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PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

U.S. NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, NEW LONDON
GROTON, NEW LONDON COUNTY, CONNECTICUT


SUMMARY

The New London Submarine Base is divided by the town boundaries of Groton to the south and Ledyard to the north in New London County, Connecticut. In 1983, the Navy identified 16 potential source areas of environmental contamination during their investigations. The submarine base was listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List in August 1990 because of the potential for on-base groundwater contamination to migrate to off-base residential wells that are close to the New London Submarine Base.

After evaluating data from on-base environmental sampling of soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, soil gas, and biota collected during the Phase I Remedial Investigation, ATSDR considers confined areas in the Nautilus Museum to be an indeterminate public health hazard because air sampling data is not available to determine if an explosive hazard exists.

A past completed exposure pathway has been identified for children who came in contact with contaminants through unintentional ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption of contaminated sediment and surface water in Area A. In the past, Area A Downstream Watercourses posed a health hazard to children who came in contact with lead and DDT contaminated sediment. This area is no longer a public health hazard because the Navy has installed a fence, preventing children from contacting contaminated sediment.

ATSDR has determined that the other on-base sites under the Remedial Investigation do not pose a public health hazard.

Based on data the Navy has collected from 23 off-base private residential wells, ATSDR considers the concentration of lead in one of the 23 wells to be a public health hazard for children and the fetuses of pregnant women. Sodium levels in six residential wells are of public health concern for persons on salt-restricted diets. Sources of residential well contamination have not been determined. Cadmium detected in one residential well from one sampling does not pose a public health hazard.

Residents have expressed concern about contamination of their residential wells. ATSDR met with concerned residents to answer health related questions about residential well contamination. Residents were also concerned about the numbers of neighbors diagnosed as having cancer. ATSDR has evaluated the Connecticut Tumor Registry data (health outcome data) to determine if excess cancer rates exists in the towns of Groton and Ledyard and if those excess cancers could be associated with contaminants at or migrating from the New London Submarine Base. At this time, it is not possible to associate elevated cancer rates to exposures to environmental contaminants at or migrating from the New London Submarine Base.

ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) has determined that based on the evaluation of available data and on current conditions on base and off base, an environmental health education program is recommended to advise public health professionals and the local medical community of the nature and possible consequences of exposure to contaminants at and in the vicinity of the New London Submarine Base. ATSDR's Division of health education will carry out this program in conjunction with the local medical community.

The Public Health Action plan (PHAP) for New London Submarine Base contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and other government agencies at and in the vicinity of the submarine base. 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 to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of ATSDR to follow up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

The northern portion of the New London Submarine Base is in the Town of Ledyard and the southern portion of the submarine base is in the Town of Groton, Connecticut. The submarine base is situated on the east bank of the Thames River, six miles north of Long Island Sound (Appendix A, Figure 1).

The submarine base was established as an official Navy Yard in 1886 when it initially moored small craft and obsolete warships. At that time, the submarine base was also used as a coaling station for the Atlantic Fleet. The property was officially established as a permanent submarine base in 1916. In 1917, the submarine base facilities were expanded and a submarine school/training facility was established. The submarine Medical Center was established in 1918. The submarine base expanded in acreage and in the number of buildings during World War I and World War II to support the submarine fleet (1).

Today, the submarine base, including all the noncontiguous areas, encompasses 1,102 acres of land. The most active area of the submarine base is referred to as Main Base. Main Base occupies approximately 568 acres. The remaining 534 acres located beyond the outer perimeter of the Main Base are used for base housing and community support (2).

The Main Base contains submarine training facilities, military offices, medical facilities, some naval housing, and facilities designed for the review and maintenance of submarines. New London Submarine Base currently serves as a homeport for the naval nuclear powered submarine fleet in the Atlantic Ocean.

The area within the Main Base where berthing and support activities associated with the submarines takes place is referred to as the Lower Subase. It has pier space for 17 submarines and admittance is restricted (3).

The submarine base was first proposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL) in October 1989, and placed on the NPL in August 1990, based on information the Navy collected during the Initial Assessment Study by Envirodyne in 1983, which identified 16 potential sources of environmental contamination (4).

The Navy evaluated three sites during a Verification Step 1A Study by Wehran in 1988. Environmental sampling provided information on contaminant conditions at the Lower Subase. Recommendations were made for further investigations to fully assess risk and potential remediation alternatives (5).

The Installation Restoration Study performed by Atlantic Inc. in 1989 under the direction of the Navy consisted of two levels of environmental evaluation. The Step I Site Inspection Phase includes an initial field sampling program that evaluates sites to determine if there is any contamination that may be harmful to human health or to the environment (4). Each of the Step I sites that are recommended for Step II Remedial Investigations will be evaluated for the most appropriate remedial alternative(s) as part of the Feasibility Study.

Current Step I Sites

*     Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) Drum Storage Area
*     Rubble Fill at Bunker A-86
*     Torpedo Shops
*     Goss Cove Landfill
*     Over Bank Disposal Area Northeast (OBDANE)
*     Spent Acid Storage and Disposal Area
*     Former Gas Station

Those areas identified by the Step I Site Inspection as having on-site environmental contamination undergo further evaluation in the Step II Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) to determine the extent of contamination, assess health and environmental risks, and evaluate remediation alternatives.

Current Step II Sites

*     Area A
*     Over Bank Disposal Area (OBDA)
*     Defense Property Disposal Operation Area (DPDO)
*     Lower Subase

A map of those areas on the submarine base is included as Appendix A, Figure 2.

Step I Sites (3)

Construction Battalion Unit (CBU) Drum Storage Area

Located in the central portion of the submarine base, this site is next to the Area A Landfill and a parking area for deployed military personnel. Twenty-six 55-gallon drums of waste oil, lube oil, and paint materials were stored at this location. Drums have since been removed by the Navy. As stated in the RI, no surface soil staining or stressed vegetation was evident. This site is unpaved, and surface drainage from the site flows northeast across the unpaved parking area toward the Area A Wetland. Currently, the site is not fenced; however, it is in a restricted zone and is patrolled.

Rubble Fill at Bunker A-86

Located in the center of the submarine base, this site is adjacent to a dirt access road that leads to Bunker A-86. The rubble area is adjacent to and north of the dirt road, west of Bunker A-86. Concrete, asphalt, an electric motor, tar buckets, wood and gravel debris have been disposed of at this site. Historically, this site was used as a coaling station. During Navy contractor's inspection, they found empty five-gallon containers that once held chemicals used in building construction. Surface drainage from the site flows across Area A Landfill into the Area A Wetland. This area is not fenced; however, it is in a restricted zone and is patrolled.

Torpedo Shops

This site is located approximately 900 feet from the North Lake recreation area. Formerly a quarry, this site currently includes three separate buildings 450, 325, and 477. Various fuels, solvents, paint, and petroleum products were used here. Otto fuel (a nitrated ester that produces hydrogen cyanide when burned), high octane alcohol, TH-Dimer (jet rocket fuel), methyl ethyl ketone, and 1,1,1 trichloroethane were commonly used in this area. A sink in one area was used for film developing and another sink served as a high alkaline battery overhaul area. The buildings each used separate septic tanks and leachfield systems until municipal sewers were installed in 1983. Chemicals used at the torpedo shop area may have been inadvertently discharged to the septic system and leachfields instead of being discharged into an underground waste tank (3). Building 450 and 325 are being used as weapons overhaul facilities. Building 477 is a small building used to store Otto fuel. Surface runoff flows toward the southwest into storm sewers that merge with one of the Area A Downstream Watercourses originating at the Area A Wetlands and travel alongside the roadway leading to the North Lake recreational area and the Torpedo Shops. The water eventually flows into the Thames River at the DRMO Area. The torpedo shops area is a high security zone that is fenced and guarded. Several residences with private wells are about 2,500 feet (one-half mile) northwest of this area. Groundwater flow determinations have shown these private wells to be upgradient from the submarine base and indicate that groundwater does not flow toward the private wells. However, cracks and fissures in the bedrock may allow groundwater to flow in other directions possibly to those private wells. The Navy plans to further investigate area hydrology in the Phase II investigations.

Goss Cove Landfill

Located in the southwestern portion of the submarine base, this site is adjacent to the Thames River and Goss Cove. The submarine base used this area as a landfill from 1946 to 1957. Materials reportedly disposed of at this site consisted of inert rubble and incinerator ash from the municipal waste incinerator on the submarine base at that time. Today, the landfill is asphalt-covered and serves as a parking lot for the Nautilus Submarine Museum. Several large gas cylinders were excavated during the construction of a utility trench north of the museum. One tank leaked propane, one tank was filled with ammonia, and the other tanks were empty (1).

Over Bank Disposal Area Northeast (OBDANE)

This site is located in a heavily wooded area on the edge of a ravine northwest of Area A Landfill; a dirt road provides limited access to the property. Surface drainage from the area flows southwest into a stream that originates at the Area A Wetland. This stream (Area A Downstream Watercourses) flows into the surface drainage system for the Torpedo Shop and ultimately empties into the Thames River at the DRMO area. Currently, the area is not fenced; however, OBDANE is located in a restricted zone and is patrolled.

Spent Acid Storage and Disposal Area

Located in the southeast portion of the submarine base. This area was primarily used to temporarily dispose of waste battery acid during the 1940s. Batteries were placed on a concrete pad where many leaked. Spent battery acid was emptied into an underground rubber-coated tank. When the tank was full, the acid was pumped into another tank and placed in the Area A Landfill. The site is now covered with concrete.

Former Gas Station

Located in the southwestern portion of the submarine base, the gas station operated from 1940 until the early 1960s, when it was demolished. The exact location of three underground storage tanks, and whether or not those tanks and associated piping were removed, is unknown. The site is currently beneath a road and an adjacent parking area.

Step II Sites (3)

Area A is divided into three areas: Area A Landfill, Area A Wetland, and Area A Downstream Watercourses.

Area A Landfill

This site was used as the main landfill on the submarine base until it was closed in 1973. All non-salvageable waste was disposed in this area. Discarded waste included battery acid, drums of industrial waste, transformers, electric switches, concrete, wood scrap, scrap metal, and tires. After the landfill was covered and partially asphalted, it was used as a storage area for heavy equipment and as a temporary holding area for excavated underground storage tanks and old transformers before being permitted for disposal off base. During the site visit, ATSDR personnel noted materials, such as sand bags and contractor's equipment temporarily stored on the asphalt pads.

Runoff from the landfill drains as overland flow north into the Area A Wetland, which subsequently discharges to two separate streams known as the Area A Downstream Watercourses before ultimately entering into the Thames River. One of the Area A Downstream Watercourses is routed around North Lake through a culvert system. The other stream flows near the Torpedo Shops and down alongside the road that leads to the North Lake recreational area and Torpedo Shops.

The landfill is adjacent to the Area A Wetland, which has been contaminated with pesticides. In the past, mosquito control techniques consisted of placing blocks of DDT pesticide in the middle of the frozen wetland ice during winter months. As the wetland ice thawed in the spring, the pesticide blocks dispersed DDT, killing insect larvae before they hatched. The Area A Landfill is currently not fenced; however, the Navy plans to fence the entire landfill area. The Area A Landfill is in a restricted zone and is patrolled.

Over Bank Disposal Area (OBDA)

Adjacent to the Area A Landfill and Area A Wetland, this site is a steep bank at the slope of the dike where waste material was "thrown over the bank." ATSDR observed several 200-gallon rusted metal fuel tanks, rusted 55-gallon drums, wood, and metal debris along the bank. This area is currently not fenced; however, the Navy is planning to fence the site. The OBDA is located in a restricted zone and is patrolled.

Defense Property Disposal Operation Area (DPDO)

The site is at the northwestern corner of the submarine base next to the Thames River. It was operated as a landfill between 1950 and 1969. Disposed materials consisted primarily of incinerator ash and non-salvageable wastes. Currently, the area is home to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Operation (DRMO) program where various metal containers (some empty), scrap metals, batteries, office equipment, and other materials are stored until they are sold at auction, recycled, or until they are transported off site for proper disposal. The southern portion of the site is paved. All surface drainage empties into the Thames River. The area is prone to flooding. The area is fenced and access is restricted. Once a month the DRMO area is open to the public for a public auction.

Lower Subase

The Lower Subase is a high security area that is fenced and guarded. Only authorized persons are permitted to enter through the guarded gates.

The Lower Subase is adjacent to the Thames River. It was the location of the original naval yard. Four areas of potential petroleum contamination exist in this area. The following is a brief description of these areas. The Navy proposes to sample and possibly excavate highly contaminated areas of soils beneath Building 31 prior to capping.

    Building 79 Waste Oil Pit - Diesel train engines were repaired and maintained in this building. Oil and solvents used to clean the engines were disposed of in a waste oil pit. The pit is no longer in use and has been filled with concrete. A subsurface drain pipe from the pit extends outside toward Albacore Avenue and the Thames River.

    The Power Plant Oil Tanks - Four concrete underground storage tanks, used since World War II were stored here until they were replaced in 1986. These tanks contained fuel oil, diesel oil, and waste oils.

    Fuel Oil Storage Tanks at Building 107 - Five concrete underground storage tanks have been used at this site since before World War II. Three of the tanks contained diesel oil, one contained lube oil, and one contained hydraulic oil. The hydraulic oil and lube oil tanks have been replaced. The three diesel oil tanks have been cleaned and abandoned in place in accordance with state regulations.

    Fuel Oil Distribution System - This system contains an abandoned fuel oil system located in utility trenches and an underground diesel fuel distribution system.

B. Site Visit

On October 10, 1990, a site visit was conducted by headquarters staff from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), ATSDR Region I Representative, and representatives from the Connecticut Department of Health Services (CTDHS), Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Atlantic Environmental Services, consultant to the submarine base, and Northern Division Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Contacts were established with mayors of the City of Groton and Town of Ledyard, a representative of the Town of Groton, a local physician, an environmental consultant to the City of Groton, and several concerned residents. ATSDR personnel documented community concerns during an informal "drop-in" session. A press release discussing the site visit and ATSDR's activities on October 10, 1990 was submitted to the New London newspaper: The Day.

A subsequent site visit was conducted by ATSDR personnel on April 28, 1992. New London Submarine Base representatives from the Public Works Department guided the tour.

The following are observations and information that were noted during visits to the New London Submarine Base:

General Comments

* Only authorized persons are allowed to enter the submarine base. The boundary of the submarine base is fenced and/or guarded. As indicated, some areas within the submarine base are further secured by fencing and additional guard gates or patrols.

* Orange colored sediments were noted at the OBDA and Area A Downstream Watercourses during the site visits. No other staining or stressed vegetation was noted on base.

* A six-foot chain-linked fence was installed in 1991 to prevent access to the Area A Wetland runoff from the North Lake recreational area. Area A Wetland runoff forms the Area A Downstream Watercourses. One of the Area A Downstream Watercourses is diverted by underground piping around the North Lake recreational area. The other stream forming the Area A Downstream Watercourses runs along side the road to the Torpedo Shops and North Lake recreational area.

* While installing power lines in 1991, utility workers encountered contaminated subsurface soil due to a leaking underground storage tank when excavating an area adjacent to the baseball field recreation area. The environmental manager is overseeing the installation efforts and is currently designing a remediation plan.

* Military housing reported problems with lead paints and asbestos used on the housing units, some within the family housing areas. Navy personnel are currently working to eliminate the problem.

ATSDR visited North Lake because residents were concerned about the safety of swimming in the lake. During the initial visit, ATSDR noted the following:

* Water from a stream, (Area A Downstream Watercourses) originating from the Area A Wetland, flows to North Lake and is subsequently diverted by an underground culvert, made of corrugated pipe, which runs around the lake. Water from the culvert empties into a concrete-lined basin that flows into yet another culvert under a road. Water from that culvert empties into a stream that flows through the golf course toward the Thames River.

* North Lake is filled each year with city water before the swimming season and is subsequently drained to a low-water level at the end of the season. City water is chlorinated on base before North Lake is filled. According to base personnel, sediment and surface water samples are not routinely taken before the lake is filled. However, surface water samples are taken weekly during the swimming season and analyzed for specific pesticides, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds. There was approximately 1 to 2 feet of water in North Lake during the site visits.

* ATSDR personnel discussed with base environmental and Navy contractor personnel the possible mechanisms of contaminant migration from the Area A Wetland to the lake via the Area A Downstream Watercourses. Three possible mechanisms for contaminant migration scenarios are as follows: 1) if the culvert were to flood producing overland flow into the lake, 2) if the corrugated pipe has corroded causing stream water to seep into the lake, and 3) if contaminated groundwater discharges to the lake.

C. Demographics, Land Use, and Natural Resource Use

Demographics

In order to collect information on the populations of people potentially exposed to contaminants at and near the New London Submarine Base, ATSDR has evaluated information from the Census Bureau, which describes the population on base and in the surrounding community. This census information is illustrated in Appendix A, Figure 1, by census tract number designations.

Demographic information on the New London Submarine Base is represented in the 1990 census tract number 7031. Populations in the areas surrounding the submarine base are represented by the 1990 census tracts numbered 6902, 6936, 6931, 7012, 7022, and 7023.

Data for tract 7031 are typical of areas containing military installations, with a very high percentage of males and no one over age 65. Nearly 83% of the population in this census tract are between the ages of 18 and 29. There are no owner-occupied housing units in tract 7031, and over 83% of the population live in group quarters, e.g., barracks. Enlisted personnel families live in Trident Park (400 units), Polaris Park (300 units), Dolphin Gardens (400 units), Cherry Circle trailer space (150 hook-ups), and Connery Towers (54 units). Officer personnel families live in Nautilus Park (1145 units). Single personnel live on private boats or in neighboring towns.

The census tracts 6902, 6936, 6931, 7012, 7022, and 7023 surrounding the submarine base have a combined population of 31,751. The percent of the population under age 10 is higher than the national average, while the percent of persons age 65 or older is a little lower than would be expected. The number of persons per household, at 2.97, is higher than average. Over 40 percent of all households are renter-occupied, indicating a transient population.

Land Use

The area immediately adjacent to the submarine base is generally residential with some light commercial land use. North of the submarine base is the Town of Ledyard which is comprised of several communities. The Gales Ferry section of Ledyard is a residential development. Residential communities are also along Military Highway and Long Cove Road immediately north of the North Gate entrance of the submarine base. The eastern boundary of the submarine base is state highway Route 12. Several homes are located along Route 12 which transitions to a commercial area near the intersection of Crystal Lake Road. Crystal Lake Road forms the southern boundary of the submarine base. On the south side of Crystal Lake Road are several residential homes as well as military housing. A nursing home is less than one mile from the southeastern boundary of the submarine base.

Natural Resource Use

The submarine base is in the Northern Appalachian Mountain Belt of the New England Physiographic Province. The present topography is a result of glaciation. The site is in the Eastern Uplands area of Connecticut, which consists of irregular, hilly areas with many swamps, exposed rock ledges, and poorly drained uneven valleys (1).

An extensive wetland (Area A Wetland) is next to the Area A Landfill. Area A wetland was created due to the placement of dredge spoils from the Thames River in the late 1950s. These dredge spoils were contained within an earthen dike that extended from the Area A landfill to the south side of the Weapons Storage Area. Numerous aquatic and terrestrial animals have been observed in this area. No hunting is permitted on the submarine base property; however, hunting is known to occur in areas east of the submarine base.

    Surface Water

    The submarine base is located along the eastern bank of the tidal influenced Thames River, within the Thames River watershed. The upland area is bordered to the west by the tidal estuary of the Thames River. The western area of the submarine base is situated on a terrace of the Thames River. Sites within this terraced flat area include the DRMO, Goss Cove Landfill, and the Lower Subase. The Area A Landfill, Over Bank Disposal Area, CBU Drum Area, Rubble Fill at Bunker 86, Spent Acid Storage and Disposal Area, and OBDANE areas are located in upland areas to the east of the river terrace. Surface drainage from the submarine base discharges to the west toward the Thames River. Several streams and lakes are located in the north/central section of the submarine base. There are approximately 20 storm water outfalls from submarine base surface drainage to the Thames River.

    The Thames River, formed by the Shetucket and Quinebaug Rivers, originates in Norwich, Connecticut. The Yantic River also enters the Thames in Norwich. The Thames eventually discharges into Long Island Sound, approximately 6 miles south of the submarine base. The Thames River estuary extends from Long Island Sound north 16 miles to Norwich. Widths of the river vary from 1.5 miles at New London harbor to about 400 to 500 feet in width at Norwich (4).

    The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CTDEP) has classified the Thames River as SC/SB. This indicates the river is suitable for fish and wildlife habitats; aesthetically pleasing; suitable for recreational boating and, in some places, for swimming. However, this classification signifies that the Thames River does not meet the ambient water-quality criteria goal of SB for one or more designated uses because of local area industrial pollution (6).

    The river is used for recreational purposes, including fin fishing. Commercial lobster and clam harvesting are permitted only at the mouth of the river. However, shellfish harvesting is prohibited because of high fecal coliform bacteria counts originating from sewage discharge into the Thames River. There are no fin fishing bans for the river. An advisory concerning eating striped bass and bluefish from the coastal waters of Connecticut, including Long Island Sound, was issued by the CTDHS on July 8, 1988 because of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination. The advisory specifically indicates that pregnant women, women contemplating becoming pregnant in the near future, nursing mothers, and children under 15 years of age should not eat those fish, or at most, should limit consumption to a few meals a year (6). Sources of the contamination that resulted in this advisory have not been linked to the submarine base.

    There are two lakes on the submarine base, North Lake and Rock Lake. The only uses of these lakes are for swimming in the warmer months and for ice-skating during the colder months. North Lake is filled each year with city water before the swimming season and is subsequently drained to a low-water level at the end of the season. The city water is chlorinated on base before North Lake is filled. Rock Lake is maintained at full water level year round.

    Groundwater

    The CTDEP has classified the groundwater beneath the central and southern base as unsuitable for direct human consumption without need for treatment because of chemical waste discharges, spills, or leaks of chemicals or land use impacts, but groundwater in these areas may be suitable for industrial process water and cooling waters. The groundwater beneath the north portion of the submarine base including the DRMO site, Area A Landfill and adjacent sites is classified by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection as presumed suitable for direct human consumption without need for treatment. Based on hydrogeological data, groundwater from beneath the submarine base discharges into the Thames River (1).

    Residents north and east of the submarine base use private wells for drinking water purposes. Community wells are located north and northeast of the submarine base at the Colonel Ledyard Mobile Home Park (one well), Christy Hills Apartments (two wells), and Grandview Trailer Park (two wells). The Groton Water Department provides potable water to the submarine base and to all base housing areas located south and southeast of the submarine base. The Groton water supply is principally provided by surface water reservoirs and is supplemented with wells. Water supplies are within the Poquonock River watershed, east of the submarine base. Some base housing areas are within this water supply watershed; however, Main Base is not (1). Furthermore, the Groton wells are located about 3.5 miles southeast of the site (7). The submarine base has been using the Groton Water supply since approximately 1945.

D. Health Outcome Data

ATSDR conducts a review of health outcome data if complete exposure pathways have been identified; if the toxicologic evaluation shows the likelihood of health outcomes; or if the community near the site has health concerns.

In response to local residents' concerns about an elevated incidence of cancer cases in the area, ATSDR searched state and local cancer databases for current information to help determine if an elevated incidence of cancer exists in the area. A discussion of ATSDR's evaluation is presented in the "Public Health Implications" section of this public health assessment.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

In meetings with officials from the Town of Ledyard and City of Groton, a local physician, and an advisor to the City of Groton, the following concerns were expressed:

* possible elevated cancer rates for residents living north of the submarine base, along Military Highway;

* possible elevated cancer rates for the City of Groton;

* health effects from human consumption of fish and other aquatic organisms from the Thames River and Long Island Sound;

* possible contamination of private and municipal wells located near the submarine base;

* use of North Lake for swimming;

* contamination of the Thames River from fly ash contaminants disposed in Goss Cove Landfill;

* the spread of contaminated river sediment dredgings and possible adverse environmental health effects related to contact with dredged material;

* the lack of information on the base's contribution of pollution into the Thames River; and

* the quality and completeness of the investigations planned for the submarine base as expressed in the 1989 Plan of Action (1).

During informal "one-on-one" meetings with residents, the following concerns were expressed:

* A couple living across the River from the submarine base mentioned that before the building of their home, the Navy/Army Corps of Engineers deposited Thames River dredged sediment on the property that has since become the site of their home. The couple is concerned that contaminated dredged material has contaminated their water supply. The couple currently uses bottled water for drinking water purposes.

* Officer's wives, who regularly participate in recreational activities with their children at the North Lake Swimming Area, are concerned that there has not been enough sampling performed on beach sand, sediment, or surface water at North Lake to determine if the Lake is safe. They stated that only one sampling event took place in 1988 and that would not represent accurate or comprehensive information on the condition of the North Lake Area.

* Residents were concerned that the Navy has not informed the public of the potential risks to those who swim in North Lake. Residents felt that until comprehensive sampling has been performed, the North Lake Area should be closed.

* Community members are concerned about adverse health effects from incidental ingestion of contaminants and skin exposure to contaminants at the North Lake swimming area.

* A retired civilian employee is concerned about his past exposure to paints, thinners, fuels, and other fluids in the work place during his 20 years of Naval service.

* Community members are concerned about the potential toxic concentrations of contaminants in fish, shellfish, and marine organisms, and their impact on the human food chain. Residents stated that sampling of aquatic species has not been adequate to define the impact on the human food chain.

* Residents were concerned that there was a lack of comprehensive sampling data of Thames River sediment and surface water, which may contain toxic hot spots.

The Navy held a public meeting on July 26, 1990. Additional concerns were expressed during this meeting (8).

* Where does the submarine base now dispose of its toxic waste?

* Does the submarine base have radioactive waste?

* Does surface water drain into the Groton reservoir?

* Are there any controls for leachate from the submarine base to prevent contaminating the Thames River?

* When did the submarine base start receiving water from the City of Groton?

ATSDR held a public meeting on August 18, 1992 to answer residents' questions about the health hazards associated with elevated boron levels found in their drinking water wells. The following question concerns residents the most.

* What are the health effects associated with the level of boron in our drinking water wells? Is our water safe to drink?

Resampling of these residential wells by the Navy and CTDEP in October 1992, showed no elevated boron levels. Further investigation by the Navy revealed laboratory instrument interference of boron analysis with sulfur. All previous boron analysis is therefore, assumed to be erroneous. Subsequent resampling of surface water and groundwater at several locations showed no elevated boron levels.



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