PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
IOWA ARMY AMMUNITION PLANT
Based on a thorough evaluation of available environmental information, ATSDR concludes that IAAAP should be assigned to the No Apparent Public Health Hazard category for the following reasons:
- Exposure to on-site groundwater does not pose a past, present, or future public health hazard. RDX and other contaminants have been detected at levels above ATSDR comparison values in groundwater underlying IAAAP property. No exposures to groundwater contamination have occurred, however, because IAAAP does not use on-site groundwater as its drinking water source. On-site drinking water received from the Burlington Municipal System meets state and federal drinking water standards.
- Past exposure to off-site groundwater south of IAAAP poses no apparent public health hazard. There is and will be no present or future exposures, so off-site groundwater does not pose a present or future public health hazard. In off-site areas where people may have ingested RDX-contaminated groundwater at levels above health-based guidelines, no public health hazard exists due to the short exposure durations, the low exposure doses, and/or Army remediation efforts. No quantitative measures of potential exposure to contaminated groundwater exists prior to the investigations beginning in 1985 and no evaluation of that interval is given in this assessment. Present and potential future exposures to RDX-contaminated groundwater above health-based guidelines is unlikely, since residences south of IAAAP have been connected to the rural water supply and all off-site drinking water meets state and federal drinking water standards.6
- Past exposure to on- and off-site surface water poses an indeterminate public health hazard. Present and future exposures to on- and off-site surface water pose no apparent public health hazard. IAAAP-contaminated surface water has never been used as a source of drinking water. Public exposure to potentially contaminated surface water is minimal, if it occurs at all, through swimming or wading.
- Exposure to soil at IAAAP does not pose a past, present, or future public health hazard. Some IAAAP soil contains contaminants above ATSDR comparison values, but public exposure (past, present, and future) is not likely, largely because access to contaminated sites is limited and contamination occurs primarily in subsurface soils or industrial areas. In the few contaminated areas that the public may potentially access, the Army has or is in the process of remediating surface soil contamination as necessary to reduce contaminant levels.
- Exposure to IAAAP crops, venison, and beef does not pose a past, present, or future public health hazard. Due to local conditions and the nature of explosives, RDX does not appear to bioaccumulate in IAAAP crops, deer, or cattle. Therefore, no public health hazard exists from the consumption of local biota.
The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for IAAAP contains a description of actions taken and those to be taken, as necessary, by ATSDR, the Army, and EPA at IAAAP and in the vicinity of the installation subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that the public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designated to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions that are completed, being implemented, or planned are as follows:
- Over the past 20 years, the Army has thoroughly investigated the nature and extent of groundwater contamination (OU #3). When RDX was discovered in several off-site private wells, the Army immediately supplied all potentially-at-risk residents with alternate drinking water sources and paid for residents to be connected to the Rathbun Rural Water System supply.
- After monitoring and characterizing IAAAP groundwater contamination, the Army concluded that the most effective way to remediate the contamination is to prevent any further movement of contaminants from soil to groundwater.
- The Army monitored and characterized contaminants in on- and off-site surface waters in the IAAAP vicinity.
- Contaminated wastewater from IAAAP is treated (primarily with settling tanks, filtration, and carbon adsorption) and discharged in accordance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitted outfalls. See Appendix A for site-specific details.
- As described in Appendix A, the Army has initiated remediation actions at IAAAP to remove and treat soils that may impact underlying groundwater. All contaminated soils are being carefully handled to prevent exposure to the general public.
- The northern section of Trench 5 in the Inert Landfill, containing explosive-contaminated wastes, was capped and closed in 1989 in accordance with RCRA Subtitle C guidelines.
- In the spring of 1995, approximately 150 cubic yards of pesticides-contaminated soils were excavated from the former Pesticide Disposal Pit and disposed of at an approved off-site waste disposal facility.
- Also in the spring of 1995, explosives-contaminated soils associated with over 50 abandoned wastewater sumps were excavated. These contaminated soils were temporarily stored in a lined stockpile near the Inert Landfill at IAAAP, and were moved to the on-site soil repository for permanent disposal in the spring of 1997.
- In the fall of 1997, the Army completed construction of a low-permeability cover on the 17-acre Inert Landfill site to prevent infiltration of precipitation in the landfill material and the subsequent transport of contaminants from wastes to groundwater.
- The Line 1 Impoundment and Line 800 Pinkwater Lagoon subsites are considered to be the greatest sources of explosives contamination at IAAAP. As a part of the NTC removal actions for the Line 1 Impoundment and the Line 800 Pinkwater Lagoon, soils have been sampled, analyzed, and segregated according to the risk or contaminant level detected. Depending on the concentration of explosives in the excavated soils, the soils have been placed in one of three areas: in the designated Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU; also known as Trench 7), in the soil repository, or beneath the cap at the Inert Landfill. Soils with the highest contaminant concentrations were stockpiled in the CAMU for treatment at a later date. Soils with lower levels were disposed of in the soil repository, while soils with the lowest levels were disposed of as random fill beneath the Inert Landfill cap. The excavation and segregation of soils from the Line 1 Impoundment and the Line 800 Lagoon was completed in August 1997.
- The Army will monitor all regions of groundwater contamination and repair or up-grade interim activities (e.g., supplying bottled water to local residents) as needed.
- The Army will continue to collect and analyze groundwater data from the Army's monitoring wells, private wells, and municipal wells.
- ATSDR will review groundwater data as they become available and will reevaluate Public Health Assessment conclusions if and when groundwater quality, use, and/or exposure scenarios change. This review will include potential radionuclide contamination in IAAAP groundwater.
- The Army will continue to monitor and further characterize on- and off-site surface waters in the vicinity of IAAAP.
- ATSDR will review potential radionuclide contamination in IAAAP surface waters.
- The Army is in the process of developing a final remediation action for IAAAP soils (OU #1). The Army plans to treat all contaminated soils stockpiled in the CAMU, including:
- Approximately 9,000 cubic yards of soil contaminated with explosives.
- Approximately 600 cubic yards of soil contaminated with explosives plus metals.
- Approximately 200 cubic yards of soil contaminated with semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs).
- Approximately 300 cubic yards of soil contaminated with radionuclides.
- The Army is planning NTC removal actions to address an estimated 1,000 cubic yards of VOC-contaminated soils at the former Fire Training Pit. The Army recently selected on-site low-temperature thermal desorption as the remediation technology to complete this cleanup.
- ATSDR will review potential radionuclide contamination in IAAAP soils.
This report was prepared under the direction and supervision of:
W. Mark Weber, Ph.D.
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Gary Campbell, Ph.D.
Environmental Health Scientist
Federal Facilities Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Assistance in the preparation of this report was provided by:
Eastern Research Group
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