ATSDR in Partnership with Rhode Island
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
(ATSDR) is the lead public health agency responsible for
implementing the health-related provisions of the Compre-
hensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). ATSDR is an Atlanta-
based federal agency with 400 employees. ATSDR's annual
budget for 2003 is approximately million. ATSDR is
responsible for assessing the presence and nature of health
hazards at specific Superfund sites, helping to prevent or
reduce further exposure and illnesses that result, and ex-
panding the knowledge base about the health effects of
exposure to hazardous substances.
Health Studies 6,467
ATSDR works closely with, and provides funding and
technical assistance to, state agencies to identify and evaluate
environmental health threats to communities. From 1990
through 2001, ATSDR awarded more than 9,687 in
direct funds and services to the state of Rhode Island. In
addition to direct funds and services, ATSDR staff provides technical and administrative guidance for state-con-
ducted site activities.
ATSDR Site-Specific Activities
Public Health Assessment-Related Activities
of the agency's important mandates
is to conduct public health assessments
of all National Priorities List
(NPL) sites and of other sites where there might be a significant threat to the public health. There have been 13 sites
delegated to the NPL in Rhode Island.
A public health assessment provides a written, comprehensive evaluation of available data and information on the
release of hazardous substances into the environment in a specific geographic area. Such releases are assessed for
current or future impact on public health. In collaboration with public health and environmental officials from
Rhode Island, ATSDR staff has conducted 13 public health assessments in the state. Below are two examples of
public health assessments conducted in the state.
Pascoag Water Utility District In September 2001, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive,
was discovered in the distribution system of the Pascoag Water Utility District. Subsequent investigation
revealed the MTBE was present
in shallow groundwater
as a result
of leaks from
a local gas station and had
been recently drawn into the water supply when a new drinking water well went into operation in June 2001.
ATSDR supported the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) in the initial site response, providing
technical review and assisting with community risk communication. An interim treatment system was installed on
the impacted well in November 2001, and a new water source replaced the impacted wells in January 2002.