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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved December 14, 2005 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 14, 2005, 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

Rhonda Bogard, Vice-chair

Darryl Bonner

Donna Campbell

Steve Dixon

Steve Douglas

Chris Grove

Lance Mezga

James Miller

Norman Mulvenon

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sandy Reagan, Secretary

Ken Sadler


Members Absent


Heather Cothron

Pat Hill1

Meredith James2

Wade Johnson

Tonya Justice2

Kerry Trammell, Chair


1Second Consecutive Absence

2Student Representative


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex-Officio, Department of Energy - Oak Ridge Operations (DOE-ORO)

Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO

Connie Jones, Ex-Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4

John Owsley, Ex-Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer


Others Present

Beverly Bannister, EPA

Peter Caswell, Restoration Services, Inc.

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Twelve members of the public were present.



East Tennessee Technology Park Soil Characterization and Completion Documentation

Peter Caswell, of Restoration Services, Inc., gave an overview of the characterization program underway at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). He said the characterizations are required by the Zones 1 and 2 Records of Decision (ROD) at ETTP.


He said the remedial action objective for ETTP is unrestricted use within the top 10 feet of soil. Four criteria must be met to achieve a no further action determination:

  • Maximum remediation levels (RL) of contaminants of concern must not be exceeded
  • Average RL over an exposure unit must not be exceeded
  • All contaminants, even those not listed in the ROD, must not exceed 1x10-4 cumulative risk and a hazard index of 1
  • There must be no source of groundwater contamination, even below 10 feet.


At this point, Mr. Mulvenon asked Mr. Caswell to review the differences between how characterization was done at Rocky Flats, Colo., and how it was being done at ETTP. Mr. Caswell said at Rocky Flats no maximum RL for contaminants had been established. So while average characterization RL had been achieved over exposure units (EU), there were ‘hot spots’ within those units. At ETTP, maximum levels are set to remediate any hot spots that are found.


Mr. Bonner asked if maximum RL took precedence over average levels in establishing action/no action criteria. Mr. Caswell said all four criteria are of equal importance and all must be met.


Mr. Douglas asked if RLs were the same as EPA’s preliminary remediation goal levels. Mr. Caswell said the levels are used as screening criteria in risk assessment but are not used as the maximum RLs. He said the ROD would indicate how the RLs were determined.


Mr. Caswell showed a graphic of Zone 1, about 1,200 acres divided into 80 EUs (Attachment 1, page 7). He showed another graphic of Zone 2, which includes 44 EUs. He said the RODs for both zones have similar characterization and remedial action objectives. He said that an action/no further action determination must be made on each of the 124 EUs.


Mr. Bonner asked how the EUs were determined. Mr. Caswell the EUs were designed to be representative of a standard industrial site, but the geophysical characteristics of the area also determined how they were drawn. Each EU consists of 5 to 20 acres. Ms. Jones said ETTP was divided into two zones because the area outside of the original fence was less contaminated and easier to address, while the area inside the fence was encumbered with buildings and process areas where there is more contamination.


Mr. Caswell noted the dynamic verification strategy approach used in the characterization of the area. He noted the important points of each step:

  • Use of real time data gathering and decision making (Attachment 1, page 10)
  • Acreage classification (Attachment 1, page 11)
  • Systematic planning (data quality objectives) (Attachment 1, page 13)
  • Broad range of investigation techniques (Attachment 1, page 14)
  • Analytical reviews and risk analysis required to make final decisions (Attachment 1, pp. 20 and 21).


He explained that in the exposure assessment, the exposed population is the potential industrial worker at ETTP. The exposure setting is the EU. It is assumed the worker will have access to the soil to 10 feet. Mr. Caswell said if there is contaminated soil anywhere within 10 feet, the exposure assessment assumes the worker will have just as much exposure at depth as on the surface.


In September 2005, a phased construction completion report (PCCR) was submitted to the regulators for K‑901 Duct Island. He said when all comments have been received the PCCR will be revised to address those comments. He said another PCCR will be submitted in March 2006 for the K-1007 Ponds and the Powerhouse North area.


Mr. Caswell reviewed remediation that has been done and what needs to be done in Zone 1. Finished projects include cleanup of Blair Quarry and the K-895 cylinder destruct facility. Remediation to be done includes K-770 Scrap and Soil area, the largest action required in Zone 1, an area of about 30 acres.


The Imhoff Tanks will be removed, and Mr. Caswell said the surveys indicated about 200 cubic yards of soil must be removed from EU 38 on Duct Island. He also said about 200 cubic yards of material will be removed from the K-1085 fire burn pit. He said there had been previous remediation in that area, but a subsequent survey identified some PCBs, which must be removed.


In Zone 2, Mr. Caswell said remediation needs to be done at the K-1070-B landfill. He said the K‑1070-C/D pits are currently being characterized, but the assumption is some portions of them will need remediation.


He said the area of the K-1420 Building and Central Neutralization Facility needs to be excavated. He also mentioned a couple of smaller areas that will require remediation. One is an area near the haul road known as Rusty’s Mountain and another and the area known as the ‘rabbit ears.’ Mr. Caswell said he expects that other smaller areas will be found where there might have been some small spills or releases.


After Mr. Caswell’s presentation a number of comments were made and questions asked by Board members. Following are abridged comments, questions, and answers.




Mr. Myrick –You did not mention independent verification (IV). Do you have any thoughts or comments about that?

Mr. McCracken – This is something that has been on the table, and the issue was raised because of what happened at Rocky Flats.


There has been a lot of core team work and additional oversight that wasn’t typical in earlier remediations. But I think the question of whether we need additional IV has to be answered through some discussion in this group.


I don’t think IV is needed, but I have a responsibility to you to prove that the work has been done. If that’s what I need to do I will certainly consider it. So I would like to see a discussion in this group and the let us (DOE) decide.


I’ve tried to contact Eric Abelquist with Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education, which has done IV for years. We asked him several months ago to become knowledgeable with what we’ve done, and then to prepare a proposal of what he thinks would be needed to do an IV. I have not been able to reach him yet, but I will get that information from him and then I’d like to be part of the discussion with this group.


We have not been on a path to do IV here, but that path can change if we feel there is a need and if there are two good reasons to do it:

One is because we are not sure that we’ve found all the contamination, and two, do we feel we need that additional confidence that IV will provide?

Mr. Mezga – The Environmental Management (EM) Committee is the group that has reviewed IV, and we are anxious to make a recommendation, but we wanted to hear your response to understand your position before we formulated a recommendation. So we will be moving forward on that at the next meeting.

Mr. McCracken – Perhaps we should ask Eric to attend so that whatever he would suggest you would be knowledgeable of.

Mr. Gibson – On the decision criteria you mentioned on the Blair Quarry cleanup. Based on the maximum RL exceedance and the average RL exceedance, you wouldn’t have excavated very much. But based on the cumulative risk, which takes in the full sweep of contaminants, not just those of concern, that you had to do a lot more. Does that represent potential uncertainty in the amount of material going to disposal facilities?

Mr. Caswell – Overall what we’re finding, at least as far as Zone 1 is concerned, is our volume forecast for the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF) is conservative. The amount that had to be sent from Blair Quarry was below what is in the official EMWMF forecast. There were 23,000 cubic yards in the forecast, and we shipped 13,000. But that was above what would have been excavated based on the first two criteria.

Mr. McCracken – The question I wanted to ask was, do we have any feel in Zone 1 yet for how much of that area we’ll be able to clear to any depth as meeting the industrial cleanup standard and not just to 10 feet

Mr. Caswell – Yes. In the 901 Duct Island PCCR we put a table in there of areas we felt like, based on our data, we didn’t need to have restrictions to any depth. The only area that we saw where there was greater contamination at depth than at 10 feet was what was below 10 feet in the old 1070-A burial ground. Other than that, we got through the waste and the soil below it and we didn’t think there needed to be restrictions on any level.

Mr. Myrick –Have you found any evidence of stories that there has been radioactive airborne dust across the site where you would find very low levels close to the surface, if not in great amounts, but you would find contamination over wide areas that was airborne related?

Mr. Caswell – In Zone 1, no. The widest area of contamination in Zone 1 we found is down at the powerhouse area, where the scrap used to sit. The forecast was for 2 feet of that entire peninsula to come out. We’ve demonstrated it’s the top 6 inches, but that’s not airborne disposition; that’s just because of where the scrap sat. We’re just now getting into the meat of the Zone 2 radiological survey, so that’s something that will be potentially more of an issue.

Ms. Bogard – If I were looking for the data you’ve collected, is there a document we have access to?

Mr. Caswell – Yes. You probably have the 901 Duct Island PCCR. That PCCR contains compact discs with all the data broken down by exposure unit group, so you don’t have to learn to use the Oak Ridge Health Information System database. Every exposure unit group has a data summary and a data table for that unit with it in the back of the PCCR.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. McCracken said that he and a number of people present had come from a celebration at the Oak Ridge Chamber Commerce commemorating the achievement of a major cleanup milestone – the removal of legacy low level and mixed low level wastes from the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). He said the focus now was achieving the next major milestone in FY 2006 of finishing cleanup work in Melton Valley. He mentioned the ‘one to go’ plan, which refers to the one year remaining to reach that milestone. He mentioned finishing work at the New Hydrofracture Facility, Trenches 5 and 7, the 22 Trench area, and the solid waste storage areas, which make up 47 percent of the work.


Ms. Bogard asked if any changes were being made to the BJC contract due to schedule slippages. Mr. McCracken said nothing is being done to modify the contract, which calls for the completion of work by 2008 for $2.5 billion. He said some money will be owed to BJC because of additional scope of work, but that will be addressed at a later date.


Mr. Mulvenon said he was disappointed to learn that construction costs for the haul road were over budget, and was particularly ‘taken aback’ that the explanation was primarily underestimation. He wondered how professionals could underestimate the cost of the road so much.


Mr. McCracken said he agreed with Mr. Mulvenon and believed the Board was due a better explanation.


Mr. Mulvenon wondered if there were additional cost overruns that would appear later for other projects underway. Mr. McCracken replied that in any project there is a certain expectation of cost growth and if contingencies are not figured into the estimates then problems will be encountered. He said the work on the reservation involves construction or destruction of facilities where problems are encountered daily that cause work stoppages. He believes the cost of the reservation cleanup will not grow in a manner that indicates a performance issue.


Mr. Alder reported that work had resumed at Trenches 5 and 7 in Melton Valley. Work had been suspended in October when levels of volatile organic compounds had been detected. He said the source had not been found. He said protective equipment had been retooled so work could resume.


He said work at the New Hydrofracture Facility was about restart. Readiness reviews had been completed and work was expected to begin in January. Removal of waste from the facility had been stopped in 2004 after some strontium-90 being shipped from the facility for disposal at EMWMF leaked onto Highway 95.


Ms. Jones introduced several members of the EPA Waste Management leadership staff: Harold Taylor, Jeff Crane, Ken LaPierre, Alan Farmer, and Beverly Banister. She asked Ms. Bannister, acting Waste Management Division Director, to make some comments.


Ms. Bannister said she was impressed by the work the ORSSAB was doing, its interest in the cleanup work going on at ETTP, and the collaboration among the ORSSAB, the state, the EPA, and DOE. She mentioned she had seen the Stewardship Education Resource Kit and was pleased that the Board had two student members.


She offered any assistance EPA could provide the Board and Ms. Jones to support the work that was being done.


Mr. Owsley noted members of his management team had also been in town for the milestone celebration, but had to return to Nashville and could not attend the ORSSAB meeting. He had no other comments.


Public Comment

Mr. Gibson said he would be glad when the haul road construction is finished, because people who had lost their way as a result of detours were stopping by his house asking for directions.


Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The topic will be a review of the 2004 Oak Ridge Reservation Annual Site Environmental Report.


The minutes of the November 9, 2005, meeting were approved.


The Recommendations on the Natural Resources Damage Assessment Process was approved (Attachment 2)


Committee Reports

Board Finance – Mr. Dixon said the committee addressed all the items on its agenda except the carryover of money from FY 2005 because the final carryover figures were not available.


EM – Mr. Mezga reported that the committee heard reports on independent verification and progress of the David Witherspoon cleanup project in South Knoxville. He said the committee will be working to formulate a recommendation on independent verification at ETTP. He encouraged members interested in that issue to attend the next meeting on December 21.


The next meeting will include a presentation on the K-1007 Ponds Alternatives at ETTP.


Mr. Myrick pointed out that responsibility of newly generated waste (NGW) is about to be transferred from DOE’s EM program to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at Y-12 National Security Complex. He said it might be an issue the EM committee and perhaps the full Board would want to consider.


Mr. McCracken explained that by law NGW is now the responsibility of NNSA but that EM is assisting in the transfer of that responsibility. That will also involve the transfer of about $22 million a year from the DOE EM budget to NNSA. He said that money will be removed from the BJC cleanup contract. It would also affect some employees.


Public Outreach – Mr. Douglas reported that the committee discussed the FY 2007 committee budget. He said the committee also discussed various ways to extend outreach to the public, including working with Scouts, the American Museum of Science and Energy, and acting as judges for local high school science fairs. He said he represented the Board at the recent Perma-Fix conference in Nashville and distributed information and answered questions about the ORSSAB. He encouraged members to take advantage of public outreach opportunities.


Stewardship – Mr. Mulvenon reported that the education minute for the meeting was on “Institutional Controls: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Institutional Controls” provided by EPA.


He reported that he attended the Intergovernmental Meeting in Washington and noted his trip report in the meeting packet. He said many of the DOE officials in Washington who work with the SSABs are also liaisons with many of the intergovernmental groups.


He said the committee heard a report on the upcoming teacher’s workshop in February for the Stewardship Education Resource Kit.


He said the committee also worked on revisions for the “Why Stewardship” presentation. The presentation has been renamed “A Status Report for the Community on Long-Term Stewardship for the Contaminated Areas on the Oak Ridge Reservation.”


The next meeting will include additional discussion on formulating a long-term stewardship implementation plan which will be put in place when remediation is complete on the ORR.


Executive – Ms. Bogard reported that the committee discussed how to improve presentations to the Board to achieve maximum benefit for members. One idea was to have presentation materials available ahead of time so they can be mailed with the meeting packets. Members could review the materials and be able to formulate pertinent questions prior to the meeting. She said the issue of improving presentations would likely be assigned to Board Process for more consideration.


Ms. Bogard encouraged members to review packets prior to meetings, including incoming correspondence, the recommendation tracking chart, and any proposed recommendations.


Board Process – Ms. Reagan reported that the committee did not meet in November, but will address the issue of the process for making recommendations at the December meeting. She said the committee will also review the progress of the mentoring program.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey noted that the meeting packet included two fact sheets regarding proposed explanations of significant differences (ESD) to the Melton Valley and EMWMF RODs. She said statute does not require involving the public when changes are made to a ROD. But as a result of a Board recommendation, she said fact sheets are now provided to the appropriate Board committee for review before an ESD is signed.


Ms. Halsey reported the recent recruiting campaign for Board membership had been very successful with the receipt of 35 applications. She expected the two vacancies on the Board would be filled by the end of the calendar year.


She said progress was being made on securing a technical adviser to assist the EM committee in studying the remedial investigation/feasibility study for the upcoming site wide ROD for ETTP. A recommendation has also been made for a committee facilitator. She said she hopes both of those positions will be filled in January.


Additions to the Agenda

No additions.




Mr. Adams move to approve the agenda. Mr. Myrick seconded and the motion carried unanimously.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve the minutes of the November 9 meeting. Mr. Bonner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.



Mr. Mezga moved to approve the “Recommendation on the Natural Resources Damage Assessment Process.” Mr. Mulvenon seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Action Items

  1. Mr. West will find out the protocol for air monitoring along the haul road. Carryover item from November meeting.
  2. Staff will seat mentors with protégés at subsequent meetings. Complete. Instituted at this meeting.
  3. DOE will provide additional details to the Board on the Haul Road cost estimates and actuals.


Respectfully submitted,


Sandy Reagan, Secretary


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