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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved February 11, 2009 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 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

Darrell Akins

Bill Bass

Darryl Bonner

Claire Campbell1

Miranda Clower1

Steve Dixon - Chair

Betty Jones

Edward Juarez

Ted Lundy - Vice-chair

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Maggie Owen

Steve Stow


Members Absent

John Coffman – Secretary2

Chuck Jensen

Sondra Sarten2

Kevin Westervelt


1Student Representative

2Second Consecutive Absence


Designated Federal Officer, Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO), Liaisons, and Federal Coordinator Present

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

Cate Brennan, DOE Designated Federal Officer

Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO Federal Coordinator

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

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


Others Present

Fred Butterfield, DOE Oak Ridge Senior Site Program Manager

Kyle Gjersvold, DOE Office of Management Analysis

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Joan Hughes, UT Battelle

Wayne McMahon, B&W Technical Services Y-12

Norman Mulvenon, Local Oversight Committee

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Fifteen members of the public were present.


Designated Federal Officer, DDFO, and Liaison Comments

Cate Brennan – Ms. Brennan is in her first year as Designated Federal Officer and is visiting all of the SSABs to learn how they conduct their meetings.


Dave Adler – Mr. Adler reminded everyone of a public meeting on a major modification to the Oak Ridge Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) to be held at the DOE Information Center Thursday, February 12, 2009, at 6 p.m. That meeting will explain the plan for newly added cleanup scope resulting from the Integrated Facility Disposition Program. The discussion will include the priorities for sequencing the work. Public comments on the change will be taken during the meeting and through February 27.


Mr. Adler said the proposed economic stimulus package currently being discussed in Congress could have significant additional funds earmarked for environmental management (EM) work. Mr. Adler did not know the status of plan in Congress.


Connie Jones – Ms. Jones said the K-25 core team is working to resolve issues with the waste proxy lot process to have waste generated from cleanup activities at the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) disposed at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility. She said the process should be approved within a week or two.


John Owsley – Mr. Owsley had no prepared comments, but Mr. Mezga asked if he and Ms. Jones planned to be at the public meeting on the FFA major modification. Mr. Owsley said he or Roger Petrie will be attending. Ms. Jones said Jeff Crane will be attending for EPA.


Mr. Dixon asked about the status of a fly ash pond spill near Kingston. Mr. Owsley said the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) continues to monitor the fly ash in the Clinch River and the water going into the water treatment plant. DOE has completed its monitoring of sediment and ash over the sediment to give TVA the necessary information to begin dredging in the Clinch River and Emory River below mile point 1.


Mr. Mezga asked what precautions are being taken to prevent disturbing sediments by dredging operations. Mr. Owsley said there isn’t sufficient information yet to determine if the sediment in the area to be dredged requires special precautions. If results indicate contaminated sediments require precautions then steps will be taken to dredge in such a way to not disturb the sediments or a plan will be put in place to handle any impacts of disturbed sediments.


Mr. Adler said the ash spill primarily impacted the Emory River, which joins the Clinch River downstream of contaminated sediments. The Clinch River drains the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). Contaminants possibly impacted by dredging are in the Clinch River. He said because of the ebb and flow of the Watts Bar Reservoir, there is some minimal potential for silt from the Clinch to be carried back up the Emory. Current available data indicate the levels of cesium, the primary contaminant in the river, is so low as to not require any special handling.


Mr. Dixon said he had heard that the ash spill has caused some blockage in the rivers that might result in flooding upstream from spring rains. He asked Mr. Adler to comment on that possibility. Mr. Adler said he spoke with an official with the Roane County Emergency Management Response Team who said because of the displacement of the normal channel in the Emory River there is some concern about altered flow patterns during a high rain event for water coming down the Emory. Mr. Adler said he didn’t expect much impact to the Clinch River during high rains.


Public Comment

Mr. Mulvenon said the Cleanup Progress Report is available and asked all to read it. He encouraged everyone to come the public meeting on the FFA Major Modification on Thursday, February 12 at 6 p.m. at the DOEIC



Overview of the 2007 Annual Site Environmental Report

Ms. Hughes began her presentation explaining that DOE Order 231.1A requires an annual reporting on environmental management performance. DOE Order 450.1A requires environmental monitoring to detect releases and characterized pathways to the public. The resulting Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER) is available to the public on or before October 1 of each year and contains the previous calendar year’s data.


The ASER is a consolidated report for the entire ORR. It includes discussion of results at specific ORR facilities. The information is contained in three volumes: the ASER itself, a data volume, and a summary document that is prepared by Karns High School English students. All three volumes are available on the Internet at


Ms. Hughes said the ORR, like other sites across the DOE complex, has an Environmental Management System (EMS) in place that implements stewardship practices that are protective of air, water, land, and other natural and cultural resources impacted by DOE operations. EMSs are in place at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), ETTP, and Y-12 National Security Complex, and are administered by UT-Battelle, Bechtel Jacobs, Co., and the National Nuclear Security Administration respectively.


Ms. Hughes then reviewed ASER results for the ORR. This included compliance, environmental monitoring results, airborne radiological dose summary, and all pathways of dose trends (Attachment 1, slides 7-11).


She then reviewed facility specific results collected from air and water sampling at ORNL, ETTP, and Y-12 (Attachment 1, slides 13-25). She noted that the ASER does not report on activities of private companies at ETTP.


Ms. Hughes noted that information gathered during calendar year 2008 for the next ASER is currently being compiled. The 2008 ASER will be published in October 2009.


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


Mr. Olson­ – Why is groundwater excluded from the ASER? Ms. Hughes – Discussion of groundwater is included in each of the site specific chapters. Mr. Olson – I saw somewhere in here that it went to the Remediation Effectiveness Report. Ms. Hughes – That was the for ETTP groundwater monitoring.


Ms. Mei – Are the sampling locations at ORNL any different because of the Spallation Neutron Source? Ms. Hughes – No. We had been using the White Oak Creek headwaters monitoring station, but when we implemented the [National Pollution Elimination Discharge System] it became a Spallation Neutron Source monitoring point rather than a reference point, so there were no actual changes.


Mr. Martin – At Y-12 you noted that one of the primary regulatory agencies was the City of Oak Ridge. What are they regulating? Mr. McMahon - Our sanitary sewer discharges to the city sewer treatment plant. The city issues a permit to us to treat that sewage.


Mr. Martin – You mentioned there were 13 environmental inspections done. Were any of those at Y-12? Mr. McMahon – I don’t know the exact number for 2007. We had eight in 2008. The state, the city, and EPA all conduct inspections, some announced, some not. Ms. Hughes – There were six at Y-12 in 2007.


Mr. Mulvenon – You mentioned that mercury trends in Lower East Fork Poplar Creek continue to go down. In the last few years we’ve noticed that trend is more level than going down. Can you elaborate?  Mr. McMahon - What we’ve been seeing is the trend of mercury in water continues to go down. We’re not seeing the trend of mercury in fish going down, so it has leveled off.


Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, March 11 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center, 475 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, Tenn. The main presentation topic will be on Environmental Management Program Budget & Prioritization.


Mr. Dixon introduced Mr. Butterfield and Mr. Gjersvold from DOE Headquarters.


The minutes of the January 14, 2009 meeting were approved.


Recommendation on the National Historic Preservation Act at U.S. DOE-ORO was tabled (Attachment 2). The board felt additional information was needed from DOE  on the specific activities related to NHPA section 106  in order to make an informed decision on the recommendation. Another presentation on the topic will be pursued.


Recommendation on Alternatives to Memorialize the K-25 Building at ETTP was approved (Attachment 3).


Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Juarez reported that the committee approved seven travel requests: five to the EM SSAB Chairs’ Spring meeting in Augusta, Ga., and two to the Waste Management Symposium in Phoenix, Ariz. The requests were forwarded to the Executive Committee for final approval.


The committee also completed the board’s budget request for FY 2010 and forwarded it to Ms. Halsey.


EM – Ms. Clower reported that the committee received an update on the Building 3019 Project at ORNL.


The February meeting will be combined with the Stewardship Committee. The topic will be on groundwater exit pathways on the ORR with an emphasis on the groundwater leaving Melton Valley.


Public Outreach – Mr. Bass reported that committee representatives met with Stan Mitchell, the editor of the Oak Ridge Observer, and with Tom Beehan, mayor of the City of Oak Ridge.


Mr. Bass said Mr. Mitchell suggested an article on ORSSAB written by Mr. Dixon and welcomed regular news releases on board activities.


Mr. Bass said Mayor Beehan was interested in the work of the board, but the mayor said there was much he did not know about the board. He suggested a presentation about ORSSAB to the Oak Ridge City Council.


Mr. Bass requested board members interested in making presentations should contact a member of the Public Outreach Committee or staff.


Stewardship – Mr. Martin said the committee heard an update on the filing of land record notices in Roane County. He said legislation introduced in the Tennessee House of Representatives requiring county registers of deeds and tax assessors to work together in the filing of land record notices and accompanying plat maps will have to be reintroduced in the next session as it was not addressed in the last legislative session.


Executive Committee- Mr. Dixon said the committee met on January 29 and accomplished all the items on its agenda. He referred members to read the minutes of the meeting for details.


o        Center for Oak Ridge Oral History report – Mr. Stow said a contract is now in place between DOE and the City of Oak Ridge to allow the Oak     Ridge Public Library to operate the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey reported on the status of several outstanding recommendations:

  • Recommendation 167: Recommendation on Historic Preservation of the K-25 Building
    at ETTP

o        On hold until consulting parties to the Memorandum of Agreement Regarding Site Interpretation at ETTP can meet.

  • Recommendation 171: Recommendation on the Waste Information Management System

o        This recommendation has been sent to Christine Gelles, the director of the DOE Office of Disposal Operations, for a response.

  • Recommendation 172: Recommendation to DOE-ORO EM on Lessons Learned from    Efforts to Preserve the North Tower of the K-25 Building for Historic Purposes

o        Skip Gosling at DOE Headquarters has been asked to respond to a portion of this recommendation.

  • Recommendation 174: Recommendation That Quarterly Project Reviews Be Shared with the EM SSABs

o        This is a recommendation to former DOE Assistant Secretary James Rispoli from the combined chairs of the EM SSABs. Mr. Rispoli has since resigned and no response has been received from DOE. Ms. Halsey said, however, that Steve McCracken, DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for EM, would not be sharing that information with ORSSAB. In regard to this recommendation, Mr. Dixon asked if Mr. McCracken’s decision is consistent at other sites with EM SSABs. Ms. Brennan said it is consistent with other sites. The Hanford site had been receiving the information, but no longer.

  • Recommendation 175: Recommendation on the Integrated Facility Disposition Program.

o        Response is almost complete and should be returned to the board within a month.


Additions to the Agenda

No additions.




Mr. Lundy moved to approve the minutes of the January 14, 2009 meeting. Mr. Juarez seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Mr. Murphree was not present for the following motions.



After considerable discussion Mr. Lundy moved to table the recommendation on the National Historic Preservation Act at U.S. DOE-ORO. Mr. Mezga moved to amend the motion to have DOE make a subsequent presentation to the board on this topic prior to reintroducing the recommendation. Mr. Myrick seconded and the amendment passed 14 voting ‘yea’ and one voting ‘nay’ (Mr. Martin).


The amended motion to table the recommendation was seconded by Mr. Mezga and the motion passed 14 voting ‘yea’ and one voting ‘nay’ (Mr. Martin.)



Mr. Stow moved to approved Recommendation on Alternatives to Memorialize the K-25 Building at ETTP. Mr. Lundy seconded. During discussion some wording changes were suggested as noted in Attachment 3. The revised recommendation was passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.


Action Items


  1. Mr. McCracken will provide an overview of the new BJC contract and the dollar amounts for the various projects. Carryover from October 8, 2008.
  2. Mr. McCracken will make a presentation to the board to review budget priorities and select those that will most likely fit in the target budget request for FY 2011. Carryover from October 8, 2008.
  3. Mr. McCracken will find out how much or what percentage of U-235 has been recovered from the K-25 Building. Carryover from December 10, 200.
  4. Mr. Adler will determine how much transuranic waste is in Trench 13. Carryover from December 10, 2008
  5. Mr. Adler will see if the Bechtel Jacobs study on Trench 13 remediation options is available for review. Carryover from December 10, 2008.
  6. Another presentation to the board will be pursued in order to gather additional information related to the proposed recommendation on the specific NHPA activities at DOE-ORO.



  1. Mr. Adler will notify the board when the public meeting on additional milestones in Appendix J of the FFA will be held. Board members were notified on January 29, 2009 that the meeting will be held on Thursday, February 12 at 6 p.m. at the DOEIC.
  2. Staff will draft a letter to the EM Transition Team for the Executive Committee to review that will explain ORO’s position to take on additional work and request sufficient funding to carry out the work.


Attachments (3) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.