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Last Edited: 4/17/2009

Health Consultation: Proposed Process to Address the Historic Distribution of Sewage Sludge Containing Plutonium Released from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (11/1/2002)

In 1989, the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) completed a Preliminary Public Health Assessment that recommended that environmental data be reviewed to assess the potential that human health could have been affected by activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) Superfund site. The California Department of Health Services (CDHS), Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB), is continuing health assessment activities for the LLNL site under a cooperative agreement with ATSDR.

This health consultation discusses the historic distribution (1958-1976) of sewage sludge from the Livermore Water Reclamation Plant (LWRP), which may have been contaminated with plutonium from LLNL. This health consultation is a follow-up to an earlier CDHS/ATSDR health consultation, in which we recommended, "further evaluation of the distribution of contaminated sewage sludge throughout the Livermore Valley and other areas. This would include assessing the different avenues for gathering information on where sludge may have been distributed and if locations are identified that may have received contaminated sludge, assessing the feasibility of various approaches to characterize the potential plutonium in those areas". Specifically, this health consultation: 1) defines the historic practice of sewage sludge distribution at LWRP, 2) delineates how LWRP sewage sludge became contaminated with plutonium, and 3) provides a potential process to address community concerns relating to the historic distribution of sewage sludge, which includes data collection and community notification and education. In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) suggested a similar process.

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