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There are several paths of exposure to hazardous substances from this site which constitute a public health hazard:

  1. Six private wells near the site were found contaminated with chromium. However, the present levels of contamination are not a public health concern. Most of these wells have connected to public water supplies.

  2. Because of the large amount of chromium lost at the Boomsnub facility workers at that plant may have had significant levels of exposure. The plant is no longer in operation. No information has been found to assess any potential health effect.

  3. The groundwater plume of chromium and VOCs emanating from this site is a threat to a public water supply for more than 50,000 people. The plume containment and source removal efforts by environmental agencies may prevent this exposure pathway from being completed.


Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendations

  1. Environmental agencies should continue their efforts to contain the plume of contamination and remove and control the sources of contamination.

  2. Municipal water supplies threatened by the groundwater plume of contamination should continue to be closely monitored for chromium and VOCs.

Site Characterization Recommendations

  1. An area-wide investigation should be conducted to identify all sources of chromium and VOCs.

  2. A door-to-door survey should be conducted to identify all existing and abandoned wells in or close to the identified path of the plume. People with private wells should be encouraged to connect to the available city water supply.

Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) Recommendations

The data and information developed for the Boomsnub/Airco Preliminary Public Health Assessment have been evaluated by the ATSDR Health Activities Recommendation Panel (HARP) for follow-up activities. The panel offers the following recommendations:

  1. A community education effort should be undertaken in Clark County to inform area physicians and the public about the health implications of this site.


The Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) for this site contains a description of actions to be taken by ATSDR, WDOH, and other governmental agencies subsequent to the completion of this assessment. The purpose of the plan 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. ATSDR and WDOH will reevaluate and may expand the PHAP when additional data becomes available. Future environmental and/or health outcome data may determine the need for additional actions at this site.

Actions by WDOH

  1. Evaluate the educational needs regarding the site of the area's community and health professionals.

  2. Develop educational materials, where appropriate, to inform the community and/or health care professionals about the health implications of the site. For the community, written materials could be supplemented with community meetings. For health professionals, written materials, as well as training seminars, may be presented.

  3. The educational effort, which has already begun, should be completed by this fall.

  4. Work with other agencies to identify existing and abandoned wells in or close to the identified path of the plume.

  5. Evaluate additional groundwater monitoring results as they become available.

  6. Provide assistance to the EPA through reviewing the effectiveness of remedial actions considered for the site.

Actions by EPA

  1. On April 17, EPA began a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the site. The investigation will determine the full nature and extent of contamination remaining at the site, and will evaluate alternatives for final cleanup actions. The RI/FS will also help determine if there are sources other than Boomsnub and Airco contributing to the groundwater contamination in the area.

  2. The investigation will begin with about three weeks of groundwater sampling. Eighty-one wells, both on and off site, will be tested for contaminants including metals, semivolatile organic compounds, polychorinated biphenyls, and pesticides, in addition to chromium and volatile organic compounds which are known to contaminate groundwater in the vicinity of the site. Groundwater coming into the pump and treat system and effluent, treated groundwater going out from the system, will be tested as well.


Robert A. Poss
Public Health Advisor
Washington State Department of Health

John S. Morris, R.S.
Public Health Advisor
Washington State Department of Health

John Grendon, D.V.M.
Washington State Department of Health

James W. White, B.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Washington State Department of Health


Frank Westrum, R.S., M.S., M.P.H.
Section Head
Hazardous Waste Section
Washington State Department of Health

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Gregory D. Thomas
Senior Regional Representative
Office of Assistant Administrator
EPA Region 10

Ric Robinson
Public Health Advisor
EPA Region 10

ATSDR Technical Project Officer:

Richard R. Kauffman
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
State Program Section


This Boomsnub/Airco Public Health Assessment was prepared by the Washington Department of Health 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, M.S.
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DHAC)

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

Robert C. Williams, P.E., DEE
Director, DHAC, ATSDR


  1. EPA's National Priorities List notification of January 1994.

  2. EPA's Superfund Fact Sheet for Boomsnub/Airco Site dated May 18, 1994.

  3. EPA's Action Memorandum for a removal action at Boomsnub signed May 13, 1994.

  4. Ecology's Fact Sheet for Boomsnub/Pacific Northwest Plating dated September 1993.

  5. Ecology Inspection Report of Airco Industrial Gases dated July 23, 1992.

  6. Phase II Investigation Airco Industrial Gases October 1992.

  7. Yates and Yates, 1986. 1986 Washington State Yearbook: A Guide to Government in the Evergreen State, Information Press, Sisters, Oregon.

  8. PNRBE, 1970. Columbia-North Pacific Region Comprehensive Framework Study of Water and Related Lands, Pacific Northwest River Basins Commission, Vancouver, Washington.

  9. USDA, 1972. Soil Survey of Clark County, Washington.

  10. ATSDR's Toxicological Profile for Chromium, April 1993.

  11. EPA Superfund Fact Sheet Boomsnub/Airco June 20, 1994.

  12. Washington State Department of Health Fact Sheet Chromium in Drinking Water June 1994.

  13. Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1A (Washington) [machine-readable data files]. Prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington, DC: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.

  14. Clark County Well Survey Database. January 1989.

  15. Riggan's Mortality Tapes. National Cancer Institute and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  16. Clark County Childhood Cancer Incidence Study. June 1989.

  17. Ecology letter by Dan Alexanian, Hydrogeologist, February 22, 1994.

  18. Ecology's Remedial Action Order No. DE 90-S151 signed May 7, 1990.

  19. Ecology's letter from Mary Beth Hayes to Thor Cutler of April 8, 1994.

  20. EPA's Site Progress Report of June 21, 1994.

  21. Attachment A Potentially Liable Persons (PLPs) for VOCs in Groundwater In the Vicinity of the Airco Property.

  22. EPA's Final Work Plan, Revision II, for Soil Vapor Survey at Airco Gases June 17, 1994.

  23. Ater, Wynne, Hewitt, Dodson & Skerritt letter of December 6, 1993.

  24. SAIC Groundwater Monitoring and Treatment System Performance report June 1994.

  25. Boomsnub Groundwater Treatment System Engineering Report Revised June 27, 1994.

  26. SAIC's Final Work Plan Soil Boring Installations at the Boomsnub Pacific Northwest Plating Facility Vancouver, Washington, February 22, 1994.

  27. EPA's Community Relations Plan Boomsnub/Airco October 18, 1994.

  28. Washington Department of Health News Release of July 20, 1994.

  29. Results of Hydrogeologic Investigation near Boomsnub/Airco Facilities for Clark Public Utilities Clark County, Washington August 31, 1994.

  30. EPA's Superfund Bulletin December 1, 1994.

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