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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE
PHOENIX, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA


U.S. Air Force

LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

AFFF aqueous film forming foam
ADEQ Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
ADHS Arizona Department of Health Services
ADWR Arizona Department of Water Resources
AFB Air Force Base
ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
BTEX benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes
BRA baseline risk assessment
CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
CREG Cancer Risk Evaluation Guide
DBCP 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane
DCA 1,2-dichloroethane
DCP 1,2-dichloropropane
DPDO Defense Property Disposal Office
EE/CA Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
FFA Federal Facilities Agreement
FTP fire training pit
HARP Health Activities Recommendation Panel
IRP Installation Restoration Program
JP jet petroleum
MCL Maximum Contaminant Level
MW monitoring well
NPDES National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
NPL National Priorities List
OU Operable Unit
PCB polychlorinated biphenyls
PCE tetrachloroethylene
PHA Public Health Assessment
PHAP Public Health Action Plan
POL petroleum, oil, and lubricants
ppb parts per billion
ppm parts per million
PRG preliminary remediation goals
PW production well
RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
RFI RCRA Facility Investigation
RI remedial investigation
ROD Record of Decision
SVE soil vapor extraction
SVOC semivolatile organic compound
TCE trichloroethylene
TSP total suspended particulate
USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USAF
UST underground storage tank
VOC volatile organic compound
WWTP wastewater treatment plan



SUMMARY

Luke Air Force Base (Luke AFB) is an active military base that covers approximately 4,000acresof land, west of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona. Luke AFB is located in the westernportion of the Salt River Valley, a desert area characterized by hot, dry summers and mild winters.

Luke AFB began operations in 1941. The facility's primary function was to provide advancedflight training to fighter pilots. Although Luke AFB was deactivated in November 1946 as part ofthe military force reductions at the end of World War II, it was subsequently reopened in 1951with the onset of the Korean War, and has operated continually ever since. The function of thebase remains the same: to provide combat training to aircrews. About 75 percent of the base isdedicated to runways, taxiways, and aircraft storage. The remainder of the site is used for aircraftmaintenance, administration, and residences.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed Luke AFB on the National Priorities ListinAugust 1990 after contaminated soil was identified during Installation Restoration Programenvironmental investigations. Contaminants of potential concern are semivolatile organiccompounds, petroleum hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxin, and several metals.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)conducted site visits inFebruary 1991 and December 1997. No immediate public health hazards or community healthconcerns were identified during these visits.

ATSDR analyzed all 32 Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites at Luke AFB todetermine ifthere are any past, current, or future public health hazards associated withcontaminant exposure. ATSDR reviewed the available data and information compiled on all recognized or designatedIRP sites at Luke AFB to ensure a thorough evaluation of all potential or completed pathways ofhuman exposure to contaminants. Based on this assessment of potential exposure pathways and areview of available environmental data on soil, groundwater, surface water, and ambient air,ATSDR concludes that Luke AFB should be assigned to the No Apparent Public HealthHazard category.


BACKGROUND

Site Description and Operational History

Luke Air Force Base (Luke AFB) is an active military base that covers approximately 4,000acresof land, west of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona (see Figure 1). Luke AFB is located in thewestern portion of the Salt River Valley, a desert area characterized by hot, dry summers and mildwinters. A fence surrounds the base boundary, and guards are stationed at the base entrance toprevent unauthorized public access to Luke AFB. Current land use within a 3-mile radius of thebase is generally classified as sparsely developed, open, and agricultural.

Luke AFB began operations in 1941. The facility's primary function was to provide advancedflight training to fighter pilots. Although Luke AFB was deactivated in November 1946 as part ofthe military force reductions at the end of World War II, it was subsequently reopened in 1951with the onset of the Korean War, and has operated ever since (Booz, Allen & Hamilton, 1996).The function of the base remains the same, to provide combat training to aircrews. The majorityof the base is dedicated to runways, taxiways, and aircraft storage tarmacs, and the remainder isused for aircraft maintenance, administration, and residences (Booz, Allen & Hamilton,1996).

In the past, wastes generated at Luke AFB have been burned during fire department trainingexercises or disposed of in shallow trenches, on roads for dust suppression, or, more recently, inunderground storage tanks (USTs) (Geraghty & Miller, 1997c). These methods of disposalhavecontributed to the contamination found at various areas on site.

Remedial and Regulatory History

In August 1981, the Air Force initiated an environmental investigation at Luke AFB under the IRP to assess past hazardous material handling and disposal practices, and to clean up anyhazardous substances or disposed wastes determined to be a threat to public health or theenvironment. From 1981 to 1990, the Air Force reviewed records, contacted governmentagencies, and conducted site investigations of suspected waste disposal sites. Environmentalsampling and analysis revealed various degrees of soil contamination. At this point, the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) became involved with the investigation.

EPA placed Luke AFB on the National Priorities List (NPL) in August 1990, aftercontaminatedsoils were identified during the IRP environmental investigations.

This required an extensive investigation by Air Force, EPA, ATSDR and other agencies. OnSeptember 27, 1990, EPA, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), theArizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), and the Air Force signed a Federal FacilitiesAgreement (FFA) for implementing the requirements of the Comprehensive EnvironmentalResponse, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA, also known as Superfund), andthe Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Required site assessments wereconducted from March 1991 to July 1993.

During the remedial investigation (RI) at Luke AFB, where 32 IRP sites were identified aspotential sources of contamination (see Figure 2). These sites have been categorized into twooperable units (OUs): OU-1 and OU-2. OU-1 includes IRP sites that have potential contaminationin all media (e.g., air, water, and soil) and OU-2 includes the IRP sites with soil that has beenimpacted by past petroleum, oil, and lubricants (POL) disposal practices (Booz, Allen &Hamilton, 1996). OU-2 was created in an effort to accelerate the cleanup and closure of the moreeasily characterized IRP sites. (See Table 1 for IRP site descriptions.)

In January 1994, the Record of Decision (ROD) was signed for OU-2. The Air Forcesubmittedthe OU-1 RI for regulatory review. In February 1996, EPA and ADEQ officially notified the AirForce that the draft OU-1 RI, Draft RCRA Facilities Investigation (RFI), and the OU-2 ROD forLuke AFB were unacceptable because of laboratory error (Booz, Allen & Hamilton, 1996).To address the data quality issues, additional sampling was conducted at a majority of the OU-1 andOU-2 sites by August 1996. A final RI and Baseline Risk Assessment (BRA) report werecompleted and submitted to ADEQ in October 1997. These reports were submitted and acceptedby the regulatory agencies.

ATSDR Activities

In February 1991, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)conducted aninitial site visit and met with representatives from the Air Force, ADEQ, and ADWR. During thisvisit, ATSDR gathered information about potential health hazards associated with thesite. Atthat time, no community health concerns or completed pathways of human exposure wereidentified (ATSDR, 1990, 1991, 1992).

ATSDR revisited Luke AFB on December 2 and 3, 1997, and confirmed that no immediate public health hazards and no community health concerns exist.

Demographics and Land Use

Currently, the population on Luke AFB consists of 5,685 military personnel, 1,310 civilians,and2,100 dependents. The base is to remain active in the foreseeable future (Geraghty & Miller,1997b, c). (See Tables 2 and 3.)

Current land use within a 3-mile radius of the base boundary is generally classified as sparselydeveloped, open, and agricultural (Geraghty & Miller, 1997c; Booz, Allen & Hamilton,1996).Rural residential homes are scattered in the vicinity of the base, and one low-income housing areais located approximately 100 yards to the east. These houses obtain water from a public watersupply (ADHS, 1997), although one private drinking water well is located near the base. Severalother residential communities are located at greater distances from Luke AFB, the nearest beingapproximately two miles southeast of the base (Geraghty & Miller, 1997c).

While Luke AFB is dry most of the year, there are four areas on base that convey surfacewaterduring periods of rain. These areas are the wastewater treatment plant effluent canal (IRP SiteSD-21), two drainage ditches (IRP Sites SD-20 and SD-26), and an irrigation canal that passesthrough the skeet range (IRP Site OT-41).

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this public health assessment (PHA), ATSDR relied on the information providedin the referenced documents. The environmental data presented in this PHA are from the remedialsite investigations for the IRP sites, groundwater monitoring data, and drinking water well datafrom Luke AFB. The limits of these data have been identified in the associated reports.

In 1994, the quality of the analytical data collected during some field investigations was foundtobe questionable. These data could not be verified. To provide replacement data, additionalsampling was conducted at a majority of the OU-1 and OU-2 sites during 1996. These samplingdata were evaluated during the preparation of this PHA. The validity of the analyses andconclusions drawn in this document are determined by the availability and reliability of theinformation.


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