EPA Finds No Public Health Threat at Site ’60 Minutes’ Profiled

            The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Final Site Inspection Report for the Battlefield Golf Club Site showing “…there is no significant threat to public health or the environment from site related contaminants…”

            Battlefield Golf Club attracted national attention in October 2009 when the television news program 60 Minutes profiled the site as part of a report CBS said was an “investigation into a substance that contains the toxic metals mercury, arsenic and lead but has yet to be regulated by the EPA…”  Coal ash was used in the construction of the golf course and 60 Minutes prominently featured interviews with local residents who claimed their health was being threatened. (60 Minutes also interviewed the attorney who is representing the residents in a lawsuit seeking money from entities involved in the golf course’s construction.)

            EPA’s report dated April 16, 2010, paints a very different picture.  The 285-page report details the results of an extensive scientific investigation of the site. It concludes that drinking water wells in the area are safe, that metals present in the coal ash used at the golf course are not migrating into the drinking water wells, and that no adverse health or environmental effects are expected from the use of the golf course itself.  In the report’s own words:

·         Metal contaminants were below MCLs and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) action levels in all residential wells that EPA tested, except for lead. Lead has been detected during EPA sampling events above the action level of 15 μg/L in six residential wells, but the lead does not appear to be from the fly ash. EPA has offered to test the water of the residences with elevated lead on a quarterly basis.

·         The residential well data reviewed as part of this SI indicates that metals are not migrating from the fly ash to residential wells.

·         There are no adverse health effects expected from human exposure to surface water or sediments on the Battlefield Golf Course site as the metal concentrations were below the ATSDR standards for drinking water and soil. Additionally, the sediments samples in the ponds were below EPA BTAG screening levels and are not expected to pose a threat to ecological receptors.

            It will be interesting to see if 60 Minutes does a follow-up report on the results of the scientific investigation.

            A complete copy of the report can be obtained here:


Posted by: on: Apr 23, 2010 @ 02:12