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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

FISHER CALO
KINGSBURY, LA PORTE COUNTY, INDIANA


SUMMARY

The Fisher-Calo Chemical and Solvents Corporation (FCC) site is located in the Kingsbury Industrial Development Park (KIDP) in LaPorte County near Kingsbury, Indiana. The FCC site is comprised of six study areas: The Fisher-Calo plant, New Plant Life, Cardinal Chemical and KCI Chemical, National Packaging Corporation, the Roll Coater facility, and the Space Leasing facility.

Two miles southwest of the site are the residential villages of Tracy and Kingsford Heights. The village of Tracy uses private well water. Kingsford Heights receives its water from the Kingsford Heights Water Department. The King's Court Trailer Park and a residential area (the Circle, East 650 South) are within a 1-mile radius and southwest of the site, in the immediate vicinity, and in the direction of the plumes. These two residential areas, plus a third town northwest of the site (Kingsbury), receive their drinking water from Kingsbury Utility Corporation (KUC) production wells, which are on the property of KIDP.

Three groundwater plumes exist under the site and are moving south-southwest. The location and number of all private well users within a 1-mile radius of the site is not known. There is a potential for exposure to contaminated groundwater if remediation is not continued at the site. Therefore, monitoring of the groundwater plume is recommended.

The on-site surface and subsurface soil is contaminated with heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other organic chemicals. Workers may be exposed to these contaminants through inhalation, incidental ingestion, and dermal contact. The levels of volatilized chemicals and contaminated dust particles in the ambient air are unknown.

Based on the information reviewed, this site poses an indeterminate public health hazard. Although there are no data or evidence that indicates there are completed exposure pathways of public health concern, there is insufficient information about potential pathways of exposure. The ISDH has recommended the implementation of on-site remediation activities to prevent release of contaminants from the site; conducting groundwater monitoring to determine the extent of contamination and to ensure that all private and public water supplies remain unaffected by site contaminants; conducting a well survey to further characterize the spread of contaminants and ensure that public health is protected; monitoring for off-site migration of contaminants in surface water and sediment from Kingsbury Creek, Travis Ditch, and the Kankakee River; protecting on-site workers against both inhalation and dermal exposures during remediation activities due to the nature and extent of surface soil and subsurface soil contamination; conducting on-site ambient air monitoring; inspecting the munition bunkers at the Space Leasing facility (Area F) since they may contain old, unstable munitions or improperly disposed chemical waste; regular testing of the water supplied by the Kingsbury Utility Corporation to ensure that it is safe for human consumption; and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment by individuals when working in and around areas of the site where Hantavirus is suspect, and where there is friable asbestos.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

The Fisher-Calo Chemical and Solvents Corporation (FCC) site is on two parcels (250 acres) of land within the Kingsbury Industrial Development Park (KIDP) in Kingsbury, LaPorte County, Indiana (see Appendix A, Figure 1). The KIDP originally was known as the U.S. Military Kingsbury Ordnance Plant, which was involved in the manufacture and storage of gunpowder and TNT.

The ordinance plant closed in the early 1960s. A private owner purchased the land and subdivided it to form the Kingsbury Industrial Park. The FCC purchased 250 acres from a private owner in 1971.

Since beginning operations in the late 1960s, FCC has used the site for the processing and distribution of solvents, metal finishing supplies, and various industrial chemicals. FCC shared the property with three subsidiaries: Midwest Chlorine Corporation, Midwest Ammonia Corporation, and Wallace Warehouse. Midwest Chlorine Corporation and Midwest Ammonia Corporation were involved in the production of sodium hypochlorite and the packaging of liquid chlorine, anhydrous ammonia, sulfur dioxide, anhydrous hydrogen chloride, and methyl chloride for sale to commercial users of these materials. For several years FCC also operated a reclamation facility to recover spent paint and metal finishing solvents for resale. FCC also accepted cyanide, acids, metal finishing wastes, and various metals from other industries. These chemical wastes were stored in metal drums and stockpiled on the site or disposed on the ground. Primary constituents of the metal finishing wastes included heavy metals such as chromium, nickel, lead, copper, zinc, cadmium, arsenic, and cyanide. Organic constituents of these wastes included toluene, phenolics, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), 1,1-dichloroethane (DCA), benzene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA).

State and county health and law enforcement agencies have contacted FCC officials on a number of occasions in the past few years regarding the company's practice of storing hazardous wastes on site. Between 1972 and 1978, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the LaPorte County Health Department contacted FCC officials to express their concerns about alleged improper disposal of chemical wastes.

The FCC study area comprises six facilities (see Appendix A, Figures 1-7) as listed below. These areas are referred to collectively as "the site" throughout the remainder of this document.

    Area A - Fisher-Calo plant
    Area B - New Plant Life
    Area C - Cardinal Chemical and KCI Chemical
    Area D - National Packaging Corporation
    Area E - Roll Coater facility
    Area F - Space Leasing facility

Travis Ditch and Kingsbury Creek parallel the western border of the site.

Areas A and B are 220 acres in size and are bordered to the north and south by grasslands and buildings. Area B is located to the south of Area A. At the southeast corner of Area B is a wetland area.

Areas C, D, and E are approximately 30 acres on site, and are situated in surroundings similar to Area A. The land between the structures in these areas and along the eastern and southern sides of these areas is under cultivation with corn or soybeans. The land south of Area C consists of scattered woodlands and grassland. The area west of Area D contains scattered woodlands and fields.

The land north of Area D and across Hupp Road (the main road in and out of the complex) was the site of the U.S. Military Kingsbury Ordnance Plant. Old munition bunkers are spaced throughout this grassland area. Corn is grown between the munition bunkers.

Area F, located approximately 1,000 feet northeast of Areas A and B, is surrounded by munition bunkers to the west and crop land to the north and south. To the east of Space Leasing, at the end of Hupp Road and approximately 2½ miles from Areas A and B, is the Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife area operated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Per communication with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) project manager, this area is not a wetland and fishing would not occur because the area does not support that type of recreational activity.

The site was used primarily for the packaging, storage, and distribution of industrial chemicals as well as the reclamation of waste paint and metal finishing solvents. Midwest Chlorine and Midwest Ammonia, which later became part of the Fisher-Calo plant (Area A), were involved in the production of sodium hypochlorite and the packaging of liquid chlorine, anhydrous ammonia, sulfur dioxide, anhydrous hydrogen chloride, and methylene chloride for sale to commercial users.

In 1970, the Midwest Chlorine Corporation began operations in Area A, including the disposal of solid and liquid wastes.

In 1972, the Midwest Ammonia Corporation (Area A) and FCC began solvent reclamation operations. The FCC also commenced chemical processing activities. Drums containing still-bottom wastes were primarily stored in Area A. However, by 1978, drum storage, disposal, and burial activities were also occurring in Areas C, D, E, and at the Space Leasing facility (Area F).

In September 1974, a fire of unknown origin occurred in Area F. The materials contributing to this fire were buried drums of paint pigments and other wastes (used as fill material) disposed by FCC at this location. Approximately 700 to 1,000 drums were buried at this site. The resulting fire was allowed to burn itself out as the local fire department could not bring it under control.

In March 1978, a fire occurred at Midwest Chlorine. Several bulk storage tanks, trucks, and an estimated 20,000 drums of chemical wastes and solvents were destroyed by the fire. The resulting debris from this fire was not cleaned up for over a year.

In August 1978, Midwest Ammonia Inc., Midwest Chlorine Inc., and Wallace Warehouse were merged as part of FCC. In June 1979, the ISDH excavated buried drums from a location in the northeast corner of Area E. During these activities, other potential burial and waste disposal areas were identified.

In July 1980, the EPA filed suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to eliminate the hazards posed by the previous disposal activities at the site.

In August 1981, EPA sent a Technical Assistance Team (TAT) to the site. The TAT installed groundwater monitoring wells on and around the site and then collected samples from each of the wells. Soil samples were also collected for future analysis.

In February 1982, EPA's Field Investigation Team (FIT) conducted an investigation of the site. Results of the sampling program indicated elevated levels of organic chemicals in the groundwater and heavy metals in surface soils. Additional sampling was recommended to define the potential source of the groundwater contamination and the potential for further contaminant migration.

In August 1982, EPA and FCC entered into a Consent Decree (1). The Consent Decree required FCC to monitor three selected monitoring wells to determine if the contaminant concentrations would decrease with time (2). Following several years of monitoring, it became apparent that the contaminant levels had not decreased in the selected monitoring wells. In December 1982, the site was proposed for inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL). In September 1983, the site was promulgated on the first NPL.

In January 1985, the FCC solvent reclamation facilities ceased operations when FCC divested itself from its various divisions. In February 1985, the FCC declared bankruptcy and announced its intention to sell or lease its solvent reclamation facility.

In April 1985, EPA decided to perform a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at the site. A work plan detailing the proposed RI/FS activities for the site was approved in July 1986 (3). The scope of work at the site was expanded in December 1986 to include sampling in those areas where past disposal of waste materials was thought to have occurred. The RI activities began in May 1987, and continued until August 1987 when an arson fire at the site trailer halted Phase I field activities. A unilateral order was issued by the EPA in 1988 to the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) requiring them to conduct initial cleanup activities at the site. Initial actions taken were fencing of the site and staging and removing empty drums. The RI Phase II activities were conducted from May through November 1988.

In May 1989, EPA released the RI Report (4). The document revealed that approximately five areas contained organic and inorganic chemical contamination of surface and subsurface soils. Three of these five areas were found to be responsible for the contamination of at least three groundwater plumes. The contaminants observed in the groundwater were TCA, trans-1,2-dichloroethene (DCE), DCA, trichloroethene (TCE), PCE, and methylene chloride. Other contaminants observed were 2-hexanone, acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isophorone, benzene, and chloroform.

Drummed wastes and tanks containing wastes were stored in Areas C and D. Some solid waste and drummed waste materials were also stored in Areas A and B. Removal actions were undertaken by EPA in Areas C, D, and E. The first removal action was carried out in a two-phased program. Phase I (April-June 1989) involved the staging of drums for removal. Phase II (summer/fall 1989) included the excavation of contaminated soils and buried tanks or drums located on site. The contaminated soils, tanks, and drums were removed from the site and transported to an appropriate disposal facility. Presently, no new waste materials are being received at the site.

In January 1990, EPA held a meeting with the PRPs. In April 1990, EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) held a public meeting in the city of LaPorte to announce the proposed remediation plan (5) from the Feasibility Study (6). The plan called for removal of contaminated soils which are impacting groundwater. The Record of Decision (ROD) for the site was signed in August 1990 (7).

In 1990, the selected remedy included several components: 1) excavation and on-site incineration for polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and semi-volatile organic compound (SVOC) contaminated soils; 2) soil flushing or vapor extraction to treat any volatile organic compound (VOC) contaminated soils remaining after excavation; 3) pumping, treating, and air stripping contaminated groundwater; 4) characterizing asbestos contamination in structures that exist on site; and 5) installing a new water system.

The second removal action, from the Fisher-Calo New Plant Life site (on Two-Line Road), began in the spring of 1992. The PRPs removed about 300 drums containing flammable liquids, corrosive materials, and waste fertilizer liquid. Some wastes were shipped off site in drums; others were bulked together and shipped off site by truck. The remaining drums were cleaned and disposed. The action was completed by the summer of 1992; New Plant Life paid for this action.

The third removal action is called the Fisher-Calo cylinder action, located on Two-Line Road. Work began in the Fall of 1991 when EPA funded and conducted an inventory of the 258 compressed gas cylinders on the Two-Line facility. Cylinders of compressed gas (sulfur dioxide, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, ammonia, methyl chloride) were moved to the Alexander Chemical Corporation plant (formerly Cardinal Chemical), where gases were removed from the cylinders (about 100 have materials in them) and treated on site (completed May of 1992). Air monitoring was conducted during this action.

The fourth removal action, called the Fisher-Calo First Road drum removal (on One-Line Road), was started with a site assessment in the spring of 1992. Work to be done included removal and disposal of about 100 drums filled with solvents and corrosive wastes. This began in the summer under a signed consent decree.

The longer-term remedial action, agreed to by PRPs in 1992 (8), will begin with the fourth removal action. As part of the selected remedy, a mobile incineration unit would be installed on site to only incinerate contaminated soils from the site, and would be dismantled and removed after project completion. Soil contaminated with PCBs and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, a SVOC, was incinerated. As part of the requirement of RCRA and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), any incinerator used at the site will be monitored to achieve 99.9999% Destruction Removal Efficiency (DRE) for PCBs and 99.99% DRE for other compounds. Incinerator ash will be tested to determine whether it may be "de-listed". A sufficient number of samples will be taken to accurately characterize the contaminants in the ash. Other work to be conducted under the consent decree includes extraction and treatment of groundwater contaminated with VOCs, and soil flushing or soil vapor extraction of soil contaminated with VOCs. This work is estimated to begin within two years after all plans are approved, pre-testing is completed, and necessary permits are obtained. Because of public concern, other types of thermal destruction are being considered by members of the consent decree party. Work in this area is projected to begin in the summer of 1996.

In December 1992, containers in the "Blue Building" were secured and removed to Building 1 on Two-Line Road. Fencing was erected around the containers near the National Packaging Property on One-Line Road.

Facilities on One-Line and Two-Line Roads in Kingsbury Industrial Park contain asbestos in the siding and tile roofs. In January of 1993, the following actions were taken with respect to asbestos containing materials found in these areas (9):

  • Buildings with friable asbestos on the exterior were encapsulated.

  • Asbestos containing material not in or on a building was disposed according to regulation 40 CFR Part 61.

  • Personnel in buildings containing asbestos in the interim were notified regarding the nature and condition of the building.

  • All asbestos encapsulation removal and disposal was in accordance with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (40 CFR Part 61).

In 1993, soil boring investigations were completed and monitoring wells were installed in areas A, B, and C. The buried drum investigation work was completed in the KIDP area. Approximately 559 buried containers and 59 gas cylinders were excavated and staged for compatibility testing. Surface tank cleaning/disposal work was completed. In November 1993, the SVE pilot study was initiated and ended in December 1993.

In April 1994, buried drum work was completed at Space Leasing. The Phase II activities were completed in June 1994. In December 1994, six monitoring wells were installed west of Travis Ditch, and the SVE system was started and operational.

B. Site Visit

On March 6, 1991, Garry Mills and Ravishankar Rao of the ISDH and staff from IDEM visited the site area. During the inspection of the site, the following were observed:

  1. Access to the FCC study area is limited but not restricted. The Space Leasing property and the U.S. Army ammunition bunker area have a fence around them. The study area is located in an industrial park where there are other operating facilities.
  2. There are two residential areas on the west side of the site which receive their drinking water from the Kingsbury Utility Corporation. One residential area is located west of the site and contains about 15-20 homes. The second residential area, Kings Court Trailer Park, is located southwest of the site and contains about 65 trailers (approximately 260 residents).
  3. All of the buildings at the site are very old; however, many are still used for business purposes.
  4. Many buildings on the site are dilapidated. Old drums were observed in the debris.
  5. Corn is being grown in areas between the buildings on site.
  6. Five underground storage tanks (the tanks were located on the surface of the ground and had soil mounded around the sides and on the top) were identified in the southeast corner of Area B. A black tar-like liquid was present on the ground next to the tanks.
  7. Deer were seen at the Space Leasing facility (Area F) and there was evidence of other animals (squirrels and rabbits) being present in the area. This area is not completely fenced.
  8. Travis Ditch, located on the west side of the site, contained a steady stream of water about 6 feet wide and 1 to 2 feet deep.
  9. There are several old U.S. Army munition bunkers north of Areas A, D, and E. These bunkers are not included as part of this site and are under investigation by the U.S. Army.
  10. Army bunkers which have been converted to storage buildings at the Space Leasing facility (Area F) are very old. Many of the buildings were locked and do not appear to have been used for some time. There is a concern that these buildings may store old ordnance, munitions, or other waste materials. The contents of these bunkers are not known.

On December 3, 1992, Mr. Garry Mills and Ms. Dollis Wright of the ISDH visited the site area. During the inspection of the site, the following were observed:

  1. The Alexander Chemical Corporation is in operation and had an estimated 75 to 100 drums stacked two high on pallets at the rear or the loading docks. Some drums appear to be empty.
  2. The CP Hall Company was also in operation with approximately 20 drums stacked on pallets on the loading dock.
  3. There are no signs of activity at the FCC site. Various abandoned, deteriorated buildings and storage tanks are located on the property. The property is covered with vegetation and bordered by corn fields. A chain-link fence topped with barbed wire runs along the boundary of the site. The site is accessible at the front entrance because the gate is missing. "No Trespassing" signs are posted near the front entrance and along the fence.
  4. The New Plant Life Company is south of FCC. It was involved in a drum removal action this year; however, it was not possible to observe whether these actions have been completed. The company is in operation.
  5. The Space Leasing property is used as a combination storage and small business facility. It is well vegetated, and there were numerous areas that appear to have been plowed for gardening purposes. The property appears to have undergone a cleanup since the last site visit. No drums or wooden pallets are outside of storage areas. A cleanup action was confirmed by the manager of the Space Leasing Company. The pond on the Space Leasing property contains numerous muskrat hutches. No recreational activities are conducted at this pond.
  6. There are residential areas within a ½- to 3-mile radius of the FCC site. Some residences are bordered by fields that are used for farming purposes.

Site Visit Update January 31, 1995

The past, and the current IDEM project manager for this site were contacted in an effort to determine the current status of the site since the last site visit. The following are comments and observations about the site made by the project managers.

  1. The fence has been placed around the FCC study area, but the site is accessible.
  2. There are other operating facilities in the industrial park.
  3. There are old buildings being used for business purposes, and dilapidated buildings with old drums in their debris.
  4. Crops are grown between the buildings on site.
  5. There is a steady stream of water flowing in Travis Ditch.
  6. A trailer home is within a ½-mile radius of the FCC site.
  7. Air emissions (ammonia smells) are really strong in the study area.
  8. The New Plant Life Company is still in operation, but it has been moved off the superfund site.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

The FCC site is approximately 12 miles southeast of the city of LaPorte in LaPorte County (population 107,066), Indiana. The towns of Kingsford Heights, Kingsbury, Tracy, South Center, and Union Center, which have a combined approximate total population of 2,505, are within a 3-mile radius of the site. The majority of this population is found in Kingsford Heights,which is to the southwest of the site and has a population of 1,486. LaPorte, the county seat, has a population of approximately 21,507 and is northwest of the site.

Three production wells are within the boundaries of the site, and several residential and municipal wells are installed west and southwest of the site. The nearest public water supply well is ½ mile to the northwest. The closest residence utilizing groundwater as a water source is reportedly within 2 miles. There is a trailer park (Kings Court) adjacent to the KIDP. The water supply to this residential area is from the production wells of the KUC.

Land Use

Land use in the vicinity of the site reflects county-wide use. LaPorte County has a total of 608 square miles/389,120 acres. Approximately 67% of the county is actively farmed with corn, soybeans, and wheat as the principal crops. Numerous dairy farms and wooded areas are also found throughout the county, primarily where crop farming is not feasible or where zoning prohibits agricultural use. In addition to the widespread agricultural land use, various small industries, generally located near urban areas, are found throughout the county.

Industries within the KIDP include chemical manufacturing plants, a rolled-steel finishing plant, warehousing facilities, and various light industries. However, large areas within the KIDP are utilized for agriculture with numerous wooded areas, open meadows, and grass fields surrounding the various buildings and industrial facilities.

Natural Resource Use

The Kingsbury State Fish and Game Area, operated by the DNR, is located along the eastern, northeastern, and southern boundaries of the industrial park. The wildlife area is used for year-round recreational activities including camping, boating, fishing, and some limited hunting. Agricultural land, wooded areas, meadows, open fields, and wetlands surround the site.

D. Health Outcome Data

This section identifies the relevant, available databases; their evaluation occurs in the Public Health Implications section. Cancer may be a plausible health outcome from long-term exposure to at least one of the chemicals of concern. The ISDH maintains a statewide cancer registry; however, data regarding cancer incidence by city and county are not yet available. In addition, the ISDH maintains a mortality database by county. Mortality data on Whitley County cancer deaths are available (1950-1989). The public health implications of these data will be evaluated in the Health Outcome Data Evaluation subsection.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Community Health Concerns were received during a public comment period held April 13 to June 13, 1990, after an extension from May 11, 1990. This was to allow interested parties to comment on the EPA Feasibility Study and Proposed Plan for final remediation of the FCC site, which was presented during an April 26, 1990 public meeting. The concerns expressed follow.

  1. Will the incinerator be monitored to assure that the PCBs and other toxic materials are removed?

  2. Will the waste ash from the incinerator be tested, and will it be disposed off-site?

  3. What about the release and subsequent environmental accumulation of dioxins and furans, especially 2,3,7,8 TCDD?

  4. How serious is the potential threat of contaminated groundwater migrating off site?

  5. What is the potential for fire, explosions, or major hazardous spills occurring at the site?

Update, February 1995

The IDEM project manager for this site relayed the following concerns:

  1. There was an identified concern at the site involving the Hantavirus, which is carried by the white-footed deer mice. It was determined that this virus is not a major health concern at the site. However, proper precautions will be taken such as the use of respirators when working inside abandoned buildings where drums are staged.

  2. Asbestos has been identified in the facilities on One-Line and Two-Line Roads. Appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn while conducting cleanup in and around these areas.

On February 2, 1995, the LaPorte County Health Department was contacted, and the following current community health concerns were obtained:

  1. the presence of the contaminated groundwater plume and its effect on private and community wells; and

  2. the effect on the fish hatcheries from the potential environmental releases, which are downwind from the location of the proposed incinerator.

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