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Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

Approved February 2, 2000, Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 2, 2000, at Roane State Community College, Harriman, Tennessee, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape record of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the SSAB support office at 865-241-3665.

Members Present
James Alexander
Robert Blaum
Luther Gibson, Jr.
Steve Kopp, Chair
Bill Pardue
Pat Rush
Lorene Sigal
Charles Washington
Anne-Marie Wiest, Student Representative

Members Absent
Jeff Cange
Randy Gordon
David Mosby
Demetra Nelson, Vice Chair*
Darrell Srdoc
Rikki Traylor, Secretary

*Second consecutive, unexcused absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present
Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Teresa Perry, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Others Present
Sheree Black, SSAB support office
Susan Gawarecki, Executive Director, Local Oversight Committee (LOC)
Chuck Jenkins, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Earl Leming, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
Pete Osborne, SSAB support office

Twenty members of the public attended the meeting.

Mr. Leming began his presentation with an overview of the history of fish consumption advisories and the process for their review. Advisories are in place in many areas besides Watts Bar, such as the Little Pigeon River, East Fork Poplar Creek, and around 40 other sites in Tennessee.

Identifying fish tissue problems is a multi-agency effort of the "Valley-Wide Team," which consists of TDEC, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), DOE, and EPA. An annual review process was put into place when the multi-agency agreement was established. Mr. Leming emphasized that when the team first began analyzing fish tissue, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria were used to determine acceptable limits of contaminants in fish. The team later began using criteria spelled out by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which follows EPA risk approach and resulted in limits that are more conservative than the FDA’s.

While the TDEC Division of Water Control is responsible for the advisories and their posting, CERCLA places additional responsibilities on DOE, TDEC, and EPA and identifies PCBs as the primary contaminant of concern in Watts Bar. CERCLA adopts the institutional controls put in place by the State rather than imposing additional controls. Ultimate responsibility for the advisories rests with the State.

Mr. Leming directed the Board to the State’s two Web sites (TDEC and TWRA), which offer additional information and a list of posting locations. He also offered for Board review copies of risk assessment data; brochures; a list of sampling frequencies and locations; the TWRA 305B Report The Status of Water Quality in Tennessee, 1998 (Denton, Freeman, & Duhl); and the TWRA Annual Report for 1997–98.

Ms. Gawarecki began her portion of the presentation with an overview of the LOC, which has been involved in fish contamination issues at Watts Bar. One of the earliest activities of the LOC’s Fishing Advisory Committee was to work with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), TWRA, TDEC, and the Tennessee Department of Health to develop a brochure on the Watts Bar fish consumption advisories. The brochure explains the fish advisories in layman’s terms and was widely distributed in the Watts Bar area.

In 1997, ATSDR performed an exposure assessment of persons in the Watts Bar area whose diets included a significant portion of fish and turtle meat from the lake. LOC commented on protocols and assisted ATSDR in identifying locations to meet with local fishermen. ATSDR’s results were published in March 1998. According to Ms. Gawarecki, the results were "somewhat comforting" for people who are heavy consumers of Watts Bar fish. Only 5 of the 116 persons who consented to testing were above the screening level for PCBs. Only one person was above the screening level for mercury.

During the question and answer period, Mr. Pardue asked if any of the Watts Bar postings are due to radiation. Mr. Leming replied that the only radiation postings are within the limits of the Oak Ridge Reservation, although controls are in place to restrict disturbance of deep sediments in Watts Bar (which contain radioactive contaminants). The only Watts Bar postings are for PCBs. Mr. Pardue asked if the PCBs had been traced to sources other than the reservation. Ms. Gawarecki said that about 20 facilities upstream from the reservation had contributed to the PCB loading to the water system.

Mr. Washington questioned the demographics of the study, noting that 22% of respondents listed their residence as other than Roane County. In response, Ms. Gawarecki said that ATSDR was the agency responsible for identifying persons most at risk from consumption of Watts Bar fish, and while some respondents were vacationers who visited Watts Bar yearly and others were permanent residents, the determining factor in selecting subjects for the study was their level of Watts Bar fish consumption. Clearly, some vacationers ate a great deal of the fish. Despite the question about demographics, Ms. Gawarecki said, the answer is "no" there is not a great concern about consumption about Watts Bar fish.

According to Ms. Rush, flyover sampling at an island near the Boeing site showed the presence of radioactivity, and she asked Mr. Leming if the area will be posted. Mr. Leming responded that TDEC’s Footprint Reduction Program is currently performing surface radiation sampling, and the results of that effort will be soon forthcoming. In relation to shoreline activities, TDEC, EPA, TVA, and DOE have established an interagency working group to assess requests for activities requiring disturbance of Clinch River sediments. Any such request coming in through the Corps of Engineers, TVA, or another agency triggers review by the interagency working group before approval of the application.

Mr. Scott Stakes, a Kingston resident, asked if the interagency working group had reviewed plans to widen the Gallagher bridge. Mr. Leming replied that the Clinch River is "hard bottom" at the Gallagher bridge, and there are no sediments (contaminated or otherwise) to be disturbed by construction work.

Mr. Franz Raetzer, a Roane County resident and member of Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), asked Mr. Leming to explain TDEC’s mission. Mr. Leming answered that simply put, the mission is to protect the health and environment. Mr. Raetzer asked what TDEC is doing in regard to its mission in Roane County. TDEC is monitoring air and water, as related to DOE activities, Mr. Leming said. Mr. Raetzer asked if TDEC has any studies, data, or plans concerning the effects of sediment disturbance in Watts Bar. Mr. Leming reiterated that mechanisms are in place via the interagency working group to keep sediments from being disturbed. Mr. Raetzer asked if TDEC was taking water samples during Gallagher bridge construction. Mr. Leming replied that samples are taken throughout the year in and around the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Mr. Albert Sigal, an Oak Ridge resident, expressed concern about Oak Ridge City Council’s forthcoming vote on the Boeing property rezoning, and he thanked TDEC for undertaking the walkover sampling. Mr. Kopp remarked that the Board had requested a presentation by representatives from DOE Health & Safety, DOE Real Estate, TDEC, and Oak Ridge Properties on the Boeing property issue, but DOE had asked the Board to delay the presentation until after TDEC has finished its survey and the results are analyzed. Mr. Pardue moved that the Board send a delegation to Monday night’s Oak Ridge City Council meeting to ask for a delay on the rezoning vote. Mr. Alexander questioned the relevance of the issue to the Board’s charter. Ms. Rush, Mr. Pardue, and Ms. Sigal argued that because potentially contaminated land owned by DOE abuts the Boeing property and because the rezoning includes residential use of the Boeing site, the strong possibility exists that development of the site could lead to accidental exposure to radiological contaminants by persons inhabiting the area. Ms. Sigal asked that staff distribute and members read two EPA documents pertaining to the issue: January 2000 Institutional Controls and Transfer of Real Property Under CERCLA Section 128, and Transmittal of Interim Final Guidance for Institutional Controls. Following additional debate on the subject, Ms. Sigal seconded Mr. Pardue’s motion, and the motion was approved, six for, one against (Mr. Alexander), and one abstention (Mr. Gibson).

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments
Mr. Nelson introduced Teresa Perry, who will serve as the Board’s new DOE ex officio. He reminded the Board that Dave Adler and Carolyn Davis had been assigned to the Board on a temporarily basis until Marianne Heiskell returned from her assignment outside the Environmental Management Program. That assignment has become permanent, however, so it became necessary to choose someone who could work with the Board full time.

Mr. Nelson encouraged Board members to attend two upcoming public meetings. On February 7, DOE will host a meeting on the DOE-ORO FY 2001 budget; on February 15, DOE and ORSSAB will cosponsor a meeting on the DOE-ORO Environmental Management Program budgets for FY 2000, 2001, and 2002.

Mr. Nelson reported on his meeting with EPA in Atlanta on February 1. EPA has not signed the Bear Creek Valley Record of Decision (ROD) because of nine issues, eight of which were minor. The one major issue concerned the viability of alternatives presented in the feasibility study. Resolution of this issue is on a "fast track." The K-1070 ROD was signed, and the RODs for Melton and Bethel valleys are in good shape to be signed soon.

Mr. Washington asked why the Secretary of Energy had left Oak Ridge out of a recent statement about compensation for persons who could prove they were harmed by working at DOE facilities. Mr. Nelson explained that following the investigation at Paducah by DOE’s Environmental Health team, the Secretary was convinced that some workers had been harmed. The team then went to Portsmouth and found possible health effects, so the Secretary broadened the scope of compensation plans. The team will visit the East Tennessee Technology Park in August. Logic would indicate that if the team finds the same thing, the Secretary will broaden the scope of compensation again.

Public Comment
Ms. Gawarecki invited the SSAB to the next meeting of the LOC. The presentation will be by DOE whistle blower Joe Carson.

Mr. Bob Eklund, a Roane County physician, expressed his concerns about the health effects of contaminants released from the Oak Ridge Reservation and referred Board members to data presented in Releases of Contaminants from Oak Ridge Facilities and Risks to Public Health—The Final Report of the Oak Ridge Health Agreement Steering Panel. He invited Board members to learn more about health issues via SOCM.

Mr. Norman Mulvenon, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Panel of the LOC, informed the Board that the panel is planning a series of meetings with downstream communities to discuss water sampling.

Mr. Clint Stinnett of Harriman remarked that when he lived in Kingston several years ago, 50 to 75 commercial boats fished Watts Bar daily. That activity has now ceased, he said.

Announcements and Other Board Business
The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, March 8, 6:00 p.m., at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge. The program is to be determined.

No additions or corrections were made to January 5, 2000, Board meeting minutes.

Ms. Sigal recommended that Board members read the document Cleaning Up the Nuclear Weapons Complex: Does Anybody Care? (Probst and Lowe, January 2000), which was published by a group called Resources for the Future.

Ms. Rush requested that discussion of "Risk Excellence Notes" be added to the agenda. In discussion, she pointed out that Oak Ridge was not mentioned in the last two issues, and she asked Mr. Nelson why ORO wasn’t represented. Ms. Perry, who had in a previous assignment worked with the Center for Risk Excellence, said that Oak Ridge is a contributing member to "Risk Excellence Notes" and does contribute, although not to the last couple of issues.

The motion to approve transmittal of The Oak Ridge Reservation Stakeholder Report on Stewardship, Volume 2, to DOE was unanimously approved.

Mr. Gibson will chair an ad hoc committee charged with providing recommendations on the Annual Site Environmental Report. Mr. Gibson called for members to join the committee.

Mr. Gibson asked that he be identified as Waste Management Team Co-Leader in the January 20, 2000, Executive Committee meeting minutes. Ms. Sigal noted that Board Bylaws do not address whether or not a co-leader can vote on Executive Committee motions in the team leader’s absence. No concensus was reached on the subject, and the Board Process Team was charged with reviewing the Bylaws to address this issue.

During discussion of team activities, Mr. Alexander, leader of the Environmental Restoration Team, opened the floor to discussion of a "letter to the editor" he had sent to the Oak Ridger and the Knoxville News-Sentinel on February 2 (attachment 1). He moved that his letter be sent to the newspapers as a letter from the SSAB, under the Chairs’ signature. Mr. Kopp amended the motion so that the letter would go out as an SSAB press release. Following debate on the issue, Mr. Alexander was asked to work with staff to write a press release encouraging public participation in the Environmental Restoration Team’s February meeting. The press release will be reviewed by the Public Outreach Team. No second was made to the amended motion.

Mr. Pardue, the SSAB’s representative to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET), updated the Board on CROET activities and referred SSAB members to two reports he has placed in the SSAB library:

Annual Report—Implementation of Mitigation Action Plan for DOE/EA/1113: Lease of Parcel ED-1 of the Oak Ridge Reservation, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (DOE-ORO, DOE/EA-1113/MAP-99, December 1999)

East Tennessee Technology Park Horizon Center—Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions (CROET, Rev. 0, January 12, 2000)

Motions and Recommendations

Ms. Rush moved to approve the minutes of the January 5, 2000, Board meeting. Mr. Pardue seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Pardue moved that the Board send a delegation to Monday night’s Oak Ridge City Council meeting to ask for a delay on the Boeing property rezoning vote. Ms. Sigal seconded the motion, and the motion was approved, six for, one against (Mr. Alexander), and one abstention (Mr. Gibson).

Ms. Sigal moved that the Board approve transmittal of The Oak Ridge Reservation Stakeholder Report on Stewardship, Volume 2, to DOE. No second was required for the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Alexander moved that his letter to the editor be sent to the newspapers as a letter from the SSAB, under the Chairs’ signature. No second was made on the motion, and the motion was tabled.

Respectfully submitted,
Rikki Traylor, Secretary


Attachments (1)

Action Items

1. SSAB support office staff will amend the January 20, 2000, Executive Committee meeting minutes to identify Mr. Gibson as Waste Management Team Co-Leader. Completed 2/3/00. Revised minutes available upon request.

2. The Board Process Team will discuss amending the Board Bylaws to address the issue of whether or not a team co-leader can vote on Executive Committee motions in the team leader’s absence. Completed 2/24/00. Bylaws amendment will go before the Board for a first reading on 3/8/00 and will then go before the Board for a vote on 4/5/00.

3. Mr. Alexander and support staff will write a press release encouraging public participation in the Environmental Restoration Team’s February meeting. The Public Outreach Team will review the press release. Completed 2/4/00. Article appeared in Oak Ridger 2/9/00.

4. Mr. Dick Green (EPA) will supply Ms. Susan Gawarecki (LOC) with an answer on why the Woodland Community wasn’t included in EPA’s proposed sampling plan for the Scarboro Community. (Carryover item from 1/5/00 meeting) Completed 2/17/00. See ORSSAB incoming correspondence list, item 137.

5. Ms. Connie Jones will respond to Ms. Gawarecki’s question on whether or not EPA supported End Use Working group recommendations for Upper East Fork Poplar Creek. (Carryover item from 1/5/00 meeting) Completed 2/17/00. See ORSSAB incoming correspondence list, item 137.

6. Mr. Joe Nemec (Bechtel Jacobs Company) will supply a breakdown of the "managers" category from his presentation on workforce transition diversity. (Carryover item from 12/1/99 meeting)

7. Mr. Nemec will supply a breakdown of how the reported $61M in management and integration contractor cost savings have been used. (Carryover item from 12/1/99 meeting)

1 Motion

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