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ATSDR Press Room

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


Aiken County, Aiken, South Carolina

Friday, December 21, 2007

For Immediate Release: December 21, 2007

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.   In December 2006, authorities removed from service the well where radium was found.

ATSDR released the final assessment on the 310 square-mile U.S. Department of Energy-owned facility bordering the Savannah River today.

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 include:

  • 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 present operations continue. 
  • In addition to finding naturally occurring radium in a Jackson drinking water supply well, investigators also found naturally occurring lead in the same well.  Concentrations of lead in this well were high enough to potentially cause blood lead levels in children in excess of the Center's for Disease Control and Prevention's level of concern.  The concentrations of lead detected in this well were below levels that would cause adverse health effects in other age groups.  The well was removed from service in December 2006. 

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

U.S. Department of Energy
Savannah River Operations Office
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

U.S. Department of Energy
Public Reading Room
U.S. DOE Southeast Power Administration
2 South Public Square
Elberton, GA 30635

Copies of the assessment can also be requested from:

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

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

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

###

Members of the news media can request an interview by calling the NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication at 770-488-0700.

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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, SC
Release Date: Thursday, March 15, 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). 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.

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