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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Region VI asked the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to assess the public health impact of environmental contamination at the Pleasant Hill Pole Plant site. The site was used as a saw mill and wood treating facility from the 1950s until 1972 or 1973. Wooden poles were reportedly treated with pentachlorophenol in open tanks.

The site is bordered on the north and south by pasture land, on the east by woodlands, and on the west by the Pool Well Service facility and Louisiana Highway 175. The Pool Well Service property is currently fenced and vacant. The closest residence is located 200-300 yards north of the site.

The EPA contractor for the site (Ecology and Environment, Inc.) stated that the site is currently used to grow and store hay. Access to the site is unrestricted. The owner of the site indicated that he intends to plant pine trees on the property.

In January 1996, personnel from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality collected 5 soil samples at the site at depths ranging from 0-12 inches to 0-24 inches. These samples were contaminated with pentachlorophenol at concentrations as high as 4,151 parts per million (ppm) and arsenic at a maximum concentration of 1,350 ppm. Contaminant concentrations were highest in the area where the treatment tanks were formerly located.

In 1998, the EPA contractor further characterized soil contamination at the site. Soil samples were collected from a depth of 0-6 inches and analyzed by immunoassay (pentachlorophenol), XRF (metals), or standard laboratory procedures. Only the data obtained from the laboratory analyses will be evaluated, since the immunoassay and XRF data are not adequate for health assessment purposes.

The maximum concentrations of contaminants detected were: pentachlorophenol (PCP) - 510 ppm, arsenic - 597 ppm, and 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) equivalents - 1.8 ppb. Elevated concentrations of chromium and copper were also detected in soil samples, although not at levels of health concern. Most of the chromium was reported to be in the less toxic, +3 valence, even though chromate and dichromate salts used in wood treatment contain chromium in the +6 valence.

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