Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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





Approved October 14, 2009 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m.


Members Present

Darrell Akins

Darryl Bonner

Bob Hatcher

Chuck Jensen

Betty Jones

Ted Lundy

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Ron Murphree - Chair

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Maggie Owen

Josh Pratt1

Sidney Sherrill1

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt – Vice Chair


Members Absent

John Coffman2

Steve Dixon

Edward Juarez - Secretary

Sondra Sarten


1Student Representative

2Second consecutive absence


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

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

John Eschenberg, DDFO and DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM).

Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO, ORSSAB Federal Coordinator

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

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


Others Present

Allen Burnett, Paducah Citizens’ Advisory Board

Judy Clayton, Chair, Paducah Citizens’ Advisory Board

Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee

Spencer Gross, MCH, Corp.

J.T. Howell, DOE-ORO

Pete Osborne, IIA

Ralph Skinner, DOE-ORO

Laura Wilkerson, DOE-ORO


Twenty-one members of the public were present.


Liaison Comments

John Eschenberg – Mr. Eschenberg was attending his first meeting as DDFO. He said his intent at this meeting was simply to listen and learn. He said he will have more substantive comments at the next meeting. He reminded the board that he has been the new assistant manager for DOE-ORO

EM for one month. He still communicates several times a week with Steve McCracken, the former assistant manager and DDFO.


Dave Adler – Mr. Adler reviewed the status of outstanding recommendations from ORSSAB to DOE.


A response to Recommendation 175: Recommendation on the Integrated Facility Disposition Program was distributed to members prior to the meeting (Attachment 1).


Recommendation 180: Recommendations on Expansion of the CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) Waste Facility and Sorting and Segregating of Wastes Destined for the Facility. This recommendation asked DOE to proceed with plans to expand the waste facility to a sixth cell and begin looking for a site for an additional waste cell. The recommendation also asked that DOE continue to look for ways to sort and segregate waste. Mr. Adler said DOE will agree with those recommendations. A response letter is being written to that effect. He said a schedule for milestones to do a feasibility study and record of decision (ROD) for a second waste disposal facility will be set.


Connie Jones – Characterization sampling on the east wing of the K-25 building at East Tennessee Technology Park should begin in a few weeks.


John Owsley – no comments


Public Comment - none



Ms. Wilkerson and Mr. Adler provided updates on work at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).


Ms. Wilkerson’s presentation was on that portion of worked funded by ARRA at Y-12. The main points of her presentation are included in Attachment 2.


Nine ARRA projects are underway at Y-12 (Attachment 2, page 2, slide 1). They include the decontamination and decommission (D&D) of five buildings, excess materials removal from two buildings, cleanup of the salvage yard, and the remediation of the storm sewer system that contains mercury. Also included are the expansion of the Bear Creek Valley low-level waste landfill (known as the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, EMWMF) and the expansion of the sanitary landfills on Chestnut Ridge at Y-12.


The majority of the ARRA projects at Y-12 are concentrated in the west end of the campus (Attachment 2, page 2, slide 2).


The light shaded area on page 3, slide 1 of Attachment 2 is known as the West End Mercury Area. This area has the highest concentrations of mercury contamination on the site. The ARRA projects in this area are the first steps toward being able to demolish excess facilities in this area later.


Ms. Wilkerson said the largest of the ARRA projects at Y-12 is the removal of legacy materials (about 700,000 cubic feet) from Alpha 5, Building 9201-5 (Attachment 2, page 3, slide 2). All loose material will be removed and disposed and the building will be characterized for later D&D.
Alpha 5 is the highest risk excess facility at Y-12 because of beryllium, mercury, and lithium contamination. About 60 percent of the legacy waste will go to EMWMF, 25 percent to the sanitary landfills, and 15 percent to the Nevada Test Site (NTS). The first shipment of waste to EMWMF is scheduled for April 2010. A shredder has been installed to size reduce waste that will go into EMWMF. By the end of September 38,000 cubic feet of waste was disposed at the on-site sanitary landfill and NTS.


At Beta-4, Building 9204, work is focused on removal of legacy material from the second floor and mezzanine areas of the building (Attachment 2, page 4, slide 2). That will eliminate 82,000 cubic feet of legacy material. So far about 20,000 cubic feet of material has been sent to either the sanitary landfills or NTS.


Work in the Biology Complex to date includes planning for D&D of four buildings totaling 136,000 square feet (Attachment 2, page 5, slide 2), characterization, requesting proposals for abatement of hazardous material, and isolation of the mechanical and electrical systems. Mechanical isolation is complete in two of the buildings. Electrical isolation is about 95 percent complete in all four buildings. The contract for abatement of hazardous materials (asbestos, lead, PCBs, etc.) prior to D&D has been awarded. Debris from demolition of 9220 and 9224 will go to the sanitary landfills. Debris from 9211 and 9769 will go to EMWMF.


The last building in what was known as Engineering Row at Y-12, Building 9735, will be demolished (Attachment 2, page 6, slide 1). It is a 15,000 square foot facility. This building contains PCBs, asbestos, etc. There is some radiological contamination that is confined to a glove box and associated piping. When the building is demolished the glove box and piping will go the NTS and building debris will go the sanitary landfill.


Building 9206 is a former uranium recovery facility (Attachment 2, page 6, slide 2). ARRA funded D&D of this facility consists only of the filter house and recovery furnace.


The salvage yard in the west end of the plant covers about 7 acres (Attachment 2, page 7, slide 1). The two areas of the yard have about 700,000 cubic feet of contaminated scrap metal, some of which is in about 1,000 containers. The work here is to perform visual inspection of the containers and perform non-destructive assay of the contents in preparation for disposal at NTS. About 18,000 cubic feet of waste has been shipped. All loose scrap is to be disposed at EMWMF.


Slide 2 on page 7 of Attachment 2 is a photo of a discharge pipe of the storm sewer system in the West End Mercury Area emptying into East Fork Poplar Creek. This ARRA project addresses one of the actions in the Phase I Interim ROD for Y-12 to remove mercury that has accumulated in the storm sewer piping and to repair and reline the piping to preclude any additional infiltration of mercury to prevent any further discharges of mercury into Poplar Creek. Ms. Wilkerson said the hope is to reduce mercury releases into the creek by about 50 percent within a year.


Cell 5 at EMWMF is being built using ARRA money (Attachment 2, page 8, slide 2). Cell 5 will increase the capacity of the waste disposal facility to 1.7 million cubic yards. Ms. Wilkerson said construction of Cell 5 is about 33 percent complete.


ARRA funds are being used to expand Landfill V of the sanitary landfills at Y-12 by 385,000 cubic yards. The work to expand the landfill is in the design phase, which is almost complete.


After Ms. Wilkerson’s presentation a number of questions were asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.


Mr. Mezga – Do a have demolition start and completion target date on work in the Biology Complex? Wilkerson - We do, but I don’t have that with me. I’ll get that information for you. Mr. Mezga – What is the life expectancy of the sanitary Landfill V considering all the debris that will go in the landfill as a result of ARRA work plus the waste that goes in as a part of normal operations? Ms. Wilkerson – Original life-expectancy was planned for 20-30 years, assuming we will expand as needed. The expansion was part of the baseline and we thought it was prudent to implement it because the next two or three years will be a little abnormal from the expected amount of debris. Mr. Mezga – Looking at the current D&D scope under ARRA and the normal baseline, when will the replacement landfill have to be put into operation? Mr. Skinner – The expansion of the sanitary landfill will give use sufficient space for everything in the current baseline plus the recovery act work and probably support some of the initial work under the Integrated Facility Disposition Program. Beyond that I can’t say; it all depends on the generation.


Mr. Stow – Is lead-based paint a problem at Y-12? Ms. Wilkerson – At the Biology Complex the paint is asbestos contaminated, but not with lead.   Mr. Stow – Can you summarize the steps that are being taken to stay in accord with the National Historic Preservation Act in regard to securing artifacts, regarding histories, photography, etc., prior to demolition of these buildings? Mr. Howell – Several months ago we gave a briefing in regard to historical preservation. We have gotten approval for demolition of all the buildings slated for demolition under the recovery act. None of the buildings we are tearing down were on the list for historic preservation.


Ms. Mei – What are the major challenges or issues for doing characterization of the buildings? Ms. Wilkerson –I think the major challenge is the characterization for mercury in the buildings. That problem is primarily with Alpha 4 and Alpha 5 and to an extent Beta 4.


Mr. Murphree – When will Cell 5 at the EMWMF go on line? Ms. Wilkerson – The summer of 2010 to have construction completed and receive regulatory approval shortly after. We are experiencing a lot of rain, which has put us a little behind schedule. We hope to recover that by working overtime and gaining efficiencies where we can. If the weather doesn’t improve it could impact the target date.


Mr. Martin – The quantities you mentioned for the scrap yard at Y-12, does that include soil? Ms. Wilkerson – That does not include soil. The recovery act project does not address soils, at least not yet. We have a proposal at DOE headquarters to address the soil if additional money becomes available. Mr. Martin – Are there any plans for that land once the scrap yard is cleaned up? Ms. Wilkerson – Not to my knowledge. If there is no recovery act money to address soils, we would have to put a cap over the area or some other type action to prevent spread of any residual contamination. Mr. Martin – Is there a goal to have usable land there or just left empty? Mr. Skinner – We have to meet the requirements of the ROD.


Ms. Gawarecki – At the Biology Complex you said that 9211 and 9769 will go to EMWMF. Are they that heavily contaminated that the debris has to go there or could some of it go to the sanitary landfill? Ms. Wilkerson – The characterization indicated that it has to be sent to the EMWMF, because the threshold at the sanitary landfill for radioactivity is very low. Ms. Gawarecki – Is there some potential for segregation of the waste? Ms. Wilkerson – There has been a strong focus on segregating waste as much as possible to maximize the utilization of the waste cell. We’ve taken each facility and segregating as to what can go in each disposal area and making a lot of effort to ensure that happens. If there is an opportunity to do that in the Biology Complex it would be in the planning because we try to segregate waste as much as possible.


Mr. Adler’s presentation was a review of cleanup projects funded by ARRA at ORNL. The main points of his presentation are in Attachment 3. Mr. Adler began by showing a map of the lab (Attachment 3, page 1, slide 2) with circles indicating where ARRA projects will be done. He said about 34 buildings will be demolished with ARRA funds. Debris from about 15 of those buildings will go to the sanitary landfill at Y-12. The balance will require disposal at EMWMF.


Mr. Adler said cleanout projects are underway at Buildings 2026 and 3038. Demolition is already underway in the 2000 Complex and Building 3026.

An Advanced Materials Characterization Lab and a new chemistry lab are being built and caps are being placed over two solid waste storage areas in Bethel Valley, along with some groundwater monitoring wells in Melton Valley.


Mr. Adler showed a slide of the status of ARRA activities at ORNL (Attachment 3, page 2, slide 1).


The project that is well underway is the D&D of Building 3026 (Attachment 3, page 2, slide 2). The building has not been in use for many years and has deteriorated rapidly. There are concerns that in the event of fire or other event contamination could be released from the building and affect areas of the lab. The hot cells in the building have been fogged and isolated. Fogging is the introduction of a glycerol/water mixture into the hot cells that attenuates airborne contamination so that it drops to the floor and prevents the contamination from being rebroadcast. Mr. Adler said lead and asbestos abatement has been done in the building and paperwork has been completed to allow disposition of waste in the EMWMF. Shipment of waste is expected to begin the week of October 20, 2009.


Mr. Adler showed a number of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of work that has been done in the building (Attachment 3, pages 3, slides 1 and 2, and page 4, slide 1).


The next building with an aggressive demolition schedule is the 2000 Complex (Attachment 3, page 4, slide 2). The building is located in the northwest corner of the central campus of the lab. It’s in an area where DOE will establish a science and technology park. The surface of the building is coated with lead and PCB-contaminated paint. Fabric is around the base of the building, which is used to collect the paint flakes as they fall off the building. When the building is demolished about half of the debris will go the Y-12 sanitary landfill and the other half will go to EMWMF.


Mr. Adler said the hope is to begin demolition of the building in spring 2010.


After Mr. Adler’s presentation a number of questions were asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.


Mr. Stow – What depth will the sentinel wells in Melton Valley be drilled? Mr. Adler
The plan is to drill four clusters of four wells, ranging in depth of about 500 feet below the level of the Clinch River, which is the level hydrogeologists believe the wells should be drilled.


Mr. Stow – How will the stack at 3026 be taken down? Mr. Adler – Right now we’re dependent on that stack as part of the effluent point for all of the old buildings, so it will come down at the end of the process. In a cramped environment like we have at the lab, it’s a common process to scaffold up around the stack, break it in and have the top portions dropped into the stack, then work down the stack, and haul off the debris. But we’re still several years away from taking the stack down. That work hasn’t been designed.


Mr. Westervelt – Because of the deteriorated condition of the buildings, what steps have been taken to ensure worker safety? Mr. Adler – Building 3026 is the closest to falling in on itself. Parts of the roof have collapsed; old wooden beams have been compromised. To answer your question, we’re going to do these jobs from the outside in. We’re going to minimize the amount of time the workers spend inside the buildings. They will only be in there long enough to remove materials that must come out before the buildings can demolished. Then we will push them over with heavy equipment.


Mr. Murphree – You said there was a contract awarded for the east side of the 2000 Complex. What about the west side? Mr. Adler – We will award a contract in early spring 2010. They were separated because there is more contamination on the west side than on the east. Mr. Murphree – When you take buildings down you’ll have some exposed hot cells. How will they be protected? Mr. Adler – They will be stabilized so as not to allow any spread of contamination. But we have a follow-on contract as part of ARRA to have the hot cells removed.

Ms. Gawarecki­ – I’ve heard that the Office of Management and Budget has told DOE Assistant Secretary Triay that she can’t set aside 20 percent of ARRA funds to ensure performance; instead it all has to come to the sites to be spent. I’m wondering if Oak Ridge has more projects it will be proposing under the recovery act funding. Mr. Adler – We have a stable full of ideas that we have presented for consideration should we go under budget with ARRA funds or if more money becomes available. Generally those ideas include tearing down buildings that have been emptied of contents. They also include removing contaminated soil from areas where buildings have been removed. Typically it is work that is a logical follow-on to work being done.


Ms. Gawarecki – Are the contracts being awarded fixed price or are there some incentives?
Mr. Adler – Generally we try to do fixed-price contracts wherever we can.


Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – no report


Environmental Management – Mr. Olson reported that the committee will have a presentation on a groundwater treatability study at East Tennessee Technology Park. Ms. C. Jones noted that Carl Froede of EPA will be attending the meeting.


Public Outreach – Ms. Owen said the committee met on September 29 and discussed changes to the Stakeholder Survey to make it more user friendly and how to broaden distribution. The committee reviewed its six-month planning calendar and discussed how to expand public outreach opportunities.


The committee elected a chair, Ms. Owen, and vice chair, Ms. B. Jones, for FY 2010.


The committee will meet again on October 27.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner reported that the committee met on September 15 and discussed the proposed Stewardship Workshop, the path forward on the Stewardship Education Resource Kit, and developed its FY 2010 work plan.


The committee will meet again on Tuesday, October 20. There will be continued discussion of the Stewardship Workshop and a status update on the development of a stewardship implementation plan for the Oak Ridge Reservation. Committee officers for FY 2010 will be elected.


Executive – Mr. Murphree reported that the committee met on October 1 and the November meeting has been rescheduled for December 1 since the normal meeting day falls on Thanksgiving.


The committee approved travel requests for John Coffman and Sondra Sarten to attend the Waste Management Symposium in March in Phoenix, Ariz. The committee also approved travel requests for Mr. Lundy, Mr. Murphree, and Ms. Owen to attend the Intergovernmental Conference in New Orleans, October 21-23.


Mr. Lundy attended the recent fall EM SSAB Chairs’ meeting in Idaho Falls. He was impressed with the way the meeting was conducted and made notes he thought would be useful in planning the spring meeting, which will be hosted by ORSSAB. He said facilitator Lori Eisenberg was a very good facilitator and hoped perhaps her services could be secured for the spring meeting. He encouraged members of the board to assist in planning and executing the spring meeting.


Mr. Stow reported that the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History (COROH) conducted its first oral history interview with former Senator Howard Baker, who was instrumental in the establishment of the City of Oak Ridge. He said eight to 10 interviews are planned for the coming year. He noted the establishment of Networking Oak Ridge Oral History (NOROH), a program established by DOE-ORO to conduct interviews with current and former DOE employees and to support COROH with its work. He said NOROH appears to work more with personnel who dealt with currently classified information but still needs to be captured for future reference.


Mr. Stow said a form is available at the Oak Ridge Public Library for people to complete who wish to be interviewed. ORSSAB staff also has copies. Mr. Stow said Mr. Dixon suggested that each member of the board get a few copies and have available to give people who would be good interview subjects.


Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, November 18 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center, 475 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, Tenn. This is a change from the normal meeting date of the second Wednesday of month as the Veteran’s Day holiday falls on the second Wednesday
in November.


The minutes of the September 9, 2009 meeting were approved.


The “Recommendation on the Fact Sheet for the Explanation of Significant Differences for the Record of Decision (ROD) for Disposal of Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 Waste, Oak Ridge, Tenn.,” was approved (Attachment 4).


After the recommendation was approved, Mr. Myrick commented that while the fact sheet was adequate for those with a technical background of the issue, it wasn’t geared toward the general public. He said in keeping with comments made at the board’s annual retreat, documents for public consumption should be more easily read. Mr. Adler agreed with that assessment and said he would try to rewrite the fact sheet, taking into account the comments and recommendations made by the board at this meeting, and provide another fact sheet to review. Mr. Akins suggested that perhaps the fact sheet could be in two parts: a summary or abstract and a more technical explanation. Mr. Olson suggested that perhaps DOE could use professional writers to put technical material in
layman’s terms.


The EM SSAB Chairs’ letter “Inclusion of Option Periods in Department of Energy Request for Proposals” was approved (Attachment 5). The recommendation originated with the Paducah Citizens’ Advisory Board. Several members of the board were visitors at this meeting. Mr. Burnett and Ms. Clayton made comments explaining the reasoning behind the recommendation.


A draft November 2009 calendar was distributed (Attachment 6). It notes that the November ORSSAB meeting has been moved to November 18 since the Veteran’s Day holiday falls on the normal meeting day of the second Wednesday of the month. The EM Committee will not meet in November.


A DOE EM Leadership Pyramid was distributed (Attachment 7).


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey reported that the ORSSAB budget has been approved at $400,000 for FY 2010. She said there is a significant amount of carryover from FY 2009 and the spring chairs’ meeting should be funded without impacting normal ORSSAB activities.


The week of the spring chairs meeting will be April 27-29 and will be held at the Double Tree Hotel in Oak Ridge.


Ms. Halsey noted a draft copy of the history of the DOE EM program (Attachment 8). She said the history is incomplete and she is still researching the topic.


Additions to the Agenda





Mr. Westervelt moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.     



Mr. Mead moved to approve the minutes of the September 9, 2009 meeting.   Mr. Hatcher seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Olson moved to approve the Recommendation on the Fact Sheet for the Explanation of Significant Differences for the Record of Decision for Disposal of Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act Waste of 1980, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (Attachment 4). Mr. Mead seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Myrick moved to approve the EM SSAB Chairs’ Recommendation – Inclusion of Option Periods in Department of Energy Request for Proposals (Attachment 5). Mr. Mezga seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 7:52 p.m.


Action Items


  1. A board meeting presentation will be scheduled regarding development of the Critical Decision 2 package for Integrated Facility Disposition Program work in FYs 2012–17. Carryover from May 13, 2009.
  2. Ms. Wilkerson will get the start and completion date for work in the Biology Complex
    at Y-12.
  3. Mr. Adler will rewrite the Fact Sheet for the Explanation of Significant Differences for the Record of Decision for Disposal of Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act Waste of 1980 to be more easily understood by the general public.
  4. Mr. McCracken will provide a report on the evolution of how the DOE EM program developed. Status.  Ms. Halsey provided a draft timeline at this meeting (Attachment 7). However she said the information is incomplete and she will continue research.




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