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 ATLANTA, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a part of the U.S. Public Health Service, has issued a health advisory for the Tennessee Products Corporation site which includes areas along Chattanooga Creek in Chattanooga, Tenn.
 The advisory is issued to advise the public of a significant threat to public health associated with past, present, and potential future exposures to coal tar in the Chattanooga Creek area.
 The health advisory, based in part on data generated from extensive and detailed studies of the creek area conducted by EPA, concludes that the coal tar deposits in and along the creek, which contain high levels of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other contaminants, could present a threat to the health of anyone coming in contact with the contaminants. Additionally, the advisory concludes that there are large amounts of coal tar at levels of health concern at the Tennessee Products Corporation site and in locations that present a physical hazard to the community.
 The Tennessee Products site is an aggregate composed of the Chattanooga Creek Tar Deposit area, the Hamill Road Dump No. 2, and Southern Coke Corporation, a former coal carbonization plant. The areas of concern include coal tar deposits in and along the creek and its old stream meander. The tar deposits are the result of uncontrolled dumping of coal tar directly into the creek or along the creek bank.
 Tennessee Products Corporation operated as a coal carbonization facility from 1926 until 1964. Coal carbonization removes gases in coal by heating which changes coal to coke. A typical coke oven produces coke, coke-oven gases, coal tar, and crude benzene.
 In the Public Health Advisory, ATSDR recommends that:
 -- Action be taken to ensure that nearby residents do not come in
 contact with the coal tar deposits. These actions can include
 fencing or posting of coal tar deposit areas;
 -- Work should continue to determine whether contaminants have
 migrated from the coal tar deposits to other areas;
 -- The Tennessee Products Corporation site should be considered for
 inclusion on EPA National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous
 sites, and;
 -- As more information becomes available about other coal tar
 contaminated areas, consider these areas for inclusion on the
 In response to ATSDR's recommendations, EPA will use fences to restrict access to the coal tar deposit areas, post warning signs along the banks of the creek, and perform additional investigations and sampling of the flood plain to determine if there are additional tar deposit areas and to address the potential for migration of contaminants.
 EPA Region IV has submitted a proposal to EPA headquarters for placement of the known areas of coal tar contamination in Chattanooga Creek on the National Priorities List of hazardous waste sites. Placement on the NPL will make the site eligible for cleanup with the use of federal Superfund money. The first step in the Superfund cleanup is to locate all areas of contamination. As other areas of coal tar contamination are discovered, they too will be considered part of the site and will be eligible for cleanup with federal funds.
 ATSDR will continue to work on a public health assessment of Chattanooga Creek, as requested by a citizen petition in January 1992. Upon completion, the assessment will be released for public comment. EPA and ATSDR will keep the public informed of their efforts to address potential human health and environmental problems associated with coal tar contamination in and near the creek.
 Chattanooga Creek is a medium-sized creek that originates in northwest Georgia and flows for 23 miles until it converges with the Tennessee River in Chattanooga. All available information indicates that the creek had been used for the disposal of industrial wastes such as those from the manufacture of coke, textiles, brick making, pharmaceuticals and many other products. The creek was determined to be a threat to public health by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in 1983 and was declared unsafe for human contact. The creek was posted from the Georgia/Tennessee state line to its confluence with the Tennessee River in Chattanooga prohibiting human contact by swimming, wading or fishing.
 An environmental investigation conducted by EPA in 1990 indicated that during the ensuing years, little improvement had taken place in the environmental quality of the creek. Therefore, it remained severely contaminated.
 In November 1991, EPA in conjunction with the state environmental offices in Tennessee and Georgia, announced a comprehensive plan to address contamination in Chattanooga Creek. Since that time, the joint efforts of EPA and state and local governments have resulted in significant accomplishments to address the abatement of ongoing contamination of the creek by operating facilities; the abatement of discharges from Chattanooga's combined sewer/industrial wastes/stormwater outfalls; and the cleanup of contaminated sediments from the creek and contiguous properties.
 -0- 8/24/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Greenwell, ATSDR Public Affairs, 404-639-0727, or Carl Terry, press office, 404-347-3004, both of the United States Environmental Protection Agency/

CO: United States Environmental Protection Agency ST: Tennessee IN: ENV SU: EXE

RA-BR -- AT009 -- 5572 08/24/93 16:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 24, 1993

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