Oak Ridge Reservation Environmental Management
Site Specific Advisory Board
Approved February 3, 1999, Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Reservation Environmental Management Site Specific Advisory Board (ORREMSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly board meeting on Wednesday, February 3, 1999, at the Garden Plaza Hotel, Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Bill Pardue, Chair
Bob Peelle, Vice-Chair
Rikki Traylor, Secretary
Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present
Rod Nelson, Deputy Designated Federal Official
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4, standing in for Camilla Warren
John Murphy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Chuck Jenkins, SSAB Support Office
Sheree Black, SSAB Support Office
Pete Osborne, SSAB Support Office
Seven members of the public were recorded to have attended the meeting.
Mr. John Murphy, ORNL, spoke on the Oak Ridge Reservation Annual Site Environmental Report for 1997 (ES/ESH-78). This report, published in November 1998, is a summary document describing environmental monitoring activities on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) and environs. Mr. Murphy reported that each of the three ORR sites had achieved over a 99% compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limits. At each site there is a general trend towards healthier stream conditions and more representative biota. In regard to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), actual airborne releases were 0.41 millirem (mrem) or 4%, which is less than the limit of 10 mrem. For the surface water program, actual measurements were: Kingston: 0.40 mrem, Knox County: 0.096 mrem, and East Tennessee Technology Park: 0.15 mrem--all of which were lower than the limit of 4 mrem/year. For ambient air quality, there is no significant difference in radionuclide concentrations from ORR stations and the reference station. For fish populations on the ORR, at all sites monitored the absorbed dose was less than 1 rad/day, which is the limit. Only 1% of the turkeys and geese harvested were above the administrative level established by DOE. Only 2% of the deer harvested during ORR hunts were above 5 pCi/g cesium.
In conclusion, Mr. Murphy said that if a person were irradiated by all sources from ORR pathways and received the highest effective dose equivalents from eating wildlife on the ORR, the total exposure would be 10.5 mrem or 10.5% of the DOE limit of 100 mrem/year (see Attachment 1). The 10.5% figure is roughly equivalent to one chest x-ray.
Mr. Peelle asked what the costs were for these monitoring programs. Mr. Murphy replied that Surveillance and Maintenance Program costs were about $850,000/year, NPDES programs cost $1-2M per year per site, NESHAP is $1-2M per year per site.
Ms. Nelson asked what happens under NPDES when there is an excursion of permit limits and if there is an emergency response plan in place. Mr. Murphy responded that each site has a spill prevention countermeasures plan and team. When NPDES noncompliances occur, they are reported immediately. No fines have been imposed in any of the instances in which Mr. Murphy has been involved.
Mr. Kopp called attention to the NPDES noncompliances section of the report. He noted that there were 31 noncompliances in 1997, and he asked how many were reported in 1998. Mr. Murphy replied that noncompliances at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant were down slightly, ORNL's came down to nine or ten, and they were about the same as 1997 at the East Tennessee Technology Park.
Mr. Dan Axelrod, a member of the public, asked how Mr. Murphy would compare the ORR with a typical 4000 megawatt fission electric power plant. Mr. Murphy could only compare to other DOE facilities, which were comparable. Mr. Axelrod suggested to Mr. Nelson that the monitoring programs were about three to ten times larger than they need to be. Mr. Nelson responded that DOE is trying to drive costs down but that most monitoring is required by regulation. Mr. Axelrod asked Mr. Murphy to consider holding joint exercises with the Tennessee National Guard 278A Regiment Biology and Chemical Company.
Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments
Mr. Rod Nelson, SSAB Deputy Designated Federal Official, welcomed Mr. David Mosby to the Board. Mr. Nelson urged all present to attend the transuranic environmental impact statement (EIS) scoping meeting on Thursday, February 11. (The EIS concerns construction of a transuranics processing facility by Foster Wheeler Environmental Corporation--a project awarded as part of DOE's privatization effort to reduce remediation costs at DOE facilities.) Mr. Nelson offered three highlights from the President's 2000 budget: (1) it's flat from 1999 to 2000 as far as ORR goes, (2) all regulatory milestones can be met in FY 2000, and (3) the 2000 budget will not fix the missed milestones (two in 1998 and at least six in 1999). Technical support contract information will be in next week, Mr. Nelson reported, and an award should be made by February 12.
Ms. Connie Jones, EPA Region 4, said that because EPA is limited in its ability to supply the Board with resources, Region 4 contacted EPA Headquarters to see what type of assistance could be supplied from an administrative perspective. That assistance, she informed the Board, could come from the Keystone Group, which worked with DOE, EPA, and other agencies on the Federal Facilities Environmental Restoration Dialog Committee Report. If the Board is amenable, she would like the members "to discuss what interest activities were here in trying to assist with whatever community concerns there are." She suggested Keystone meet with the Board to determine perspectives and then share with EPA what it can do and how Keystone can step in and assist. Formal communication should be made to the Board at its next meeting, she said.
Mr. Pardue asked the Board Process Team to talk to the Keystone organization and then recommend to the Board how to proceed. Ms. Traylor, Board Process Team leader, reminded the Board that in January or February 1998 Keystone was involved with a Board process workshop and that they were "wonderful to work with and that they might want to do more of that." Ms. Jones countered, however, that while that was a possibility, she thought this "would be more from EPA's perspective. New SSAB project teams have been structured and organized, and EPA thinks it's the right direction. It's EPA resources that are limited, and the agency wants to try to help the Board reach out to the community or do whatever is available that would be of assistance to EPA that could be provided to the Board and DOE."
Mr. Pardue suggested that if it's public involvement EPA wants to help the Board with that the Public Outreach Team join the Board Process Team in discussions with Keystone. He also asked that the Board interface with the same Keystone personnel it worked with previously and that EPA be involved in the initial discussions. Ms. Jones explained further that this assistance comes not just from EPA Region 4 but from EPA Headquarters as well in a joint effort to determine how best to work with the Board and how the Board can serve as the main conduit for information and activities between DOE, EPA, and the community.
Ms. Sigal asked that EPA's communications about the Keystone offer be put in writing. Mr. Nelson encouraged the Board to investigate the opportunity, not so much in terms of Board process but in other areas. Mr. Peelle said that it would be very helpful if at least part of the focus were on helping the Board and EPA understand each other's perspectives better.
Mr. Axelrod mentioned his amazement that no one from the SSAB was present at the American Museum of Science and Energy on Tuesday for the unveiling of a new environmental management exhibit, and he recommended the Public Outreach Team contact the museum to have information about the SSAB and the End Use Working Group represented. He also inquired about the status of his application to the Board. Mr. Nelson responded that he would ask Ms. Heiskell about the application.
Announcements and Other Board Business
Chairman Pardue informed the group that he has accepted a consulting assignment with the Battelle/U.T. team to help prepare their bid and proposal for managing ORNL, and he pledged not to vote on any Board business concerning ORNL operations. In an effort to bolster attendance at team meetings, he asked team leaders to call their team members before meetings. He also asked for a second volunteer to attend the Energy Communities Alliance Conference (only Ms. Traylor has signed up).
Because so many Board members will be attending the Waste Management Conference in Tucson February 28-March 4, the next Board meeting was set for the second Wednesday in March (the 10th) instead of the usual first Wednesday. Mr. Pardue informed the group that he had received a letter from Camilla Warren, EPA Region 4, stating that EPA intends to release a draft sampling and analysis plan for environmental media in the Scarboro Community by March 19. In her letter she offered to make a presentation to the Board sometime in March and accept its comments on the plan. Sampling and analysis is slated to begin in June. The Board agreed that if Ms. Warren can make a presentation at the Board's March meeting, she will be asked to do so, if not, the presentation will focus on recent activities at the ORNL Surface Impoundments. The Board agreed to continue meeting at the Garden Plaza Hotel.
The next Executive Committee meeting was set for Monday, February 22.
Ms. Traylor mentioned that the League of Women Voters has published their report on the Intersite Discussions, and she urged members to read the articles written by students who had attended the discussions.
Mr. Kopp distributed a package of information and meeting minutes from the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee.
Mr. Peelle distributed a map (Attachment 2) of the Oak Ridge vicinity. The map, he said, exhibits improvements over those used in many DOE documents: the map is oriented with north at the top of the map; Oak Ridge City limits are correct; and city streets are shown, illustrating relative populations.
Mr. Pardue distributed a draft letter to Rod Nelson requesting that Board member terms, which are all slated to expire in June (except Mr. Kopp's), be extended to September (Attachment 3). In a recent SSAB chairs conference call, Mr. Pardue had discussed the issue with Martha Crosland and Fred Butterfield of DOE-Headquarters, and they said they would look into requesting membership extensions. Mr. Nelson agreed to make that request to DOE-Headquarters but that Board members should still return their requests for reappointment to DOE-Oak Ridge Offices by February 15, 1999. The Board chose not to send Mr. Pardue's letter.
Ms. Traylor distributed a draft letter to Ms. Heiskell, which she wrote at the behest of the Executive Committee (Attachment 4) enumerating Board concerns about the technical advisor process. Board members will read the letter for discussion at the March Board meeting.
In a continuing effort to inform the Board of Bechtel Jacobs manpower developments, Mr. Washington reported that in most manpower categories, Bechtel Jacobs is doing a better than average job. The overall vision and mission statements make a strong commitment to diversity and "go to the heart of inclusiveness of all people." In the officials and managers category they are the best in this area. He said Bechtel Jacobs comments about diversity in the workforce were laudable, and he expressed the hope that other companies in the area would make similar statements. He reported that Bechtel Jacobs will contribute to Knoxville College and that the college should get its accreditation by the end of the year. He also praised the company for its support of small, disadvantaged, and minority and women-owned businesses.
Motions and Recommendations
Mr. Kopp moved to approve the amended meeting agenda. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Ms. Traylor presented the motion to approve the minutes of the December 2, 1998, Board meeting. The motion was unanimously approved.
Ms. Traylor presented the motion to approve the summary of the November 7, 1998, Board workshop. The motion was unanimously approved.
Mr. Kopp moved to approve the Board's planning budget for FY 1999. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Mr. Kopp moved that DOE appoint a non-voting student member to the Board. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Rikki Traylor, Secretary
1. SSAB Support Office staff will have name tents made for Ms. Jones and Mr. Mosby. Completed 2/10/99
2. SSAB Support Office staff will poll other SSABs for their experience with student memberships and report back to the Board at its next meeting. Complete
3. SSAB Support Office staff will supply Mr. Mosby with project team statements of work. Mailed 3/3/99
4. Ms. Jones will ask Ms. Warren about her availability to make a presentation to the Board in March on the draft sampling and analysis plan for environmental media in the Scarboro Community. Completed 2/8/99--EPA will not be ready to make the presentation by 3/10/99
5. SSAB Support Office staff will transmit agenda questions from the upcoming Fernald Transportation Workshop to members of the Waste Management Team. Distributed questions at the team's 2/10/99 meeting