Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved May 12, 2004, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2004, at the DOE Information Center 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 Information Center at 865-241-4780.

Members Present

Ben Adams
Dick Berry
Rhonda Bogard
Donna Campbell
Amy DeMint
John Kennerly
Bob McLeod
Katie Meersman1
John Million
Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair
Kerry Trammell

1Student representative

Members Absent

Jake Alexander
Heather Cothron2
Pat Hill3
Luther Gibson
David Mosby, Chair
Linda Murawski2
Luis Revilla, Secretary
George Rimel
Christopher Smith

2Second consecutive absence
3Third consecutive absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones, Ex Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO
Doug McCoy, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Jeannie Brandstetter, Spectrum
Jim McBrayer, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Pete Osborne, BJC

Three members of the public attended the meeting.


Dave Adler provided an update (Attachment 1) to the Board regarding the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility Capacity Assurance Remedial Action Report. The annual report, which sprung from negotiations among DOE, EPA and TDEC, is a response to concerns that waste generated from now through closure in 2008 (and balance of reservation in 2015) may surpass the capacity of the landfill. Thus, the report is designed to evaluate the capacity of the on-site waste facility and, taking into account forecasts for waste generation, determine if it can accommodate that waste. According to Mr. Adler, DOE’s waste disposal needs are continuously compared to capacity for on-site disposal.

During and after Mr. Adler’s remarks, the following questions were asked by members of the Board, and the following responses were given.




Response (abridged)

Mr. Kennerly – Does the ETTP D&D include anything from  31, 33 and 29 – anything that might come from them?

Our current estimates say when those do come down we do have to dispose of those wastes. There are still some conservatives in our estimate. We believe we are still in some ways overestimating the volume required, but we didn’t want to low-ball it.

Mr. Adams – We’ve talked about EMWMF and will there be enough room, etc. I’m concerned that something might change – that you would change the acceptance criteria, the level of what is good enough and we won’t have enough room. But what I have not heard as much about any of the other sites. If you look at 2015, and you start to worry about what might happen after that in the long term, it seems like there needs to be a program that shows the expandability of each of the different types of waste disposal areas and the thought that there could be yet another one created if for any reason there has to be and where it might be. If all the smart people that are together doing this could extend their look a little further, it might be helpful and might make us feel better.

I agree with that comment. This landfill should be sufficient to take care of us for the next 10 years. Ultimately, you can only fit so much material in 100 acres. We’re on top of Chestnut Ridge, and if Oak Ridge grows as more and more buildings come down, we will have to face that.

Mr. Trammell – How has the in-situ percentage changed from the original estimate?

Our very early proposals didn’t even contemplate any in-situ management, so it’s gone from zero up to about 150,000 cubic yards. The concept is being introduced in this document and advanced in the Zone 2 documentation. We’ve gone from not thinking about it to thinking about it, both because it saves capacity and also as we recognize this is a tactic employed at other sites and appears to be environmentally sound.

Mr. Trammell – What percentage of that is contaminated material that’s being left?

None of it, when put into the ground, would exceed the soil guidelines that we expect to use at ETTP. The material, as left in place, will be as clean as or cleaner than the soil that we ultimately agree with the regulators can be left in place. However, it is the case that some of this material will likely be the result of taking concrete blocks or walls that have a very thin veneer of some spots of some contamination. When compared to surface criteria, that would be considered contaminated. DOE and NRC developed standards originally intended to make sure that working surfaces and structures did not present a health hazard. If a wall with that minimal contamination is taken down, a different standard (volumetric) is applied because there no longer exists a pathway to the contamination.

Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee – Are there volumetric standards?

There will be site-specific volumetric standards applied for the ETTP site. That’s part of what happens under the Record of Decision.

Steve Kopp, citizen – Assuming the K-33, K-31 and K-29 buildings go forward as planned and they’re going to be used for tenants, and they’re not torn down there’s no issue, but what if they’re torn down and the rubble has to be disposed of? Is that counted in this estimate?

Yes. If we successfully transfer or lease those buildings, our estimates go down quite a bit.

Mr. Mulvenon – Are you going to take the cooling water lines out of the ground or not?

The plan remains to remove them.


Rick Ferguson – If those cooling water lines do have to come out, the majority of that volume would not go to EMWMF.

Mr. Mulvenon – We’ve got chromates and possible radioactive contamination from backflushes and various things that have gone on over the years. You say we have characterization data, or we’re going to get it?

Mr. Ferguson – We’re going to get it.

Mr. Adams – Your use of the word “classified.” Is that someone that used to be classified or is currently classified?

Both. It was classified when it was put in the ground and it has not been declassified.

Mr. Trammell – I assume that in the original estimate it was based on sampling for the materials coming from ETTP. As you look at the other two sites, ORNL and Y-12, are you looking at a potential change in the (Waste Acceptance Criteria) because of the different constituents that might be there?

No. When we set the Waste Acceptance Criteria for that landfill, we addressed all of the waste acceptance issues associated with all the waste – we hope – to be generated by the cleanup program. Those are pretty hard, fixed numbers.

Mr. Adams – Is Chestnut Ridge very expandable?

Yes. In fact, there’s already quite a bit of permitted acreage out there that we already have and, in agreement with TDEC, that can be used as landfill capacity. We are going to make sure that waste streams go to the most efficient, cost-effective space available to them.


Mr. Mulvenon – I’m pleased that we’re re-evaluating this, but I’m confused by some of it. This assumes use of ETTP rubbleized concrete for backfill. When we started this, we couldn’t do that. Then we had the incident of K-33 pedestals that were put in the CERCLA waste facility because they were too hard to be broken up, and then later read in the newspaper that the floors were scabbled and put into the landfill.

The difference between those two waste streams is that one in fact was being left in the building to be re-used. That floor we hoped to see manufacturing and jobs on. The pedestal had to be removed from the building in order for the building to be functional for potential tenants. The complete answer is that it is technically possible to scabble them, but the labor costs and worker hazard associated with that might outweigh the benefit. Where you’re attempting to restore a structure for occupation without restrictions, the need exists.

Mr. Mulvenon – We think the K-33 pedestals disposal was poorly executed and we had to go back and reconstruct it. I’m still not sure it was done to everyone’s satisfaction.

That was an issue early in the operation of the landfill. Items were being placed in a somewhat haphazard manner that didn’t maximize capacity. 

Ms. Gawarecki – This question is about the rubbleization in place. We’ve really heard very little about this technique and where it might occur, how big the rubble is going to be and all of that. I just want to request that when you start to look at doing this, you talk to some structural or civil engineers about how it might impact the re-industrialization of the site.

Obviously, our goal is to end up with a site we can still use. The plan is that we approve or disapprove the concept in the Record of Decision.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Prior to Mr. Adler’s presentation, he introduced Vince Adams of DOE’s Assets Utilization program to provide a report on the Saturday, May 8 incident during which a chemical fire west of the K-25 site at the East Tennessee Technology Park led to a large-scale emergency response and a voluntary evacuation of plant neighbors.

Mr. Adams reported that the situation has been “stabilized and all activities returned to normal.” Further, a stabilization and recovery team is developing and executing a plan to recover materials outside the operation area. Execution began Monday, May 10, and was suspended May 11 and 12 to determine a more efficient means to recover the material which is large and needs to be broken up to be placed in drums. With better tools and equipment, Mr. Adams expected operation to resume on May 13, with fire and emergency personnel standing by.

A additional plan is being put together to go into the “hot box” where Mr. Adams believes most problems exist in the future. There is an agreement in place with contractors and subcontractors on the project that DOE must give approval before work commences on the project. A Type B Investigation Team has been named and will convene May 13, but no schedule is yet in place for completion of their investigation.

Mr. Adler made an additional announcement:

·         He expects the Proposed Plan for ETTP Zone 2 to soon finish regulatory review and be ready for public comment.

Ms. Jones agreed with Mr. Adler that the Proposed Plan for ETTP Zone 2 should be ready for public review in June.

Mr. McCoy, attending in Mr. Owsley’s stead, responded to questions from Ms. Gawarecki regarding the state’s role in the Saturday, May 8 chemical fire, and whether TDEC would play a role in DOE’s investigation of the event. Mr. McCoy said he didn’t know if the state would play a role in the investigation, but its part in emergency response is well-defined. TDEC has “teams set up to respond to any type of emergency type situations on the Oak Ridge Reservation or that move off the Oak Ridge Reservation primarily for the purpose of doing environmental sampling” to “see the intensity of these releases when they occur and use that information for public health and public safety purposes.”

Mr. McCoy emphasized that members of the state’s team are not tasked are “first responders,” but said his division did receive notification and did have a team respond to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency office in Maryville. Then, “on Sunday morning we did have a team out that went around to assure ourselves so we could assure the public that as best as we could tell, that it was environmentally safe.”

Ms. Gawarecki asked how the public is notified that it is safe, suggesting that notification via a press release might occur when an unsafe situation arises. The state’s silence on any matter, she said, leaves the public unaware of the state’s involvement.

Walter Perry, DOE Public Affairs pointed out that in the event of any emergency a Joint Information Center is activated which corrals information from all agencies involved, including the state and TEMA.

Ms. Bogard asked Mr. Perry to address the classification of the May 8 event and who made the decision to turn on the evacuation siren. She noted that the sounding of the alarm seemed to indicate it was a “general emergency,” but what she later read in news accounts didn’t support that level of event.

Mr. Perry said the decision was made about 1:10 p.m. Saturday with the Roane County Sheriff’s Department, which facilitated an evacuation of the area. He said it was determined a better choice to be safe and take that extra precaution.

Ms. Gawarecki said the LOC has been investigating the guidelines, and under an agreement that starts at (DOE) Headquarters, between DOE and the state, DOE and its on-site contractor are not allowed to further classify operational emergencies when they occur at tenant’s location. This has been a point of contention between TEMA and DOE.

Mr. Berry noted that any contractor recovering metallic sodium from material like that (molten metals) would not have a system for blanketing the area with nitrogen. He suggested the root of the problem is “faulty procedure,” and said the ORO gets a black eye for saying a local sheriff with a reputation of inexperience made the decision to “blow the whistle.”

Mr. Mulvenon noted that the Board would continue to follow the investigation, and Mr. Perry said lessons learned from this event will no doubt be applied to any future operations.

Public Comment


Announcements and Other Board Business

Because a quorum was not present, approval of the draft minutes of the April 14, 2004 meeting was deferred until June. No exceptions or corrections were stated.

Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve and place “Comments on the Public Involvement Plan for CERCLA Activities at the DOE Reservation” into the record. The recommendation, formulated by the Public Outreach Committee, bypassed the Executive Committee to be placed before the entire Board. Mr. Mulvenon said the letter will be sent to Steve McCracken, but the Board will be asked to address the issue again in June because of the quorum required to move a recommendation forward.

The two consecutive absences of Ms. Hill and Ms. Murawski were dismissed, and will be addressed at the June meeting.

Committee Reports

Board Finance - Mr. Trammell reported that at its April meeting the committee discussed the monthly expenses for March. The Board’s budget is “in real good shape.” He said he very much wants the entire Board to be involved in moving forward with the plan for the Board’s committee facilitator.

Ms. Halsey reported that as of Monday, May 17, there will be a contract awarded to have Board support in place.

Environmental Management – Mr. Gibson was not present to report on the EM Committee’s April meeting, so Mr. Mulvenon referred Board members to the minutes contained in the notebook. One issue that was discussed is the foam technology planned for potential use at K-25/27. Mr. Trammell asked the state and EPA if they knew of any cons relating to the foam technology. Mr. McCoy said the state’s preliminary concern is that the use of any such technology not stand in the way of or negate agreements (relative to deposit removals) already in place. He said conversations with DOE and the contractor had sufficiently assured him that the foam technology will not stand in the way of previously planned activities. Ms. Jones said EPA’s position is consistent with the state’s.

Public Outreach – Mr. Mulvenon said the committee’s primary recent functions have been formulating the recommendation regarding the Public Involvement Plan and working to update and revise an exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy. He mentioned that the committee is investigating buying shirts for the entire Board.

Stewardship – Mr. Adams reported that at its April 20 meeting Steve McCracken discussed and confirmed information given to stewardship members in December 2003. He noted also that the schedule for shutting down the TSCA Incinerator remains the same. In addition,

·         Four committee members were planning to attend a Headquarters-sponsored workshop on Long-Term Stewardship in June, but the meeting was cancelled with no indication of being rescheduled.

·         The Board’s new student members are expected to join the Stewardship Committee and help on its Education Subcommittee’s (Campbell, Murawski, Cothron) set of lesson plans for high school teachers.

·         Mr. Adams would like to meet with Dave Geiser and Ralph Skinner to discuss the next opportunity to put on the Oak Ridge map presentation at a large venue.

·         The committee is in the process of reviewing and preparing for presentation to the entire Board, the Long-Term Stewardship Annotated Outline.

Executive Committee - Mr. Mulvenon pointed Board members to review the minutes and attached budget tracking chart. The committee is in the process of reviewing facilitation and technical advisor needs. He noted that the immediate need is securing a facilitator for the retreat. Because Lori Greening, the facilitator for the 2003 retreat, is unavailable, a DOE facilitator is being sought.

Board Process Committee – Mr. Mulvenon reported that in a meeting earlier in the day, the committee agreed to pursue either Susan Cange or Teresa Perry of DOE to facilitate the Aug. 7 retreat. He noted that several sites are being investigated in addition to the DOE Information Center.

Nominating Committee – Mr. Adams, Mr. McLeod and Mr. Berry volunteered to serve. Their job will be to present a slate of officers at the July Board meeting. The Board will then vote on a final slate at the business meeting portion of the retreat in August.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve “Comments on Public Involvement Plan for CERCLA Activities at the DOE Reservation.” Mr. Adams seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved by the nine members present and voting.

Respectfully submitted,

Luis Revilla, Secretary


Attachments (2) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.