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PRELIMINARY PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT

UNITED HECKATHORN
RICHMOND, CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA


SUMMARY

The former United Heckathorn industrial site is listed on the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Priorities List (NPL). The site has been contaminated with chlorinated pesticides, primarily 1,1,1-trichloro-2-2-bis-(p-chlorophenyl)-ethane (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane or DDT), and heavy metals, mainly lead. Contaminants from the 4.5-acre site have migrated into the sediments of the bordering Lauritzen Canal and Santa Fe Channel and beyond. Concentration of DDT is occurring in benthic organisms, and bioaccumulation is occurring in fish and in migratory birds. Contaminants may also have migrated into the soils of the residential neighborhood north and downwind of the site.

The site is classified as a public health hazard because evidence exists that human exposures to chlorinated pesticides and heavy metals via ingestion of contaminated fish have occurred, and are likely to continue occurring if the site is not remediated. In addition, human exposures via inhalation and ingestion of contaminated dust have occurred, are probably still occurring, and are likely to occur in the future. The estimated exposures, especially when exposures by multiple pathways are considered, are at concentrations that, upon long term exposure (greater than one year), can cause adverse health effects.

Although the concentrations of chlorinated pesticides measured in the air off-site were below levels of health concern, the measurements were taken when the site was unoccupied and inactive. Furthermore, no air monitoring for heavy metals in airborne dust was done. Current activity at the site appears to have disturbed the top layer of gravel used for stabilization, and work on site is generating dust. This may have resulted in an increased release of contaminants adsorbed onto, soil into the air, and into the sediments of the Lauritzen Canal.

Soils in the nearby community will need to be sampled for chlorinated pesticides and heavy metals in order to evaluate the concentrations of contaminants that may have migrated by way of airborne dust. Workers on-site are also at risk for exposure via inhalation of airborne soil and via ingestion of soil dust while eating, or from normal hand-to-mouth mannerisms. In certain areas, levels of contaminants, especially DDT, endrin, and dieldrin, warrant concern.

Additional data on the levels of DDT and other contaminants in fish that migrate into and out of the Lauritzen Canal, and in shellfish and organisms that live in the sediments, as well as information on the frequency with which people catch and eat saltwater species that feed in the Lauritzen Canal, will be required to assess the public health implications of eating various species of local fish and mollusks. Furthermore, the effects of excavation from the intertidal zone of the embankment of over 1000 tons of DDT-contaminated soil and sediments, some containing visible pesticide residue, will need to be evaluated.

Finally, a multipathway exposure analysis will be needed to estimate the population that may experience a combination of exposures by breathing contaminated air, ingesting contaminated soil through gardening or playing, and eating fish and seafood with elevated contaminant concentrations.

The California Department of Health Services will cooperate with the appropriate State agencies to post warning signs in multiple languages and with pictograms against fishing on the Lauritzen Canal and water side of the channel.

The United Heckathorn site has been evaluated by ATSDR's Health Activities Recommendation Panel for follow-up health activities. Although exposure to site contaminants is believed to have occurred in the past and may be occurring currently, environmental sampling data are not available to assess the magnitude and public health significance of the exposure. Therefore, this site is not being considered at this time for follow-up health activities. However, when these data become available, ATSDR and the California Department of Health Services will re-evaluate this site for any indicated follow-up activities.


BACKGROUND

A. Site Description and History

United Heckathorn is the name of a company that used to grind large chunks of manufactured DDT into powder, afterwards mixing the powder with solvents and other components to make it stick to surfaces on which the DDT was sprayed. Levin Enterprises currently owns the land on which United Heckathorn buildings once stood. Levin Richmond Terminal Corporation (LRTC), 402 Wright Avenue, Richmond, California, operates the site as a shipping terminus with a dock for ocean-going vessels. The site is on former San Francisco Bay marshlands. LRTC occupies approximately 12 acres; the northern 4.5 acres have been identified as severely contaminated with DDT.

Cutting Boulevard forms the site's northern boundary. Facing the northern side of Cutting Boulevard, there were many store fronts with a residential area directly behind. The recently constructed, elevated section of the Hoffman freeway (I-580) eliminated approximately one block of residential area and most of the store fronts except a pinball recreation room, a fixture store, a restaurant, and a bait and tackle shop. At one time, Cutting Boulevard was a very busy route linking Marin and Contra Costa counties. Today, the elevated Hoffman Freeway (I-580) is the major link between the East Bay and Marin County via the San Rafael Bridge. This new freeway, which is just 600 yards north of Cutting Boulevard, has significantly increased traffic in the area, but it is a visual barrier, as well as wind barrier to the United Heckathorn site for the residents. The residential area is now just north of the highway, approximately one quarter mile from the site.

Sims Metals, formerly Levin Metals Corporation, is across Fourth Street (the eastern boundary of the site). Sims Metals is a scrap dealership accepting scrap metal from the public during business hours. The site covers at least one acre, and it has scrap metal piles over one story high. Traffic entering the site is heavy all day. There are often lines of cars waiting to enter the yard. The cars park along the eastern side of the United Heckathorn fence. The western side of the site is bounded by an aggregate company that has been active on the other side of the Lauritzen Canal since July 1990.

The area west of the site is a heavy industrial zone. South of the site is the Santa Fe Channel which lets into San Francisco Bay (See Figures 1 and 2).

Geographic Location of United Heckathorn Site
Figure 1. Geographic Location of United Heckathorn Site

United Heckathorn and LTRC Complex
Figure 2. United Heckathorn and LTRC Complex

History:

The site has a long and complicated history of ownership, which has played a prominent role in the production of on-site contamination, the migration of contaminants into the air and into the Lauritzen Canal, and the long period of time elapsed while efforts were made to evaluate the source and concentrations of on-site and off-site contaminants and the parties responsible for removing them. Memos from state agencies indicate that operations associated with the production of environmental contaminants have been ongoing since 1949, and that contaminant release off site has been documented many times. The site history also demonstrates that several agencies have been active in attempts to clean up the site, but that inadequate environmental sampling is one factor that has led to delays in remediation.

In the 1940s, the War Department operated a shipyard between Lauritzen and Parr Canals. The LRTC site lies within that area. In 1948, the War Department transferred title of the land to Parr Industrial Corporation (PIC). From 1949 until 1971, PIC leased the land to various industrial tenants. From 1949 to 1957, it was leased to Universal Pigment and Chemical Company (UPCC), which manufactured napalm. On August 11, 1951, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) investigated a release of naphthenic acid into Lauritzen Canal from a broken process line at the UPCC plant. From 1958 to 1965, Montrose Chemical Corporation contracted with United Heckathorn, United Chemetrics, and Chem West for DDT grinding services. Those companies were tenants at the site during that period and they contracted to provide DDT grinding services for chemical companies who manufactured DDT. Current site operations involve both shipping and recycling metal.

On June 15, 1960, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) inspected United Heckathorn for waste discharges into Lauritzen Canal. Several spills and a leaking solvent pump line were observed. In August 1960, DFG inspected United Heckathorn because dead fish were found in the Lauritzen Canal. Analysis of fish and water showed significant levels of DDT. Discharges of DDT into Lauritzen Canal were traced to overflowing vats. In 1961, PIC transferred title of the property to the parent company, Parr Richmond Terminal Corporation (PRTC). Sometime before 1970, the United Heckathorn buildings used in the chemical manufacturing process were demolished, and the bulk storage tanks were removed.

In May 1980, the Department of Toxic Substances Control's (DTSC)(1) Abandoned Site Project (ASP) began investigating the former United Heckathorn plant site. Soil samples collected by ASP investigators contained high levels of the pesticides DDT, dinoseb, and aldrin, as well as heavy metals. In October 1980, DTSC notified PRTC of the testing results and of possible cleanup requirements (Tetra Tech, Inc., Revised Community Relations Plan LRTC Site, 1988).

Levin Metals Corporation (LMC) bought the property in 1981 and made arrangements for its subsidiary, LRTC, to operate the site as a shipping terminus. Shortly thereafter, the site, called "United Heckathorn," was included on the March 1982 state superfund list. DTSC and RWQCB continued inspections and sampling in 1982. RWQCB issued cleanup and abatement orders to LRTC, LMC, and other former owners and operators of the site in August and October of 1984. LMC has filed suit to recover cleanup costs from some of the former owners and operators that are believed responsible for the contamination (Tetra Tech, Inc., Revised Community Relations Plan LRTC Site, 1988).

In January 1983, LRTC covered part of the site with a layer of gravel to minimize runoff and air emissions. Also in 1983, LRTC retained Harding Lawson Associates (HLA) to characterize the contamination and to develop a draft Remedial Action Plan (RAP). HLA conducted soil and groundwater sampling as well as air quality monitoring in three phases between 1983 and 1985. DDT contamination was found in all three media. Although DDT levels in air were low, high levels were detected in soil and sediment. LRTC conducted medical examinations of workers who might have been exposed to DDT.

In 1984, after an HLA subcontractor (Aqua Terra Technologies) reported no anticipated biological effects from the sediments, LRTC dredged a portion of the Lauritzen Canal and disposed of sediments near Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Serious questions have arisen regarding the validity of the studies designed to determine the biological effects that the contaminants may have on the aquatic organisms in the canal. Serious questions have also been raised regarding the studies to determine the appropriateness of dredging (see Environmental Pathways section).

In July 1986, LRTC began excavations for a train scale. During the excavation, an oily liquid was found at a depth of five feet. Analyses showed DDT at levels up to 440,000 ppm (44 percent) in the soil and liquid. The soil was removed from the site to an approved hazardous waste disposal facility.

A series of interim remediation actions has taken place on site. In the fall of 1982, soil was excavated from the LRTC site and moved to Levin property near Parr Canal. In September 1983, analyses showed high levels of DDT in that soil. In June 1984, the soil was moved to an approved hazardous waste land disposal facility. In the fall of 1986, the area was covered with gravel and a plastic film. The Parr Canal site was also included on the California state superfund list. Levin Metals Corporation (LMC) moved its scrap metal operation from Canal Street to its property at the corner of Wright and Fourth Streets, due to rezoning by the city of Richmond (Tetra Tech, Inc., Revised Community Relations Plan LRTC Site, 1988). Trucks carrying scrap metal have been observed entering and crossing over the United Heckathorn site, and waiting in line to have the scrap metal loads weighed.

HLA submitted a revised Draft Site Characterization and RAP for the LRTC site in November 1986. DTSC evaluated the plan and concluded that the site characterization was inadequate because there were insufficient data, and the RAP did not identify all of the reasonable remediation alternatives (Tetra Tech, Inc., Revised Community Relations Plan LRTC Site, 1988).

In 1987, DTSC developed a new work plan that included a more thorough Site Characterization, Remedial Investigation, and Feasibility Study. DTSC also prepared a Community Relations Plan to provide for communication between the community, DTSC, and LRTC. DTSC issued a fact sheet in December 1987 as part of the community relations program. CH2M Hill, a company under contract with DTSC, prepared a Final Work Plan for a Proposed Expedited Response Action for the LRTC site in November 1987. They also prepared a Site Characterization - Technical Memorandum in March 1988 (Tetra Tech, Inc., Revised Community Relations Plan LRTC Site, 1988).

In October 1989, LRTC's consultant, Levine-Fricke, conducted field sampling to supplement the existing data and to determine more accurately the horizontal and vertical extent of contamination at the site. In February 1990, Levine-Fricke completed the Field Data Report, which contained the results of an extensive soil and sediment sampling program. Soils from the site, the embankment, Lauritzen canal, and the Santa Fe Channel were analyzed. A white and cream colored material found on the embankment near electrical substation "A" contained DDT in concentrations as high as 270,000 ppm (27 per cent) (Ted Park, DTSC, personal communication, July 1990).

At the end of 1989, the site was placed on the National Priorities List of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. A fence and post order was issued to LRTC in July 1990.

On August 1, 1990, EPA became the lead agency for the United Heckathorn site. An Emergency Response Team visited the site on September 14, 1990, to investigate an area of the embankment containing extremely high DDT concentrations (up to 310,560 ppm total DDT). A large area of the embankment area containing DDT was afterwards removed in an Emergency Removal Action. Under EPA's and DTSC's oversight, over 1000 tons of visible chemical residue, contaminated soils, and sediments were excavated from the intertidal area of the embankment of the Lauritzen Canal in November, 1990, and deposited at an approved hazardous waste landfill.

B. Site Visit

Staffmembers from the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) along with the regional representative for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) first visited the United Heckathorn property on April 10, 1990. The site is in the middle of a heavy industrial area that is traversed by many trucks. Although the Lauritzen Canal, which lets into San Francisco Bay, forms the western boundary of the property, it is not readily apparent that a canal exists because vision is obstructed by pieces of heavy equipment. The site is fenced and posted at the northern end, but there are two 12 foot-wide gates along the eastern side of the property, which are apparently left open during business hours.

Since the site visit team had not previously arranged to walk onto the site, they viewed equipment and activity from the open gates on the eastern side of the property across from the scrap metal company, and from the opposite bank of the Lauritzen Canal. At the northeastern boundary of the property, a piece of tarpaulin held down with tires covers a large mound of soil. Pieces of large equipment, apparently not in use, seemed to be stored at the northern end of the property. Gravel was visible in the northernmost area of the site, but was not readily observable elsewhere.

The site appeared to contain equipment that might have been left from past operations of United Heckathorn, or that is used in the current loading and unloading operations allowed on the southernmost end of the site. The southern area of the property is open, and appeared to have equipment for the loading and unloading of ocean-going vessels. But in the middle and on the northern end of the LRTC property, the areas where United Heckathorn was formerly located, it was difficult to distinguish abandoned equipment from equipment which may be in use. There is no fence between the United Heckathorn site and the LTRC operations and buildings. Large mounds, believed by one of the site visit teams to be bauxite, were near a huge boom crane with a cabin on top. A large rusty ocean-going cargo ship was docked at the pier at the southern end of the Lauritzen Canal where it enters the Santa Fe Channel. The crane and the ship appeared to be in working condition, but were not engaged in activity at the time of the visit.

The Lauritzen Canal is about 250 feet across, and the water appeared to have a film over it in parts. It is bounded by privately owned industrial sites that actively use the canal. There were no structures on the embankment, but a rail line ran above the riprap (large and small rocks used to stabilize embankments) on the embankment next to pilings that are all that is left of a pier that ran next to the former United Heckathorn Building 1. That area of the embankment is known to have DDT concentrations as high as 1,000,000 parts per million (ppm) (see On-Site Contamination Section). Two black ducks were swimming and diving in the canal during our visit.

On June 21, 1990, the CDHS staff again drove by the United Heckathorn site. The site, most of which had previously seemed deserted, was now very active. A large ship was docked at the pier, and it appeared that scrap metal was being loaded onto the ship. There were cranes and hopper trucks in the middle part of the site. A double trailer was carrying the metal. General traffic from the street, along with cars carrying scrap metal appeared to be diverted through this site and across the middle section before entering the Sims Metals facility across Fourth Street.

The lot appeared to have been graded in the area of the southern end of former United Heckathorn Buildings 1 and 2, areas where soils contain contaminants. The required two foot covering of gravel over the site, which was intended to prevent generation of contaminated dust, was visible only at the northern end of the site. Piles of bauxite, wood chips, and dirt stood at the southern end of the crane (former United Heckathorn Building 2 site) and at the northern end of the site. There were bulldozers moving the piles, and trucks spraying for dust control.

Many people on site were clothed in jeans, T-shirts, work boots and hard hats. While we were observing the site, a man drove off the site in his front-end loader and returned his lunch box to his car. It appeared that he had been eating on site. During the visit, none of the people observed on site were using or carrying any protective equipment, nor was there evidence that the equipment was available.

On July 18, 1990, the CDHS staff again drove by the United Heckathorn site. Activity appeared to have increased on the facility. There were two ships docked for loading and unloading of bauxite and scrap metal. Several railroad cars were also parked on site. The number of cranes and other heavy equipment had increased. Three cranes were apparently being stored at the northern end of the site. There were also many workers walking around the site in jeans, T-shirts, work boots and hard hats, but without protective equipment.

On September 13, 1990, there was an on-site visit under the leadership of the Federal On-site Coordinator of the EPA Emergency Response Team. Other participants included DTSC and CDHS staffmembers, EPA staffmembers including the project officer, a representative of Levine-Fricke, contractor for the LRTC, representatives of Ecology and Environment, Inc., contractors for EPA, and representatives of the U. S. Coast Guard.

The gates to the site were closed and the site was inactive when the site visit team arrived. The Federal On-Scene Coordinator for Emergency Response, Richard W. Martyn, and the representative for Levine-Fricket discussed the penalties for violation of the clean-up orders, physical and other hazards besides chemical ones on the site, and appropriate protective clothing. The representative of Levine-Fricke said that staffmembers from their firm always wore protective overalls, shoe coverings, and hardhats when entering the area. The team, dressed in Tyvek overalls, booties, and hardhats, entered the site by the southernmost gate and walked across the southern end of the site, an area not known to contain elevated concentrations of DDT. That area is actively used for loading and unloading cargo from ocean-going vessels, and it contained a several story-high mound of what appeared to be peatmoss. No ships were berthed at the dock on the southern end of the Lauritzen Canal, although ships had been there on previous visits. There is no fence dividing that section, which constitutes about one-fourth of the property, from the areas containing elevated DDT concentrations. The gravel appeared to have been scraped off in that area (former United Heckathorn Building 2 area), and to varying extents from areas to the north (former United Heckathorn Building 1 area). Something that appeared to be reddish brown sawdust or peatmoss covered the ground and was piled up along side of the on-site dirt roadway that ran north-south through the former sites of United Heckathorn Buildings 1 and 2. The huge boom crane, which was reported by the representative from Levine-Fricke to be inoperable, was near the area where gravel began to be visible in places.

The site visit team walked on the edge of the embankment of the Lauritzen Canal beside the railroad tracks. The embankment is six to ten feet below the railroad tracks. Steel supports tie a wooden dock to the upland area, and the railroad tracks are laid on the steel supports between the dock and the upland soil area. Thus, the embankment can be seen only by peering through the railroad tracks. The railroad track was reported to be in use by employees of the LTRC, according to the representative from Levine-Fricke. The embankment soils are only slightly visible between the riprap.

The embankment area with greater than 310,000 ppm DDT is near an apparently abandoned electrical substation. The representative from Levine-Fricke siad that it was left from operations of previous owners and that it was not supposed to have electricity connected to it. A railroad car was parked on bricks on the upland area just south of the electrical substation. From the schematics in our possession, it was not possible for us to determine the exact extent of the extremely high DDT contamination in the embankment, and there were no on-site markers to delineate the area and to warn workers away. Workers in short-sleeved work clothes appeared to be engaged in repairs to the dock or the electrical line to the dock about 25 yards south of this area. During the site visit, a two-foot long salmon swimming in the Lauritzen Canal jumped out of the water several times, and the workers pointed it out to several members of the site visit team.

The representative from Levine-Fricke said that they proposed to do an interim cleanup on that part of the embankment by diverting rail traffic to the middle of the site and by cutting through the rails to allow access to the embankment six to ten feet below. The contractor would use a backhoe to excavate the riprap and DDT-contaminated soil from the embankment. CDHS staff raised questions about air monitoring around the embankment area and in the upland area where more activity was likely to take place, and also questioned whether this procedure would allow a lot of DDT-contaminated soil to enter the Lauritzen Canal. The representative from Levine-Fricke indicated that a sediment screen would be used and that the excavation would be done very carefully.

In July 1991, CDHS/ATSDR cooperative agreement staffmembers drove around and walked the boundaries of the United Heckathorn site. To the east of the site there was access to the Lauritzen Canal from an access road near the site. Although no fishing was actually observed, it would be possible to go fishing there and not be bothered. Several empty fish hook packages were lying on the ground. In addition, the western side of the site was accessible from the adjoining site through an open fence, and children could climb over a break in the United Heckathorn fence to gain access to the site. On the northern end of the site two huge piles of dirt from the channel "hot spot" removal were observed on the northern end of the site covered with plastic. There was truck activity around and on the site, and there was one boat at the dock.

C. Demographics, Land Use and Natural Resource Use

Demographics:

According to the 1990 census, there were six census tracts that defined the area within a mile of the United Heckathorn site, and 26,229 people lived within those tracts. Of those, 70% were over 18 years of age. The racial/ethnic breakdown is as follows: 24% white; 57% black; 0.5% American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut; 6% Asian, Pacific Islander; and 12% other. In the 1990 census, persons of Hispanic origin may have been of any race. In those six tracts, the percentage of Hispanics ranges from 5.1% to 37.9%, with 19% per tract being the average. Within a one-mile radius from the site, there were approximately 8,763 housing units.

The land around United Heckathorn contains a mix of commercial, industrial, and residential areas. There is no agriculture in the vicinity. Industrial use is associated with shipping, especially loading, unloading, and storage before land transport. LRTC, Sims Metals which replaced Levin Metals, the Bay Aggregate Company, and other shipping and storage firms are the neighboring firms. Although the Lauritzen Canal is bordered by industrial firms, the land around the Santa Fe Channel contains several pleasure and fishing boat marinas, as well as storage tanks for petroleum products and other industries associated with shipping. The residential area is just across the Hoffman Freeway, about one quarter mile north of the site.

Natural Resource Use:

Richmond Harbor and San Francisco Bay are the natural resources in the area of United Heckathorn. They are used for a mixture of activities including shipping, recreation, and fishing. Richmond Harbor is an international shipping port. The Lauritzen Canal is currently used as a berth for vessels transporting a variety of non-containerized materials such as bauxite, peatmoss, and scrap metal. Although the Lauritzen Canal is bordered only by heavy industry, the Santa Fe Channel at the southern end of the Lauritzen Canal has numerous berths for commercial fishing boats and pleasure boats. San Pablo Marina is located at the northern end of the Santa Fe Channel. Recreational activities include sailing, wind surfing, and fishing.

Groundwater elevations vary widely across the site and they range from about 0 to 4.7 feet mean sea level. Groundwater at the site is of naturally poor quality due to high chloride concentrations, and it is not used for either domestic or industrial purposes.

D. Health Outcome Data

On January 1, 1987, the state's Cancer Surveillance Program began collecting data through the California Tumor Registry for the region that includes the United Heckathorn site and surrounding areas. The CDHS released the data for 1987 and 1988 on February 18, 1991. (Refs: California Department of Health Services, "Cancer incidence and mortality," California, 1988. California Health and Welfare Agency, 1991, and California Department of Health Services, "Cancer incidence and mortality," California, 1987. California Health and Welfare Agency, 1991).

The California Birth Defects Monitoring Program began collecting data for Contra Costa County in 1983. (Ref: Croen LA, GM Shaw and NG Jensvold. "Birth defects monitoring program in California: a resource for epidemiologic research," "Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 1991;" 5, in press). The pertinence of these two data bases to the United Heckathorn site will be discussed further in the Public Health Implications Section of this preliminary health assessment.


COMMUNITY HEALTH CONCERNS

Members of the Richmond community are reported to be concerned about the environment in which they live (personal communication with Stan Giorgi, Community Participation, DTSC, Region 2, July 1990). United Heckathorn is only 1 of 19 hazardous waste sites in western Contra Costa County where Richmond is located. Tetra Tech, Inc., conducted interviews with community groups in 1988. According to the Tetra Tech reports, the most common concern expressed with regard to the United Heckathorn site was the possibility of exposure resulting from eating contaminated fish and shellfish caught in the Lauritzen Canal and in the nearby harbor. That concern was expressed by the Richmond Neighborhood Coordinating Council, the Citizens Action League, and the United Anglers. A member of the Coronado Neighborhood Council expressed the concern that there were still people fishing in the canal.

The United Anglers requested that DTSC post the site as a hazardous waste site, which was done in 1986. The current signs are in English and Spanish. A representative of the West County Toxics Coalition recommended that the postings also be done in Laotian and Vietnamese to warn those people, a local population that has a high fish intake. That has not been done.

Community groups are also concerned about the reports issued by the Mussel Watch Program within the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG). Those reports are featured on local television stations. The Mussel Watch Program monitors the DDT-bioaccumulation potential of sediments from bays and estuaries along the California coast. Mussels from an area without DDT contamination are placed for a specified time period in sediments that are suspected to have DDT levels of concern. At the end of the specified time period, the DDT content of the mussels is measured. The mussels put into Lauritzen Canal sediments contained the highest levels of DDT ever seen in the state (Phillips, 1988).

During July 1991, CDHS/ATSDR staffmembers spoke with representatives of the West County Toxics Coalition, the Citizen Action League, Citizens for A Better Environment, and United Anglers of America. There is general frustration in the community that it has taken so long to clean up the site, and several people expressed the idea that none of the regulatory agencies really cared because the communities nearest the site were poor. (In a city that is affected by so many hazardous waste sistes, this seems to be a common theme.)

Exposure to contaminated fish remains a primary health concern. The representative from United Anglers said that there are still shore fishermen around the site. He is particularly concerned about the white croaker (about 12") that is popular with Southeast Asians and with Koreans. Striped bass is another popular species.

There is also community concern about the possibility of dust blowing off the site, especially since the gravel that was put on the site to contain the dust appears to be missing in some areas. The representative from the Citizen Action League requested that the soil from the emergency removal action be safely removed from the site.

The city of Richmond is extremely interested in having the site cleaned up because they want to upgrade the areas that adjoin the site. They would like it to become more of a research and development area that has the potential for employing local residents. There is also interest in having some marina development in the area.

The draft preliminary health assessment was made available for public comment from August 29, 1991 until September 26, 1991. Notification of the public comment period ran in the West County Times and in the Oakland Tribune. Please refer to Appendix C for for a listing of the comments received and the responses to those comments.


ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION AND OTHER HAZARDS

Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) Search Information

CDHS/ATSDR staff conducted a search of the EPA Toxic Chemical Release Inventory (TRI) for the site and local area for the years 1987, 1988, and 1989 (the years for which TRI data were available on-line at the time this preliminary health assessment was written.) The TRI information contains information voluntarily submitted to EPA on estimated annual releases of toxic chemicals into the environment from active industrial facilities. The 1987, 1988, 1989 TRI did not contain information on toxic chemical releases in the site area.

A. On-Site Contamination

Air:

Ecology and Environment, Inc., performed air monitoring in two phases between July 15 and August 8, 1988, as part of a CERCLA Site Inspection (Ecology and Environment, Inc., 1989 ). The average concentration of DDT and its metabolites, and dieldrin and endrin are shown below in Table 1, and the minimum and maximum air concentration are shown in Table 2, for two on-site locations. Monitoring was done during two time periods: one time period from July 18, 1988 through July 26, 1988, and one from July 27 - August 8. As shown, the concentration of contaminants in air was relatively high near the former United Heckathorn building where the soil DDT concentration was high, despite the presence of a gravel layer that was supposed to prevent release of airborne dust containing contaminants. Contaminants were also measured at the fence at South Fourth Street, the eastern boundary of the site, where trucks and private automobiles line up to have their loads of scrap iron weighed. Airborne contaminants were also measured in samples taken at the western boundary of the site on a jetty in the Lauritzen Canal, 12 yards west of the shore, indicating that airborne dust was one pathway by which DDT was migrating into canal sediments. Furthermore, those samples are reported to be biased low, because they were taken with a high volume sampler, which tends to strip contaminants from particulates.

Table 1. Airborne Contaminant Concentrations On-Sitea
Average Concentration (ng/m3)b

Location
Total DDTc
Total Dieldrin
Endrin

Former UH Building 1
143.9
5.8
2.7

Eastern Boundary-South 4th St.

22.6
1.4
0.1
Western Boundary-Lauritzen Canal
4.3
0.6
0.1
Northern Boundary
3.9
0.7
0.1
Background
0.4
0.03
0.01

aMonitoring was done for the period 7/18/88 - 8/8/88, using EPA-600/4-87-006 method for the "Determination of Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Ambient Air." The method uses a high-volume particulate sampler consisting of a glass fiber filter with a polyurethane foam backup absorbant cartridge.

bThese data are taken from Ecology and Environment, Inc., CERCLA Site Inspection Report, 1989, and include data points that QA/QC indicated were useable but estimated values.

cTotal DDT = Total DDT equivalent amounts of 4,4'DDT+4,4'DDD+4,4'DDE

Upland Soil:

Levine-Fricke contracted with the LRTC to perform sampling to characterize the extent of contamination on site (Levine-Fricke, February, 1990). Results of the analysis for organochlorine compounds in soil samples taken from the upland location (i.e., away from the Lauritzen Canal) appear in Table 3. The on-site upland locations with elevated pesticide concentrations correspond to the sampling locations, which are shown in Figure 2:

  1. the site of the former United Heckathorn Building 1 (LF-10, LF-13, LF-14, LF-17, LF-23, and LF-27);


  2. the existing train scale (LF-7 and 8);


  3. the former location of the train scale (LF-3), and


  4. the vicinity of the former United Heckathorn Building 3 (LF-18).

Table 2. Concentration of airborne particles (ng/m3) from United Heckathorn for five sampling periods, July 18 - August 8, 1988a

On-Site Monitoring Locationsb
Contaminant
Former Building 1
Eastern Boundary
Western Boundary in Lauritzen Canal
Northern Boundary
Background
(a)
(b)

4,4'-DDE
5.9-93J
9.3J-200
5.0J-14
0.22-2.5
0.061+-2.2
0.012-0.17J
4,4'-DDD
3.0-11
3.3+J-22
1.1-1.6
0.17-0.87
0.064+-2.5
0.008-0.093
4,4'-DDT
12J-162J
25J-310
7.9J-21
0.64-6.8J
0.21-2.8J
0.024-1.33+
Dieldrin
0.76-7.1*NJ
2.4-14
0.76-1.8
0.31-1.2
0.004U-1.5
0.012-0.099R
Endrin
0.17NJ-4.1
0.04U-11
0.0005U-0.22*
0.028-0.078
0.004U-0.25
0.004U-0.13R

aMonitoring was done for the period 7/18/88 - 8/8/88, using EPA-600/4-87-006 method for the "Determination of Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Ambient Air". The method uses a high-volume particulate sampler consisting of a glass fiber filter with a polyurethane foam backup absorbant cartridge.

bThese data are taken from Ecology and Environment, Inc., CERCLA Site Inspection Report, 1989, and include data points that QA/QC indicated were useable but estimated values.

(*) Estimated (J-flagged), (+); R is not useable.


TABLE 3. Organochloride Contaminants (ppm) in On-Site Upland Soil Samples at United Heckathorn

Sample Number
Aldrin
4,4-DDD
4,4-DDE
o,p-DDT
4,4-DDT
Dieldrin
Endrin

LF-3-4
<0.05
2.87
1.618
2.66
12.4
0.922
<0.16
LF-3A
<0.001
1.32
1.2
1.78
8.4
0.393
<0.0032
LF-7-6
<0.005
4.52
1.2
2.22
0.108
3.85
<0.016
LF-7-11
<0.025
1.48
<0.04
0.0252
2.25
0.291
<0.08
LF-8-4
1.16
74.6
24.4
<1.8
103
19.9
1500
LF-8-6
<0.5
110
4.93
<1.8
2.96
5.2
327
LF-10-3
0.145
3.391
0.402
<0.018
2.72
0.629
5.71
LF-10-9
2.55
8.78
3.07
3.81
6.09
4.24
<0.016
LF-13-4
<0.001
0.463
0.132
1.2
6.61
0.0457
<0.0032
LF-13-6
<0.05
35.2
3.29
2.27
8.79
6.65
<0.16
LF-14-4*
4.68
1,010
266
2,090
12,100
106
<1.6
LF-14-6*
142
3,150
713
4,060
31,600
1,320
<8
LF-14-11*
<0.001
0.255
0.0642
0.262
2.21
0.0621
<0.0032
LF-17,5-5.5
<0.005
0.14
0.0988
0.459
1.15
0.00827
<0.016
LF-17,7-7.5
<0.005
0.481
0.251
1.13
6.233
0.00368
<0.016
LF-18-4
0.497
8.86
1.93
20.6
142
1.2
<0.16
LF-19-11
<0.0005
0.0607
0.0167
0.146
1.25
0.0013
<0.0016
LF-23,3-3.5
<0.01
0.232
0.14
0.755
2.884
0.0271
<0.032
LF-23,8.5-9
<0.001
0.0196
0.0021
0.66
1.92
<0.0016
<0.0032
LF-24,8.5-9
<0.05
0.264
0.0467
0.617
1.92
0.0907
<0.16
LF-24,13.5-14
<0.0005
0.042
0.018
0.0315
1.94
<0.0008
<0.0016
LF-27-6
4.56
139
3.28
23.1
29
11.3
<0.16
P-NORTH
0.233
33.4
23.1
126
630
15.4
<0.16
P-SOUTH
1.81
49.3
12
37.6
107
4.24
28.8

Soil boring samples are designated with location and depth, e.g., LF-14-6 indicates that the sample was taken from location 14, depth 6 feet. Data are from Levine Fricke, "Field Data Report for United Heckathorn," 1990.

The lefthand column gives the sample designation for all samples with DDT concentrations greater than 1 ppm.

Twenty-four out of 87 Upland samples contained more than 1 ppm DDT.

*Excavated in Emergency Response, 11/90.

The concentration of total DDT is a combination of the individual concentrations of o,p-DDT, 4,4'-DDT and its persistent metabolites 4,4'-DDD and 4,4'-DDE. The range of total DDT concentrations in on-site soils at different depths is summarized in Table 4. The complete data appear in Table 3.

Table 4. Range of Total DDT-Equivalent Concentrations in On-Site Upland Soil Found at the United Heckathorn Sitea

Location and Sample Code
Concentration (ppm)
Minimum
Maximum

Near former Building 1 (LF-14)
2
39,523b
Near railroad hopper (LF-18)
--
173b
Existing train scale (LF-7, LF-8)
4
203b
Former train scale (LF-3)
--
20c

a Data are from Levine-Fricke, "Field Data Report for United Heckathorn Site Richmond, CA," February, 1990.

b Results before 11/90 Emergency Removal Action

c Results after remediation; before remediation, levels of up to 440,000 ppm (44 percent) DDT in soil were detected at five feet below ground level.

An earlier site characterization analyzed heavy metals as well as chlorinated compounds in upland soils and Lauritzen Canal sediments (Harding-Lawson Associates, February, 1986). In those studies, the data from soil sample analysis were inaccurately compared with published total threshold limit concentrations (TTLC), which are listed in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, leading to the conclusion that the heavy metal concentration in upland soil was not hazardous. The lead concentration was well above the TTLC value of 1,000 mg/kg (ppm) in a 1.5-foot boring near a former United Heckathorn building (2,800 ppm), and in a test pit (1,200 ppm). It should be noted that TTLC values were designed for the identification of disposal sites for soils that are to be removed, not for soils left in place. They were not to be construed as "safe" or "clean-up" levels.

Title 22 also specifies that wastes must be below soluble threshold limit concentrations (STLC) and TTLC values in order to be classified as non-hazardous for disposal. To determine the amount of contamination that would be mobile or leachable, the Waste Extraction Test (WET) is performed. The quantity of contamination extracted in the WET test may not exceed the published STLC values, even if the total amount is below the TTLC, for a waste to be considered non-hazardous. Since WET test data were not reported, it must be assumed that the total amount of metal in upland soil is potentially mobile. The fact that metals have been found in off-site Lauritzen Canal sediments suggests that these metals have migrated from the site and are of concern:

  1. lead was above 100 ppm in 14 out of 23 borings or pits, and above 5 ppm in 19 out of 23 samples (the STLC for lead is 5.0 mg/L).


  2. Copper was above 25 ppm in 22 of 23 samples, (the STLC for copper is 25 mg/L).


  3. zinc was above 250 ppm in 10 of 23 samples, (the STLC for zinc is 250 mg/L).


  4. nickel was above 20 ppm in 22 of 23 samples (the STLC for nickel is 20 mg/L).


  5. arsenic was above 5 ppm in 19 of 23 samples (the STLC for arsenic is 5.0 mg/L).


  6. Cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc could all be above their respective STLC values in a 1.5-foot boring near the former United Heckathorn building. All but mercury and zinc could still be above their STLC values at 8.5 - 9.0 feet.

Embankment of Lauritzen Canal:

Results of sampling done at the Lauritzen Canal embankment appear in Table 5. That sampling was done after the canal was dredged in 1985 - 86 under a permit issued by the U. S. Army Corp of Engineers. Embankment soils with more than one ppm chlorinated pesticides extend for a distance of approximately 1,200 feet along a corridor from the head of the Lauritzen Canal southward to the ship berth. Analysis showed that extremely high concentrations of chlorinated pesticide exist on the embankment in intertidal areas near the site of former United Heckathorn Building 1 (up to 1,000,000 ppm or pure DDT at E-21). The concentrations of organochlorine compounds decrease with distance away from the former United Heckathorn building along the embankment south towards the mouth of the Lauritzen Canal. The concentration also tended to decrease with depth.

The embankment under the railroad tracks near the site of former United Heckathorn Building 1 has been known to contain DDT concentrations ranging from 65,049 ppm to 310,560 ppm in an area where the soil appeared cream colored. Removal of the embankment soils and riprap containing such high concentrations of DDT was ordered by DTSC, but was not carried out.

After EPA assumed "lead agency" status in August 1990, it issued an Emergency Cleanup Order. In November 1990, the order was carried out (see Site Description and History). The soils in the vicinity of samples marked with an asterisk on Table 5 have been removed.

Groundwater:

The historical groundwater elevation of the site was within the bay mud at about sea level since the area was originally marshland. Filling the marshland caused a consolidation of the bay mud and a rise in the static groundwater elevation in some places. The thickness of the water-saturated area within the fill is no more than 18 inches, and in some areas there is no groundwater (Harding Lawson Associates, 1986). Groundwater elevations vary widely across the site, ranging from about 0 to 4.7 feet mean sea level.

Tides influence three of the ten groundwater monitoring wells on-site. Those three groundwater monitoring wells are on the western and northern sides of the site, relatively close to the Lauritzen Canal. Groundwater flow at the site is highly complex, but seepage into the canal has been estimated at 465 gallons/day at low tide, and 326 gallons/day at high tide (Harding Lawson Associates, 1986). Thus, groundwater carrying contaminants is estimated to continually enter the Lauritzen Canal, where contaminants may accumulate in sediments. However, since no actual measurements have been taken, the reported value is an estimate based on calculations using groundwater concentrations, field permeability data, and other such measurements as the average saturated thickness of fill.

TABLE 5. Organochloride Contaminants (ppm) in On-Site Samples of Embankment of Lauritzen Canal at United Heckathorn Site

Sample Number
Aldrin
4,4-DDD
4,4-DDE
o,p-DDT
4,4-DDT
Dieldrin
Endrin

E-1S
<0.005
0.759
0.437
0.383
5.29
0.0304
<0.016
E-2S
<0.005
4.8
16.3
8.42
72.7
<0.008
<0.016

E-2D

<0.005
0.0845
0.0479
0.258
1.36
<0.008
<0.016
E-3S
4.07
52.7
21.6
119
540
16.5
<1.6
E-3D
<0.05
8.8
1.55
4.6
25.6
3.32
<0.16
E-4S*
<0.5
75.7
11.2
87.4
712
8.5
<1.6
E-4D*
<5
886
343
1,990
13,900
82.4
<16

E-8S

<0.05
1.09
0.808
1.05
4.12
0.362
<0.16
E-8D
<0.05
6.92
4.4
2.95
15.8
1.78
<0.16
E-9S
<0.005
2.12
2.62
1.85
8.74
0.196
<0.016
E-9D
<0.005
0.695
2.13
1.35
6.9
0.107
<0.016
T-1AS*
146
4,750
1,220
8,320
45,500
940
<160
T-1AD*
9.7
353
127
1,000
4,990
59.7
<1.6
T-1CS*
28.2
2,670
24,500
5,620
54,700
250
<16

T-1CD*

128
5,630
1,820
12,600
61,400
858
<160
T-2AS
<0.005
2.16
2.39
4.15
17.2
0.562
<0.016
T-2AD
<0.005
1.57
2.51
4.31
23.8
0.304
<0.016
T-2BS
<0.0005
0.264
0.0328
0.277
2.93
0.0299
<0.0016
T-3AS
<0.005
0.98
1.03
0.982
6.92
0.369
<0.016
T-3AD
<0.005
0.209
0.174
0.219
1.09
0.0601
<0.016
T-3BS
<0.005
5.37
1.55
7037
87.8
0.639
<0.016
T-3CS
<0.005
0.96
0.728
0.534
3.08
0.227
<0.016
CREAM 11/27*
<5
3,380
889
6,180
54,600
510
<16
CREAM 12/12*
<50
18,200
2,560
19,800
270,000
1,050
<160
WHITE
<0.05
6.57
1.89
16.9
67.7
0.583
<0.16
Additional Samples Taken Before Emergency Response, 10/90
       
Total DDT
Dieldrin
Endrin
 
E-21-4*      
1,000,000
45,400
ND
 
E-21-18*      
261
2
ND
 
E-21-30*      
18,261
78
ND
 
E-22-4*      
5,059
138
ND
 
E-22-18*      
1,601
31
ND
 
E-22-30*      
776
18
ND
 
E-23-4*      
41,390
ND
ND
 
E-23-18*      
2,307
5
ND
 

Test pits were excavated and two composite samples were taken at depths from 0-4 inches (S for shallow) and from 12-18 inches (D for deep).

Data are from Levine Fricke, "Field Data Report for United Heckathorn," 1990. The lefthand column gives the sample designation for all samples with DDT concentrations greater than 1 ppm.

Twenty-five out of 43 Embankment samples contained more than 1 ppm DDT.

* Excavated in Emergency Response, 11/90.

Groundwater sampling showed the presence of chlorinated pesticides and lead at concentrations exceeding the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in monitoring wells in upland soils and in embankment areas on-site (Harding Lawson Associates, 1986). Groundwater at the site is of naturally poor quality because of high chloride concentrations, and it is not used for either domestic or industrial purposes. Therefore, it is not a direct source for human exposure, but part of a pathway leading to human exposure through eating fish. It will be discussed further only in that context.

B. Off-Site Contamination

Air:

In 1988, Ecology and Environment, Inc., sampled air-soil particulates off site for organochlorine compounds. The contaminants detected were 4,4'-DDT, 4,4'-DDE, 4,4'-DDD, dieldrin, and endrin. Table 6 summarizes results where DDT and its stable metabolites, DDE and DDD, were combined as total DDT from two locations. The table provides average, minimum, and maximum concentrations for DDT, DDE, DDD, endrin, dieldrin, and the average Total DDT concentration. It shows the data from two off-site locations at the southern end of the residential area, which is downwind from the northern boundary of the site. Those locations are 100 yards north of the site, at Cutting Boulevard and Fourth Street, and 700 yards northeast of the site in the residential neighborhood.

Table 6. Off-Site Airborne Contaminant Concentrations (ng/m3) at Southern End of Residential Area

Contaminant
Cutting Blvd. & 4th St.
6th & Virginia Sts.
Southern Shoreline of LTRC (Background)

4,4'-DDE
0.4 (0.14, 0.58)
0.5 (0.31-0.84)
0.102 (0.05-0.18)
4,4'-DDD
0.1 (0.025, 0.23)
0.3 (0.18-0.45)
0.037 (0.02-0.04)
4,4'-DDT
0.6 (0.39, 0.77)
1.1 (0.4-0.75)
0.096 (0.05-0.15)
Total DDT
1.07
2.0
0.24
Dieldrin
0.26**
0.235 (0.25, 0.22)
0.028 (0.012-0.038)
Endrin
0.03 (0.01, 0.039)
0.045 (0.02, 0.07)
0.011 (0.004-0.022)

aData are from Ecology and Environment, Inc., CERCLA Site Inspection Report, 1989.
bMonitoring was done for the period 7/18/88 - 8/8/88, using EPA-600/4-87-006 method for the "Determination of Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Ambient Air." The method uses a high-volume particulate sampler consisting of a glass fiber filter with a polyurethane foam backup absorbant cartridge.
**Only one data point was useable according to QA/QC procedures.

Lauritzen Canal Sediments:

 

The most commonly detected chemicals in off-site canal sediments were aldrin, 4,4'-DDD, 4,4'-DDE, o,p'-DDT, 4,4'-DDT, and dieldrin (see Table 7 and Figure 3). Contaminant concentrations were highest at the head of the canal (the northern end near Cutting Boulevard) and decreased toward the mouth of the canal. Total DDT concentrations in the Lauritzen Canal sediments at a depth of six inches were reported to range from 100 ppm (LC 2-6) at the northern end to 5.2 ppm (LC 11-6) at the southern end of the canal. An earlier sampling of Lauritzen Canal sediments by Harding Lawson Associates found up to 700 ppm DDT in the northern portion of the canal.

A composite sample from the top six inches of sediment indicated a concentration of 51 ppm DDT (Harding Lawson Associates, 1986). The canal was dredged in 1984-1985 from the electrical substation near former United Heckathorn Building 1 southwards to the Santa Fe Channel. The analysis for heavy metals in canal sediments, which was performed as part of a site characterization, revealed that arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium, and zinc appear to be present above their respective STLC values in composite sediment samples taken from several locations in the Lauritzen Canal (Table 8). Although no Waste Extraction Tests were performed, the metals were present at levels below their TTLC values. Their presence in waterborne sediments suggests that the metals may be mobile and may be leaching into the Lauritzen Canal.

Biota:

Investigation on June 29, 1960, of DDT concentrations in dead fish from the Lauritzen Canal showed that six fish had an average of 16 ppm DDT, while water samples contained 0.06 ppm DDT (Memo to Fred Kemp, Warden, California Department of Fish and Game, 1960; EPA Reference 12). That value may indicate bioaccumulation of the pesticide (Section 66699, Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations lists "DDT, DDE, DDD, Dieldrin, Aldrin, and Endrin as Organic Persistent and Bioaccumulative Substances."), as well as toxicity.

TABLE 7. Organochloride Contaminants (ppm) in On-Site Sediments from the Lauritzen Canal at the United Heckathorn Site

Sample Number
Aldrin
4,4-DDD
4,4-DDE
o,p-DDT
4,4-DDT
Dieldrin
Endrin

LC-1-6
<0.05
10.8
0.757
0.797
6.69
1.37
<0.16
LC-1-24
<0.05
44.7
2.06
1.043
3.21
7.3
<0.16
LC-1-24X
<0.05
101
7075
0.625
8.4
14.2
<0.16
LC-2-6
<0.05
42.9
<0.10
<0.15
57.6
48.6
<0.15
LC-2-72*
<0.05
2.48
<0.10
<0.15
2.45
0.43
0.15
LC-3-6
<0.0005
14.5
3.49
1.73
12.6
2.47
<0.0016
LC-4-6
<0.0005
1.18
0.0803
0.56
4.25
0.268
<0.00016
LC-4-24
0.0219
2.06
0.31
0.176
3.35
0.468
<0.016
LC-4-36
<0.05
8.34
<0.10
<0.15
4.15
1.54
<0.15
LC-5-6
0.0337
19.6
0.549
1.57
25.9
3.15
<0.16
LC-5-24
0.0644
15.4
0.428
0.34
8.36
2.65
<0.0016
LC-5-36
<0.05
33.3
<0.10
<0.15
17.2
3.71
<0.15
LC-6-6
<0.05
1.79
0.0761
0.359
7.51
0.377
<0.16
LC-6-24
0.176
14
0.588
0.85
17.8
2.06
<0.016
LC-6-36
<0.05
45.2
<0.10
<0.15
33.5
5.15
<0.15
LC-8-6
<0.05
7.17
0.273
0.0112
4.064
1.274
<0.16
LC-8-24
0.0796
11.6
0.448
0.412
11.8
1.775
<0.16
LC-8-36
<0.05
26.9
<0.10
<0.15
20.8
2.66
<0.15
LC-11-6
<0.05
2.41
0.151
0.0296
2.62
0.432
<0.16
LC-11-24
0.0504
27.7
1.23
0.128
14.3
4.26
<0.16
LC-11-36
<0.10
107
<0.20
<0.30
42.6
10.4
<0.30
LC-16-6
<0.005
1.39
0.0988
0.0296
1.53
0.226
<0.016

Sediments were collected from borings of approximately 6 to 36 inches and designated by location and depth, such that LC-16-6 is from location 16 and depth of 6 inches.

Data are from Levine Fricke, "Field Data Report for United Heckathorn", 1990. The lefthand column gives the sample designated for all samples with DDT concentrations greater than 1 ppm.

Twenty-two out of 57 Lauritzen Canal samples contained more than 1 ppm DDT.

* Sample label written as LC-2-6 1/22 on laboratory sheets.


Table 8. Off-Site Concentration of Metals in Lauritzen Canal Sediments at United Heckathorn Sitea

Metals
Metal Concentration (ppm or mg/kg)b
STLC Values (mg/l)c
TTLC Values (mg/kg)c

Arsenic
6.6
5
500
Barium
50
100
10,000
Cadmium
1.2
1
100
Chromium
34
5
500
Cobalt
6.3
80
8,000
Copper
52
25
2,500
Lead
59
5
1,000
Mercury
1.8
0.2
20
Nickel
31
20
2,000
Vanadium
26
24
2,400
Zinc
270
250
5,000

aFrom Harding Lawson Associates. "Site Characterization and Remedial Action Plan - Former United Heckathorn Site, Richmond, CA." February, 1986.

bComposite sample from top six inches sediment from locations S10 Through S14.

cSoluble threshold limit concentration (STLC) value and total threshold limit concentration (TTLC) values are given in Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations as criteria for Identification of Hazardous and Extremely Hazardous Waste. These values used to identify wastes which require disposal in a hazardous waste site. TTLC values measure the total amount of hazardous material, while STLC values are a measure of the amount which can leach into groundwater, as indicated by the Waste Extraction Test (WET). See p. 21 of text.

There has been only one study in which benthic organisms in the Lauritzen Canal and in the Santa Fe Channel were sampled. Its conclusion that DDT bioconcentration was not occurring is considered inaccurate because the study was flawed in sampling methodology, viability of sampled organisms, and interpretation of data (Mike Rugg, California DFG, personal communication, May 1990; Chip Demerest, NOAA, personal communication, August 1990). The data nevertheless demonstrate that much DDT uptake had occurred in benthic organisms, such as terebellid worms (Aqua Terra Tech., Appendix E in the Site Characterization and Remedial Action Plan, 1984; Harding Lawson Associates, 1986). This study reported high mortality among shrimp and worm species, possibly due to DDT toxicity. The terebellids were reported to have a total DDT concentration of 100 ppm, an extremely high concentration (Harding Lawson Associates, 1986). The sediment samples that were used to determine the DDT concentration of sediments in the worm's environment for calculating a bioconcentration factor were taken during a study during April and May the year before (1984). Therefore, the locations of sediment samples relative to the worm were imprecise. However, despite the extremely high DDT concentrations in the worm and in the sediment, the small difference between them led to a conclusion that bioaccumulation was not occurring. On this basis, routine dredging to allow ocean-going vessels to enter the Lauritzen Canal was permitted, and the dredged sediments were dumped near Alcatraz. High DDT concentrations were also reported for a mussel (26.2 ppm), a crab (5.67 ppm), and a clam (12.85 ppm). Although the report suggested that those organisms accumulated DDT from other locations, the terrebellid worm with 100 ppm was certainly a permanent resident.

The United Anglers fishing organization collected a variety of fish in the Parr and Lauritzen Canals in June 1986. Whole body analysis of a shiner surf perch by the California Department of Fish and Game showed a concentration of DDT at 13.6 ppm, which exceeds the U. S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) action level of 5 ppm. Lower concentrations of DDT were found in other fish species (Tetra Tech, Inc., Sampling and Analysis Plan, Reference 22a in EPA file).

The State Mussel Watch (SMW) program is designed to identify specific areas where toxic substances are found at higher than normal background concentrations. The chosen methodology is designed to overcome some of the problems described in the previous studies that are associated with analyzing only resident mussels. Relatively uncontaminated mussels from areas such as Bodega Head are transplanted to sediments in study areas, such as places in the Richmond Inner Harbor Area and allowed to accumulate DDT for two to six months. Then contaminant levels are compared to those existing in a portion of the group of mussels before transplantation. In successive years (1984-85, 1985-86, and 1986-87), the SMW recorded the highest DDT concentrations ever measured in the history of the SMW program in mussels in the Richmond Inner Harbor Area, which included the Lauritzen Canal and the Santa Fe Channel (Hayes and Phillips, 1986, 1987; Stevens, 1988). Dieldrin had the highest value, and aldrin the second-highest value ever measured by the SMW in mussels transplanted to the end of the Santa Fe Channel (Hayes and Phillips, 1986). The highest measurement in trans-planted mussels was 66.8 ppm dry weight of total DDT (Stevens, 1988). The highest measurement in resident edible mussels was reported to be 2.83 ppm wet weight of total DDT in Lauritzen Canal mussels that were collected in January 1986 (Tetra Tech, Inc., Sampling and Analysis Plan, Reference 22a in EPA file). The location of sampling led the State Mussel Watch reports to conclude that the major source of DDT to the harbor is the former United Heckathorn Company plant site on the Lauritzen Canal (Hayes and Phillips, 1986, 1987; Stevens, 1988). The reports further state that elevated or very elevated concentrations of aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, alpha-hexachlorohexane (HCH), delta-HCH, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, toxaphene, and PCBs were found in tissue from mussels collected in the Richmond Inner Harbor.

A study on DDT metabolite concentrations in livers of migratory birds at Richmond Bay indirectly demonstrates that fish and mussels in the area have a high DDT and/or DDT metabolite content (Ohlendorf et al., 1991). In that study, surf scoters were collected from two points in the South Bay and from three points in the North Bay. Scoters are migratory birds that winter on Brooks Island at the entrance to the Richmond Inner Harbor and that eat fish and mussels (Ohlendorf et al., 1991). Scoters collected in March from Richmond Harbor had the highest concentration of DDE and PCBs of all the scoters collected around the San Francisco Bay. The birds collected from Richmond Harbor also had the highest increase in DDE concentration (five times) for the time period from January to March, when they wintered at Brooks Island about a mile outside Richmond Harbor. The DDE and PCB content of scoter breast muscles from Richmond Harbor were compared to concentrations reported from a study done on scoters in Oregon and Washington in January 1985. The Richmond Harbor scoters contained about twice the DDE and PCB concentrations of scoters with the highest DDE content in the Oregon-Washington study (Ohlendorf et al., 1991).

Soil:

No soil sampling has been done off-site.

Surface Water:

Harding Lawson performed surface water sampling in 1984 and found no organochlorine pesticides above the detection limit of 0.5 ug/liter.

C. Quality Assurance and Quality Control

In preparing this health assessment, ATSDR relied on the information provided in the referenced documents, and assumes that adequate quality assurance and quality control measures were followed with regard to chain-of-custody, laboratory procedures, and data reporting. The validity of the analysis for this health assessment is determined by the comprehensiveness and reliability of the referenced information. The ATSDR Cooperative Agreement staff have not always agreed that the analysis methods justified all the conclusions reached by authors of previous documents and have so stated in this health assessment.

D. Physical and Other Hazards

The site is fenced, but during business hours the gates are open and traffic enters and exits regularly. Cranes and heavy construction equipment in use on the site present physical hazards. An electrical substation that is present is reported to be disconnected. An operational electrical cable runs under the dock next to the railroad tracks, and that is a hazard. Pilings in the canal and piles of scrap metal may also present physical hazards to persons working on site. Although the kind of hazards related to current loading and unloading operations of the LTRC should be covered by occupational health and safety authorities, it is unclear which physical hazards are part of current operations, and which ones are left over from the operations that created the hazardous waste site.


1. Before 7/19/91, the Department of Toxic Substances Control Was known as the Toxic Substances Control Program within the Department of Health Services. Under a reorganization, the DTSC is now part of the newly formed Cal EPA.

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