PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE
On the basis of its evaluation of available environmental information, ATSDR concluded thatexposures to contaminants in groundwater, surface soil, and local plants and animals harvested forconsumption are below levels that would cause adverse health effects. Since exposure to low levelsof contamination occurred in the past and may still be possible, ATSDR has categorized this site asno apparent public health hazard. Because of the Air Force's education efforts, accessrestrictions and monitoring programs at Andersen AFB, contact with UXO and the possibility ofharm is remote. ATSDR has categorized exposure to this physical hazard as no apparent publichealth hazard. In evaluating past exposures to radon in on-base housing, ATSDR concluded thatthese exposures posed an indeterminate health hazard because of the lack of monitoring data priorto 1987 (definitions of categories are provided in the glossary in Appendix E). Conclusions regarding media- and site-specific exposures are as follows.
- No apparent public health hazard exists from volatile organic compounds (associated withmilitary operations and activities) detected in the past in three production wells that supplyAndersen AFB with drinking water. ATSDR evaluated exposure to the detectedconcentrations and determined that no apparent public health hazard exists because lowlevels of contamination and short durations of exposure would not be sufficient to causeadverse health effects. Current and future exposure to all groundwater contaminants ofconcern (TCE, PCE, carbon tetrachloride, and lead) above levels of health concern isunlikely. Andersen AFB has implemented remedial actions to remove groundwatercontamination and continues to closely monitor groundwater quality in its nine productionwells serving the base water supply.
- Consumption of drinking water from known off-base water supplies poses no public health hazards associated with Andersen AFB because testing has revealed that contamination has not impacted off-site municipal or private drinking water supply wells.
- Due to the proximity of private and municipal wells serving communities in the vicinity ofthe base, Andersen AFB continues to monitor off base groundwater plumes to ensure thatthese wells do not become contaminated.
- Although surface soil at certain locations at Andersen AFB contained contaminants(primarily VOCs, SVOCs, total petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, and metals) abovescreening levels, there is no completed pathway of exposure since the contamination islocated in restricted access areas, areas of heavy vegetation growth and frequently occurs insubsurface soils which limits the opportunity for contact. Successful cleanup or removal ofcontamination and deed restrictions will prevent harmful exposures on land that will bereturned to the government of Guam for public use.
- An encounter with a UXO item could possibly occur in the Northwest Field disposal areas.The probability of a hazardous encounter has been reduced through the current educationalprogram and access restrictions at Andersen. No accidents involving UXO have beenreported to date. Historical data suggest that the probability of an encounter resulting indetonation is limited to instances where the UXO is actively disturbed, such as beinghandled, tampered with or dug into during excavation.
- In the past, naturally-occurring radon levels in the indoor air of on-base housing units wereabove EPA's recommended action level of 4 pCi/L. The full extent of this past exposurepathway is unknown and therefore the hazards associated with potential exposures areuncertain. The Air Force has renovated 755 homes for radon abatement (as of May 2000).Only a few housing units recently tested contained elevated levels (between 4 and 20 pCi/L)of radon. The Air Force continues its radon monitoring and abatement program, and istaking action to ensure that base housing meets health guidelines established for radon.
The three Northern communities (Yigo, Dededo, and Tamuning) bordering Andersen AFBproperty contain approximately 47% of the islands population. Yigo and Dededo arelocated within a mile from military property and their water supplies are downgradient ofknown groundwater contamination plumes underlying Andersen AFB. A groundwaterplume from an unknown source appears to be originating from an area near the MARBOAnnex. Continued monitoring of groundwater contamination by both the Air Force andGuam regulatory agencies is critical to ensure that the water resources that off-basecommunities rely upon is protected from contamination.
No apparent public health hazard exists (past, current, or future) from the consumption of local biota collected on- or off-base at Andersen AFB.
It is unlikely that a harmful outcome would occur during an incidental encounter. However,prudence suggests that education, access restrictions and implementation of a monitoringplan will further reduce the likelihood of a health hazard. Due to the implementation ofeducational programs, access restrictions and ongoing monitoring efforts, harmful contactwith UXO is remote and does not pose a public health hazard.
- The Air Force and Guam regulatory agencies should continue frequent monitoring ofgroundwater contamination that has the potential to impact private and municipal watersupplies in the vicinity of Andersen AFB. Responsible agencies should provide closeoversight of new drinking water well installation and provide community access toinformation on water quality and procedures for getting private well water tested.
- Deed restrictions should be implemented to avoid future contact with any remainingcontaminated soils prior to land transfer. The Air Force should ensure the integrity of the soilcover prior to land transfer to the Guam government. If deed restrictions change or soilcover removed or disturbed in a way that may result in contact with contaminated soils,ATSDR recommends that this exposure pathway be reevaluated.
- The Air Force should continue educational efforts on UXO awareness and injury prevention directed toward recreational users of the Northwest fields.
- The Air Force should continue ongoing abatement efforts, and ensure that radon gas iswithin acceptable limits before allowing building occupancy. Information on radon healthhazards should be made available to on-base residents.
- ATSDR recommends that the U.S. Air Force take a leadership role in conducting acampaign to provide information and outreach to Guam residents on how to recognize UXOand CAIS and what to do if further CAIS units are discovered. Possible partners include theU.S. Navy, Guam EPA and Guam Department of Health. Discoveries of the CAIS kits inthe northern portion of Guam should be reported to the Air Force Explosive OrdnanceDisposal (EOD) Unit at (671) 366-5198 and discoveries in the southern portion of Guamshould be reported to the Navy EOD at (671) 339-8156.
- ATSDR recommends future remedial investigations include collection and analysis ofcoconut crab, birgus latro. Previous biota sampling did not include this commonlyharvested food, and concern exists regarding the potential for coconut crab to bioaccumulateheavy metal and organic soil contaminants. Sampling should be targeted toward crab harvestareas off base, especially any areas where there may be soil contaminated with metals andpersistent organic compounds (e.g PCB).
Additional education activities should be directed toward on-base schools and communitycenters to enhance public awareness on UXO safety. The United States Department ofDefense (DoD) has developed the UXO Safety Education Program to help prevent injury byeducating communities about the dangers associated with UXO. DoD designed this programas a "toolkit" from which DoD organizations and the public could use individual "tools" toenhance or supplement their local UXO safety programs. The "toolkit" consists of ready-to-use educational products and materials for classroom, home or community group use. Access to the UXO Safety Education Program is available to DoD personnel on the DefenseEnvironmental Network and Information Exchange (DENIX) web site athttp://www.denix.osd.mil/
The public health action plan (PHAP) for Andersen AFB contains a description of actions taken andthose to be taken by ATSDR, the Air Force, EPA, and GEPA at and in the vicinity of the sitesubsequent to the completion of this public health assessment. The purpose of the PHAP is to ensurethat this public health assessment not only identifies potential and on-going public health hazards,but also provides a plan of action designed to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effectsresulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. The public health actions atAndersen AFB that are completed or ongoing/planned are:
- The Air Force installed monitoring wells and has begun to identify groundwater plumesassociated with Andersen AFB operations. Limited soil sampling and soil gas surveying hasalso been conducted.
- Remedial actions are ongoing. In conjunction with Guam and Federal regulatory agencies,the Air Force has identified and implemented remedies at many of the 39 installationrestoration program (IRP) sites at Andersen AFB. At several of the sites, remedial work iscomplete or no further action is required. Others are still undergoing investigation andremedial actions will be defined and implemented in the future. See Table 2 for details.
- The Air Force has analyzed terrestrial biota to characterize ecological and human healthhazards associated with the biaccumulation of contaminants in Guam plants and animals.
- The Air Force has monitored and mitigated elevated radon levels in certain on-site housing units.
- The Air Force has removed discarded drums containing asphalt and associated debris fromWaste Pile 1. Confirmatory sampling indicates that SVOCs and PAHs in soil are below bothEPA residential and industrial soil standards and that only relatively low levels of metals exist.
Ongoing and Planned Actions
- The Air Force will continue its groundwater monitoring program. This program includesmonitoring of municipal and private wells.
- The Air Force will continue field investigations to characterize soil contamination at Andersen AFB.
- The Air Force will continue to monitor and mitigate naturally occurring radon levels in on-base housing units.
- The Air Force will continue to investigate any suspected discoveries of CAIS canisters, andassociated contamination as needed. The Air Force has committed to work with territorialand Federal agencies and other DoD branches to ensure a timely and appropriate response to protect the health of Guam residents.
- The Air Force will continue environmental investigations at the Urunao Dump sites, whichare being proposed as IRP 40. If the data warrant, ATSDR will assess potential public healthhazards on adjacent privately held land and modify conclusions in this document as needed.
Air Chek. 1998. Air Chek's Radon Laboratory. Radon.com: Radon Information Center. Internetaddress: http://www.radon.com/radon/facts.html . Last updated April 29, 1998. Copyright 1998.
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Andersen AFB. 1998c. Final NFRAP IRP Site 18/Landfill 23. Executive Summary. January 1998.
Andersen AFB. 1998d. Decision Summary Report IRP Site 33/DSA-2. Executive Summary.December 1998.
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Andersen AFB. 1999b. Andersen Air Force Base Radon database. 1999.
Andersen AFB. 1999c. Final NFRAP Decision Document IRP Site 11/Landfill 15A & 15B.Executive Summary. February 1999.
Andersen AFB. 1999d. NFRAP Decision Document IRP Site 17/Landfill 22. Executive Summary.October 1999.
Andersen AFB. 1999e. Final NFRAP Decision Document IRP Site 21/Landfill 26. ExecutiveSummary. September 1999.
Andersen AFB. 1999f. Final NFRAP Decision Document IRP Site 27/HWSA-1. ExecutiveSummary. April 1999.
Andersen AFB. 1999g.Decision Summary Report IRP Site 32/DSA-1. Executive Summary. May1999.
Andersen AFB. 2000a. E-mail correspondence between Capt Joseph M. Vinch, Andersen AFB, andATSDR. November 20, 2000.
Andersen AFB. 2000b. NFRAP Decision Document IRP Site 28/CSA-1. Executive Summary.March 2000.
Andersen AFB. 2000c. NFRAP Decision Document IRP Site 30/Waste Pile 4. Executive Summary.April 2000.
Andersen AFB. 2001. E-mail, forwarded by Vic Caravello, Brooks AFB, containing Demographicsand EOD information provided by Gregg Ikehara and Capt Joe Vinch, Andersen AFB. June 21,2001.
ATSDR. 1990. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services. Toxicological Profile for Radon. December 1990.
ATSDR. 1992. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services. Radon Toxicity: Case Studies in Environmental Medicine. September 1992.
ATSDR. 1993. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services. Toxicological Profile for Arsenic. April 1993.
ATSDR. 1997a. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services. Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene. September 1997 (Update).
ATSDR. 1997b. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. U.S. Department of Healthand Human Services. Toxicological Profile for Tetrachloroethylene. September 1997 (Update).
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|PATHWAY NAME||SOURCE OF CONTAMINATION||ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIUM||POINT OF EXPOSURE||ROUTE OF EXPOSURE||EXPOSED POPULATION||COMMENTS|
|Completed Exposure Pathways|
|Groundwater in the vicinity of the MARBO Annex||Andersen AFB-- |
TCE from the MARBO annex's WDBP site
|Groundwater||Water supplied by two of the nine military production wells (MW-1 and MW-2) and the Tumon-Maui well.||Ingestion |
Military personnel, residents, and visitors drinking water from MW-1, MW-2, and the Tumon-Maui well
No off-base populations were exposed
ATSDR estimated past exposure to drinking water from MW-1 and MW-2 assuming exposure to the maximum detected concentration of TCE (9 ppb) and without accounting for dilution that occurs in the military distribution system. Estimated exposure doses were well below levels of health concern. ATSDR concluded that no apparent public health hazard exists from past exposure.
ATSDR concluded that no public health hazard is associated with TCE concentrations in the WDBP area (1 to 3 ppb) because current levels are below health-based guidelines and drinking water standards. Concentrations in the military distribution system are in the subpart per billion to nondetectable range.
Past, current, and future use of Andersen AFB drinking water poses no apparent public health hazards.
|Radon in on-base housing units||Naturally-occurring in Guam -- radon does not originate from military activities at Andersen AFB||Air||Indoor air in certain on-site housing units||Inhalation||Residents of base housing units.||Past: |
In 1993, The Air Force tested 1,652 family housing units: 867 units contained indoor air radon levels above EPA's recommended action level of 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) (124 contained radon above 120 pCi/L). The Air Force mitigated all radon contamination in these units to EPA's recommended action level.
The full extent of past exposures is unknown; therefore, potential hazards associated with exposures is uncertain. Available information indicates long-term exposure to radon concentrations above 50 pCi/L have been associated with increased incidences of lung cancer. Most past exposures were likely much shorter.
It is not known if people are exposed to radon levels above 4 pCi/L in on-site buildings because current, available data are incomplete.
The Air Force plans to expand its radon mitigation efforts to other, lower-priority buildings on base.
If mitigation efforts continue as planned, people will most likely not be exposed to radon levels above 4 pCi/L in on-site buildings.
Past exposure to radon in on-base family housing units at Andersen AFB poses indeterminate public health hazards. Current and potential future exposures are unlikely due to aggressive Air Force remediation efforts.
|Potential Exposure Pathways|
|Biota||Andersen AFB||Foods grown on base and game that graze on base||Consumption of foods and game||Ingestion||Residents, hunters and their families||No apparent public health hazard exists (past, current, or future) from the consumption of local biota collected on- or off-base at Andersen AFB. Most contaminants examined were below CVs or at levels below health concern. ATSDR concluded that the consumption of local biota poses no apparent public health hazard.|
|Soil||Andersen AFB IRP sites and areas of concern||Surface soil||Base IRP sites||Skin contact||Trespassers||No apparent public health hazard exists form past or current exposure because most sites are posted with signs and have restricted public access. Any infrequent and brief contact with soil that might occur during trespassing should not result in health effects. Certain sites will be transferred for public use. Deed restrictions and/or soil removal actions should prevent harmful exposure in the future.|
|Physical Hazards||UXO||UXO||Various sites in Northwest field||Detonation of UXO||Trespassers, recreational users||There have been no accidents or incidents involving unexploded ordnance. Education and UXO awareness program is in place. Area restrictions are communicated to recreational users. Incidental contact and resulting health hazards are remote.|
|Sampling Year(s)||Sampling Locations||Number of Locations with Reported Indoor Air Radon Levels (pCi/L)||Comment|
|< 4 pCi/L||4-20 pCi/L||20-200 pCi/L||> 200 pCi/L|
|1987 and 1988||33 housing units||15||14||4||0|
|1988 and 1989||1,406 housing units1 |
(60 day sampler)
|714||617||74||1||One-year samplers were deployed in the 617 homes with levels between 4 and 20 pCi/L until levels fell below 4 pCi/L. The 74 homes with radon levels greater than 20 pCI/L were mitigated and re-sampled to reduce radon levels.|
|1989||2,000 buildings 2 |
(1 year samplers)
|824||851||85||0||The Air Force installed over-sized air conditioner fans to achieve positive pressure in the buildings.|
|1993||1,652 previously sampled housing units.||785||743||124||0||An Air Force contractor mitigated the 743 units with levels between 4 and 20 pCi/L. The Base Civil Engineering Squadron mitigated the 124 units with higher levels|
|1998||37 housing units (lacking pre and/or post-earthquake sampling and mitigation records.||26||8||0||0||The Air Force renovated three of the eight units that contained 4 to 20 pCi/L. Four of the five other units were previously renovated. The Air Force is reassessing mitigation designs at these units.|
|35 non housing units||33||2||0||0|
2 Buildings sampled included housing units, dormitories, a child carecenter, the Chapel preschool, temporary lodging facilities, and unaccompanied officers quarters.