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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved October 13, 2004, Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 13, 2004, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m. A video of the meeting was made and may be viewed by phoning the Information Center at 865-241-4780.


Members Present


Ben Adams

Dick Berry

Rhonda Bogard, Secretary

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Amy DeMint

Luther Gibson

Pat Hill

John Kennerly

Zach Ludwig1

Katie Meersman1

John Million

David Mosby

Norman Mulvenon

Tim Myrick

Kerry Trammell, Chair


1Student representative   


Members Absent

Jake Alexander2

Stephanie Jernigan1

Bob McLeod, Vice-Chair3

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)

Doug McCoy, on behalf of John Owsley, Ex Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)


Others Present

Jeannie Brandstetter, Spectrum

Larry Clark, DOE-ORO

Paul Clay, Bechtel Jacobs Company (BJC)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

Luis Revilla, former ORSSAB member

Ken Skinner, BJC



Fifteen members of the public attended the meeting.




Mr. Ken Skinner of BJC gave a presentation (Attachment 1) on the Dynamic Verification Strategy at ETTP Zone 1.


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





Response (abridged)

Ms. Hill – Is the word “dynamic” just an adjective up there? Are you trying to rush up and overlook things you’ve done before?


I don’t think we’re trying to overlook things we’ve done before. It is, I believe, a better way of doing business. The traditional way was to write a work plan, sort of mindlessly collect the data, not really thinking about what you’re getting or what you’re seeing. You missed something. You didn’t get enough data for what you were doing. Then you’d have more reports, more data collecting, and on and on. I’ve been on some sites where they went through this cycle five and six times. The dynamic nature of it is if we go out and find waste beyond where we expected, we write a brief saying we didn’t find the boundary and add locations until we do find the boundary. It shortens our schedule and gives us better confidence in the end product.

Ms. Hill - Some of this stuff is old – is there any problem with the age of those materials given the amount of rain we do have in Oak Ridge? Do you know exactly what is there given the fact that some of it goes back to the 1940s?


We have facility records that indicate essentially how the site was used and we’ve gathered a very high density of samples of soil across the quarry floor and to the north and west. Those are analyzed for a full set of constituents to determine what the chemicals are and then we gather more information to see how much infiltration we think is going on. We do have the monitoring well there and we have historical data from 1989 through 1995. We have information on that water at that location. Our work also gives us the feel for if a well is in the appropriate place.


Mr. Gibson – There’s a seven-step data quality objective process taught at Hanford by a fellow whose name I believe is Sebastian Tindell. He has techniques like a Visual Sampling Plan. You have a number of methods here and all of them have uncertainties associated with them. Do you use those techniques?

I’ve been in that class twice.


We follow DQOs to the letter and we develop DQO packages which are very complete following Sebastian’s course. All the sample locations on those maps are distributed using VSPs (Visual Sampling Plans) so they’re distributed in plans using a systematic grid in a hot-spot criteria.

Mr. Gibson – One of the things you have to do in that is to establish false acceptance and false rejection criteria.

We define the gray zone. We work with our core team members to define the confidence they want to have in their data sets. You make a set of assumptions on what you think the statistical variance is of the media you’re trying to characterize and based on that you determine a number of sample locations that you have to sample to have a 95 or 98 percent confidence level that your data is representative. We far exceed that number because we’ve moved to a hot spot criteria and get a higher sample density.

Mr. Gibson – Do you use the same hypothesis for each of the acreage classifications?

They’re different.

Mr. Gibson – Do you assume the area is dirty unless it’s proved otherwise, or how do you typically apply that?

Under the acreage classification step, you’re essentially identifying whether it’s Class 1 or Class 2, then you look to begin “stratifying the investigation area” under Sebastian’s vernacular. That’s what we’re doing with the classification step – essentially stratifying the area and saying “all this mass is one thing; all this is another thing.” That is a very critical step. Then you have a relatively homogeneous mass and then you do an evaluation on sample density for confidence under that. If you have trenches, you can apply an aspect ratio under VSP which will give you a squashed grid.

Mr. Gibson - Is the Web page available only to the project team?


Right now, yes.



Mr. Gibson – Any plans to make it available?

The preliminary data is not cleared for public release. When the project is finished with data that’s being gathered right now, it will go to ORISE and at that point it’s cleared essentially for release.

Mr. Adams - Who is your employer?

Bechtel Jacobs Company.


Mr. Adams - What is your specific relationship to this project?

I’m the subject matter expert.

Mr. Myrick – The dynamic nature of this is really only if the change in approach and approval process is fairly quick. What’s the history of going through the evaluation of what you need to change, getting the core team together and coming back with a change and getting it implemented? Is that months?

We have our good days and our bad days. On adding sample locations and analyses and extending surveys, it’s been very quick; very responsive with good feedback from EPA, the state and DOE. It works very well. When we get into more difficult issues it takes longer to work through everybody’s concerns. The real program dynamics which is to add samples and analyses has been working really well. As for timeframe, when I make a proposal to add locations, it’s on the order of a week or 10 days.

Mr. Kennerly – Were the exposure units dynamic also? Did they change during the course of this?


No. They are established in the ROD. They are fixed and they do not change.


Ms. Hill – You said this is more cost-effective – what kind of cost-effectiveness are we speaking of?


We’ve saved about $2 million in laboratory costs with the methods we’re using. Total program costs, using the characterization/classification techniques, it’s fairly substantial – several million dollars.

Mr. Trammell – Based on the data you’ve collected so far, how many acres would you have classified in Class 1 and Class 2.


We worked about 740 acres last year and of that I think we have 64 acres that was Class 1 and Class 2.


Mr. Trammell – How would you break down the 1 and 2 within that?


Much less Class 1 than Class 2. You have eight or 10 acres of Class 2 and then you’ll have one or two acres of Class 1.

Mr. Trammell – What did the analysis of the Class 1 and Class 2 show as it related to Waste Acceptance Criteria?

What we’ve seen to date will be acceptable at EMWMF.


Mr. Mulvenon – How do you determine what sites are good candidates for dynamic verification?

The characterization strategy is applicable to any effort – some sites are easier than others.

Mr. Mulvenon – So the applicability is very broad?

Yes. And the real value is on those sites where you know very little.

Mr. Mulvenon – Are you using Zone 1 as a test case or are we thinking of doing for Zone 2 as well?

Zone 1 is all soil, so it’s just kind of all one thing. For Zone 2, we’ve talked about categorizing buildings and then classifying within those categories.

Mr. Mosby – How does it save money if you do more sampling or have a denser sampling grid?


It goes through acreage classification so rather than doing a sample on every acre in 1,400 acres, we’re down to doing sampling activities on 64 acres. Increased sample density gives better boundary classification. You save not only money, but schedule, and time is money.

Ms. Cothron – I didn’t hear any mention of independent verification sampling by an independent body.  Is there going to be independent verification of the data and when is it going to be done?

Validation and verification will be performed by SAIC.

Ms. Hill – You keep mentioning that most of this is done during the winter months. Is that simply so that you can see it better?

The Class 3 and Class 4 assessments are sort of out in the woods.

Ms. Hill – Does cold weather as opposed to hot weather have any bearing on any of this that you might find contaminated?

No. (In winter) it’s easier to walk through all that stuff and it’s easier to see it and I think you get a much better inspection and assessment. It doesn’t affect RAD activity, for example.

Ms. Hill – How far down do you go when you take the samples, or does that depend on what you are sampling for?

On the bio samples in the 3/4 area, we’re sampling zero to a foot.

Mr. Mulvenon – I don’t see that you really have the tools to manage uncertainty. If you think you do, why not describe that tools you have to manage decision uncertainty?

The program provides several different means to do that. The use of a wide range of technologies like – geophysics, radiological surveys, real-time methods of scanning core - all those things help you to understand the nature and extent and type of contamination and lets you understand the physical characteristics of a site. The ability to review the data and discuss it with our core team allows us to gather additional data and everyone has an understanding as we work through this. In that process, we identify where people have concerns. As you stay focused, you get a better understanding of that site. 


Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

On Mr. McCracken’s behalf, Mr. Adler announced the departure of Luis Revilla from the Board, thanking him for his years of service to the ORSSAB. A plaque was awarded to Mr. Revilla.


Mr. Adler discussed the extension of the comment period (to Oct. 18) for the Zone 2 Proposed Plan at ETTP (Attachment 2). DOE currently prefers Alternative 5 in the Plan, which would leave in place classified burial ground K-1070-C&D. In September, Board members discussed recommendations endorsing Alternative 5, Alternative 2 (which calls for removal of that burial ground) and no alternative with the stipulation that the end state allow for reindustrialization of the area. All failed to pass.


Mr. Adler noted the concern of the Board that the land be redeveloped for industrial use, and said that even if the burial ground is not removed, the portion unavailable for redevelopment would be approximately 30 of 2,200 acres.


DOE would like to have the Board’s support for leaving the burial ground in place, and is willing to accept the challenge of future protection of the site. He believes DOE has systems in place to manage risk and prevent removal or tampering with the material if left in place indefinitely.


He also noted the availability of the Corrective Action Plans for the May 2004 incidents involving the sodium fire at ETTP and the strontium spill on Highway 95. Mr. Larry Clark presented information (Attachment 3) on the sodium fire and Mr. Adler provided information (Attachment 4) on the strontium spill. Both plans have yet to be approved.


Mr. McCoy drew attention to an invitation at each place setting for the Oct. 18 celebration of completion of clean-up work at Atomic City Auto Parts (Attachment 5). Ms. Halsey told members an RSVP is needed by Oct. 15.


Ms. Jones announced that Kenneth LaPierre has been named to replace Jon Johnson as the branch chief for the Federal Facilities Branch of EPA. He has served as chief of a RCRA enforcement section and as a RCRA permit writer. A colonel in the Air Force Reserves, he just returned from six months’ deployment to Iraq.


Mr. Trammell asked about the status of the covenant deferral at ETTP, and Ms. Jones responded that her knowledge is limited to a conversation suggesting that DOE has submitted it to EPA, but she is unaware of its receipt. Mr. Adler said it was received, and EPA’s regional administrator had approved it on Oct. 12. It will now go to the state for approval by the governor and various persons throughout DOE.



Public Comment




Announcements and Other Board Business


The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2004, at the DOE Information Center. Presentation topic: Status of the Oak Ridge Reservation. Presenters: Mike Hughes of BJC and Steve McCracken of DOE.


Minutes of the Sept. 8, 2004, Board meeting were approved without change.


The Board approved a recommendation Comments on the Proposed Plan for Contaminated Soil, Buried Waste and subsurface Structures in Zone 2 at ETTP (Attachment 6). The recommendation was not alternative-specific, i.e., it did not identify a preferred option for remedial action. The board voted to accept the report of technical advisor Gerald Eddlemon, which was included as part of the recommendation.


The Board tabled discussion concerning the two consecutive absences of board member Bob McLeod.


Committee Reports


Board Finance - Mr. Mosby reported that the Board Finance Committee had learned about the 2005 budget allocation, which is $100,000 short of the requested budget. He said the committee is working with Ms. Halsey to ensure the Board’s needs are met to continue operating. The next meeting is October 28.


Environmental Management - Mr. Gibson reported that the Environmental Management Committee had heard a presentation from Dick Ketelle of BJC on the Remediation Effectiveness Report. The committee has also discussed the proposed haul road in length, and plans to continue that discussion on Oct. 20 before formulating a recommendation. He mentioned the committee is still attempting to review a report on Corehole 8.


Public Outreach - Mr. Mulvenon reported that Heather Cothron, Ben Adams and John Million participated in the ORNL Volunteer Fair Oct. 6. The committee is planning activities for the 10th anniversary of the Board. The AMSE exhibit is also progressing and the Advocate newsletter is being reviewed. He invited Board members to the committee’s next meeting on Oct. 26.


Stewardship - Mr. Adams reported that the Stewardship Committee continues working on the Stewardship Education Resource Kit. Mr. Trammell and Mr. Mulvenon shared a copy of the draft kit with other chairs at their recent national meeting at Hanford, and it was very well received. Mr. Adams noted the committee’s plan to tour the Melton Valley area and ETTP following October and November meetings to discuss LTS issues in both areas.


Executive - Mr. Trammell reported that the previous committee meeting had focused on the material to be presented from ORSSAB to the Oct. 6-8, Semiannual EM SSAB Chairs Meeting in Richland, Wash. Budget and facilitation have been discussed. Current facilitation will likely have to be altered because of the budget situation. Mr. Mulvenon and Mr. Trammell reported on the chairs meeting, and pointed to a draft letter (Attachment 7) intended to be sent from all board chairs asking DOE for a national forum on waste disposition and possible contingencies. Central to the issue is a move by the state of Washington to stop waste shipments in and out of that state. Mr. Trammell said workshop topics were discussed, but chairs decided the focus should be on a waste disposition forum as opposed to a workshop on any topic. He noted other sites seem to share ORSSAB’s concerns with safety issues as they relate to Accelerated Cleanup. Mr. Mulvenon’s trip report was distributed (Attachment 8).


Mr. Gibson reported on his attendance with Mr. Smith at the Governors Association Risk-Based End States Workshop in Chicago, Ill. Oct. 7-8. Mr. Gibson said he sensed discouragement of discussion of site-specific issues. He said several high-level personnel attended the workshop and he perceived it was held to repair damage created at the onset of RBES by the perception that its variances were an attempt to circumvent requirements.


Board Process - Ms. Bogard reported that the Board Process Committee is going to begin meeting monthly at 4:45 p.m. prior to the EM Committee meetings. She noted that any members who have questions or concerns about the bylaws or standing rules should attend. She said issues that have arisen during retreat discussions will also be addressed. Mr. Trammell said several people have had comments about the bylaws, and urged those people to contact Ms. Bogard or attend the meetings.


Federal Coordinator Report


Ms. Halsey reported that the Board membership count is down to 17. One appointment has been at headquarters since January and is over at the White House for final consideration. Because Steve McCracken can fill vacated positions, she is moving ahead to have two new members appointed locally and hopes to have them in place prior to the November meeting.


She also said the budget did come in at $350,000 for fiscal year 2005, which is $50,000 more than FY 2004 but does not completely compensate for escalated costs from putting the 8a contract for support in place. She is working on ways to stretch the budget and has permission from her management to use innovative strategies to fill some Board needs, so other than operating without a committee facilitator in October, there are no glitches imminent.


Public Comment Period


Dick Berry noted three items:

·         Use of colloidal silica might be of interest for use in grouting of Trenches 5 & 7,

·         Oak Ridge has shipped spent fuel to a breeder reactor in France without fanfare, and

·         Bechtel Corp. has received a contract to refurbish the U.S. Embassy in Iran.


The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.




Ms. Cothron was absent for votes on all motions.



Ms. Bogard moved to approve the minutes of the Sept. 8, 2004, Board meeting. Ms. Hill seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.



Mr. Mulvenon sought to amend the recommendation AComments on the Proposed Plan for Contaminated Soil, Buried Waste and subsurface Structures in Zone 2 at ETTP,” to identify Alternative 5 as the preferred method. The amendment passed by a vote of 10 to 3.




Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve the recommendation as amended. Ms. Hill seconded the motion, and the amended motion failed by a vote of 10 to 3.



Ms. Bogard moved to return the original recommendation to the table. Mr. Mosby seconded, and the motion was approved by a vote of 11 to 2 (Kennerly, Berry).



Ms. Bogard moved to strike the issue of Mr. McLeod’s absences from the agenda. The motion was approved by a voice vote of 12 to 1.



Mr. Mosby moved to accept the report of technical advisor Gerald Eddlemon. Mr. Mulvenon seconded, and the motion was approved by a unanimous voice vote.


Respectfully submitted,


Rhonda Bogard, Secretary




Attachments (8) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.