Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved September 10, 2003, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 10, 2003, 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 ORSSAB support office at 865-576-1590.

Members Present

Ben Adams
Rhonda Bogard
Donna Campbell, Secretary
Luther Gibson
Barbara Kosny1
Bob McLeod
John Million
David Mosby, Chair,
Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair
Linda Murawski
Luis Revilla
Atur Sheth1
Kerry Trammell

1Student representative

Members Absent

Jake Alexander
Dick Berry
Heather Cothron
Amy DeMint
Pat Hill
John Kennerly
George Rimel
Christopher Smith

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, DOE-Oak Ridge Operations (DOE-ORO)
Jeff Crane, for Connie Jones, Ex Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO EM
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO EM
John Owsley, Ex
Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Jay Bassett, EPA
Jeannie Brandstetter, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Jim McBrayer, BJC
Pete Osborne, BJC

Two members of the public attended the meeting.


Mr. Owsley discussed environmental monitoring done under the auspices of the Tennessee Oversight Agreement. After the presentation (Attachment 1), several questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Owsley.


Response (Abridged)

Mr. Adams - Has this presentation been given outside of Oak Ridge, in Nashville to upper management or to the general public?

It has not been given outside of Oak Ridge. We have given a similar presentation to the LOC; to their board and all information is reported to our management on a routine basis. We have not physically gone up and given them a briefing, but they are aware.

Mr. Adams - Do you yourself have an opinion as to whether your conclusions are believable and believed by people who live away from here? Do you have any basis for forming an opinion?

There’s a significant basis for forming an opinion on whether or not we feel like it’s believable and we certainly do and feel like they are based in scientific method. Whether or not people in Oak Ridge or outside of Oak Ridge believe those findings, we haven’t gotten feedback one way or the other. We assume the state’s integrity is such that they are accepted.

Mr. Gibson - Your presentation talks about monitoring. Some of it is real time and some of it involves laboratory analysis and continuous sampling rather than monitoring and off-line laboratory analysis. One of the things with your program and with DOE’s is that results are often not reported until next calendar year from the time they’re measured. You made a statement that there are sources of contamination that could be released through failure. Do you have the mechanisms in place to detect that if you had a sudden failure?

We do. They’re simply not reported. Our monitoring, while it’s not real time in all cases the data is routinely received so we would in fact be able to detect a release. There are other monitoring activities that would detect released as well. EPA has continuous radiological detectors on site that would detect a release and the drinking water intakes are monitored routinely as well.

Mr. Trammell - You mention the radon monitoring at the burial grounds – that there was an increase - above background. If you compared that to if you monitored the natural vein of uranium that occurs in the reservation, would that be a similar reading? Would it be a higher reading that what you’re finding at the burial ground? I’m trying to compare.

That would be a consideration in our evaluation of the effort and we do have background monitors. I don’t know that we specifically sought out an area that has naturally occurring uranium, but that’s certainly a point I’ll need to make with staff – to at least have that data available. Physics tells you that at some point in time, radon will be increased in that area simply because of the vast majority of uranium.

Mr. Trammell - What is your budget and the number of employees working here at Oak Ridge?

Little over $4 million. Oversight grant is $1.9 and Environmental Restoration grant is about $2.1. We have 51 positions established and of those we have 44 filled.

Mr. Trammell - Does that include sample analysis?

Analysis done for the most part by the state laboratory. We pay them to analyze our samples and our laboratory costs are included in that $4.1 million.


Mr. Trammell - You mention the state’s involvement with DUF6 cylinders and working with other states in trying to work out an arrangement for transport of that material. What type of relationship have you established say, with, New Mexico in looking at the remote-handled problem that we have here in Oak Ridge in trying to expedite getting that process moving in another state?

We are very careful to deal with other states on technical matters only. Areas outside of technical decisions… we have no control over other states’ policies and we certainly don’t want them involved in setting our policies, so we do not get involved in that activity. At least at my level.

Mr. Trammell - Even though you really want the stuff out of here?

Even though we really want the stuff out of here.

Mr. McLeod - What are some of the chemicals or contaminants of concern are in each of the media, and what are the masses of these contaminants that you’re dealing with? Like the springs where you’re finding contaminants discharging to the surface water; what mass of those contaminants are discharging? Do you have any handle on that?

In mass are you talking about total quantity or concentration?



Mr. McLeod - Total quantity over some period of time.

That information I do not have in hand. It certainly can be analyzed but we’re dealing with parts per million and parts per billion. The contaminants of concern for the most part are uranium, strontium, cesium, tritium and a host of volatile organic compounds. The problem with the ground water leaving Y-12 down at Union Valley is a trichloroethylene plume. Most of those are measured in the ppm/ppb concentration. What that equates to on a daily basis or an annual basis – I don’t have that information.

Mr. McLeod - Have you ever tried to get a handle on the mass of contaminants that are still in the different media? Have you ever tried to just get an overall number?

Not for the chemicals. And the state hasn’t done this but the Department of Energy monitors the curies of radiation that have exited the facility predominantly over the White Oak Dam, and the vast majority of those curies that were disposed of remain on site. There have been significant amounts of radioactive contamination leaving the reservation, but there are still significant sources on the reservation and it is the state’s expectation that those sources be remedied.

Mr. Revilla – You mention that your funding is from DOE. Is that something that they choose to do? In other words, can they stop that funding or is that mandated by someone else?

The monitoring and oversight is a non-regulatory agreement between the Department of Energy and the state in which DOE agrees to provide the resources to allow the state to provide that monitoring. The Federal Facility Agreement is in fact a regulatory agreement and DOE, if they didn’t have an oversight agreement to fund the effort, would in fact be compelled to fund it on a cost-reimbursement basis. DOE could stop the oversight monitoring funding, but they could not stop the state’s participation in the CERCLA cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Mr. Revilla - Is there any other independent group that can go and use the facilities that you have out there to monitor also to obtain information that you did? I assume EPA does?

With the exception of the ERAMS program, I do not believe EPA is monitoring in the area. They do monitor other sites within the state of Tennessee and the nation for both air and water. We haven’t been approached about other groups using our monitoring equipment. Certainly that is something we could consider, but there are other programs within the state that monitor ambient environmental quality – air, water and solid waste.

Mr. Revilla - The same sites?

Not the same sites and not to the degree that is focused on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Because of the unique circumstances of the Oak Ridge Reservation, it was felt by both the state of Tennessee and the Department of Energy that an additional level of monitoring was needed.

Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO) and Ex-Officio Comments

Department of Energy - Mr. McCracken introduced Rhonda Bogard as the member selected to replace resigning member Colin Loring. He told Ms. Bogard the Board is integral to DOE’s Environmental Management mission success.

Mr. McCracken announced that DOE would be making a presentation to the state on Sept. 11 to discuss the dispute status of the Federal Facility Agreement and Site Treatment. He sought to defer discussion of those milestones with the Board until baselines are reviewed with the state and EPA, but noted that all parties are getting close to the point of understanding if there are differences in milestones under the FFA.

There is a September Site Treatment Plan milestone that calls for treating 300,000 kilograms of PCB-contaminated low-level, mixed waste for which DOE is seeking an extension from the state. Mr. McCracken said DOE hoped to deal with the material this year but seeks an extension until it has the capability of treating the material.

Mr. McCracken provided an update on DUF6 cylinders, telling board members that the last hurdle to shipping cylinders off site is obtaining a set of director’s findings and orders from the state of Ohio to establish a mechanism for transport. Ohio’s governor has given the go-ahead to the people that work for him to participate in drafting those director’s findings and orders. Mr. McCracken said the problem could be revolved in as short a time as two months, a positive indication to DOE. Bechtel Jacobs is ready to ship when DOE is through the process with Ohio. The delay hasn’t impacted the work schedule at ETTP, said Mr. McCracken, but DOE wants to proceed and the project is heading in the right direction. Of the 500 empty cylinders designated for the Nevada Test Site, 90 have been shipped. At 30 per truck, Mr. McCracken said 10-12 more shipments are needed.

Mr. Adler provided the Board with an update on the FY 2004 ORSSAB funding. A Sept. 9 meeting with the Board Finance Committee focused on alternative mechanisms for providing financial support to the Board. Among the ideas discarded was the providing a grant to the Board, having the board incorporate and take on the liabilities associated with that, Mr. Adler said. The idea agreed on is similar to the current framework. DOE will propose a dollar value at the beginning of the year, and from there coming to the finance committee to look at how to allocate those dollars.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation - Mr. Owsley entertained a question from Mr. Gibson about his take on the current burn plan for the TSCA Incinerator. Mr. Owsley said any past delays in approving the plan have been a result of DOE’s inability to commit to a level of disposal of low-level waste. Over the years the state has focused on low-level waste because DOE does not have a regulatory driver for that. The state has reviewed the new plan, but has not accepted anything beyond the fiscal year 2004.

When questioned about his $4.1 million budget, Mr. Owsley said funds are supplied to the state on a cost-reimbursement basis. What isn’t spent stays with DOE. The state has never gone over the limit, but has given some money back.

Environmental Protection Agency – Mr. Crane said EPA is closely watching at DOE’s efforts to manage the program milestones at Melton Valley by 2006 and ETTP by 2008. The first year the program was under funded on the order of about $23 million. There are some challenges to maintain that pace, said Mr. Crane, and EPA plans to review DOE’s strategy to see if adjustments are needed, with the expectation that the 2006/2008 goals be met.

Mr. Bassett told Board members that EPA has reorganized, which will give him more ability to focus on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The FFA managers are planning their monthly meetings in concert with the Board’s Environmental Management Committee to allow Mr. Crane to attend more regularly.

Mr. Bassett told the Board that plans at ETTP are moving forward.

Public Comment

Joann Thompson, a citizen of Oak Ridge who has been monitoring the conservation easement agreement between TDEC and DOE, asked Mr. Owsley about the contaminants in Watts Barr and asked if the transfer of land is a partial compensation. She asked what other ideas – perhaps more land - exist for working out the remainder of the issue.

Mr. Owsley said more land is not currently on the block for the Watts Bar Settlement. Any time there is a final Record of Decision that leaves contamination in place or does not fully restore resources, the party is responsible for restitution to the state, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Department of Interior, as resource trustees. Mr. Owsley said the state looked at fish hatcheries, fishing piers, bird sanctuaries for complete restitution of Watts Bar damages, but were never able to come to an agreement. The property that DOE had available for environmental protection was a compromise to allow the process to continue. The 3,000-acre agreement is only part of the remedy. Mr. Owsley said because that agreement allows three years to identify value of property and cost of damaged resources, the parties are a long way from finalizing the resolution of the Watts Bar ROD.

When Ms. Thompson asked about payment in lieu of taxes on that 3,000 acres, Mr. Owsley told her that the easement speaks directly to that and DOE will continue that payment at the existing rate.

Announcements and Other Board Business

Mr. Mosby urged Board members to decide on which committees they wish to serve for the FY 04 year, and encouraged involvement on a new committee being formed for public outreach.

The September 10 Board meeting agenda was approved unanimously.

The minutes of the August 2, 2003, Board meeting were unanimously approved.

Environmental Management Committee - Mr. Gibson reported that the Environmental Management Committee met on August 20. He was selected committee chair and Dick Berry was selected vice chair. The main portion of the meeting was devoted to putting together a work plan and issue managers were assigned. Mr. Gibson said the expected output of each topic needs to be identified to put the tracking chart on target. The committee’s first major action was to form a Ground Water Subcommittee which Mr. McLeod was selected to lead.

Mr. McLeod said the subcommittee met Sept. 3 with Jason Darby of DOE to study issues put forth by committees prior to and during the retreat, and to determine if additional issues need to be studied by the committee.

The committee’s next meeting is September 17. A presentation on the Remediation Effective Report will be provided by Dick Ketelle of BJC.

Mr. Gibson told members he registered the Board for an Interstate Technology Regulatory Council seminar to be given over the Internet Sept. 23 from 2-4:15 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The Web cast will be a slide presentation with streaming audio.

Stewardship Committee - Mr. Million reported that the Stewardship Committee met on August 19, at which time they postponed the election of a new chair and vice chair. The work plan tracking chart was filled in for the year and issue managers assigned. He made a plea for members to join the Stewardship Committee.

The committee’s next meeting is September 16, 2003. Mr. Adams asked if Mr. Owsley could begin attending some meetings, to which he agreed.

Executive Committee - Mr. Mosby mentioned that the Executive Committee had met twice the previous month, to focus on issues such as the steering committee concept, travel issues, chairs meeting homework.

Board Finance Committee – Mr. Trammell reported that the Board Finance Committee had met and decided to dissolve until further information was available, then the committee was resurrected Sept. 9. He said another meeting was planned for Sept. 18, and asked that all Board members come to give input on important decisions faced by the Board.

Public Outreach Committee – Mr. Mulvenon informed members that much of the public outreach work had been left to Mr. Osborne, and discussed daily, weekly and monthly ongoing activities. Part of the work is explaining to schools and groups the mission and role of the ORSSAB, and he encouraged members to get involved by volunteering to make those presentations. He said there are prepared presentations for members to give. Mr. Mosby said the committee is reforming because the Board needs to take more ownership of the activities which serve as the Board’s link to the public.

Mr. Mosby reviewed a homework assignment for the Sept. 25-27 Chairs Meeting in Paducah that asked for examples of the high-impact recommendations made by ORSSAB. He said he will have five minutes to present the information compiled by the Executive Committee and Committee Chairs. Project on which the ORSSAB had input which were listed – the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, Stewardship activities, Educational Resource Guide and the TSCA Incinerator. Ms. Murawski pointed out that actual value was not supplied for all projects, but remarked that the information is particularly valuable for a new member. Other homework included reviews of workshops attended and workshops hosted.

Ms. Halsey announced that Board member George Rimel had been hospitalized and Mr. Revilla would be sending good wishes on behalf of the ORSSAB. She also announced a tour for new members on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Mr. Trammell noted that several Board members went on an Aug. 27 tour at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and wished to express appreciation for the tour, especially seeing the Spallation Neutron Source in its current stage and new buildings at the lab. Mr. Mosby said he had heard from ORNL representatives, saying they would like to continue a relationship with ORSSAB, and mentioned that the tour might be given again or even expanded in the future.

Mr. Trammell also mentioned that he hoped the most recent correspondence from Jessie Roberson at DOE Headquarters indicates that she got the Board’s message, and thought the Board had done some good by raising the issue.

Mr. Gibson asked DOE if there are plans for a meeting on the Lifecycle Baselines. Mr. McCracken said the Board could be supplied the information at any meeting the members choose. DOE has received and is reviewing a new LCB, and will update the Performance Management Plan to make sure it is aligned.

Mr. Mulvenon said the LCB is important and forms the basis for how the PMP is done. He asked if closure is the aim, will the documents follow, and Mr. McCracken said they will.

Mr. Mulvenon urged members to read the EM Project Updates that were handed out.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.



Mr. Revilla moved to approve the August 2, 2003, meeting minutes. John Million seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.