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The Koppers Industries Incorporated (KII-F) site is classified as a public health hazard. This classification was made based on the health risks to individuals who may consume contaminated groundwater and fish. Past practices at the KII-F site in Florence, South Carolina have led to contamination of on-site soil and groundwater, and of off-site groundwater, surface water, stream sediments, and fish. Contaminants identified as being of concern include pentachlorophenol, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated dioxins and furans, constituents of creosote, and various metals.

A completed exposure pathway was identified in this public health assessment. After a complaint from a resident in 1980, private drinking water wells in the Day Street Neighborhood were sampled and shown to be contaminated by constituents of creosote. The length of exposure and nature of exposures are not known and cannot be estimated; therefore, past exposures to local residents could not be evaluated. KII-F supplied residents in this neighborhood with municipal water and offered to pay their water bills for one year.

Currently, there are no known human exposures occurring at the KII-F site. However, exposures in the future could result in adverse health effects. Potential exposure pathways were identified for on-site soil and air. Exposures could occur to anyone who may wander onto the site or to on-site workers through ingestion or dermal contact with soil. Adverse health effects from contaminants in air is considered unlikely since the detected concentration of contaminants in air is very low. Potential exposure pathways were also identified for off-site groundwater, soil, surface water and sediment, and fish from contaminated streams. Human exposures could occur through ingestion, inhalation, or through dermal contact with the contaminated media.

Of the media affected by site contaminants, contaminated groundwater represents the major potential route of future human exposure. On-site and off-site groundwater samples have shown contamination by both organic compounds and metals. SCDHEC personnel have expressed concerns for the health of residents living near the site who use private wells as a source of drinking water. SCDHEC has also expressed concern about the lack of sampling data for the public water supply wells downgradient of the site. Sampling of water from the city's wells in February 1988 reported that all chemicals were below detection limits. The Pathways Analyses section identified potential exposure pathways for the private wells in the Old Mars Bluff, the Mustang Drive, and the Day Street neighborhoods. Water samples collected by the EPA and SCDHEC in February 1992 from private wells in these neighborhoods did not detect the presence of site-related contaminants.

On-site soil samples were collected from twelve Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs). Soil samples were obtained from the closed creosote lagoon, the abandoned landfill, the drip track area, the former spray-field, the existing spray-field, and the former pentachlorophenol pond. Various organic compounds and metals were detected in the soil samples. Surface soil samples (zero to three inches) and off-site soil samples were not collected.

Data inadequacies include the following:

  1. The lack of surface soil (0" - 3" in depth) data from on-site and off-site locations.
  2. Soil samples from off-site locations.
  3. Further sampling of fish from streams near the site is needed to fully characterize the possible health effects associated with this route of exposure. In addition, the extent of fishing in streams near the site needs to be established.


  1. Surface soil sampling (0" - 3" in depth) from on-site and off-site locations is needed to better characterize the vertical extent or areal limits of contamination in and around the site. Samples should be collected from both maximally contaminated on-site locations and from off-site locations which represent likely points of exposure.
  2. The site should be restricted to limit opportunities for trespass. Signs should be posted on the fence designating KII-F as an NPL facility.
  3. Further sampling of fish and crayfish is needed from the streams adjoining the site to better characterize the extent of contamination in this media. Additionally, the use of these areas needs to be determined.
  4. Private wells should be periodically sampled to determine the extent, if any, of site-related contamination. No new private wells should be installed on or near the KII-F site. KII-F will be sampling these wells on a semi-annual basis.
  5. Continuous off-site groundwater monitoring should be performed to characterize the extent of groundwater contamination. KII-F is in the process of installing additional off-site monitoring wells south of the facility.
  6. Further work should be done to establish a system of information exchange between SCDHEC and the community around the KII-F site.
  7. In accordance with CERCLA, as amended, the data and information contained in the Koppers Industries, Incorporated Public Health Assessment have been evaluated by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel for appropriate follow-up with respect to health actions. Because the available data indicate that people may be exposed to groundwater contaminants at levels that may cause illness, ATSDR recommended that an immediate private well survey should be performed in areas southwest, south, and southeast of the site. EPA and SCDHEC performed this survey in February 1992. ATSDR suggested that the data be analyzed for site-related contaminants. EPA and SCDHEC performed this analysis in March 1992. In addition, any environmental data generated by subsequent analyses should be reviewed by EPA, SCDHEC, and ATSDR to determine the need for further actions at this site.


The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for the KII-F site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR and/or SCDHEC at and in the vicinity of the site subsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards, but provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. Included is a commitment on the part of ATSDR and/or SCDHEC to follow-up on this plan to ensure that it is implemented.

SCDHEC will work to establish a system of information exchange with the community around the KII-F site. ATSDR and SCDHEC will review any additional data as they become available.


Robert F. Marino, MD, MPH
Director, Division of Health Hazard Evaluation

John F. Brown, DVM, PhD
State Toxicologist

Charles Lewis
Environmental Quality Manager

Lovyst L. Howell
Project Administrator

Douglas Blansit
Research Specialist

Edward Gregory
Data Manager

Yanqing Mo

ATSDR Regional Representatives:

Chuck Pietrosewicz, CHWS
Senior Public Health Advisor

Richard R. Kauffman
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation


This Koppers Industries, Incorporated public health assessment was prepared by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the public health assessment was begun.

Richard R. Kauffman
Technical Project Officer, SPS, RPB, DHAC

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this public health assessment, and concurs with its findings.

Robert C. Williams
Director, DHAC, ATSDR

  1. ATSDR. February 1991. Health Assessment Guidance Manual. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, Georgia.

  2. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. ATSDR/TP-88/02, March 1989.

  3. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Benzene. ATSDR/TP-88/03, May 1989.

  4. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Chromium. ATSDR/TP-88/10, July 1989.

  5. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Copper. ATSDR/TP-90/08, December 1990.

  6. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Creosote. ATSDR/TP-90/09. December 1990.

  7. ATSDR. Draft Toxicological Profile for Cresols: o-Cresol, p-Cresol, m-Cresol. October 1990.

  8. ATSDR. Draft Toxicological Profile for 2,4-Dichlorophenol. October 1990.

  9. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for 2,3,7,8-Tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-Dioxin. ATSDR/TP-88/23. June 1989.

  10. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Ethylbenzene. ATSDR/TP-90/15. December 1990.

  11. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. ATSDR/TP-89/16. December 1989.

  12. ATSDR. Draft Toxicological Profile for Nitrophenols: 2-Nitrophenol, 4-Nitrophenol. October 1990.

  13. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Pentachlorophenol. ATSDR/TP-89/19. December 1989.

  14. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Phenol. ATSDR/TP-89/20. December 1989.

  15. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (15 PAHs listed). ATSDR/TP-90/20. December 1990.

  16. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for 2,4,6-Trichlorophenol. ATSDR/TP-90/28. December 1990.

  17. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures - 1989. Atlanta, 1989.

  18. Environmental Protection Agency. July 1989. Exposure Factors Handbook. EPA Office of Health and Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC. EPA/600/8-89/043.

  19. Keystone Environmental Resources, Inc. for Beazer East, Inc. (formerly Koppers Company, Inc.). December 1990. Final Interim RCRA Facility Investigation Report: Florence, SC Facility SCD 033 353 026. Keystone Environmental Resources, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA.

  20. National Library of Medicine. 1991. Hazardous Substances Databank (HSDB).

  21. National Library of Medicine. 1991. EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database.

  22. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). May 1989. Health Assessment for Koppers Company Incorporated: CERCLIS NO: SCD003353026, Florence, South Carolina. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, Georgia.

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