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Sites & Case Studies

Dover Township, Toms River, New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), with support from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), conducted an epidemiologic study of childhood cancers in Dover Township, Ocean County, New Jersey. In 1996, ATSDR and NJDHSS developed a Public Health Response Plan in cooperation with the Ocean County Health Department and the Citizens’ Action Committee on Childhood Cancer Cluster. The plan outlines a series of public health activities including assessments of potential environmental exposures in the community. In 1997, ATSDR and NJDHSS determined that an epidemiologic study was warranted, and that the study would include assessments of the potential for exposure to specific drinking-water sources. To assist the epidemiologic efforts, ATSDR developed a work plan to reconstruct historical characteristics of the water-distribution system serving the Dover Township area by using water-distribution system modeling techniques. The numerical model chosen for this effort, EPANET 2, is available in the public domain and is described in the scientific literature. To test the reliability of model simulations, water-distribution system data specific to the Dover Township area were needed to compare with model results. Lacking such data, a field-data collection effort was initiated to obtain pressure measurements, storage-tank water levels, and system operation schedules (the on-and-off cycling of wells and pumps) during winter-demand (March 1998) and peak-demand (August 1998) operating conditions. Using these data, the water-distribution system model was calibrated to present-day (1998) conditions. ATSDR released a report and a technical paper in June 2000 describing the field-data collection activities and model calibration results. Having established the reliability of the model and the modeling approach, the model was used to examine (or reconstruct) historical characteristics of the water-distribution system. For this purpose, monthly simulations were conducted from January 1962 through December 1996 to estimate the proportionate contribution of water from points of entry (well or well fields) to various locations throughout the Dover Township area. The summary of findings was developed to provide an overview of the historical reconstruction analysis conducted by ATSDR and NJDHSS. A full description of the analysis is provided in a comprehensive report. For the historical period, the following topics are presented in the full report: (1) data sources and requirements, (2) methods of analysis, (3) simulation approaches, (4) selected simulation results of the historical reconstruction analysis, and (5) the use of sensitivity analysis to address issues of uncertainty and variability of historical system operations.

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Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

Two of three water-distribution systems that have historically supplied drinking water to family housing at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Tarawa Terrace was contaminated mostly with tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and Hadnot Point was contaminated mostly with trichloroethylene (TCE). Because scientific data relating to the harmful effects of VOCs on a child or fetus are limited, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is conducting an epidemiological study to evaluate potential associations between in utero and infant (up to 1 year of age) exposures to VOCs in contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune and specific birth defects and childhood cancers. The study includes births occurring during the period 1968–1985 to women who were pregnant while they resided in family housing at Camp Lejeune. Because limited measurements of contaminant and exposure data are available to support the epidemiological study, ATSDR is using modeling techniques to reconstruct historical conditions of groundwater flow, contaminant fate and transport, and the distribution of drinking water contaminated with VOCs delivered to family housing areas.

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Oatland Island, Georgia

ATSDR became involved with the Oatland Island site at the request of the CDC Office of Health and Safety (OHS) to evaluate potential public health impacts associated with pesticide contami-nation at the site. Based on available environmental data and exposure pathway information, ATSDR concluded in a 2005 health consultation report that the pesticide contamination does not pose a public health hazard to people who visit, live, or work at the site. This report documents the continued collaboration between ATSDR and CDC OHS to examine the environmental fate and transport of pesticide contaminants in shallow groundwater at the site. Information about the migration patterns of the dissolved phase pesticide contaminant plume will be useful in guiding future environmental monitoring and remediation decisions for the site.

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