Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved July 11, 2007 Meeting Minutes


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

Darryl Bonner

John Coffman

Steve Dixon

Hubert Gibson1

Ashlyn Hall1

Mike Haygood

Charles Jensen

Ted Lundy

David Martin

Lance Mezga - Chair

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Jan Teague

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Ben Adams - Secretary

William Bass

Rhonda Bogard

Gloria Mei


1Student Representative


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaisons Present

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

Connie Jones, Liaison, Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) Region 4

Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM)

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


Others Present

Becky Brunton, Spectrum

Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Norman Mulvenon

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Eleven members of the public were present.



Mr. Adler gave an explanation of the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) Appendices E and J Milestone Process (Attachment 1).


He began by saying the FFA was an agreement among DOE, EPA, and TDEC for implementing Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Compensation and Liability Act clean-up requirements for the Oak Ridge Reservation (Attachment 1, pages 2-4).


He said the agreement contains a number of appendices, including Appendix C, which contains a listing of all signed decision documents to date and a list of all known areas on the reservation where assessment is required to determine if remediation is needed. Appendix G establishes the protocol for annual work prioritization sessions among DOE, EPA, and TDEC.


He talked about how the three parties strive to work together to reach agreement on work scope, priorities schedules and funding (Attachment 1, pages 7 and 8).


Mr. Adler said Appendix E provides for three years of enforceable milestones, usually 10-20 per year. Appendix J is a list of non-enforceable milestones for years beyond the enforceable milestone window.


Mr. Adler said there are a number of opportunities for amending existing milestones, enforceable and non-enforceable (Attachment 1, page 10). He said Appendix E milestones are automatically revised every October 1 when the three-year window of enforceable milestones shift into a new fiscal year. Appendix J milestones are usually updated the middle of March of each year.


He explained that DOE, EPA, and TDEC had recently resolved a dispute over proposed modifications to Appendix E and J (Attachment 1, pages12-14 and Attachments 2, 3, and 4).


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


Mr. Mezga – For the enforceable milestones during 2007-08, have the state and EPA agreed to consider renegotiation of those milestones; not committing to change, but committing to listen to an argument as to why they may be changed, but without any argument to change the completion end date (2016) for the whole project? Mr. Owsley – DOE has several opportunities for requesting an extension to a milestone. One of those options is if you have cost-overruns as a result of technical difficulties and the issue is either more time or more money, the state expects DOE to ask for more money first. The reason the state is holding on to the 2016 date is because it was agreed to by DOE, EPA, and TDEC in the Accelerated Cleanup Plan (ACP), which was signed by the EPA regional administrator, the governor’s office, and the DOE assistant secretary for EM. That agreement can only be changed by all three parties.


Mr. Myrick – When you look at the appendices you see that some key decision documents would be completed by 2016, but you’re not finished with cleanup by 2016, is that correct? Mr. Adler – We have held a couple of decisions in the post-2016 time frame. All of the substantive source control work is committed to be completed by 2016 in accordance with the ACP. It’s always been the case that our lifecycle baseline had a couple of ‘straggling’ decisions that we expect to be ‘no action’ decisions. That’s logical because if you take these source control measures you want to give them a little time to see if they work. If they work and are meeting our objectives for protecting those resources, then you’re in a position to make a decision. If they haven’t worked you’re in a position to make a different decision to take additional measures. Mr. Owsley – The state recognizes the assumption that interim actions will work, but the final decisions remain to be seen.


Mr. Myrick – If the Integrated Facilities Disposition Plan (IFDP) gets funded that will be in addition to the scope we have in the milestones; then you’ll to look at these milestones again and determine what can or cannot be done by 2016? Mr. Adler – If we get a lot of new scope, but not a lot new dollars, there will be schedule impacts. There’s a lot of the work that needs to be done in any case, such as cleaning up dirt and tearing down buildings at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12. Those things can be initiated under the current schedule. If IFDP progresses with additional funding that will determine the schedule.


Mr. Owsley – Concerning IFDP, the state is prepared to make that part of the FFA when and if DOE is prepared to accept the work. But until that occurs the state is holding to the 2016 completion date.


Mr. Mezga – Is that EPA’s perspective as well? Ms. Jones – Yes.


Mr. Jensen – Given the technical and budgetary uncertainties, has the 2016 date been looked at with a confidence factor? Mr. McCracken – Yes. What we have in place is a baseline that includes what we’ve been talking about here. That baseline anticipated that we might get some of the work done prior to 2016. Some of it’s getting pushed back, but we think it’s doable if the budget levels hold steady. If we add additional scope to the job as a result of IFDP, the logic might say we would want to move some of that scope up earlier because a priority might develop based on risk or just the logical sequence of doing the work. But we will stay with the baseline we have until we’re ready to make those decisions. EPA and TDEC are correct in staying with what we have until there is a basis for changing it.


Mr. L. Gibson – Could you talk about how some the agreements are set up at other sites? Mr. Adler – They are more similar than dissimilar. All of these agreements were developed from model language worked out between EPA and DOE in Washington and then provided to all the field offices. The Oak Ridge agreement is a little more forward-looking than some because we do multi-year planning of milestones. Some facilities do not commit to three years or do not engage in subsequent multi-year planning processes. The provisions for assessing fines and dispute resolution are the same.


Ms. Gawarecki – You mentioned that Appendix C includes a list of all known areas on the reservation where assessment is required to determine if a clean up action is necessary. Does this include areas that are not currently in EM’s scope? Mr. Adler – It’s possible that we will discover some new areas. But it includes some Resource Conservation and Recovery Act subtitle C obligations to meet the obligation of the Office of Science and the closure of some facilities, but it is dominated by EM scope. Ms. Gawarecki – Does it include some of the IFDP facilities? Mr. Adler – It only covers releases. So if you have a building that doesn’t provide a release it may not be on that list. If it’s a building that isn’t in EM’s scope yet but has a pipe that exits that is cracked and leaks it would be on Appendix C if we’re aware of it.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken:  Mr. McCracken reported that Clay Sells, the Deputy Secretary of Energy has approved the mission needs statement (critical decision 0, CD-0) for the IFDP. The next step will be to develop the CD-1 document that will detail the work to be done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 and project the cost to complete the work. Mr. McCracken said once the CD-1 is completed it will be submitted to DOE headquarters for approval.


Mr. Myrick asked who will be included on the planning team for the IFDP. Mr. McCracken said it will include the Oak Ridge Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration for Y-12.


Dave Adler: Mr. Adler said the topic for the EM committee meeting on Wednesday, July 18 will be on waste disposition challenges on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The presentation will discuss waste streams that have either no current path for disposal or are difficult waste streams to dispose of. He said the presentation will also address a current board action item on a difficult transuranic (TRU) waste stream.


Connie Jones: no comments.


John Owsley: Mr. Owsley said a dispute between DOE and TDEC regarding the Site Treatment Plan for dealing with remote-handled TRU wastes has been resolved. He said DOE and TDEC will be negotiating milestones for the treatment of the waste.


Mr. Mezga asked if remaining milestones in the Site Treatment Plan were related to the TRU and other difficult to manage wastes such as those that will be discussed at the July 18 EM meeting. Mr. Owsley said primarily the mixed low-level waste and mixed TRU waste are the remaining milestones in the Site Treatment Plan.


Mr. Myrick asked about the status of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) for Black Oak Ridge. Mr. Adler said the last time the NRDA trustees met they agreed to structure an agreement for establishing a Black Oak Ridge conservation area in exchange for residual contamination in Watts Bar Reservoir. He said a final agreement is expected to be written and circulated for public comment in a few months.


Public Comment

Mr. Mulvenon made some comments about his term on the board. He encouraged new members to be actively involved in the work of the board.


Mr. Gibson said he was concerned about revisions to the ORSSAB bylaws and how that may be communicated to the public (see Executive Committee report below). He was concerned how revisions suggested by DOE headquarters might affect public participation in ORSSAB committees and attending ORSSAB board meetings.


Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will meet for its annual planning retreat and business meeting on Saturday, August 12, at Rothchild Catering, 8807 Kingston Pike in Knoxville. The retreat will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the August business meeting from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Board officers for FY 2008 will be elected at the August business meeting.


Mr. McCracken introduced Messrs. Coffman, Jensen, and Martin as new board members.


Mr. McCracken recognized former members Donna Campbell, Heather Cothron, Norman Mulvenon, and Sandy Reagan for their years of service to the board.


The minutes of the May 9, 2007 meeting were approved.


Recommendation 157: Recommendation to Adopt 2007 DOE Public Involvement Plan was approved.


Mr. Lundy provided a report on his trip the EPA Community Involvement Training Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., in June (5).


Committee Reports

Board Finance – Mr. Dixon reported that the committee has met all of its scheduled tasks on its work plan. He said expenditures are in line with the annual budget.


EM – Mr. Myrick said the committee reviewed the work being done on independent verification at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). He said the committee was satisfied with the work being done and will receive updates as work progresses. He said Mr. Adler provided a presentation in May on work remaining on the reservation not currently covered under the ACP that will perhaps be covered under IFDP if that plan is approved.


In June the committee received an update on the decontamination and decommissioning of buildings K-25 and K-27 at ETTP. Mr. Myrick said the report noted that the north tower of K-25 is in poor condition and will take much work and money to preserve the building for historic purposes.


The presentation noted that 1.6 million worker-hours had been completed at the site without a lost time injury.


He said of 86 pieces of equipment suspected of being high-risk, i.e. containing high levels of radioactive material, only two thus far have been classified as high risk.


The presentation also presented a new cost estimate of completion at $704 million. That estimate is up from $644 million in January and $500 million in April 2006.


Mr. Myrick said the committee also heard a report on the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator at ETTP. He said the committee could possibly make a recommendation on ambient air monitoring when more information is received.


Public Outreach – Mr. Stow said the committee provided comments on the DOE draft Public Involvement Plan. He said the committee is scheduling presentations about ORSSAB before a number of elected groups in Anderson and surrounding counties. Plans are being made to make presentations to Knox County officials, the Oak Ridge School Board, and the Anderson and Roane Counties Chambers of Commerce.


Mr. Stow said the committee sponsored a booth at the Secret City Festival, but only had enough people volunteer to staff the booth for one day. He expressed hope for additional participation from board members for subsequent events.


The committee is currently updating the ORSSAB exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy. The committee is also updating the ORSSAB brochure, and the stakeholders’ survey has been sent out. The results of the survey will be presented at the annual retreat August 11.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner said the May presentation dealt with records management and how they can be accessed, particularly related to decision documents and stewardship.


In June the committee agreed to move forward with production of a stewardship video.


Executive – Mr. Mezga said the committee talked about how the board can participate in the development of milestones for Appendices E&J in the FFA.


He said the fall SSAB Chairs’ meeting will be held in Paducah, Ky., September 26-28. Anyone interested in attending the meeting should notify staff.


Mr. Mezga said the committee is looking into holding a risk training workshop to provide additional training for board members on the technical aspects of risk management.


He said DOE headquarters was ‘not totally satisfied’ with the board’s bylaws. Mr. Myrick has volunteered to look at headquarters’ concerns about the bylaws and how they can be made consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act charter that establishes ORSSAB.


Mr. Mezga asked Mr. Stow to report on the activities of the Oral History Subcommittee. Mr. Stow said the committee is looking to facilitate consolidation of a comprehensive oral history program on work that has been done on the Oak Ridge Reservation. He said several hundred oral histories have been recorded but they are not available in a central location. He said ORSSAB will likely act as a catalyst in this work rather than taking an active role in managing a comprehensive oral history program. Mr. Stow said a workshop is being planned in late September or early October with interested parties to work out details of establishing a consolidated oral history program.


Mr. Olson suggested checking with DOE for sources of funding. Mr. Stow said that had been done and DOE does not currently have any funding available for such a project, but he said the committee and the workshop will explore funding opportunities.


Ms. Jones said there is no money available from EPA for funding an oral history program, but she suggested approaching foundations or non profit organizations.


Nominating Committee – The committee submitted a list of nominees for board officers for FY 2008: Mr. Mezga for chair, Mr. Dixon for vice-chair, and Mr. Lundy for secretary. Nominations will also be taken from the floor when officers are elected at the August 11 business meeting.


Federal Coordinator Report

No report this month.


Additions to the Agenda





Mr. Myrick moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Haygood seconded. The motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Mezga moved to approve the minutes of the May 9, 2007 meeting. Mr. Dixon seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Bonner moved to approve Recommendation 157.  Mr. Murphree second and the motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.


Action Items





  1. Mr. McCracken will share with the board the results of discussions with regulators concerning setting of budget priorities. Budget information was included with the response to Recommendation 156 on the FY 2009 DOE EM Budget Request.
  2. Mr. Adler will determine the current status of the Integrated Facilities Disposition Project. Mr. McCracken reported at this meeting that the mission needs statement (CD0) has been approved by the Deputy Secretary of Energy.
  3. Mr. McCracken will get information on a TRU waste stream that could be problematic for a non-defense TRU waste determination. Closed as a board action. This topic will be addressed at the July 18 EM meeting.
  4. Mr. Adler will provide more detailed information of projects that will be impacted by budget constraints. The principal impacts are to East Tennessee Technology Park as noted in correspondence from DOE to the regulators dated May 21 (Item 345 in FY 2007 Incoming Correspondence. Also included in Incoming Correspondence section of the June 2007 board mailing.).
  5. Mr. Adler will determine the meaning of Areas 1000-4000 in Bethel Valley. The areas are a building numbering system based on a west to east progression through Bethel Valley.
  6. Ms. Campbell will distribute a list of stewardship websites to board members and Stewardship Committee members. Included in the Reports and Memos section of the June 2007 board mailing.


Attachments (5) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.