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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

WELDON SPRING SITE REMEDIAL ACTION PROJECT
(CHEMICAL PLANT, RAFFINATE PITS, QUARRY)
ST. CHARLES, ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MISSOURI


CONCLUSIONS

The Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project (chemical plant site), which includes the chemical plant, raffinate pits, and quarry, poses no apparent public health hazard to the general public. Access restrictions prevent public exposure to chemical and radioactive contaminants on site. In general, the public is not exposed to chemical and radioactive contaminants off site. However, in the event of potential off-site exposure, the cumulative chemical or radioactive contaminant exposure from multiple exposure pathways poses no apparent public health hazard.

We developed six conclusions while performing this public health assessment:

  1. On-site soil, sediment, sludge, surface water, groundwater, and asbestos in the chemical plant, raffinate pits, and quarry areas do not pose a public health hazard. Currently, access restrictions prevent public exposure to on-site chemical and radioactive contaminants; therefore, no exposure pathways exists. In addition, infrequent short-term exposure to on-site chemical contaminants (e.g., exposures to past trespassers and quarry or raffinate pit swimmers) is unlikely to result in health effects. However, frequent long-term exposure to on-site chemical contaminants may result in exposure doses that are associated with adverse health effects.
  2. Off-site surface water in the Weldon Spring Training Area, the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, and the Weldon Spring Conservation Management Area poses no public health hazard. Public exposure is possible through contact with a few springs and streams. Incidental ingestion of water containing these contaminant concentrations (short-term exposure) will not result in any health effect.
  3. Drinking water obtained from the St. Charles County well field for the St. Charles County Water Supply District #2 poses no public health hazard. Contaminants from the Weldon Spring quarry have not been detected at the St. Charles County well field. Ongoing remediation at the quarry will reduce the potential for contaminant migration.
  4. The release of treated effluent from the chemical plant site poses no public health hazard for St. Louis communities obtaining drinking water from the Missouri River. Current procedures for treating and monitoring effluent prior to release are protective of public health.
  5. Field activities performed by U.S. Army Reservists in the training area; fishing by anglers, hunting by hunters, and hiking by hikers in the conservation areas; drinking from off-site private wells; teaching at, working in, and attending the Francis Howell High School; and consuming crops (e.g., corn) grown in conservation areas pose(d) no apparent public health hazard. Swimming in the quarry or raffinate pits by trespassers also posed no public health hazard.
  6. St. Charles County might have had an elevated incidence of childhood leukemia for several years during the period 1985-1992. However, there has been no identification of pathways of contaminant exposure that could link the leukemia cases or any other community health concern to the chemical plant site.

The following conclusions are based on findings in the 1995 Public Health Assessment for the Weldon Spring Ordnance Works Site and pertain to chemical contaminants only. Some of the cited conclusions have been augmented by current review and study performed during this health assessment.

  1. In the past, exposure to groundwater from off-site private wells was an indeterminate public health hazard [1]. This drinking water exposure pathway was eliminated in 1989, when citizens were provided bottled water [1]. Groundwater from off-site private wells poses no public health hazard, because no one is consuming the groundwater (i.e., the drinking water pathway is incomplete).
  2. Fish and game animals from the conservation areas pose no apparent public health hazard [1].
  3. Exposure to off-site soil and groundwater in the Weldon Spring Training Area, August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, and the Weldon Spring Conservation Management Area is incomplete and does not pose a public health hazard [1]. In addition, infrequent short-term exposure to contaminants in on-site soil and groundwater is unlikely to result in health effects [1]. However, frequent long-term exposure to on-site contaminants may result in exposure doses that can cause adverse health effects.

Health Activities Recommendations Panel (HARP) Statement

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, requires the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to perform public health actions needed at hazardous waste sites. The ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) evaluated the data and information developed in the Weldon Spring chemical plant site Public Health Assessment to determine the need for follow-up health actions. Because people have not been exposed to contaminants at levels of health concern in the past, are not currently being so exposed, and are unlikely to be so exposed for the foreseeable future, no follow-up health studies are indicated at this time. ATSDR will reevaluate the need for follow-up health actions if new information about this site becomes available.

PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The public health action plan for the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weldon Spring Remedial Action Project National Priorities List (NPL) Site (chemical plant, raffinate pits, and quarry) contains a description of actions the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and/or other governmental agencies will take at and in the vicinity of the site after the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of this plan is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards but provides a plan of action to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. An Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) commitment to follow up on this plan is included to ensure the plan's implementation. The following public health actions are to be implemented:

ACTIONS PLANNED

  1. ATSDR will coordinate with the Missouri Department of Health in the ongoing inquiry into cancer incidence in the Weldon Spring area.
  2. The State of Missouri should continue to monitor private groundwater wells in the vicinity of the site. Samples should be analyzed for appropriate contaminants.
  3. ATSDR will review remedial activities proposed in relation to the protection of public health. ATSDR will provide comments, and recommendations as appropriate to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the DOE, and the State of Missouri.
  4. The DOE, the EPA, and the State of Missouri should continue to monitor the water treatment plant's effluent and verify that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements are met before the water is released to the Missouri River.
  5. The DOE must maintain administrative control and access restrictions for the chemical plant site and quarry as long as waste materials remain on site or until cleanup of contaminated areas is complete.

ATSDR will reevaluate and expand the Public Health Action Plan as needed. New environmental, toxicological, or health outcome data, or the results of implementing the above proposed action may determine the need for additional actions at the site.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Michael Grayson, MS
Health Physicist
Energy Section
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Jack Hanley, MPH
Environmental Health Scientist
Energy Section
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

William Taylor, PhD
Environmental Health Scientist
Energy Section
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

With contributions by:

Dana Abouelnasr, PhD
Environmental Health Scientist
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Mark W. Evans, PhD
Environmental Geologist
Energy Section
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Jeff Kellam, MS
Environmental Health Scientist
Army Section
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Kevin Liske
GIS Specialist
The Orkand Corporation

ATSDR gratefully acknowledges the assistance and contributions to this public health assessment by personnel with the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health. BU personnel assisted with the collection and analysis of community concerns and the investigation and evaluation of health outcome data.

Reviewers of Report

Burt J. Cooper
Energy Section Chief
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representatives:

Denise Jordan-Izaguirre and David Parker
ATSDR, EPA Region VII
Kansas City, KS

REFERENCES
  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1995, Public Health Assessment for Weldon Spring Ordinance Works, St. Charles County, Missouri, CERCLIS NO. MO5210021288, Dec. 22, 1994.

  2. Kleeschulte, M.J. and L.F. Emmett, 1987, Hydrology and Water Quality at the Weldon Spring Radioactive Waste Disposal Sites, St. Charles County Missouri, U.S. Geological Survey Water Investigations Report 87-4169.

  3. MK-Ferguson Company and Jacobs Engineering Group, 1992, Remedial Investigation Report, Revision F, DOE/OR/21548-074, March 1992.

  4. Layne-Western Company, Inc., 1986, Groundwater hydrology investigation--Weldon Spring, Missouri: Kansas City, Kansas, 62 p.

  5. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Administrative Record of Activity for the Weldon Spring Site (dated various, signed 10/12/95).

  6. Missouri Department of Health State Center for Health Statistics, 1988, Missouri Center for Health Statistics: Its Purpose and Program, Jefferson City, Missouri, January 1988.

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1990, Preliminary Health Assessment for Weldon Spring Site, March 29, 1990.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1989, Health Consultation: Fish Data, Chemical Plant Site, St. Charles County, Missouri, April 24, 1989.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1993, Record of Activity [for the Weldon Spring Site, Health Consultation], February 10, 1993.

  10. Shaver S.L. Letter from Sally L. Shaver, Chief, Federal Programs Branch, Division of Health Assessments and Consultations, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, to Stephen H. McCracken, Site Manager, Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project, U.S. Department of Energy, February 16, 1993.

  11. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1994, Health Consultation, Record of Decision for Quarry Bulk Wastes, Weldon Spring Remedial Action Project, (703S), January 20, 1994.

  12. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1994, Health Consultation, Evaluation of Potential Radiation Exposures at the Francis Howell High School from the Weldon Spring Site, Weldon Spring Remedial Action Project, (703S).

  13. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, administrative Record of Activity for the Weldon Spring Site, 10/31/94.

  14. Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 1991 Radiation Monitoring Report, Summary of Radiation Monitoring Data Related to St. Louis Area Radioactive Waste Sites, September 1991.

  15. Remington, Stanley, 1994, Quarterly Report St. Charles County Wellfield Monitoring Project, Grant No. DE-FG05-89OR21864, Submitted to: Joe Nichols, St. Charles County Engineer, St. Charles, Missouri, January, February, and March, 1994.

  16. MK-Ferguson Company and Jacobs Engineering Group, 1990, WSSRAP Chemical Plant Geotechnical Investigations, DOE/OR/21548-158, December 1990.

  17. Mossman K.L. and Mills, W.A. The Biological Basis of Radiation Protection Practice. Williams and Wilkens, Baltimore, 1992.

  18. Sorenson J.A. and Phelps, M.E. Physics in Nuclear Medicine 2nd Edition. W.B. Saunders, 1987.

  19. National Research Council, 1990, Health Effects of Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation, BEIR V, Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation, Board of Radiation Effects Research, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington D.C.

  20. The International Commission on Radiological Protection. International Commission on Radiological Protection Publication 30. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1979.

  21. The International Commission on Radiological Protection. International Commission on Radiological Protection Publication 60. Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1991.

  22. Missouri Department of Health, 1986, Report on Childhood Leukemia in St. Charles County (1970-1983), MDH Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology, Jefferson City, Missouri.

  23. Missouri Department of Health, 1995, Unpublished letter from Turner, Alyce to Richard Clapp.

  24. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1993, Toxicological Profile for Arsenic (Update), TP-92/02, April 1993.

  25. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1990, Toxicological Profile for Uranium, TP-90-29, December 1990.

  26. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1993, Toxicological Profile for Thorium, TP-90/25, October 1990.

  27. Linet, M.S., 1985, The Leukemias: Epidemiologic Aspects. Oxford Univ. Press, NY, pp. 123-222.

  28. Greenburg, R.S. and Shuster, J.L., 1985, Epidemiology of Cancer in Children, Epidemiology Review, 7:22-48.

  29. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1994, Toxicological Profile for Mercury (Update), TP-93/10, May 1994.

  30. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 1993, Toxicological Profile for Lead (Update), TP-92/12, April 1993.

FIGURES

Figure 1
Figure 1. Location Map - Weldon Spring Area

Figure 2
Figure 2. Weldon Spring Study Area

Figure 1
Figure 3. Chemical Plant Site

Figure 4
Figure 4. Chemical Plant Site

Figure 5
Figure 5. Population Density

Figure 6
Figure 6. Monitoring Wells and Other Water Sources

Figure 7
Figure 7. Locations of Contaminated Lakes and Surface Soil


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