerns during the public review period for this document.

Several residents expressed concerns about potential adverse health effects, which they believed could be caused by environmental contamination from the installation. Several interviewees using water from the Plain City Canal for lawns and gardens wanted to know if the canal water was safe to use. Another interviewee's children seemed to have an inordinate number of colds and allergies since living near the depot. Another resident reported seeing dirt removed from DDOU and used as fill in surrounding neighborhoods; he was concerned that the dirt could be contaminated (5).

According to the Community Relations Plan, the principal of the junior high school and the head of the off-post day care center both asked DDOU to be informed of possible health risks so that they could inform parents. A representative of the Ogden Nature Center stated that attendance at the nature center has declined since DDOU was listed on the NPL.

ATSDR staff interviewed the mayor of Ogden and representatives of the Ogden Nature Center during the initial visit. The mayor was unaware of complaints related to environmental problems at the installation. The nature center representatives expressed concerns about whether the drums would be removed from the burial area. According to the DDOU community relations specialist, "a couple of employees" inquired about health concerns related to the contamination. Concerns are addressed in the "Commander's Corner" section of the DDOU newsletter. There is no organized community activism related to the installation and, other than the cases mentioned here.

ATSDR staff interviewed representatives from the county health department, the Utah Department of Health, Ogden Department of Water Quality, the EPA remedial project manager, and the Ogden and Weber County planning offices. None of those contacted were aware of complaints related to the contamination at DDOU.

Specific community health concerns identified are presented in the following paragraphs:

Are there potential health effects that might be caused from environmental problems at the Depot? Could Depot activities cause children living nearby to experience an increase in colds and allergies?

Is water from the Plain City Canal safe to use for watering lawns and gardens?

Will drums be removed from the Ogden Nature Center, and what actions are planned for the "dead zone"?

Is dirt removed from DDOU and used for fill in surrounding neighborhoods contaminated?

The community health concerns will be evaluated in the subsequent Community Health Concerns Evaluation Section.

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