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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

SOUTH 8TH STREET LANDFILL
(a/k/a WEST MEMPHIS LANDFILL)
WEST MEMPHIS, CRITTENDEN COUNTY, ARKANSAS


CONCLUSIONS
  1. The South 8th Street Landfill site currently poses no apparent public health hazard because 1) current exposure to site-related contaminants are not expected to result in adverse health effects, and 2) access to physical hazards, such as the large oily sludge pit and the on-site pond, is restricted. However, due to the presence of these physical hazards, the site may have represented a public health hazard in the past when site access was unrestricted and may pose a public health hazard in the future if restrictions to site access are removed.
  2. ATSDR has identified three completed exposure pathways at the South 8th Street Landfill site.

    The first completed pathway involves persons who accessed the site in the past, such as site visitors, guests of the adjacent RV park, and trespassers. These persons were likely exposed to contaminants in site surface soils through skin contact and incidental ingestion.

    The second completed pathway involves persons who waded or swam in the on-site pond. These persons were likely exposed to contaminants in the surface water and sediments of the pond.

    The third completed pathway involves persons who ate fish from the on-site pond. These persons were likely exposed to contaminants (primarily mercury) in the fish consumed.

  3. ATSDR has also identified four potential pathways associated with the site. These pathways involve the following potential exposures: 1) incidental ingestion of contaminants in on-site waste sludges and skin contact with these materials by site visitors/trespassers, site investigative personnel, and other persons who accessed the site in the past; 2) inhalation of contaminants in ambient air and fugitive dusts by personnel present during past site investigations; 3) ingestion of contaminants by persons eating crops grown on-site or eating wild game from the site area; and 4) ingestion of groundwater contaminants from potable wells that may be utilized on-site in the future.
  4. Based on the information evaluated in this public health assessment, no adverse health effects are expected as a result of human exposure to site contaminants. Although fish in the on-site pond appear to have bioaccumulated mercury from the pond, the quantity of these contaminated fish consumed by RV park guests, site visitors, and site trespassers appears to be limited. Therefore, no adverse health effects are expected to occur. There is currently no known exposure to these fish because access to the pond is restricted.
  5. Health outcome data were not evaluated in this assessment due to the reasons given in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation subsection of the Public Health Implications section.
  6. Data inadequacies include the following:
    1. Sampling data for the private well at the adjacent RV park are not available;
    2. Conclusions regarding adverse health effects from exposure to dibenzofuran, carbazole, and 2-methylnaphthalene could not be reached because of insufficient information. However, we feel that the short and intermittent duration of possible exposure combined with the low levels of these contaminates in the contaminated environmental media would not result in adverse health effects. We will reevaluate these exposures, if necessary, when more information becomes available.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendations

  1. Continue to restrict public access to the site due to the presence of physical hazards.
  2. Provide future on-site remedial workers with adequate protective equipment and training, in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.120, and follow appropriate National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. Also, protect individuals both on and off the site during remediation from exposure to any dusts or vapors that may be released.

Site Characterization Recommendations

  1. Consider collecting and analyzing representative samples from the well at the RV park to determine whether site-related contaminants are present in the well at levels of health concern.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, data and information developed in the public health assessment for the South 8th Street Landfill site in Crittenden County, Arkansas, have been evaluated for appropriate follow-up with respect to health activities by the Health Activities Recommendation Panel. Available information indicates that no exposure of individuals to contaminants at levels of public health concern is occurring or has occurred. Those individuals exposed in the past were mostly transient and the exposure was intermittent. The site poses no apparent public health hazard at the present time. Although the site posed a public health hazard in the past, this was due to the presence of physical hazards such as the large oily sludge pit and the on-site pond to which access has been restricted. In addition, the community has not expressed health concerns. For these reasons, ATSDR has concluded that no follow-up actions should be pursued at this time. If more information becomes available in the future indicating that human exposure to hazardous substances is occurring or has occurred in the past at levels of public health concern, ATSDR will reevaluate this site for any additional indicated follow-up.

Public Health Action Plan

The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan (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.

ATSDR provided the residents of the city of West Memphis and surrounding communities the opportunity to comment on this public health assessment before final release. The public comment period was held from August 5 to September 9, 1994. ATSDR did not receive any comments on this public health assessment.

At this time no public health actions to be implemented have been identified by the Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP).

ATSDR will collaborate with the appropriate federal, state, and local agencies to pursue the implementation of the recommendations outlined in this public health assessment.

This final PHAP will be evaluated annually unless additional information warrants more frequent evaluation. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data may determine the need for additional actions at the South 8th Street Landfill site.


PREPARERS OF REPORT

Stephen Richardson
Environmental Health Engineer
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment & Consultation

Déborah A. Boling
Environmental Health Scientist
Remedial Programs Branch
Division of Health Assessment & Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representative:

George Pettigrew
Senior Regional Representative
EPA Region VI


REFERENCES
  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hazard Ranking System Documentation for West Memphis Landfill, West Memphis, Arkansas. August 1991.

  2. Fluor Daniel Environmental Services. Draft Baseline Ecological Characterization, West Memphis Landfill, West Memphis, Arkansas. November 1992.

  3. Fluor Daniel Environmental Services. Draft RI/FS Workplan, West Memphis Landfill, West Memphis, Arkansas.

  4. Fluor Daniel, Inc. Final Remedial Investigation, South 8th Street Landfill, West Memphis, Arkansas (Revision 1). June 1993.

  5. Life Systems, Inc. Baseline Risk Assessment - Sludge Pit Area - Human Health Evaluation, South 8th Street Landfill Site, West Memphis, Arkansas. May 1993.

  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Data Tables for the South 8th Street Landfill. December 1992 and January 1993.

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public health assessment guidance manual. Atlanta: ATSDR, March 1992; DHHS, (PHS).

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for cobalt. Atlanta: ATSDR, July 1992; DHHS publication no. (PHS) TP-91/10.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for lead. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, April 1993; DHHS publication no. (PHS) TP-92/12.

  10. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for aluminum. Atlanta: ATSDR, July 1992; DHHS publication no. (PHS)TP-91/01.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for mercury. (update) Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1992.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). (update) (draft) Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1993.

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for naphthalene. (update) (draft) Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1993.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for 1,1,1-trichloroethane. (update) (draft) Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1993.

  15. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for chloromethane. Atlanta: ATSDR, December 1990; DHHS publication no. (PHS)TP-90-07.

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