Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

Approved September 1, 1999, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly board meeting on Wednesday, September 1, 1999, at the Garden Plaza Hotel, Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Members Present

James Alexander
Robert Blaum
Donna Campbell
Jeff Cange
Luther Gibson, Jr.
Randy Gordon
Steve Kopp
David Mosby
Bill Pardue, Chair
Bob Peelle
Pat Rush
Darrell Srdoc
Rikki Traylor, Secretary
Charles Washington
Anne-Marie Wiest, ORHS Representative

Members Absent

Robert Brown
Demetra Nelson
Lorene Sigal

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Marianne Heiskell, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Sheree Black, SSAB Support Office
Brian Holzclaw, EPA Region 4
Chuck Jenkins, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Sharon Matthews, EPA Region 4
Pete Osborne, SSAB Support Office
Cheryl Walker-Smith, EPA Region 4
Camilla Bond Warren, EPA Region 4

Twenty members of the public were recorded to have attended the meeting.


Camilla Bond Warren, EPA Section Chief for the DOE Remedial Section, discussed the Draft Environmental Sampling Plan for the Scarboro Community and distributed copies of the draft plan to the Board and to J.B. Hill, NAACP representative. Ms. Warren opened her presentation by introducing other EPA representatives attending the meeting: Sharon Matthews, technical expert for the plan; Cheryl Walker Smith, project manager; and Brian Holzclaw, customer services specialist.

Ms. Warren explained that EPA became involved in Scarboro sampling through a request by the NAACP. After meeting with Scarboro Community residents and DOE, EPA decided to undertake its own sampling as a direct validation and oversight of DOE results. As a Superfund oversight agency, EPA felt the questions in Scarboro were compelling enough to warrant a verification study. At the same time, EPA in Washington and the General Accounting Office issued new guidance on conducting oversight, and part of that guidance involved direct sampling in a statistical fashion to validate study design as well as data quality and results. Ms. Warren offered to supply additional memos about the drivers for EPA sampling.

The 60-day public comment period on the plan will begin September 16. EPA will conduct a number of meetings in Scarboro in September and will work with the Scarboro Community on a walk-through of the plan. The first meeting will be September 16, 6:00 p.m., at the Scarboro Community Center. All stakeholders are welcome to attend. The City of Oak Ridge has requested a briefing as well. Ms. Warren offered to meet again with the SSAB on a subcommittee basis to discuss plan specifics. Ms. Warren invited public comment on the concept, sampling locations, number of samples, or any other aspect of the plan. Comments should be sent to Ms. Warren, Cheryl Walker Smith, or Connie Jones. Ms. Warren noted that the copies handed out this evening were advance copies distributed before the start of the public comment period.

During the question and answer session, Mr. Larry Gipson, a Scarboro resident, asked that EPA reconsider taking additional samples. DOE has already taken samples, he said, and for EPA to do more sampling without also making comparative studies "does a great injustice to the Scarboro Community." He urged EPA to sample in Burnham Woods and other areas around the Y-12 Plant for comparative purposes or not do any sampling at all. In later comments, Mr. Gipson also objected to the sampling because of how it plays out in the newspapers and the resulting stigma to the community. Scarboro is being unfairly singled out when other communities, such as Burnham Woods, are an insignificant distance away.

Pat Rush concurred with Mr. Gipson’s remark that comprehensive comparative sampling is necessary. Ms. Warren responded that EPA initially considered a more exhaustive effort but decided that a validation study was more appropriate. EPA will be evaluating that decision in the coming weeks.

Chairman Pardue asked what EPA would do if the validation study doesn’t validate DOE results. Ms. Warren replied that EPA would share the results and work that issue directly with the community and DOE.

Mr. J.B. Hill, President of the local NAACP chapter and head of the Scarboro Environmental Justice Council, explained that when the NAACP submitted its written request to EPA, one of the recommendations it made was that comparative sampling be done. If EPA’s draft sampling plan is different from that request then it is in conflict with what the NAACP desired.

Mr. Daniel Axelrod, a local stakeholder, asked the estimated cost and time needed for sampling. Ms. Warren said sampling should require a day or two in the field. No cost estimate is available, but one will be supplied at the September 16 meeting. Mr. Axelrod asked why the list of contaminants EPA will test for is more extensive than the one DOE used in its sampling effort. Testing for a large number of contaminants serves two purposes, Ms. Warren replied: (1) to validate DOE results and (2) to answer concerns raised by Scarboro residents. Ms. Walker-Smith added that DOE had, in fact, tested for an extended number of contaminants in six samples; EPA will therefore need to replicate those results.

Mr. Bob Peelle, a former SSAB member, asked if the concern behind this sampling effort is present hazards or past hazards. He observed that the Oak Ridge Health Agreement Steering Panel likely will call for stratified core sampling to help determine past exposures, and he urged EPA to use methodology that will allow for direct comparison of specific uranium isotopes.

Mr. Washington raised a point of order, asking that questions on the plan be restricted to the purpose and objectives. (Ms. Warren had previously requested that questions concerning the specifics of the draft study be held until after its official release on September 16.)

LOC member Al Brooks asked if there were some reason to think Florida A&M did not do an adequate job in analyzing DOE’s samples. He concurred with Mr. Gipson’s statements and said he did not think the sampling plan fit the needs of the Scarboro Community. He also noted confusion about where EPA is sampling in Oak Ridge; the agency will not sample outside Scarboro for this study but it is sampling in the Lower East Fork Poplar Creek (LEFPC) area. Ms. Warren explained that the Scarboro sampling is in direct response to a request from the community; the determination to sample in LEFPC was made by EPA’s technical staff to test the success of a remedial action after some substantial flooding.

Mr. Srdoc asked why EPA is reconstructing what may be "a flawed plan." Ms. Warren explained that validation is common regulatory practice and does not imply, in and of itself, that something’s wrong. However, EPA did have some questions about isotopic ratios, types of contaminants analyzed for, etc. Mr. Srdoc asked for a summary of EPA’s questions about DOE’s results, and Ms. Warren agreed to supply that information.

Mr. Gordon asked what process EPA used to work with the Scarboro Community in devising the plan. Ms. Warren replied that there was no "negotiation" with the community; rather, the community made a request and EPA responded. Mr. Gordon said that from a taxpayer’s point of view, negotiation might have been a good approach. Ms. Warren replied that this plan is a first step and that EPA was not willing to go into other communities without first validating the results of the DOE study. Directives to "other lead agencies" suggest that those agencies would be responsible for initiating a broader sampling effort.

Mr. Washington explained that Scarboro was originally chosen for sampling because it’s the closest community to the Y-12 Plant. It stands to reason, he said, that if Scarboro is contaminated, other communities may be contaminated, too. He supported Ms. Warren’s remarks that validation is standard practice for such studies.

Ms. Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee Executive Director, noted that in its sampling, DOE had used biased sampling at places like roof driplines. This methodology may not be best for EPA because it’s not random or statistically significant and therefore, in her opinion, not legally defensible. She asked if EPA was planning to vary sampling points from those used by DOE. Ms. Warren said that EPA’s first step is validating DOE’s numbers, which requires replicating the study. Ms. Gawarecki remarked that if EPA and DOE had worked together on the first study (splitting samples, providing field oversight, etc.), this second effort might not have been necessary. Ms. Gawarecki advocated such a cooperative sampling approach for the entire Oak Ridge Reservation, in lieu of the Scarboro effort. Environmental justice concerns, she asserted, impact more than just Scarboro; they include all of Oak Ridge. She urged EPA to go forward with a "broader vision" and to work with DOE in a way that’s meaningful for the entire community.

Mr. James Lewis, a Scarboro resident, said he would like to see a formal report from the Joint Center for Environmental Justice. What was their position? Did they recommend additional studies? He’d also like to hear from Larry Robinson, a former long-time resident, on his views. Responding to Mr. Lewis, Mr. Hill said that Dr. Balius Walker had called for additional sampling after reviewing DOE’s sampling results. Larry Robinson had concurred and had recommended core samples. From those comments, a decision was made by the NAACP to ask EPA to do a validation study and take additional samples.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. Rod Nelson announced that a contractor had been selected for the on-site waste disposal facility. The Record of Decision has not been signed, and the trust fund issue is holding it up. Mr. Nelson thinks that issue is close to resolution, however.

Chairman Pardue asked DOE and EPA for input on the Board’s FY 2000 work plan. Both agencies promised to send input tomorrow.

Ms. Warren reported that EPA, TDEC, and DOE had met last week to discuss planning budgets and scheduling of Federal Facility Agreement milestones. Work on resolving issues is progressing "harmoniously." Chairman Pardue asked about the Keystone scope of work. Ms. Jones said EPA has supplied comments to Keystone, and the Board will get to review the statement of work before implementation.

Mr. John Owsley responded to a request given to him earlier in the week by Board member Luther Gibson for an update on the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator (TSCAI) permitting process and opportunities for public involvement in that process. DOE has submitted a revised trail burn plan and a risk assessment plan to the State, and they were sent out for public review; the comment period ended August 17. The State will make a decision before Oct 1. If the decision is to approve the plan, a pretrial or test burn will be conducted in winter, and the information from that burn will be used to establish the final trial burn, sometime in Spring 2000. The results of that burn will be evaluated, and the State will make a decision at that time to deny the permit or proceed with a draft permit. Public notice will be given of the comment period, and if the community desires, a pubic hearing will be held. If the trail burn is successful and the community is accepting of the permits, they will be issued. Each decision point will receive public notice.

Public Comment

Mr. Daniel Axelrod called attention to his article in the August 25 issue of the Oak Ridger (Attachment 1). The proposal outlined in the article is to reduce money for cleanup in favor of spending on other projects, such as a stewardship emergency trust fund, the Spallation Neutron Source, ORNL initiatives, and a theta pinch studies program. Mr. Axelrod recommended the Board help Bechtel Jacobs Company look at what programs could be cut or delayed (such as Surveillance & Maintenance) to provide funds for the programs he advocates. Mr. Axelrod asked that a letter he had submitted by mail to the SSAB Support Office be included in the meeting minutes (Attachment 2).

Ms. Susan Gawarecki invited the SSAB, DOE, and the public to attend the annual joint meeting of the LOC and its Citizens’ Advisory Panel on September 14 at the Rusty Pelican restaurant. The presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a business meeting. Leah Dever will be the presenter. Ms. Gawarecki also urged the Board to maintain a presence on the board of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee.

Mr. Gawarecki apprised the Board of a meeting she had attended, at which Mark Frei, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Waste Management, had made remarks about opening the Nevada Test Site to Oak Ridge wastes. Jim Owendoff has been working the issue at the state level, and a proposed decision is hoped for at the national governors’ meeting this fall. Mr. Frei intimated that TSCAI must be opened to out-of-state wastes before Oak Ridge can send wastes to Nevada.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be October 6, 6:00 p.m., at the Oak Ridge Mall Club Room. Leah Dever, Manager of the DOE-Oak Ridge Office Office will discuss the status of Oak Ridge Offices and her vision for its future.

Additions to the agenda: Ms. Rush requested the addition of the ED-3 public meeting. Ms. Traylor requested that discussion of Mr. Alexander’s membership status be stricken the agenda since his attendance this evening voided the issue.

The Board elected officers for Fiscal Year 2000: Chair, Steve Kopp; Vice-Chair, Demetra Nelson; Secretary, Rikki Traylor.

Ms. Traylor reported that the Board’s Annual Retreat will be held Friday, October 15, 3:30–9:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 16, 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. The retreat will be held at Rothchild Catering’s banquet room/meeting facility in west Knoxville. The meeting facilitator will contact members prior to the retreat.

Mr. Mosby offered an amendment to the August 4, 1999, Board meeting minutes: list in attendance the former Board members who were at the meeting to receive recognition plaques.

Ms. Rush offered an amendment to the Board’s revised Standing Rules, Item II.E.8.b: The second sentence should read "Most Boards seem to use $75,000 - $100,000 worth in a year’s time." Ms. Traylor offered an amendment to Item I: Replace "To be written" with "The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Board will be the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at a place to be announced one month in advance, or as determined by previous notification."

Discussion of the draft joint resolution between ORSSAB and the Nevada Test Site Citizens’ Advisory Board (Agenda Item IX.E) was tabled due to Mr. Gordon’s absence.

Chairman Pardue informed the Board that Representative Don Ridgeway, Chair of the State Legislature Committee on Conservation and Environment, and Senator Ron Ramsey, Chair of the Committee on Environment, Conservation, and Tourism, have accepted the Board’s invitation to visit Oak Ridge on October 29. The Public Outreach Project Team will begin planning for their visit at its September 7 meeting.

Ms. Rush encouraged Board members to attend a public meeting on ED-3 on September 29, 5:30 p.m., at the Oak Ridge Mall Crown Court Room.

Ms. Rush congratulated Chairman Pardue on his 2-years of service as Board Chair. Ms. Traylor called for and the Board gave Mr. Pardue a standing ovation in recognition of his service.

Motions and Recommendations

Mr. Washington moved to approve the amended meeting agenda. Mr. Kopp seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Rush moved to elect Mr. Kopp to the position of Board Chair by acclimation. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Rush moved to elect Ms. Nelson to the position of Board Vice-Chair by acclimation. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Rush moved to elect Ms. Traylor to the position of Board Secretary by acclimation. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Traylor presented the motion to approve the revised minutes of the August 4, 1999, Board meeting. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Traylor presented the motion to approve revision of the Board’s Special Rules of Order (Attachment 3). The motion was unanimously approved (Mr. Gordon was absent for the vote).

Ms. Traylor presented the motion to approve revision of the Board’s Standing Rules (as amended at this meeting)(Attachment 3). The motion was approved, ten votes for, one against (Mr. Gibson); Mr. Gordon was absent for the vote.

Respectfully submitted,
Rikki Traylor, Secretary

Attachments (3)

1 Motion

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