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regulatory and technical issues concerning the detection and treatment of ndma-contaminated groundwater at nasa wstfThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) was established in 1963 primarily to provide rocket engine testing services for several NASA programs. The groundwater underlying the site has been contaminated as a result of historical operations. Groundwater contaminants include several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and two semi-volatile compounds: N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-nitrodimethylamine (DMN). This paper discusses some of the technical, analytical, regulatory, and health risk issues associated with the contaminant plume. The plume has moved approximately 2.5 miles downgradient of the facility industrial boundary, with evidence of continued migration. As a result, NASA has proposed a pump and treat system using air strippers and ultraviolet (UV) oxidation to stabilize future movement of the contaminant plume. The system has been designed to treat 1,076 gallons (4,073 liters) per minute, with provisions for future expansion. The UV oxidation process was selected to treat NDMA-contaminated groundwater based on successes at other NDMA-contaminated sites. Bench- and pilot-scale testing of WSTF groundwater confirmed the ability of UV oxidation to destroy NDMA and generated sufficient data to design the proposed full-scale treatment system. NDMA is acutely toxic and is a probable human carcinogen. EPA-recommended health risk criteria for the residential consumption of NDMA/DMN-contaminated groundwater was used to determine that a 1.0 x 10(exp -6) excess cancer risk corresponds to 1.7 parts per trillion (ppt). EPA analytical methods are unable to detect NDMA and DMN in the low ppt range. EPA's current Appendix IX analytical method used to screen for NDMA, Method 8270, can detect NDMA only at levels that are orders of magnitude greater than the recommended health risk level. Additionally, EPA Method 607, the most sensitive EPA approved method, has a detection limit of 150 ppt. This corresponds to an excess cancer risk of 9.0 x 10(exp -5), which exceeds the State of New Mexico's water quality standard of a cancer risk less than 1 x 10(exp -5). The treatment system has been engineered to treat contaminated groundwater to levels significantly below the New Mexico standard. However, the inability of EPA-approved analytical methods to detect NDMA and DMN at low ppt levels, and to provide verification of compliance with the 1 x 10(exp -5) cancer risk, introduces a notable risk to the long-term operation of the system. WSTF has been working with Southwest Research Institute to develop a non-EPA analytical method that can achieve a reporting limit of 1 ppt, which corresponds to an excess cancer risk of 7.6 x 10(exp -7). WSTF is currently developing a proposal to obtain approval from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) of this non-EPA method.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wiebe, D. T.
(NASA White Sands Test Facility NM United States)
Zigmond, M. J.
(NASA White Sands Test Facility NM United States)
Tufts, C. A.
(NASA White Sands Test Facility NM United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: 19th JANNAF Safety and Environmental Protection Subcommittee Meeting
Volume: 1
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
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IDRelationTitle20020065037Analytic Primary19th JANNAF Safety and Environmental Protection Subcommittee Meeting