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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved April 11, 2007 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 11, 2007, 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

Rhonda Bogard

Darryl Bonner

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Steve Dixon

Mike Haygood

Sarah Lewis1

Ted Lundy

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga - Chair

Norman Mulvenon - Vice chair

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sean Purdy1

Sandy Reagan

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Ben Adams - Secretary

Louis Rizzo

Jan Teague


1Student Representative


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaisons Present

Dave Adler, Liaison, Department of Energy – Oak Ridge Office (DOE-ORO)

Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO

John Owsley, Liaison, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)


Others Present

Daniel Axelrod

Martha Berry, Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) Region 4

Becky Brunton, Spectrum

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

John Kennerly

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Twenty-seven members of the public were present.



Remaining Cleanup Scope on the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Mr. Adler made the presentation for Mildred Ferrè who was unable to attend. The presentation was an overview of work that remains to be completed on the Oak Ridge Reservation under the package of work known as the Balance of Reservation.

Mr. Adler began by saying the first slide of the presentation (Attachment 1) was to illustrate the major decisions yet to be made in the Environmental Management (EM) cleanup program.


Mr. Adler said all the scrap has been removed from the White Wing Scrapyard, but remediation of the grounds still needs to be done. He said about 90 percent of the cleanup decisions at the Y-12 National Security Complex have been made, but have not been implemented. At Chestnut Ridge just south of Y-12 there is a collection of burial grounds that have been closed, but Mr. Adler said some decisions need to be made to finalize their closure.


Mr. Adler said in Bethel Valley and Melton Valley most of the cleanup decisions have been made, and in Melton Valley most of those decisions have been implemented. In Bethel Valley cleanup has not been implemented for the most part, but at both sites additional decisions regarding cleanup still need to be made.


Mr. Adler was asked about any cleanup activities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Ms. Halsey answered that a footprint reduction program had been undertaken at the lab and during that work about 20 sites surrounding the main portion of the lab were identified to be remediated. She said those individual sites will be addressed through a future record of decision (ROD).


Mr. Adler then talked about specific actions in Bethel Valley, which includes ORNL. He said a ROD has been signed for Bethel Valley, but does not include groundwater actions. He showed a table of the principle actions to be taken in Bethel Valley (Attachment 1, pages 4 and 5). Mr. Alder said there are a number of buildings that need to be decontaminated and decommissioned (D&D). He said there are 40 to 50 buildings in the ROD for D&D, but a mechanism is in the ROD to add buildings as needed.


A number of burial grounds at Bethel Valley need to be capped and maintained. The ROD also calls for work in storage tanks. Some work has already been done on the tanks.


Throughout the plant there is a complex system of piping to convey liquid low-level waste. Piping that is inaccessible will be stabilized with grout. Piping that is accessible will be removed.


Mr. Adler said the largest and most expensive remediation will be dealing with contaminated soil. The basic remediation will be removal of the top two feet of contaminated soil in the central portion of the lab. Outside of the central portion of the lab, soil would be remediated to 10 feet. Mr. Adler said any soil contamination that is a threat to groundwater would be removed regardless of depth.


Mr. Adler said the ROD calls for cleaning out floodplain soils and sediments in creeks in and around the site. He said the ROD also calls for remediating contaminated soil around Corehole 8.


Groundwater remediation in Bethel Valley will be covered under a future ROD.


Mr. Adler showed a slide that indicated soils in Bethel Valley that need remediation (Attachment 1, pages 6 and 7).  


Mr. Adler then discussed future cleanup activities at Y-12, which is part of the Upper East Fork Poplar Creek Watershed. He said two RODs have been signed, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 includes remediation of the West End Mercury Area where mercury has been discharged into the ground and in storm sewers. A mercury impoundment known as Lake Reality needs to be remediated. Mr. Adler said an extensive monitoring system needs to be put in place to make sure remediation efforts work.


On the west end of Y-12 is a large scrap yard that will be clean up. Most of the scrap will go to the on-site landfill on Bear Creek Road. Mr. Adler said a large scale soil remediation program will be done at Y-12. He showed a slide of where work will be done at Y-12 under the Phase 1 ROD (Attachment 1, page 10).


Mr. Adler said there were several buildings at Y-12 that will undergo D&D, some of which need to be demolished so contaminated soil can be remediated.


Mr. Adler talked about the Bear Creek Burial Grounds where Y-12 wastes were taken over the years. He predicted the decision about what to do with the burial grounds will be one of the most difficult decisions to make, whether to dig up the burial grounds or cap them in place.


Mr. Adler talked about the Clinch River/Poplar Creek surface water. He said these waters basically drain the Oak Ridge Reservation and empty into Watts Bar Lake. He said a decision still needs to be made about what, if any, steps need to be taken to protect the surface water that leaves the reservation. He said that decision will be made after most cleanup decisions are implemented upstream.


Mr. Adler said RODs still need to be signed for groundwater at Y-12, Bear Creek Valley, Melton Valley, and Bethel Valley. He said groundwater decisions are difficult because remediating contaminated groundwater is difficult if not impossible. He noted he did not know what the areas 1000-4000 referenced in Bethel Valley (Attachment 1, page 14.) He said he would find out.


After the presentation a number of questions were asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.


Ms. Reagan – Around the Alpha 4 building (at Y-12) near the West End Mercury Area there was a lot of work done on the sewers. Is this new work that you’re talking about? Mr. Adler – What’s been going on to date is a fairly vigorous inspection program to see where mercury is accumulating and then remove it. What we’re talking about is a much more vigorous cleanout effort. And then either replacing the existing sewers or re-sleeving them to prevent contamination from coming from the soils through cracks in the sewer lines and then washing out of the system.


Ms. Reagan – In some cases I know groundwater comes in the basements of some buildings and flushes mercury into nearby streams. Is there consideration of when to do the D&D of those buildings in relation to the groundwater decisions? Mr. Adler – All of this work is a little ways out because of our current priorities at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). While the sequencing efforts are important they haven’t yet been determined.


Mr. Myrick – What are the end dates for work to be completed at ORNL and Y-12?  Mr. Adler – The Accelerated Cleanup Plan said 2015. We are not quite on target to meet that, and that is a major point of contention between DOE and the regulators. It will be partially funding dependent, as most large projects are.


Ms. Bogard – I noticed you did not use the term Integrated Facilities Disposition Project (IFDP) in your presentation. Could you explain that? Mr. Alder – I did not use the term because it tends to confuse people. What you’ve just seen in the collection of activities within EM’s current scope. There is an initiative underway to try to bring in additional buildings into the cleanup program. There are a large number of buildings beyond our current scope that will eventually need to come down and some are in the way of our current cleanup scope. Some people refer to those buildings as IFDP. Some people refer to anything beyond our current contract with Bechtel Jacobs, Co. as IFDP.


Ms. Bogard – Is the funding source for IFDP different for what you’re talking about here? Mr. Adler – It is all federal tax dollars. Before any new project is launched it has to go through a project management process to get authorization. Whether or not it’s funded by EM or the landlords has yet to be established.


Mr. Mulvenon – How much of this is driven by current milestones and will you be able to meet those milestones? Mr. Adler – For the next three years all of the work we are doing is driven by enforceable milestones. Ultimately all of the work in EM’s baseline will be driven by milestones. The work we refer to as IFDP is not driven by milestones. At present we anticipate missing some of our near-year milestones as a consequence of cost overruns or under funding. That is a point of contention now between DOE and the regulators. We expect high-level compliance of milestones; we know if we miss milestones there are significant fines and penalties that could come with that. At present we are aware of a few that are somewhat in jeopardy.


Ms. Reagan – When will the groundwater RODs be signed? Mr. Adler – The current schedule for groundwater decisions, I believe, are in the post-2015-20 time-frame.


Ms. Cothron – Can you tell us where you are in the IFDP process, who will ultimately make the decision, and when that will happen?  Mr. Adler – We are on the front end of trying to advance that initiative. I would have to ask Ms. Ferrè. It could be awhile before we get critical decisions to move forward with that work. It could be years before that decision is made.


Ms. Mei – Will any of the actions be part of a change because of new information that became available during activities going on at both Y-12 and ORNL? Mr. Adler – It’s possible. We believe we are through the investigative phase of this work. We have enough information on where the contamination is and where it’s moving around to make those decisions and for the most part we believe we’ve made those decisions. Once you get into a project, though, you very often find you didn’t understand the situation perfectly and you adjust as needed to make sure the job is done well. These RODs are set up to accommodate those uncertainties. Conceptual changes in the approach would entail changes to the ROD through public involvement and explanations of significant differences, ROD amendments, etc.


Mr. Mezga – What we are looking for is what is the full remaining scope for the out years. You alluded to projects under the Accelerated Closure Plan than won’t be completed because of funding or technical issues. We are interested in what that scope is. And we’re interested in what has been called IFDP. So when you take those three pieces and add them together that becomes what’s left to be done. We need to understand those three pieces and the schedules and milestones. Mr. Adler – We can address that when time permits. The third piece can be described as a lot of old buildings that need to come down. The second piece I’ve addressed here. They are things we haven’t been able to do because of money or technical problems, but we’re still on the hook to get them done.


Mr. Mezga – I think it becomes important to us in terms of last month’s presentation on the budget. We can’t really understand the impacts of the budget without knowing what’s not going to be done. That’s what we need to make an intelligent comment on the levels of funding. Mr. Adler – I can get you answers on that. I would respond first by saying that it’s not work that won’t get done, but work that won’t get done as early as we hoped. I can delineate all of that for you. I can bring paper to the next meeting.


Mr. Axelrod – The Bethel Valley and ORNL RODs were completed and signed two or three years ago. Why has most of the work not been done? Mr. Adler – We focused resources on other areas: the K-25 site, legacy waste, uranium hexafluoride cylinders, and a collection of other high-risk projects. It was a decision to take money we knew we were going to get from Congress and focus on some high priority projects.


Mr. Axelrod – Have you done any engineering studies of groundwater and what order of magnitude of funding are you talking about? Mr. Adler – We have not completed all of the feasibility studies to make that the final decisions for a ROD. We’ve done a lot of work, but not everything. In terms of cost, the range for a low-level of effort, such as monitored natural attenuation with institutional controls, that would be on the level of single digit millions of dollars per annum. If you were more aggressive and attempted to pull up the water and treat it or use some other method, it would be in the tens of millions of dollars per annum, possibly more.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Dave Adler: Mr. Adler had no comments, but Mr. Mulvenon asked if the FY 2007 funding allocation had been received. Mr. Adler said the allocation had been received and that he could share the information with the board. He said the allocation provided the level of funding DOE had expected and was planning for.


Mr. Adler reported on responses to outstanding recommendations. He said the board had received a response to the recommendation on Notice of Contamination and Future Use Limitations in Melton Valley (Recommendation 152, Attachment 2). He said the recommendation left open the possibility for continued dialogue with EPA to satisfy requirements by EPA and also fulfilling the recommendation.


He said responses to the recommendations on reaffirmation of stewardship by DOE EM and the recommendation on the draft Legacy Management Strategic Plan (Recommendations 154 and 155) were forthcoming.


Martha Berry: Ms. Berry said EPA wants to see the 2016 deadline met for completion of cleanup on the ORR. She said EPA is concerned that work outlined for FY 2009 and beyond by DOE in the Five-year Plan is not sufficient to meet the 2016 deadline.


John Owsley: Mr. Owsley reiterated Mr. Adler’s comments about work that remained to be completed on the reservation. He said TDEC looks to the board for advice on the remaining decisions, which he said will be difficult ones to make.


He noted that the DOE Five-year Plan for 2008-2012 had been released recently. He said the plan indicates levels of funding for each of the five years, including cleanup to be completed by 2015. Mr. Owsley said while cleanup is expected to continue beyond 2015, DOE is currently is not planning to request additional funding beyond 2015. He said scope that has not been completed is part of the FFA and will have enforceable milestones between now and 2016. TDEC expects the work to be completed. Mr. Owsley said TDEC is monitoring the status of those FY 2007 and 2008 milestones. He said the milestones for FY 2009 are in dispute. TDEC does not believe the amount of work proposed by DOE in FY 2009 is sufficient to meet 2016 deadlines.


Public Comment

Mr. Axelrod left a packet of information related to his comments to the board (Attachment 3). He summarized the material saying the cover letter for the FY 2006 Cleanup Progress Report from DOE did not adequately state what was in the report. He said there was a serious failure on the part of DOE to study and present for public hearing a potential future energy shortage. He also asked again that the Stewardship Education Resource Kit be revised per his recommendation at previous meetings.


Mr. Kennerly asked if there was going to be reprioritization of projects by DOE between Hanford, Wash., and Oak Ridge. Mr. Mulvenon said DOE wants to negotiate milestones, but not necessarily change them. Mr. Owsley said funding to Hanford was significantly higher than that to Oak Ridge in the FY 2007 allocation.


Mr. Gibson said he was involved in the design, construction, testing, and permitting of the Toxic Substance Control Act Incinerator (TSCAI) for about 15 years. He offered himself as a resource to members who attend the EM Committee meeting on April 18 when a report on the incinerator will be made.


Announcements and Other Board Business

The next board meeting will be Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The board will have a brief business meeting from 6 to 6:30 p.m. The remainder of the meeting will serve as the public meeting for the 2006 Remediation Effectiveness Report/CERCLA Five-year Review.


Mr. Adler recognized Ms. Lewis and Mr. Purdy for their service to the board as student representatives during 2006-07.


The minutes of the March 14, 2007 meeting were approved.


Recommendation 156: Recommendation on the FY 2009 Department of Energy Environmental Management Budget Request was approved (Attachment 4).


The motion to revise the bylaws concerning quorum and majority needed to approve recommendations was approved with amendments.


Committee Reports

Board Finance – Mr. Dixon reported that the committee accomplished all items on the agenda. He said there was nothing significant to report. He referred members to read the minutes, which were distributed prior to the meeting (Attachment 5).


EM – Ms. Bogard said the committee heard a presentation on the status of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. She said the committee approved the recommendation on the FY 2009 budget request that the board approved at this meeting (Recommendation 156).


At the April 18 meeting, the committee will hear a report on the TSCAI and a status report on independent verification at ETTP.


Public Outreach – The minutes of the March meeting were distributed prior to the board meeting (Attachment 6). Mr. Stow said volunteers are needed to man the ORSSAB booth at the EarthFest celebration in Knoxville on Saturday, April 21 from 3-5 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. Mr. Stow said the EPA Community Involvement Conference will be held in Jacksonville, Fla., June 19-22. Any board member interested in attending should contact staff.


Executive – The minutes of the April 3 meeting were distributed prior to the board meeting (Attachment 7). Mr. Mezga said Mr. Stow has agreed to serve as the ORSSAB representative to the Oak Ridge Heritage and Preservation Association. ORSSAB is a consulting party to the association.


Mr. Mezga said the committee is looking into having a training session for board members on risk.


Ms. Reagan reported that the annual meeting has been scheduled for Saturday, August 11. She said locations are being evaluated. Ms. Reagan said Mr. Dixon, Mr. Lundy, and Ms. Teague have indicated an interest in helping plan the meeting. She encouraged other members to get involved in the planning.


Ms. Campbell said she and Ben Adams attended the Long-term Stewardship Roundtable in San Diego in March. Mr. Adams gave the presentation “Two Counties – One City: Long-term Stewardship for Anderson County, Roane County and the City of Oak Ridge, Tennessee” at one of the sessions. Ms. Campbell attended several sessions. She said representatives from 42 states at the federal, state, and local levels of government attended. She noted a consistency in the themes of the various discussions. Many of the topics discussed had been addressed by the Stewardship Committee but in more defined ways such as who is responsible for stewardship at the various levels of government and who ultimately pays for long-term stewardship. She said there were a number of websites on stewardship available and she planned to share those with the Stewardship Committee. Mr. Mezga asked that she will make the websites available to all board members.


Mr. Mulvenon reported that he, Mr. Dixon, and Mr. Stow attended the spring SSAB Chairs’ meeting in Nevada in March. He said DOE Assistant Secretary for EM James Rispoli attended and spoke at the meeting. Mr. Mulvenon said the presentation was very similar to the presentation DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for EM Steve McCracken gave to the board in March. Mr. Mulvenon said there were presentations on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the Environmental Management Advisory Board, and on the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Each EM SSAB presented its top three issues at the various sites. There was also a tour of the Nevada Test Site that included a visit to the low-level waste cell.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner reported the committee received a briefing from Ms. Halsey on the DOE Draft Public Involvement Plan, which is revised every three years. Written comments on the draft plan are due to Ms. Halsey by April 19. A D1 version of the plan will be submitted for review and comment.


Mr. Mulvenon said the three members of the Stewardship Education Subcommittee, Ms. Campbell, Ms. Cothron, and himself, will be leaving the board in June. Current board members are needed to repopulate the committee to continue work, primarily on the Stewardship Education Resource Kit. The subcommittee will meet Friday, April 20 at 1 p.m.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said the FY 2007 DOE-ORO funding allocation has been received. She said it notes the funding for each program baseline summary. She said she would distribute the report to the board. She also said the Five-year Plan for FY 2008-2012 has been released. She said she would distribute the part of the plan related to Oak Ridge to the board.


Mr. Myrick asked if people are being sought to replace the four members leaving the board in June. Ms. Halsey said applicants have been identified to fill those positions.


Additions to the Agenda





Ms. Reagan moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Stow seconded. The motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Dixon moved to approve the minutes of the March 14, 2007 meeting. Ms. Cothron seconded. Mr. Lundy noted the date of the March meeting needed be corrected on each page. The motion passed unanimously with the correction.


Mr. Olson moved to approve Recommendation 156: Recommendation on the FY 2009 Department of Energy Environmental Management Budget Request (Attachment 4). Mr. Dixon seconded. The motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Olson moved to approve the revision of bylaws (Attachment 8), as amended (see amendments below) concerning quorum and majority needed to approve recommendations. Mr. Dixon seconded. The motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Dixon moved to amend the proposed change to the bylaws, Article II, Section D, third sentence to read: The Board shall strive for substantial agreement among Board members by requiring a two-thirds majority vote of members present, with a minimum of a simple majority of the membership, for approval of recommendations and advice to DOE. Mr. Mulvenon seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Ms Cothron moved to amend the proposed change to the bylaws, Standing Rules, Section VI, number 4, second sentence to read: If two-thirds of the members present, with a minimum of a simple majority of the membership, vote to recommend removal, a request will be forwarded to DOE asking that DOE:

a.    Notify the Board member of the vote, and request his/her resignation from the Board.

b.    Appoint a replacement as soon as possible.

Ms. Reagan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Action Items


  1. Staff will send the work plan for independent verification at ETTP to Daniel Axelrod when it is available.
  2. Mr. McCracken will get information on a TRU waste stream that could be problematic for a non-defense TRU waste determination. Carryover from February meeting
  3. Mr. McCracken will share with the board the results of discussions with regulators concerning setting of budget priorities.
  4. Mr. McCracken will share with the board program baseline summaries.
  5. Mr. Adler will determine the current status of IFDP.
  6. Mr. Adler will provide more detailed information of projects that will be impacted by budget constraints.
  7. Mr. Adler will determine the meaning of Areas 1000-4000 in Bethel Valley.
  8. Ms. Campbell will distribute a list of stewardship websites to board members and Stewardship Committee members.



1.       Executive Committee will approve August 11 as date for annual meeting or provide an alternate date. August 11 has been set for the annual meeting.

2.       Mr. McCracken will provide the board more information on the Five-year Plan. The Five-year Plan was distributed to board members via email on April 13, 2007.

3.       Ms. Halsey will distribute the FY 2007 funding allocation to board members. The FY 2007 funding allocation was distributed to board members via email on April 13, 2007.



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