Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

4-c logo 100 pixels.JPG (11680 bytes)




Approved March 12, 2008 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 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

Bill Bass

Darryl Bonner

David Branch

Steve Dixon - Vice chair

Hubert Gibson1

Ashlyn Hall1

Mike Haygood

Charles Jensen

Ted Lundy – Secretary

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga - Chair

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Rhonda Bogard

John Coffman


1Student Representative


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaisons Present

Pat Halsey, Department of Energy-Oak Ridge Office (DOE-ORO), ORSSAB Federal Coordinator

Connie Jones, 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

Mike Coffey, Bechtel Jacobs, Co.

Luther Gibson, Local Oversight Committee-Citizens Advisory Panel (LOC)

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Joan Hughes, UT-Battelle

Dave Miller, Partnership for K-25 Preservation (PKP)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

Bill Wilcox, PKP


Sixteen members of the public were present.



2006 Annual Site Environmental Report

Ms. Hughes talked about why the Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER) is published and what it communicates (Attachment 1). She also discussed 2006 data in the report.


The ASER is required by DOE Order 231.1A and 450.1. The report is published every October for the previous calendar year. She explained that it takes about nine months to compile all the information from the previous year.


The report includes:

·         Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) site and operations review

·         Environmental compliance status summary

·         Environmental Management Program summary

·         East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12), and ORR-wide monitoring and program results

·         Radiological dose assessments for the ORR.


The ASER is in three volumes: the ASER itself, the data volume, and a summary document, which is compiled students at Karns High School.


Ms. Hughes said the ORR 2006 monitoring results were all within expected ranges. The general conclusion from those results is that DOE activity has a negligible effect on pathways to the public.


The ASER summarizes DOE-EM projects, which include decontamination and decommissioning, remediations, operation and maintenance of waste treatment, storage, and recycling, and public involvement forums. She said more detailed information is included in the annual Cleanup Progress Report and Remediation Effectiveness Report.


She then discussed site specific permits, approvals, and monitoring activities at ETTP, ORNL, and Y-12 (Attachment 1, pages 13-25). She noted a number of modernization projects completed at ORNL and Y-12 during 2006 (Attachment 1, pages 21 and 26).


She concluded her presentation noting that the ASER is available online at

She said development of the 2007 ASER is underway. She said some data may already be available and is releasable prior to publishing the report.


After her presentation a number of questions was asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.


Mr. Adams – You made reference to a fish kill. Is that one fish or one incident? Mr. Coffey – The kill happened at ETTP at the same time we discovered we had a leaking sanitary water line, which had released some sanitary chlorinated water into storm drain 100. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit limit there is .14 mg/L. The actual measured value was .2 mg/L. At the same time we were investigating the dead fish in the storm drain there were also dead fish in the ponds at ETTP. We’re not certain if the chlorine was the actual cause of the die-off because the fish were gizzard shad and typically there is a die-off of that particular species about that same time of year anyway. It could be a coincidence or the chlorine could have been the final stressor to cause those fish to die anyway. About 1,000 fish died.


Mr. Dixon – On your 2006 monitoring results, there is a statement that says ‘PCB levels consistent with state posting.’ What does that mean? Ms. Hughes – There are postings in the Clinch River and in the Watts Bar arm for the reservoir for PCBs. We had PCBs detected in both upstream and downstream locations, but they were consistent with state postings of what was expected to be found.


Mr. Martin – Of the 19 environmental inspections made, were any EPA or TDEC audits? Ms. Hughes – I think all but one, for the City of Oak Ridge, were TDEC audits.


Ms. Mei – Are the numbers for air monitoring for each plant or for the entire reservation? Ms. Hughes – For each facility. Ms. Mei – How do you determine that? Ms. Hughes – I don’t have the answer to that. I’ll have Jim Wolfe get in touch with you about how those permit levels are derived. He’s the point of contact at ORNL for the air program.


Mr. Gibson – What is the radiation dose limit for personnel who are in leased or transferred facilities who are not DOE employees or contractors and what kind of a dose are they receiving? Mr. Coffey – We don’t have that information tonight, but I can get it for you.


Mr. Gibson­ – I have a comment on these tons per year permits. Some of the permits have shorter term limits and even concentrations in the stack, where you would run much tighter than the terms per year would imply that you are. So it’s a little more complicated than the tons per year allowable.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken – Mr. McCracken said Mark Frei, DOE EM Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Planning and Budget, had sent clarifying guidance on the expectations of how SSABs should be included in the budget process. He said the most important part of the guidance was that he had to include unedited recommendations from stakeholders to the budget request that DOE-ORO EM submits to DOE headquarters. He said it was important that stakeholders take advantage of that part of the guidance. Mr. McCracken said budget guidance had been received from headquarters. Mr. McCracken distributed a spreadsheet of the guidance for FY 2010-14 (Attachment 2). He said the spreadsheet is essentially the baseline explained to the board at the February meeting by Dave Adler. Mr. McCracken asked for recommendations on the FY 2010 budget by April 10.


Mr. McCracken also distributed a new organizational chart for DOE-ORO EM (Attachment 3). He said EM is organized around projects, although projects have been redefined to be more geographically defined, e.g., ORNL, Y-12, ETTP. He said more emphasis has been placed on quality assurance by establishing a quality assurance division. He said some realignment had been done in the facility operations and safety division.


Connie Jones – no comments.


John Owsley – Mr. Owsley said the site treatment plan dispute has been resolved. He said TDEC and DOE are working to revise the site treatment plan to reflect resolution of how mixed transuranic waste is treated.


He said resolution of the Federal Facility Agreement dispute is closer than it was in February, but is still not complete. He said only two of the issues involved are expected to be elevated to the senior executive committee level. Those issues are out-year milestones and planning for work above target levels.


Mr. Owsley said Secretary of Energy Bodman has responded to the governor’s letter (included in the February meeting materials). He said the response is a positive one that emphasizes meaningful dialogue and cooperation between DOE and the state. Mr. Mezga asked that a copy of the secretary’s letter be sent to members of the board.


Public Comment

Mr. Gibson read a letter addressed to Mr. Mezga from the LOC urging support by the board for preservation of the K-25 facility at ETTP (Attachment 4). He commended Mr. Bonner for his work on the K-25 historic preservation issue.


Mr. Wilcox expressed thanks for the board making a recommendation on K-25 Historic Preservation. He also praised the work done by Mr. Bonner on the issue and said the public meeting held by ORSSAB and the LOC was successful. He said he had received word that the B Reactor in Washington State was going to be preserved. The B Reactor produced plutonium for the Trinity Test in New Mexico and the Nagasaki bomb. He saving the B Reactor is analogous to saving the K-25 facility at ETTP.


Mr. Miller commended Mr. McCracken for his fairness in the way he has handled the K-25 historic preservation issue.


Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be “White Oak Lake/Embayment and Bear Creek Valley Uranium Disposals.”


The minutes of the February 13, 2008 meeting were approved.


The FY 2007 Rebaselining-Sequencing spreadsheet was distributed to board members (Attachment 5).


The Recommendation on Conducting Future Verifications of Cleanup was approved.


The Recommendation Preparing Future Explanations of Significant Differences was approved.


The Recommendation on Historic Preservation of the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park was approved by the minimum number of votes required. Since there was not broad acceptance of the recommendation, Mr. Stow suggested a minority opinion be submitted to DOE-ORO. He will work with Mr. Bass, Mr. Martin, Mr. Olson, and Mr. Murphree to draft the opinion.


Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Adams reported that the committee had approved travel requests to send Mr. Dixon, Mr. Gross, and Mr. Lundy to the SSAB chairs’ meeting in Hanford, Wash., in April.


Mr. Branch reported that Whitestone Inn near Kingston, Tenn., has been selected as the site for the board’s annual retreat in August. The U.T. Conference Center was selected as a backup location.


Mr. Dixon said the EM committee will review the FY 2010 budget information and develop comments, which will then be sent to the Board Finance & Process Committee on March 28. A draft recommendation will be developed and sent to the Executive Committee for review and then put before the board at the April 9 meeting. Mr. Dixon invited board members to attend all of the meetings to provide additional input.


Mr. Mezga asked Board Finance & Process to take over administration of the flower fund.


EM – Mr. Murphree said the committee reviewed information provided by ARCADIS on the ETTP remedial investigation/feasibility study. A recommendation has been developed on the study, which will be reviewed at the March meeting. The committee also received an update on the progress of work at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. The committee also heard reports on the K-25 public meeting and the PermaFix conference held in Nashville in December.


At the March meeting the committee will discuss three points from Christine Gelles’ presentation to the board in January – high level waste, the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator burn plan, and the transference of waste management at Y-12 and ORNL. The committee will also determine its choices for the top three issues to be submitted for Oak Ridge at the SSAB chairs’ meeting in April.


Public Outreach – Mr. Westervelt said the committee approved the Advocate newsletter editorial plan at its February meeting. Time slots have been secured on local TV Channel 15 for some board presentations. The committee determined its top three issues to be presented at the SSAB chairs’ meeting. The committee identified four groups to approach for presentations. Mr. Westervelt said the Oak Ridge Lions Club is the best opportunity for a near-term presentation. He said eight people had signed up to help staff the ORSSAB booth at the Earth Day celebration in April at the Oak Ridge Civic Center.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner said the committee will develop a recommendation on the 2007 Remediation Effectiveness report at its March meeting. The committee will discuss its suggestions for the top three issues to submit at the SSAB chairs meeting. The committee work plan will also be updated.


Executive – Mr. Dixon said the committee discussed the ongoing dispute among the Federal Facilities Agreement parties. He said committee reports and board budget were reviewed. He referred board members to the committee minutes for details.


Mr. Mezga urged Mr. Coffman, Mr. Jensen, and Ms. Sarten to submit reports on trips they’ve taken representing the board. Mr. Jensen noted that he was not representing the board when he attended the Waste Management 2008 conference.


Oral History Subcommittee – Mr. Stow said the subcommittee will hold one more meeting and finalize a draft recommendation for the board to consider asking that DOE-ORO to support the Oak Ridge Oral History Program, which will be overseen by the Oak Ridge Oral History Steering Committee. The subcommittee will dissolve after developing the draft recommendation.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said a significant number of applications for board membership has been received. She encouraged members to ask qualified people to apply for membership. Applications must be received by March 31.


She said the Federal Advisory Committee Act charter has been revised for renewal. She said those revisions will be available soon but will not require any changes to the ORSSAB bylaws.


Additions to the Agenda





Mr. Adams moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Stow seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Lundy moved to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2008 meeting. Mr. Mead seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Murphree moved to approve the Recommendation on Preparing Future Explanations of Significant Differences. Mr. Dixon seconded. The motion passed with 17 voting ‘yes’ with one abstention (Mr. Myrick).



Mr. Murphree moved to approve the Recommendation on Conducting Future Verifications of Cleanup. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Bonner moved to approve the Recommendation on Historic Preservation of the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park. Mr. Lundy seconded. The motion passed with 12 voting ‘yes,’

one ‘no’ (Mr. Murphree), and five abstentions (Mr. Bass, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Jensen, Ms. Mei, and Mr. Olson).


The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.


Action Items


  1. Ms. Halsey will report to the board the outcome of the meeting with EPA related to Recommendation 158 on the ESD for Leachate Management at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility. Carried over from November 14, 2007. Status. Meeting with EPA has not been held.
  2. Ms. Halsey will check on the status of Recommendation 154 with Melissa Nielson at DOE Headquarters. Carried over from November 14, 2007.
  3. Mike Coffey will provide radiation dose limits for personnel working in transferred facilities.
  4. Ms. Hughes will have Jim Wolfe provide an explanation of how air monitoring permit levels are determined for each facility
  5. Mr. Stow will submit a minority opinion to the Recommendation on Historic Preservation of the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park.
  6. Board Finance & Process will take over administration of the flower fund.



  1. Mr. Adler will bring maps of ETTP showing stages of completed work through 2016 to the EM Committee on February 20. Complete. Mr. Adler provided maps at the February 20 EM Committee meeting.
  2. Staff will have board membership applications at the K-25 public meeting. Complete. Applications provided at the February 19 meeting.
  3. Ms. Sarten will talk to the member of the public she knows who attended the well sampling meeting to ask about his reaction to the presentation. Closed. Ms. Sarten has not received a response to phone calls.
  4. Mr. Adler will report on the briefing provided to Mr. McCracken to support oral histories by DOE-ORO. Complete. Mr. Adler briefed Mr. McCracken on the proposed establishment of an oral history program for Oak Ridge. Mr. McCracken supports the idea and agreed to be the ‘champion’ of the project to garner support from ORO management.
  5. Mr. Adler will provide the validated EM baseline to the board. Complete. Validated baseline presented at this meeting (Attachment 5).
  6. Ms. Halsey with check with DOE headquarters on any stewardship work being done at sites where cleanup has been completed and responsibility of the site has been transferred from EM to another landlord. Complete. Has not occurred within the DOE complex to date.

DOE-Headquarters’ response to this issue is that each site will be responsible for ensuring that long-term stewardship responsibilities are handled between the site programs and is documented within the Critical Decision 4 for each major EM Program Baseline Summary to close out documentation.


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