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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

BRUNO COOP & ASSOCIATED PROPERTIES
BRUNO, BUTLER COUNTY, NEBRASKA


CONCLUSIONS

  1. The Bruno Coop & Associated Properties site is categorized by ATSDR as no apparent public health hazard because 1) current exposure to site related contaminants at the reported levels are not expected to result in adverse health effects, and 2) alternate water supply wells have been established and are being utilized. In addition, the site is considered an indeterminant public health hazard for past exposures. There was insufficient data to estimate past exposure to site related contaminants in the old drinking water supply.
  2. ATSDR has identified two completed exposure pathways at the Bruno Coop & Associated Properties site. The first completed pathway involves public water system users. These persons were likely exposed to contaminants in the groundwater through ingestion of the contaminated water supply and through inhalation and dermal contact while doing activities such as showering.

    The second completed pathway involves workers who applied chemicals to stored grains; some of these chemicals later contaminated the groundwater. These workers were likely exposed to the contaminants via inhalation, dermal contact, and incidental ingestion. It should be noted that this is based on anecdotal information.

  3. ATSDR has also identified two principal potential exposure pathways associated with the site. These pathways involved the following potential exposures: 1) ingestion of, inhalation of, and dermal contact with the contaminants in the groundwater when private wells are used in the future; and 2) inhalation of chemicals in soil gas in the past and the future.
  4. Based on the information evaluated in this public health assessment, no adverse non-cancer health effects are expected as a result of human exposure to contaminants in the old groundwater supply. The estimated exposure dose using a worse case scenario of chronic exposure to the contaminant and the highest level reported does not exceed ATSDR's health guidelines. In addition, based on the same worse case scenario there appears to be no apparent increased risk of cancer from chronic exposure to the individual chemicals which were present in the old contaminated water supply. This assessment is limited to individual contaminant exposures; multiple exposures have not been evaluated.
  5. The cancer incidence rates for Butler county are similar to or lower than the rates for the State and the surrounding counties. Based on the health outcome data analyzed the number and/or rate of deaths from specific cancers are similar to or lower than the number of deaths from the same types of cancer in the United States, the state of Nebraska, and the counties surrounding Butler county.
  6. The sampling conducted to date provides ATSDR with sufficient information for examining public health issues with a few exceptions:
    1. Water quality data are needed for at least the nearest active private wells and at the nearest inactive wells when/if they are reused for potable water supplies.
    2. Ambient air quality information containing information about where, and when fumigators applied chemicals is desired but can not be obtained.
    3. Interior air quality information is not available at residences.
    4. No analysis has been made to determine whether ethylene dibromide (EDB), once a commonly used grain fumigant in this country, is present in environmental media.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendations

  1. If, or when, any vacant residence -- not connected to the public water system -- in or adjacent to the town is occupied, the new occupants should be required either to connect immediately to the public system or to have their well sampled periodically to characterize potable water quality and connect if contamination is noted.
  2. ATSDR anticipates that NDOH, in its regulatory role for public water systems, will continue to carefully review the periodic sampling data received for Bruno's new water supply wells.

Site/Area Characterization Recommendations

  1. Local/state public health or environmental regulatory agency should see that residents near the town that rely on private wells for potable water supplies have their water tested soon and at periodic intervals in the future.
  2. A strategy is needed to determine whether substantive levels of soil gas migrate into buildings. ATSDR suggests that the sampling program should include at least those residences west of the storage area that are closest to the points where elevated soil gas was recorded in 1988. Sampling should be expanded or discontinued after reviewing the initial findings. Two basic plans might be considered:
    1. Sample for soil gas adjacent to each selected building--then, if gases are found in soil at levels that would be of concern for interior air, conduct testing of interior air.
    2. Sample interior building air without first sampling for soil gas.
  3. Include analysis for ethylene dibromide (EDB) in any future tests made for public wells and any test of private wells. Even if none is detected in an initial test, follow-up tests periodically should include EDB analyses until there is complete satisfaction that none is likely to occur in the future.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The data and information developed in the public health assessment for the Bruno Cooperative Association/Associated Properties site have been evaluated by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for appropriate public health actions in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended. HARP has determined that no follow-up public health actions are indicated at this time because 1) available information is insufficient to determine whether past exposures to site-related contaminants may have occurred at levels that could have resulted in adverse health conditions, 2) currently occupied residences have been placed on the new municipal water source, and 3) current exposures to site-related contaminants, if any, are not expected to cause adverse health conditions. ATSDR will reevaluate the site for appropriate follow-up public health actions if additional information becomes available indicating that human exposures to site-related contaminants has occurred or is occurring at levels of public health concern.


PUBLIC HEALTH ACTIONS

The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan (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.

A. Actions Undertaken

  1. EPA provided the residents of the town of Bruno with bottled water from May 1989 until October 1990.
  2. The town of Bruno installed two new water wells in an uncontaminated aquifer. These wells went into service in October 1990.
  3. ATSDR provided the residents of the town of Bruno and surrounding communities the opportunity to comment on this public health assessment before final release. The public comment period was held from June 30 to July 29, 1994. ATSDR did not receive any comments on this public health assessment.

B. Actions Planned

  1. At this time no public health actions to be implemented have been identified by ATSDR's HARP.
  2. ATSDR will collaborate with the appropriate federal, state, and local agencies to pursue the implementation of the recommendations outlined in this public health assessment.
  3. 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 Bruno Coop & Associated Properties site.

PREPARERS OF REPORT

Déborah A. Boling
Environmental Health Scientist
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

Don Gibeaut
Environmental Health Engineer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Denise Jordan-Izaguirre
Public Health Advisor
Region VII


REFERENCES

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7. Hazard Ranking System Documentation for Bruno Co-op Association/Associated Properties, Bruno, Nebraska. February 28, 1992.

  2. Ecology & Environment. Final Report, Site Investigation. May 8, 1989.

  3. Nebraska Department of Health. 1989 Vital Statistics Report. Division of Health Systems.

  4. Nebraska Department of Health. Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Nebraska: 1989. Nebraska Cancer Registry. July 1991

  5. Nebraska Department of Health. Miscellaneous water quality data sheets. Various dates.

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

  7. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Carbon tetrachloride. (draft) Atlanta: ATSDR, September 1992.

  8. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Chloroform. (draft) Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1991.

  9. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for 1,2-Dichloroethane. (draft) Atlanta: ATSDR, October 1992.

  10. Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 23rd ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1976.

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