New Plans for Environmental Air Sampling, Buildings 50 and 52, Bannister Federal Complex, 1500 E. Bannister Road, Kansas City, Missouri
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7, at the request of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), will work with the General Services Administration (GSA) to implement a comprehensive sampling plan to determine whether environmental contamination in indoor or outdoor air might pose human health risks to occupants of two buildings located at the Bannister Federal Complex, 1500 E. Bannister Road, in Kansas City, Mo. The buildings are located near the intersection of Bannister Road and Troost Avenue in south Kansas City.
The environmental investigation will focus on Building 50, which houses the Kansas City South Field Office of the GSA, and Building 52, which houses the Bannister Complex Child Development Center. The center is a public child care facility operated by a private contractor on GSA's behalf.
The Bannister Federal Complex has a long history of known and suspected environmental contamination issues. Currently occupied by GSA and the U.S. Department of Energy, portions of the 310-acre property have been used since the early 1940s as an aircraft engine plant, a U.S. Department of Defense landfill, a manufacturing facility for non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons systems, and for facilities housing operations of various federal agencies, including the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
EPA Region 7 has been involved in a number of environmental assessment efforts at the Bannister Federal Complex since at least 1989, under its authority outlined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
Known environmental contaminants at locations within the complex include trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent used in various types of adhesives, lubricants, paints, varnishes, paint strippers, pesticides and cleaners; and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent.
Earlier this month, in response to citizens' concerns and media reports, MDNR formally requested that EPA Region 7 evaluate the results of previous sampling efforts of indoor air performed by GSA at the Bannister Complex Child Development Center.
In its request, MDNR also recommended that GSA conduct additional long-term indoor air sampling, and make those results known to occupants of Buildings 50 and 52. Additionally, MDNR requested that EPA further evaluate the rate and extent of soil and groundwater contamination on the property.
At GSA's request, EPA Region 7 is currently developing testing protocols and will secure a contractor to conduct four categories of environmental investigation in and around Buildings 50 and 52:
- Indoor air sampling and analysis
- Testing of soil gases
- Vapor intrusion testing
- Outdoor air sampling and analysis
EPA will proceed with the field work associated with this investigation as soon as possible. EPA is committed to sharing the results of the sampling activity with the public, both in a public availability session to be scheduled at a future date, and through postings on the EPA Region 7 Website, About Region 7.
EPA also intends to work with GSA to explore opportunities to implement proactive emission control strategies at the Bannister Federal Complex. GSA has further requested that EPA work with its staff to conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment of all of its facilities at the Bannister Federal Complex, beyond the immediate work that will be done in and around Buildings 50 and 52.
ABOUT VAPOR INTRUSION
Vapors and gases from contaminated groundwater and soil have the potential to seep into indoor spaces and cause health problems. When vapor intrusion does occur, health risks will vary based on the type of chemicals, the levels of chemicals found, the length of exposure and the health of the exposed individuals.
When chemicals build up in indoor air at high levels, some people may experience health effects such as eye and respiratory irritation, headaches and/or nausea. These symptoms are temporary and should go away when the person moves to fresh air.
Usually, health officials are more concerned about low-level chemical exposures over many years. Long-term exposure to some chemicals may raise a person's lifetime risk of developing cancer or other chronic diseases.
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