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The St. Louis Refrigerator Car Company site poses no apparent public health hazard. The limited available data suggestthere is a potential for exposure to site-related contaminants in soils and groundwater, but evidence is insufficient toindicate that the site has had an adverse impact on human health. Site access is highly restricted with gates, fences, and 24-hour security. No chemicals were found at levels that would be of health concern. Traces of pesticides found in thegroundwater are not likely site related, but are representative of the agricultural chemicals used throughout Illinois. Samples analyzed in 1995 contained some contaminants at levels greater than the laboratory detection limits, but none werepresent at levels greater than comparison values.

On-site workers are potentially exposed to chemicals used at the site, but personal protective equipment is worn in areas ofhigh potential exposure. Other potentially exposed populations include nearby residents east of the site, trespassers, andmunicipal and private drinking water users. No exposures have been identified to date.

Groundwater contamination is suspected but no monitoring wells have been installed, and only one low-volume, on-sitegroundwater sample was retrieved in 1995. No engineered liners or impoundments were known to have been constructedin the past, so contaminated subsurface soils may exist. Overall, only a few samples were collected over the history ofoperations and some questions remain concerning threats to the residents, groundwater, and Mississippi River.


To learn whether off-site migration is occurring due to the existence of old contamination at this industrial site, IDPHrecommends additional monitoring of on-site and off-site media. If future sampling events are planned, they should include:

  1. Sampling of on-site groundwater for metals, VOCs, and SVOCs.
  2. A survey to determine if any functioning private well exists downgradient of the site.
  3. Continued review of chemical analyses of the Wood River water treatment facility to monitor the chemical concentrations in raw groundwater.

The facility should continue with worker training and education to prevent undue exposures. IDPH will review any futuredata generated from additional sampling of this site.


Catherine Copley
Environmental Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health


  1. IEPA Bureau of Land Pollution (1997). Freedom of Information file search, June, 1997, Springfield, Illinois.

  2. IEPA Site Assessment Unit (1997) Ed Prescott, project manager Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Personal communications.

  3. IEPA Site Team Evaluation Prioritization CERCLA Report (1996) Springfield, Illinois.

  4. Ecology and Environment, Inc. (1995) Focused Site Inspection Prioritization Site Evaluation Report withEnclosure 1 (U.S. EPA's Recommendation Low Priority for further site assessment) and Enclosure 2 (HRS scorebelow 28.5). September 28, 1955.

  5. IEPA Division of Land Pollution Control - Permit Section (1991) Correspondence regarding status and use ofspent sand. Spring and Summer 1991.

  6. Dome Railway Services (1990) Letters and forms addressed to IEPA LUST Corrective Action Response andReport Requirements. October 1990.

  7. IEPA (1994). A Summary of Selected Background Conditions for Inorganics in Soil (IEPA/ENV/94-161). Office of Chemical Safety. August 1994.

  8. ATSDR (1997) Environmental Media Evaluation Guides for Soil and Drinking Water. March 1997.


This St. Louis Refrigerator Car Company Site Health Consultation was prepared by the IllinoisDepartment of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substancesand Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and proceduresexisting at the time the health consultation was begun.

Gail D. Godfrey
Technical Project Officer
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

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

Richard E. Gillig
Chief, State Programs Section
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation

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