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HEALTH CONSULTATION

Assessment of Potable Water Quality in Residences Located in the Vicinity of the Red River Aluminum Superfund Site

RED RIVER ALUMINUM SUPERFUND SITE
STAMPS, LAFAYETTE COUNTY, ARKANSAS


BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF ISSUES

On July 5, 2000, citizens of Stamps, Arkansas contacted the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and requested that ADH conduct an inspection of theabandoned Red River Aluminum (RRA) facility to determine if contaminants at the site could cause potential adverse health effects. Specifically, residents wereconcerned that their drinking water could be affected by site-related contaminates. The RRA site is located in Lafayette County, Arkansas on approximately 120acres adjacent to the corporate limits of the City of Stamps. A site map is located in Appendix A. The RRA facility operated a secondary aluminum recyclingfacility from 1985 until 1997. RRA purchased dross, an impure aluminum surface scum from the electrolytic cells of various primary aluminum smelters, fluxedit with sodium chloride, potassium chloride and a small amount of calcium fluoride and remelted it in gas-fired furnaces to recover additional aluminum. Saltcakewas generated as a waste by-product of the process. In 1995, RRA began to process aluminum scrap to reduce the amount of saltcake being generated in theprocess because this process requires less flux, and therefore generates less saltcake. Saltcake was also recycled to recover flux. In November 1997, the companyceased operation, and in December 1998, filed for bankruptcy.

Large piles of saltcake were stored onsite in an approximate 9 acre area located adjacent to the east fence line of the property. In 1996, approximately two percentof the saltcake was disposed of in the Union County Landfill. Approximately 200,000 cubic yards of saltcake, or slag, remained stored on-site in the storage area. A buffer zone approximately 20 feet wide, which contains a drainage ditch, separates the saltcake mounds from the fenceline. Berms were constructed aroundthe saltcake storage area to control runoff. Two waste collection ponds, with a total volume of approximately 1 million gallons, were constructed at the northand south ends of the saltcake storage area to contain the runoff. However, the ponds periodically overflowed into residential yards located adjacent to the easternfence line of the facility, and into Bodcau Creek, via Tatum Branch Creek. In 1990, the Arkansas Department of Pollution Control and Ecology (now the ArkansasDepartment of Environmental Quality, ADEQ) requested that RRA control the overflow from the ponds. To mitigate the problem, RRA constructed a 3,000 footinjection well in 1992, and began injecting pond runoff water into the well. More than 28 million gallons of runoff water were injected into the well over a 5-yearperiod. However, runoff was inadequately controlled, the ponds continued to overflow, and runoff water continued to migrate offsite [1].

ADH staff, in conjunction with ADEQ staff, conducted an initial site assessment on July 17, 2000. Saltcake piles stored on site ranged from approximately 5feet to approximately 50 feet tall. The holding ponds appeared to have overflowed into residential yards located adjacent to the facility, and into Tatum BranchCreek, a tributary of Bodcau Creek. Dead vegetation was observed in the vicinity of the holding ponds, along a small ditch, and in residential yards locatedadjacent to the fence line. Residents stated RRA had replaced the grass in some yards three times in the past because it had been killed due to runoff. Someresidents have crusty white residue in their yards, that reaches the foundations of the houses. Residents stated that saltcake particles have blown into their homes,and that ammonia-like odors sometimes blow off the piles. The residents were complaining of diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer (no type specified), skin,eye, and respiratory tract irritation, asthma, and skin rashes. They also believe the contaminants have killed their dogs.

Residents believe runoff from the site is corrosive, could damage potable water lines allowing runoff from RRA to contaminate drinking water, making it unsafe. The potable water system is normally pressurized, and in the event of pipe failure, water flow would be from the pipe into the ground, limiting contaminant entryinto the water system. However, if there is a system failure that results in the system becoming depressurized or being placed under negative pressure, soilcontaminants could enter the system. Therefore, potable tap and hot water tank samples were collected from the occupied residences and analyzed for inorganicparameters, that could be associated with saltcake contamination. ADH conducted this health consultation to determine if the potable water in these residenceswas safe to drink.


DISCUSSION

On September 25, 2000, ADH staff collected potable water samples from nine residences located adjacent to the RRA eastern fence line. The analysis of the watersamples focused on metals and physical properties (see Appendix B). A comparison sample was collected at the Greenville Missionary Baptist Church. Analyticalresults were compared to the National Primary Drinking Water Standards (NPDWS) and the National Secondary Drinking Water Standards (NSDWS) establishedby the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine if the potable water was safe to drink [2]. NPDWS standards are health-based standards, andconsuming water which exceeds these standards can, in some situations, result in adverse health effects. NSDWS standards regulate the aesthetic properties ofwater, and are not based on potential adverse health effects. Potable water which exceeds NSDWS may taste or look different, however, consuming water thatexceeds these standards is not associated with adverse health effects. NPDWS and NSDWS test results are listed in Appendix B, Table 1 [3]. No NPDWSstandards were exceeded, and the NSDWS maximum secondary contaminant level for iron, of 0.3 parts per million (ppm), was exceeded in Residence #5 andResidence #7. This may cause the water to taste or look different, but it is safe to drink. No other NSDWS standards were exceeded, and no adverse health effectsare anticipated from drinking this water.

On December 4, 2000, hot water heater samples were collected from six of the residences previously sampled in September 2000, and a comparison sample wascollected from a residence located in another area of Stamps. Samples were collected because residents were concerned that contaminants may have concentratedin the hot water heater tanks, making the water unsafe to use. Analytical results are listed in Appendix B, Table 2 [4]. Sample results were compared to NPDWSand NSDWS. A lead action level of 0.015 ppm has been established to regulate lead levels in potable water supplies. If 10 percent, or more, of samples collectedin a water system exceed the action level the water utility is required to implement a corrosion control program to reduce lead levels.

The following residences exceeded NSDWS secondary maximum contaminant levels for the metal listed:

  1. Residence #2 - aluminum, iron, manganese;
  2. Residence #3 - aluminum, iron, manganese, copper;
  3. Residence #4 - aluminum, iron, manganese;
  4. Residence #5 - aluminum, iron, manganese;
  5. Residence #7 - aluminum, iron; and
  6. Residence #11 (comparison sample) - aluminum, copper, iron, manganese, lead

No samples were collected at Residence #1 because the hot water heater tank had failed and was removed from the house at the time of the survey, and fromResidences #6 and #8 because the residents could not be contacted.

The National Research Council (NRC) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have established recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for essentialnutrients for humans. RDAs represent the amounts of essential nutrients considered adequate to meet nutritional needs of most healthy persons in the UnitedStates. RDAs have been established for iron and copper, two of the NSDWS parameters which were exceeded in water samples, of 18 milligrams per day(mg/day) and 2 mg/day, respectively [5]. Iron and copper RDAs were compared to tap water samples and to hot water heater samples. All water sample resultswere less than RDA values, except for the Residence #11 hot water heater sample copper level of 2.70 ppm, which slightly exceeded the copper RDA of 2.0 ppm.

On January 26, 2001, ADH staff collected two potable water samples from private wells located on Bodcaw Creek, downstream from the RRA site to determineif site contaminants may have impacted the wells. Test results are listed in Appendix B, Table 3 [6]. The following NSDWS secondary maximum contaminant levels for aluminum, iron, manganese, and/or reaction pH were exceeded:

  1. Bodcaw Creek residence #1 - iron, manganese, reaction pH; and
  2. Bodcaw Creek residence #2 - manganese.

CHILD HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS

Child Health Considerations section recognizes that the unique vulnerabilities of infants and children demand special emphasis in communities faced withcontamination of soil, water, air and food. Children are at a greater risk than adults from certain kinds of exposures to hazardous substances, and are more likelyto be exposed because they play outdoors and often bring food into contaminated areas. Children are more likely to come into contact with dust, soil, and heavyvapors close to the ground. Children receive higher doses of chemical exposure due to lower body weights. Children's developing bodies can sustain permanentdamage if toxic exposures occur during critical growth stages. Contaminants in drinking water in residences located adjacent to RRA are less than health-basedNPDWS. NSDWS secondary maximum contaminant levels, while exceeded in some drinking water samples, have not been associated with adverse health effectsat he levels measured in the water samples. Iron and copper levels in drinking water samples were less than the RDAs established for these nutrients, except inResidence #11, where the copper RAD was slightly exceeded. At the levels of iron and copper measured in these samples, no adverse health effects are anticipatedin children.


CONCLUSIONS

No NPDWS were exceeded in the potable water samples. NSDWS secondary maximum contaminant levels were exceeded in some potable water samples, whichmay cause the water to look or taste different, and are not associated with adverse health effects. Iron potable water levels were lower than the iron RDA in allresidences, and copper levels were lower than the copper RDA in all residences, except one which slightly exceeded the copper RDA. At the levels of contaminants measured in the potable water, adverse healtheffects are not anticipated as a result of drinking water in the residences located adjacent to the RRA fenceline. No public health hazard exists from drinkingpotable water in the residences located adjacent to the RRA eastern fence line under present conditions.


RECOMMENDATIONS

None.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION PLAN

Past Activities

ADH staff have notified occupants of Residence #11 that elevated lead levels were found in the hot water heater tank and recommended that tap water be testedfor lead. Educational materials have been provided to this resident along with all residents who had their water tested (e.g., utilize cold water for drinking andcooking, drain hot water tanks once every six months as part of a routine maintenance program to ensure sediments do not accumulate in the hot water tank).

The residents that were living in the nine homes adjacent to the Red River Aluminum site were relocated and their homes were purchased by the State of Arkansas.The decision by the state to purchase the homes was based on quality of life issues reported by the residents.

Ongoing activities

ADH staff will continue to distribute educational materials to the community and health professionals as requested.

Future Action Items

ADH will continue to review any new data received concerning the potable water supply.

ADH will provide environmental health education to the community members and medical personnel as appropriate.


PREPARER OF THE HEALTH CONSULTATION

Health Assessor
Chris C. Hemann
Arkansas Department of Health


ATSDR Region VI Representative
George Pettigrew
ATSDR Senior Representative


ATSDR Technical Project Officer
Tammie McRae, M.S.
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


CERTIFICATION

This Health Consultation, Assessment of Potable Water Quality in Residences Located in the Vicinity of the Red River Aluminum Superfund Site in Stamps,Arkansas, was prepared by the Arkansas Department of Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SSAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)
ATSDR


The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR has reviewed this health consultation, and concurs with its findings.

Roberta Erlwein
Section Chief, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR


REFERENCES

  1. Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Unpublished data. July , 2000.

  2. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2000, National Primary Drinking Water Standards, and National Secondary Drinking Water Standards, Washington, D.C.

  3. Arkansas Department of Health. Unpublished analytical data. September, 2000.

  4. Arkansas Department of Health. Unpublished analytical data. December, 2000.

  5. Reference Daily Intakes, Recommended Dietary Allowances [database online]. Rockville, Maryland: US Food and Drug Administration.

  6. Arkansas Department of Health. Unpublished analytical data. January, 2001.

APPENDIX A: SITE MAP

Site Map


APPENDIX B: TABLES 1, 2 AND 3

Table 1. Potable Water Supply Analytical Results
September 26, 2000
Stamps, Arkansas

Parameter Concentration of Parameter in parts per million (ppm), unless otherwise noted
Residence #1 Residence #2 Residence #3 Residence #4 Residence #5 Residence #6 Residence #7 Residence #8 Residence #9 Church NPDWS/NSDWS
National Primary Drinking Water Standard Criteria
Arsenic <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 0.05
Barium 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.13 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.14 0.12 2
Beryllium <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 0.004
Cadmium <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 0.005
Total cyanide screen <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 0.2
Total Chromium <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 0.1
Mercury <0.0005 <0.0005 <0.0005 <0.0005 <0.005 <0.0005 <0.0005 <0.0005 <0.0005 <0.0005 0.002
Nitrate + nitrite nitrogen <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 10
Nickel <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 0.031 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 0.1
Lead <0.002 <0.002 <0.002 <0.002 <0.002 <0.002 0.002 <0.002 <0.002 <0.002 0.015 (Action Level)
Antimony <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 0.006
Selenium <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 0.006 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 0.05
Thallium <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 0.002
Turbidity1 0.66 0.44 0.40 0.53 0.58 0.70 0.43 0.26 0.14 0.93 NS2
National Secondary Drinking Water Standard Criteria
Silver <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 0.1
Aluminum <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 <0.02 0.05 - 0.2
Chloride 8.1 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.1 8.1 8.7 9.2 11.2 7.0 250
Color/apparent color 3 5 0 0 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 15
Copper 0.04 0.05 0.07 0.04 0.02 0.12 0.04 0.09 0.08 <0.01 1.3
Fluoride <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 4
Iron 0.36 0.19 0.20 0.20 0.60 0.69 0.39 0.16 0.08 0.28 0.3
Manganese 0.02 <0.01 <0.01 0.01 0.03 0.03 0.02 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 0.05
Odor4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Reaction pH5 6.95 6.97 6.94 6.99 6.92 6.87 6.86 6.89 6.81 7.08 6.5 - 8.5
Sulfate 7.2 7.2 7.1 7.2 7.2 7.1 7.2 7.1 7.0 7.3 250
Total Solids (Dried) 147 138 179 144 166 142 178 121 135 139 500
Zinc <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 5
Unregulated Drinking Water Quality Criteria
Calcium 10.4 10.5 10.5 10.5 10.2 10.5 10.4 10.8 11.3 9.0 NS
Carbonate hardness6 35 35 35 35 35 36 35 36 38 32 NS
Magnesium 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.3 2.1 NS
Non-carbonate hardness6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NS
Phenolphthalein alkalinity6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 NS
Potassium 3.6 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.8 3.5 3.6 3.9 3.5 NS
Sediment <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 NS
Sodium 31.1 <0.01 30.8 31.0 32.2 31.4 31.2 29.9 30.0 33.6 NS
Total alkalinity6 82 83 83 84 83 83 83 81 79 85 NS10
Total Hardness6 35 35 35 35 35 36 35 36 38 32 NS

1 - Nephelometric turbidity units (NTU)
2 - No standard (NS)
3 - Color units (CU)
4 - Threshold odor number (TON)
5 - pH units
6 - PPm as calcium carbonate hardness


Table 2. Hot Water Heater Tank Analytical Results
December 4, 2000
Stamps, Arkansas

Parameter Concentration of Parameter in parts per million (ppm), unless otherwise noted
Residence #2 Residence #3 Residence #4 Residence #5 Residence #7 Residence #9 Residence #11 NPDWS/NSDWS
National Primary Drinking Water Standard Criteria
Antimony <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004 <0.004
Arsenic <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005
Barium 0.15 0.20 0.39 0.22 0.14 0.19 0.30 0.14
Beryllium <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001
Cadmium <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001
Total Chromium <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005
Lead <0.002 <0.002 0.009 0.003 <0.002 0.008 0.011 0.015 (Action Level)
Mercury <0.00045 <0.00045 <0.00045 <0.00045 <0.00045 <0.00045 <0.00045 <0.0005
Nitrate + nitrite nitrogen <0.05 0.07 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05 <0.05
Selenium <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005
Thallium <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001 <0.001
Total cyanide screen <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04 <0.04
Turbidity1 0.29 0.19 0.50 0.26 0.23 0.23 0.56 0.14
National Secondary Drinking Water Standard Criteria
Aluminum 0.72 3.45 0.18 15.0 0.67 6.52 2.48 <0.02
Chloride 10.6 10.7 10.4 10.6 10.5 10.5 10.4 11.2
Color/apparent color2 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Copper 0.08 0.38 1.57 0.53 0.05 0.74 2.70 0.08
Fluoride <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20 <0.20
Iron 1.31 5.19 2.08 4.03 0.51 3.19 6.33 0.08
Manganese 0.04 0.12 0.58 0.11 0.01 0.08 0.54 <0.01
Odor3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Reaction pH4 7.07 7.15 7.28 6.94 7.29 7.09 7.20 6.81
Silver <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 <0.005 0.007 <0.005
Sulfate 6.6 6.6 6.3 6.4 6.3 6.2 6.4 7.0
Total Solids (Dried) 156 154 154 150 203 209 181 135
Zinc 0.02 0.02 0.29 0.19 0.03 0.04 1.79 <0.01
Unregulated Drinking Water Quality Criteria
Calcium 11.8 12.1 26.3 12.2 11.6 13.4 21.6 11.3
Carbonate hardness5 47 70 78 78 44 78 80 38
Magnesium 2.6 2.6 4.2 2.6 2.5 2.9 7.2 2.3
Nickel <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020 <0.020
Non-carbonate hardness5 0 0 11 54 0 10 32 0
Phenolphthalein alkalinity5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Potassium 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 4.0 4.5 4.1 3.9
Sediment <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5 <0.5
Sodium 26.4 27.0 28.0 27.1 28.0 27.0 28.8 30.0
Total Hardness5 47 70 89 132 44 88 112 38
Total alkalinity5 78 78 78 78 77 78 80 79

1 - Nephelometric turbidity units (NTU)
2 - No standard (NS)
3 - Color units (CU)
4 - Threshold odor number (TON)
5 - pH units
6 - ppm as calcium carbonate hardness

Table 3.

Private Potable Well Analytical Results January 26, 2001 Stamps, Arkansas
Parameter Concentration of Parameter in parts per million (ppm)
Residence #12 Residence #13
National Primary Drinking Water Standard Criteria
Antimony <0.001 <0.001
Arsenic 0.001 0.001
Barium 0.057 0.059
Beryllium <0.001 <0.001
Cadmium <0.001 <0.001
Total Chromium <0.001 <0.001
Lead <0.001 <0.001
Mercury <0.0005 <0.0005
Nitrate + nitrite nitrogen <0.05 5.09
Selenium <0.0005 <0.005
Thallium <0.0005 <0.0005
Total cyanide screen <0.04 <0.04
Turbidity1 6.40 2.58
National Secondary Drinking Water Standard Criteria
Aluminum <0.005 <0.005
Chloride 4.7 4.5
Color/apparent color2 40 5
Copper 0.0032 0.008
Fluoride <0.20 <0.20
Iron 2.75 5.21
Manganese 3.3 0.038
Odor3 Cs 0
Reaction pH4 6.51 6.16
Silver <0.005 <0.005
Sulfate 6.3 9.2
Total Solids (dried) 81 98
Zinc 0.034 29.1
Unregulated Drinking Water Quality Criteria
Calcium 6.3 5.4
Carbonate hardness5 34 19
Magnesium 3.3 3.3
Nickel <0.002 <0.002
Non-carbonate hardness6 0 17
Phenolphthalein alkalinity7 0 0
Potassium <2.0 <2.0
Sediment <0.5 <0.5
Sodium 9.6 9.1
Total Hardness8 34 36
Total alkalinity9 47 19

1 - Nephelometric turbidity units (NTU)
2 - Color units (CU)
3 - Threshold odor number (TON)
4 - pH units
5 - 9 - ppm as calcium carbonate hardness



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