Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved October 10, 2001, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 10, 2001, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape recording of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the SSAB support office at 865-241-3665.

Members Present

Jake Alexander
Jeanne Bonner
Ryan Burton1
Donna Campbell
Heather Cothron
Mary Lynn Fletcher2
Luther Gibson, Jr., Chair
Pat Hill
John Kennerly
Alix King1
Steve Kopp
Steve Lewis
Bob McLeod
David Mosby, Vice Chair
Luis Revilla
Peery Shaffer
Coralie Staley, Secretary
Kerry Trammell
Scott Vowell
Charles Washington

1Student representative
2Participated by conference phone

Members Absent

John Million
E.W. Seals

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Martha Berry, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [(EPA) standing in for Connie Jones]
Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Robert Benfield, TDEC
Sheree Black, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Lori Fritz, DOE-ORO
Don Gilmore, TDEC
Chuck Jenkins, BJC
Pete Osborne, BJC
Myrna Redfield, DOE-ORO
Doug McCoy, TDEC

Eleven members of the public attended the meeting.


Mr. Don Gilmore, Assistant Manager of the TDEC Environmental Monitoring and Compliance Program, opened his presentation on the Residential Well Monitoring Program by explaining that the program regulates wells and well digging, but it does not regulate drinking water. The program was begun in 1989 by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to monitor off-site residential wells. The program was moved to TDEC in 1997. A copy of Mr. Gilmore’s overheads is included as Attachment 1.

After the presentation, the following paraphrased questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Gilmore.


Response (abridged)

Mr. Gibson: Are there any biases in the construction of residential wells and those you would have to drill for environmental monitoring? Yes, most of the wells are open hole with a cement casing down to 25 feet. You would then drill down to groundwater and then drill a little farther. That open hold is left open, and any surface water can enter. Sampling is then an amalgam of that water.
Ms. Hill: Information on the groundwater sampling program states that "Prior to sampling, water was run until pH, temperature, and conductivity readings stabilized." Does that mean you waited for the water to become room temperature? No, not room temperature. We do this so that the water is representative of the formation from which it originated. We try to make sure that the temperature of the water is as close as possible to what it is in the well.
Ms. Hill: You’re saying, then, that the samples were placed on ice; would that not change them? All but one of the bottles have an acid preservative that fixes the metals so they do not "plate out."
Mr. McLeod: What was your sampling frequency? What is the groundwater flow rate? And is the flow through primary or secondary permeability? The frequency is dry season and wet season. We don’t really know what the flow rate is; that would take more study. Mr. Benfield added that permeability (karst) is measured on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) in feet per day.
Mr. Washington: High levels of strontium have been reported in well monitoring results, but you say that it’s not a concern. How do you rationalize that? Those numbers were from DOE sampling results, not ours. Upon further review and sampling, we can’t discount it was there, but it isn’t now.
Mr. Kennerly: What was the range of depths of wells? The deepest is 600 feet, the shallowest 80-90 feet.
Ms. Hill: If others want their wells sampled, would you include them in the program? Definitely.
Mr. Revilla: Is it possible you’ve missed some contaminants because they’ve already gone past monitoring locations? Yes, that’s possible.
Ms. Fletcher: Does the state Department of Health have jurisdiction for water quality on the ORR and surrounding areas? Mr. Owsley responded that monitoring of public wells falls into the jurisdiction of the state. TDEC is responsible for monitoring well construction, and the state Department of Health is responsible for monitoring well water quality. Also, it is DOE’s responsibility to determine if any environmental contamination exists resulting from DOE operations and then to provide resources to address that contamination.
Ms. Fletcher: If DOE neglected to notify the public of contamination, can the state go in and investigate? Mr. Owsley responded that access to private property would be at the discretion of property owners; DOE would not have to give approval.
Ms. Fletcher: Is there any reason that levels of iron were so high in two samples? If the water came from the Knox dolomite formation, it’s not unusual to find high levels.
Ms. Fletcher: Do these levels exceed drinking water standards for children? I don’t know the answer to that.
Ms. Susan Gawarecki: Some residents near the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator recently asked EPA to look into possible contamination in the Sugar Grove Valley, Dickey Valley, and Dyllis communities. Has TDEC done any sampling there following that request? We’ve only been contacted by one person, who recently moved into the area. We’ll put anyone on the program who wants to be on it.
Ms. Gawarecki: Periodically I hear the theory that groundwater runs under the Clinch. Do you have any data to support that? Not yet, but what leads us to that conclusion is that several wells drilled for the K-1070-A remedial investigation showed wet cavities below the base elevation of the Clinch.
Ms. Gawarecki: Has DOE funded any studies to address this issue? As far as I know there’s been one request, but I don’t know how far that went.
Mr. Gibson: How can people interested in having their wells sampled contact you? Both Robert Benfield and I may be reached at 481-0097.
Ms. Pat Rush: Have you tested wells belonging to people in rural areas around Oak Ridge? We had hoped that by putting out a notice on the program we’d get more wells to sample. We haven’t gone door to door, but we’d like to.
Ms. Pat Rush: What was the nature of your advertising? It was a news release that included a map, but the map was not published in the paper.
Ms. Hill: Is there a baseline difference between spring water and well water? Yes, there’s a difference but not too much.
Mr. McLeod: Has there ever been a spring discharge survey along the Clinch River? We’ve not done a definitive spring survey, although we’ve sampled some areas along the Clinch.
Mr. Lewis: Have you tried to contact some of the original well owners in the program who haven’t had their wells sampled in six or seven years? No, we haven’t. We need to.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. Nelson introduced Myrna Redfield, Deputy Group Leader for the ORR Remediation Management Group and Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) Manager, and Lori Fritz, Deputy Manager of the ORR Office of Environmental Management (EM).

Mr. Nelson reported that the FY 2002 budget is under continuing resolution until October 16. Currently, DOE-ORO EM is working at FY 2001 budget levels. The House and Senate budget conferees have been selected, but they have not chosen a date to start work.

On the DOE-Headquarters (DOE-HQ) Top-to-Bottom Review, Mr. Nelson said that he had met with Jessie Roberson on September 5 for informal discussions about the ORO program. On September 25 and 26, representatives from DOE-HQ working on the Top-to-Bottom Review came to Oak Ridge for further discussions. Only Oak Ridge and Savannah River have been surveyed for the review so far. No timetable on a report was given.

Mr. Nelson announced that increased security measures were being implemented at the 55 Jefferson building.

In response to a question from Ms. Fletcher about whether any reprogrammed money would be available to ORO EM, Mr. Nelson said that he did not have any information at this time. "We’re guardedly optimistic that significant money will be added," he said.

In response to a question from Ms. Hill on whether the terrorist attack on the United States had any effect on funding, Mr. Nelson said that in situations like this other agencies are often asked to "help out," but he’s not seen any of that. "I think if anything, it’s taken focus away from the budget, and the budget, when it passes, will pass quickly," he said.

Ms. Redfield reported that the FFA parties (DOE, TDEC, and EPA) have been working since May on three major decision documents: the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Bethel Valley watershed, the Upper East Fork Poplar Creek Phase 1 watershed ROD, and the Zone 1 Proposed Plan at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). DOE has submitted their final proposals on these decisions documents, and they will be working with TDEC and EPA next week to complete negotiations. The Zone 1 ROD will be going to TDEC and EPA for review later this month. An action memorandum for demolition of the K-25 and K-27 buildings is in development. A first draft will go to TDEC and EPA at the end of the month.

Much EM work has been accomplished in recent months, and additional projects are taking place now:

• Six buildings have been demolished at ETTP, and a seventh is in progress.

• A project was completed on Highway 58 to remove and dispose of several drums that were discovered during road work close to ETTP.

• Work at three of the four Surface Impoundments at ORNL is complete, and work on the fourth impoundment is in progress.

• Work on ORNL low-level waste tanks is finished, and the completion report has been submitted to TDEC and EPA.

• The ORNL Gunite Tanks were emptied and stabilized by grouting them in place. A parking lot covers them now.

• Construction of the EM Waste Management Facility is 80% complete, and the FFA parties are working to resolve waste acceptance criteria.

In response to a question from Ms. Rush about how DOE would respond to public comments on the Zone 1 proposed plan, Ms. Redfield said that the responsiveness summary in the Zone 1 ROD would give responses to public comments. The D1 goes to the regulators October 31; it should be available to the public at the Information Resource Center five days later.

Public Comment

Mr. Norman Mulvenon, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Panel of the Local Oversight Committee, announced that the Oak Ridge League of Women Voters is sponsoring a workshop on parliamentary procedure at the Oak Ridge city library on October 20. The cost is $5.

Ms. Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee Executive Director, announced that a meeting on Building K-25 historic preservation is tentatively scheduled for October 30 at 1 p.m. at the guardhouse on Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, November 14, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge. The presentation has been tentatively set as an overview of current activities at the EM Waste Management Facility.

Minutes of the September 12, 2001, Board meeting were approved without change.

The Board approved "Comments on the Proposed Plan for Interim Remedial Actions for Selected Contaminated Soil, Material, and Blair Quarry within Zone 1 at the East Tennessee Technology Park, DOE/OR/01-1936&D3," (Attachment 2).

The Board approved "Recommendations on Explanations of Significant Difference for CERCLA RODs at the DOE ORR" (Attachment 3).

The Board approved on second reading (the first being September 12, 2001) a proposed amendment to the ORSSAB mission statement to add the word "independent" to the first sentence so that it reads "The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board is an independent, nonpartisan, broadly representative group of citizens with interests and concerns related to the environment at the Oak Ridge Reservation and surrounding areas."

Mr. Alexander, Mr. Peery, and Mr. Washington gave reports on the FY 2002 work plans of the Environmental Restoration, Stewardship, and Waste Management committees, respectively. Mr. Vowell discussed the Stewardship Education Subcommittee, and Mr. Osborne gave a report on public outreach.

Mr. Kopp, chair of the "Oak Ridge Success Story" ad hoc committee, announced that a draft paper will go out to a core team of reviewers this week. About two weeks after that, a final paper will be distributed to sponsoring organizations, including ORSSAB. No further comments on the document will be entertained at that time; the decision for sponsoring organizations will be whether they wish to endorse the document as it is written.

Mr. Gibson gave a report on Executive Committee activities:

• The joint SSAB Groundwater Workshop in Augusta, Georgia, has been rescheduled for January 31–February 2.

• Dates for November ORSSAB committee meetings have been set as follows: Environmental Restoration—Thursday, November 15; Waste Management—Monday, November 19; Stewardship—Tuesday, November 20.

• DOE has asked the Board to trim back its discretionary travel in FY 2002 to $25,000 or less. A separate $30,000 amount is available for intersite travel, defined as including meetings of other SSABs, the SSAB chairs meetings, and SSAB workshops. Mr. Mosby asked Ms. Halsey if $1000 per trip per person is a good amount to use in planning trips. Ms. Halsey offered to research the question and supply an answer at the October 25 Executive Committee meeting.

The Board discussed the ORSSAB FY 2002 work plan, and Ms. Halsey indicated that the plan is to be approved by the Deputy Designated Federal Officer per DOE-HQ guidance. Several members asked whether "approved" was the correct term, and Ms. Halsey offered to contact DOE-HQ to discuss operational terms. Mr. Kennerly also asked her to find out what "disapproved" would mean.

The meeting adjourned at 8:56 p.m.

Attachments to these minutes are available upon request from the SSAB support office.


Ms. Staley was absent for votes on all motions.


Mr. Mosby moved to approve the minutes of the September 12, 2001, Board meeting. Mr. Shaffer seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.


Mr. Alexander moved to approve "Comments on the Proposed Plan for Interim Remedial Actions for Selected Contaminated Soil, Material, and Blair Quarry within Zone 1 at the East Tennessee Technology Park, DOE/OR/01-1936&D3." No second was required for approval of the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.


Mr. Washington moved to approve "Recommendations on Explanations of Significant Difference for CERCLA RODs at the DOE ORR." No second was required for approval of the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.


Mr. Mosby moved to approve on second reading a proposed amendment to the ORSSAB mission statement to add the word "independent" to the first sentence so that it reads "The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board is an independent, nonpartisan, broadly representative group of citizens with interests and concerns related to the environment at the Oak Ridge Reservation and surrounding areas." No second was required for the motion, and the motion was approved by a vote of 15 in favor, 2 opposed (Mr. Alexander and Ms. Bonner).

Respectfully submitted,

Coralie A. Staley, Secretary


Attachments (3)

1 Motion

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