PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
TUCSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AREA
TUCSON, PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA
Given the current data, ADHS concludes that no current public health hazard exists for residents as a result of ingestion, dermal, or inhalation exposures to the contaminated groundwater in Plume B. However, potential future exposure to the groundwater contamination presents a viable public health hazard and needs to be addressed in order to prevent future human exposures.
Private wells in the residential areas near Plume B have been impacted with TCE and chromium from the contaminated groundwater plume. Twelve private drinking water wells, seven irrigation wells, and 13 monitoring wells were included in the ADHS Plume B study area. A quantitative analysis of exposures was conducted. Results showed the following:
1. Public drinking water supply wells in the area present no public health hazard.
2. Three private wells used for irrigation purposes were found to contain levels of TCE above the MCL of 5 µg/L. However, quantitative analysis shows the level of TCE is not at a level that would be expected to cause adverse health effects for residents through inhalation, ingestion, or dermal exposures.
3. Seven private drinking wells and 4 private irrigation wells, including some of the wells furthest from the Plume B boundaries, were found to have low levels of chromium. The highest level of chromium found was 17.5 µg/L, which is far below the screening level of 100 µg/L. The level of chromium found in these wells is not at levels that would be expected to cause adverse health effects for residents through inhalation, ingestion, or dermal exposures. The chromium contamination in the furthest wells may not be due to contaminated groundwater from Plume B.
4. Potential future exposure to groundwater contamination cannot be ruled out. Monitoring wells also show that TCE contamination is present in the aquifer at levels above public drinking water standards and contaminated groundwater containment has not been achieved yet. Abandoned wells have been identified in the ADHS Plume B Study Area and these could potentially be fixed and made into irrigation or drinking water wells and could be contaminated from the Plume. There are no current laws to prevent any resident from turning an irrigation well into a drinking well or installing new wells.
This public health assessment has determined that, given the data provided by the PCDEQ in the 1998 private well study, no current health hazard exists to those residents whose private wells were identified in the ADHS Plume B Study Area. However, future exposures to the contaminated groundwater presents a viable public health hazard to the community living near Plume B. Therefore, ADHS makes the following recommendations:
1. Further investigation is needed to identify additional private wells and their accurate locations, particularly in the Tucson Water parcel areas. It is estimated that this will include around 2000 residences. If additional private wells are found during this investigation, those wells need to be sampled and results sent to the ADHS for further evaluation.
2. ADEQ has recently identified some abandoned wells near the Plume B area. It is important that a long-term management protocol be developed to address the following:
- That abandoned wells in the area are not converted into working irrigation or drinking water wells;
- That irrigation wells are not converted into drinking water wells and vice versa without proper approval and knowledge by ADEQ and EPA project managers; and,
- That development of a comprehensive database which identifies all private wells in the Plume B area, their use, location address, and other pertinent information would assist project managers from the various agencies involved.
3. As a precaution, private wells near the path of the plume should be sampled on a regular basis to see that no additional contamination occurs from possible future migration of the groundwater plume. If any additional contamination is found in private wells as a result of future investigations, an ATSDR Health Consultation should be conducted to evaluate the hazard to public health.
4. Since the area of Plume B is not yet fully characterized, it would be beneficial to all concerned residents in the area to be routinely informed of the status of the plume investigation and its effect on any private wells in the area. These could be mailed to private well owners, supplied to the TCE library, and made available to community meetings held at the El Pueblo Clinic.
The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the Plume B Site contains a description of actions taken, to be taken, or under consideration by ATSDR and ADHS at and near the site. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse
human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. ADHS and ATSDR will follow up on this plan to ensure that actions are carried out.
From 1993 - 1995, ADHS staff conducted many workshops in Tucson to address the health concerns of the community. These included workshops on exposures to TCE and its health effects, lupus, cancer, environmental pollution, and other issues of concern.
From 1993 - 1995, ADHS staff conducted many physician education training seminars in Tucson on TCE and its health effects, and other environmental issues that they may need to know in order to address the concerns of their patients.
ADHS attended a public meeting at the Tucson UCAB (Unified Community Action Board) in February 1998 to announce the public health assessment for the Plume B Site.
In January 1999, ADHS staff met with the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PCDEQ) to discuss the upcoming health assessment and to gather data on the private wells in the area. Staff also went to the TCE Library to gather data on the various sites where health assessments would be conducted. This also included attending the monthly UCAB meeting.
In March 1999, ADHS staff attended the UCAB meeting in Tucson to discuss concerns about the Plume B area. One full day was spent driving around the site, identifying the private wells in the area, taking pictures, and talking with residents to identify their concerns.
In April 1999, ADHS met with EPA, PCDEQ, ADEQ, and other parties in San Francisco for 2 days to discuss the West Cap and Plume B situation in Tucson. Plans were put in place to better characterize the site, determine the source of the contamination, and further the clean up of West Cap.
In August 1999, a teleconference was held between ADHS, PCDEQ, and ADEQ staff to discuss the Plume B site. Discussion included plans to reduce future exposures to contaminated water, prevent residents from turning abandoned wells and irrigation wells into drinking wells, and developing a GIS database that can provide information for any new person that gets involved in the site.
In September, ADHS staff attended the UCAB meeting and presented the results of the health assessment and other health assessments being conducted on the Tucson site.
ADHS will continue to meet with the community residents at the UCAB meetings on a regular basis to communicate the ADHS activities being conducted at the Tucson site. Specific goals are to increase the understanding of the technical aspects of the area contaminants and their fate and transport, and to educate the community on ways to minimize their exposures to site-related contaminants and physical hazards.
ADHS will continue to work with EPA, ADEQ, PCDEQ, and consulting companies to address additional health concerns about exposures at the Plume B Site.
ATSDR provided an opportunity in the final draft stage of this document for the general public to comment on Agency findings or proposed activities. This comment period lasted from July 6, 2000 through September 30, 2000. During that time no comments were received.
Arizona Department of Health Services, Office of Environmental Health
Jan McCormick, Environmental Epidemiologist
Will Humble, Chief, Office of Environmental Health, Principal Investigator
Regional Services, Region IX
Office of the Assistant Administrator
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Arizona Department of Health Services. Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment; Tucson International Superfund Site. December 1, 1996.
Arizona Department of Health Services. Arizona Soil Remediation Levels. January 30, 1997a.
Arizona Department of Health Services. Baseline Human Health Risk Assessment; Sandy's Magic Touch Cleaners. March 24, 1997b.
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Remedial Investigation Report. Phase II: Former West-Cap Property and Vicinity. Area B. Tucson International Airport Area, CERCLA Site. File Report: OFR 98-2. June, 1998.
CH2MHILL. Soil Gas and Soil Sampling Data Report. Tucson International Airport Area Former West Cap Facility, Tucson, Arizona. USEPA Contract No. 68-W9-0031. May, 1996.
CH2MHILL. Well Installation and Data Report; Tucson International Airport Area for the Former West Cap Facility. USEPA Contract No. 68-W9-0031. January, 1998.
ERMWest. Installation Restoration Program Final Quarterly Groundwater Monitoring Report for the November 1999 Round, 162nd Fighter Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, Tucson International Airport, Tucson, Arizona. June 2000.
Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Southside TCE Private Well Investigation for the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site (TIAASS), Tucson, Arizona. November, 1994.
Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Southside of Tucson Municipal Water Quality Testing Project. July 1995.
Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Sampling and Analysis Plan for Routine Private Well Monitoring: Southside Private Well Monitoring Program for Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site. February 1998.
Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. Southside TCE Private Well Investigation for the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site (TIAASS), Tucson, Arizona. December 1998.
Trapp, S., McFarlane, C. 1995. Plant Contamination: Modeling and Simulation of Organic Chemical Processes. Lewis Publishers.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service; Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Health Assessment and Consultation. Review of Health Studies Related to TCE Contamination at Tucson Superfund Site, Tucson Arizona. 1994.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service; Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, Petitioned Public Health Assessment Update to the 1988 Public Health Assessment, Tucson International Airport, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona, Cerclis No. AZ. Draft May 20, 1996.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1996. Petitioned Public Health Assessment Addendum, Tucson International Airport Area, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. November 5, 1996.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. August 1997.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. August 1997.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1-Dichloroethylene. August 1997.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,1,1-Trichloroethane. August 1997.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service; Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Health Assessment and Consultation; Petitioned Public Health Assessment Update to the 1988 Public Health Assessment, Tucson International Airport, Tucson, Pima County, Arizona. Draft March 8, 1988.
This Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site Plume B Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Arizona Department of Health Services 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 public health assessment was begun.
Alan W. Yarbrough
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health consultation and concurs with the findings.
Chief, State Program Section, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR