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  1. Fairmont Coke Works (Sharon Steel Corporation) does not currently present a public health hazard. However, if the planned remedial activities are not completed, and the site is later developed for residential and other municipal use, residents could be exposed to contaminants that may harm their health.
  2. The site was a public health hazard in the past. Former employees who worked close to the soil were likely exposed to polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons at levels that might cause skin irritations and possibly had a low increased risk of developing additional skin cancer in a lifetime.
  3. There is evidence that the site contamination also migrated off site into the adjacent residential area. However, the amounts of the contaminants in soils were not likely to cause adverse health effects for residents.


Site Characterization Recommendations

  1. Continue to sample outfall effluent during pH monitoring of the holding pond.
  2. Conduct additional samplings, collecting samples of soil gas from the light oil storage and landfill areas during additional removal activities or during the remedial phase to determine whether the areas contain substantial levels of contaminants.

Cease/Reduce Exposure Recommendations

  1. Treat imposition of stricter restrictions of site access as an urgent matter, eliminating easy access for trespassers to the oxidation pond, landfills, channels, and breeze pile areas on site. Fence the entire site with an 8-foot chain link fence with three strands of barbed wire at the top of the fence.
  2. Exercise optimal dust control measures during remedial activities. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry understands that control measures are an integral part of the site remediation plans.
  3. Before the site is developed for residential or other municipal use, monitor for any dangerous levels of soil gases in the landfills and the light oil storage area.


The purpose of the Public Health Action Plan (PHAP) is to ensure that this public health assessment not only identifies public health hazards but provides a plan of action to mitigate and prevent adverse human health effects resulting from exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

Actions Taken

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state of West Virginia have already taken the following substantive public health actions:

  1. Extensive removal activities to reduce or eliminate contaminant sources and migration pathways and
  2. Installation of pH monitoring equipment at effluent outfall to measure effective contaminant activity in the holding pond.

Actions Planned

  1. The EPA will coordinate with the state of West Virginia regarding future remedial activities to address the on-site breeze material. These activities could potentially include off-site disposal and possible incineration of the breeze material.
  2. The EPA will identify and select appropriate actions to address the north landfill, the remaining oxidation pond, and the light oil area during the remedial phase.
  3. The EPA will work with the state of West Virginia and the potentially responsible party to begin further remedial investigations at the site.
  4. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will evaluate any environmental data that might become available as a result of further removal actions or remedial investigations by the EPA and the state of West Virginia.
  5. ATSDR will also act, through the EPA and the state of West Virginia, to help community members to understand the necessity of access restrictions and to understand the potential hazard to their heath.


Moses Kapu, PhD
Environmental Health Scientist
Superfund Assessment Branch
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

ATSDR Regional Representative:

Thomas Stukas
Region III, PA
Regional Program Office


  1. Roy F. Weston, Inc. Extent of Contamination Report. Fairmont Coke Works, Fairmont, West Virginia. December 1994.

  2. Roy F. Weston, Inc. Hazard Ranking System. Sharon Steel Corporation (Fairmont Coke Works) site. March 12 1996.

  3. US. Bureau of the Census. Census of population and Housing. Washington, DC. 1990.

  4. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). August 1995.

  5. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. US. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. Seventh Annual Report on Carcinogens. Summary 1994.

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