August 23, 2000

John Stewart, Petition Coordinator
Agency for Toxic Substances and
Disease Registry
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 Assessment

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.

ATSDR's 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 chemical poisoning.

My concerns as stated in ATSDR's letter dated March 6, 1998 are as follows:

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".

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 Golf Club.

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 Highway 11.

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.

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 Sites.

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.


Nancy Hirschfeld
1301 Howze Beach Road
Slidell, LA 70458-8503
Phone/Fax: (985) 649-6574
Website: Pesticides, Wetlands & the Game of Golf