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ATSDR Press Room

ATSDR Report: Savannah River Site Contaminants in Off-Site Water Pose No Health Threat, SC


Aiken County, Aiken, South Carolina

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Public may comment on the report through April 16

ATLANTA - The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has found no contamination in off-site groundwater from the Savannah River Site (SRS).  While site-related contaminants were detected in off-site surface water, they pose no health concern. In the course of its investigation, ATSDR also found naturally occurring radium in the municipal drinking water at levels that could pose health concerns, especially for infants drinking formula and juice mixed with tap water.

The report on the 310 square mile U.S. Department of Energy-owned facility bordering the Savannah River is available for comment through April 16.

In the assessment, ATSDR looked at possible exposure since 1993 to chemical and radioactive materials transported off SRS in groundwater or surface water, or released into off-site surface water, as well as the possibility of future exposure to these materials.

Key findings included:

  • ATSDR’s evaluation found no groundwater contamination from the site beyond the SRS boundary or in off-site private wells.  The agency did find on-site contamination close to the northwest boundary which could potentially affect off-site groundwater in the future. 
  • ATSDR concludes that the surface water releases of tritium and other radioactive contaminants did not pose a health concern after 1993; nor do they pose a current or future health concern as long as SRS operations continue as they are.  Since 1993, potential for human exposure to radioactive contaminants, primarily tritium, in off-site bodies of water has been greatest at or near the mouth of Four Mile Creek. Tritium levels in this area are less than ATSDR’s maximum-recommended health-based levels for drinking water.
  • Investigators found two naturally occurring substances, lead and radium, in municipal drinking water wells at concentrations above the agency’s recommended level for human health.  While the lead levels found are not harmful to adults or children, radium, was consistently detected at levels above the Safe Drinking Water Standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regular consumption of municipal well water could pose health concerns, especially for infants drinking formula and juice mixed with tap water.

Concerned residents can take precautions to prevent or minimize exposure to radium:

    • Remove radium from water by using water softeners;
    • Have your water supply tested if you are concerned about your tap water;
    • Give very young children prepared formula and bottled juices not mixed with tap water.

During the public comment period residents can review and provide comments on agency findings. Comments on the public health assessment must be made in writing.

The assessment can be viewed on the Internet at: http: www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/index.asp or at:

U.S. Department of Energy
Office of External Affairs
Public Reading Room
Aiken, SC, 29802

U.S. Department of Energy
Public Reading Room
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC, 29801
Contact:  Paul Lewis

Mail comments to:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
ATTN: Records Center
1600 Clifton Road, N.E., Mailstop E-60
Atlanta, Ga. 30333

Comments received during the public comment period will be logged into the ATSDR administrative record. These comments, along with ATSDR responses, will appear in an appendix to the final version of the report. Names of individuals and groups who submit comments will not appear in the report. Names will be subject to release for requests made under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Community members wanting more information may contact Health Assessor Carol Connell at 404-498-0361 or ccc8@cdc.gov.  CDC and ATSDR maintain a general toll-free number (1-800-CDC-INFO); callers to this number must reference the Savannah River Site

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release


Savannah River Site
-Evaluation of OffSite Air Contamination from the Savannah River Site (USDOE)
Document Date: 2/3/2014 - PHA  [PDF - 4349 KB]

Savannah River Site
-Evaluation of Exposures to Contaminants in Biota Originating from Savannah River Site
Document Date: 2/29/2012 - PHA  [PDF - 18358 KB]

Savannah River Site
-Evaluation of Exposures to Contaminants in Biota Originating from the Savannah River Site (USDOE)
Document Date: 8/25/2011 - PHA  [PDF - 9550 KB]

Savannah River Site
-Evaluation of Off-Site Groundwater and Surface Water Contamination at the Savannah River Site (USDOE)
Document Date: 12/17/2007 - PHA  [PDF - 2298 KB]

Savannah River Site
-Evaluation of Off-Site Groundwater and Surface Water Contamination at the Savannah River Site (USDOE) - Public Comment Release
Document Date: 3/1/2007 - PHA  [PDF - 2194 KB]

The Savannah River Site
-Tritium Releases and Potential Offsite Exposures
Document Date: 3/11/2002 - HC  [HTML]

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Related News Releases For Aiken County, Aiken, South Carolina

 

Public Comments Sought on Savannah River Site Public Health Assessment
Release Date: Monday, July 01, 2013
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is seeking public comment on a public health assessment released today evaluating whether exposures to radioactive materials and other chemical pollutants in the air around the Savannah River site could affect human health.

No Health Threat from Eating Plants and Animals Found near the Savannah River Site
Release Date: Monday, March 26, 2012
Eating plants and animals grown or produced near the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) does not expose people to harmful levels of radioactive contaminants, says the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in a recently released public health assessment.

ATSDR Report: Savannah River Site Contaminants in Off-Site Water Pose No Health Threat
Release Date: Friday, December 21, 2007
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has found no contamination in off-site groundwater from the Savannah River Site (SRS).

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