August 23, 2000
John Stewart, Petition Coordinator
Agency for Toxic Substances and
1600 Clifton Road NE, E-32
Atlanta, GA 30333
Phone: 1-888-422-8737 Ext. 0644
RE: OAK HARBOR GOLF CLUB - Petition For Public Health
Dear Mr. Stewart:
This is to confirm our telephone conversation on August 7, 2000
concerning the series of complaints I have pertaining to the above petition
such as follows:
It appears that ATSDR is intentionally making false statements and is
discriminating in its programs against me, a chemically ill disabled
petitioner, besides discriminating against the low-income, uneducated
individuals of the community most affected in my petition.
programs clearly state "if appropriate, ATSDR also conducts public
health assessments when petitioned by concerned individuals". ATSDR's
programs further state "the report focuses on public health, or the health
impact on the community as a whole, rather than on individual risks".
ATSDR is not focusing on public health or the health impact on the
community as a whole, and by treating my petition as a private matter,
ATSDR is contributing to the ongoing "individual" risks relating to
My concerns as stated in ATSDR's letter dated March 6, 1998 are as
None of my concerns have
been addressed, not even "when there is not enough environmental
information available, the report will indicate what further sampling
data is needed".
- Exposure to contaminants through private water wells in your
area may affect human health;
- Contamination of the Schneider Canal with the Golf Club's
discharges may result in human exposures through swimming, fishing,
- You want information about chemicals used by the Golf Club and
how they may effect human health.
One of the first actions ATSDR probably took relating to my petition was
to check into other actions
taken by ATSDR in the same area of the Oak Harbor
This would lead ATSDR to two Superfund Sites in the Slidell area: one
by the creosote facility, the Bayou
Bonfouca site, and the other by the Southern
Shipbuilding facility. Surprisingly, there is no Public Health
Assessment online for the shipbuilding facility that has many unknown
factors and is the most contaminated facility of the two sites.
Also, ATSDR's records online indicate that the Oak Harbor Golf Club is
located in "Taminy Parish", which is an unknown location or parish. Oak
Harbor Golf Club is located in "St. Tammany Parish" or the same parish
as the Superfund Sites.
Other records by ATSDR show that I live on the far southside of the golf
course, another unknown location. However, employees from ATSDR
and LDHH have visited the Oak Harbor site and know that I live on the
opposite side of the golf course next to the Schneider Canal; the same
canal that adjoins the Southern Shipbuilding Superfund Site area near
But the red flags don't stop here!
According to the conclusions for the public health assessment on Bayou
Bonfouca, "groundwater does not represent a potential
exposure pathway because the City of Slidell's municipal drinking water
supply is deep and has not been affected by site contaminants". The
assessment further states the following:
The area I live in, along with the residents in the nearby community
located on the opposite or north side of Schneider Canal, does not
receive its drinking water from the municipal water supply from the City of
Slidell. We are on private water wells consisting of more than 11 wells.
Our community is located just outside the city limits of Slidell within close
radius of the Superfund Sites.
Exposure to site contaminants through area drinking water is not a
completed exposure pathway. There are 11 known wells within a 1-mile
radius of the site. These wells have been drilled through the shallow
artesian aquifer to deeper aquifers. The water is primarily used for
residential air conditioning and heat pump units. Spent water goes to the
sewer lines or to surface drainage systems to the bayou. These wells
are not used for human consumption and therefore are not considered a
route for human exposure to contaminants.
The city of Slidell has a municipal water supply that draws from deeper
aquifers (-2300 ft. level). Testing of the city wells and others in the
vicinity of the site during RI and DI activities did not find any
contamination in these wells.
Furthermore, on several occasions I have inquired about the flow of groundwater in our area. Much to my dismay, ATSDR's Regional Rep Patrick Young advised that I would have to obtain this information for myself. I find this attitude uncooperative and contrary to ATSDR's statement that it "reviews information provided by EPA, other government agencies, businesses, and the public". It would appear that finding out the flow of groundwater in our area would fall under the category of "other government agencies". It would also appear the information on the flow of groundwater is already available, or should be available, in ATSDR's PHAs on the Superfund Sites for our area.
My search on the flow of groundwater led to EPA's website of Surf Your Watershed -
Watershed Information - Liberty Bayou-Tchefuncta. It appears that
the area directly to the east or southeast of the City of Slidell would
receive the most contamination from the watershed. This is exactly the
same area of concern in my petition.
In the meantime, the citizens of the community (which include children and elderly persons) are unaware of the health risks from their private
water wells or from the contaminants in the Schneider Canal due in part
to misleading reports such as
Oak Harbor shows no environmental problems from testing, due to
the lack of holding a public meeting on my petition for gathering
information from the people who live or work in the area, and due to the
misinformation and/or concealed facts within the PHA's for the Superfund
Since our conversation on August 7th, I have not heard from your office, nor any other office, regarding any resolutions relating to my complaints as we discussed.
1301 Howze Beach Road
Slidell, LA 70458-8503
Phone/Fax: (985) 649-6574
Wetlands & the Game of Golf