Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved September 8, 2010 Meeting Minutes

 

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m.

 

Members Present

Darryl Bonner

Brianna Goodlin1

Bob Hatcher

Betty Jones

Ed Juarez, Secretary

Ted Lundy

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Josh Monroe1

Ron Murphree, Chair

Bob Olson

Maggie Owen

Sondra Sarten

 

Members Absent

John Coffman

Steve Dixon

Charles Jensen2

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt, Vice-chair

 

1Student Representative

2Second consecutive absence

 

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

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

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

Daniel Axelrod

Spencer Gross, MCH, Corp.

Norman Mulvenon, LOC, League of Women Voters

Pete Osborne, IIA

Lorene Sigal

Lynn Sims, Bechtel Jacobs, Co.

 

Nine members of the public were present.

 

Liaison Comments

John Eschenberg – Mr. Eschenberg reported that DOE, EPA, and TDEC were unable to resolve an informal dispute regarding excess material removal from the K-27 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). The issue has been elevated to the Senior Executive Committee composed of Gerald Boyd, DOE Oak Ridge Manager, Stan Meiburg, EPA Acting Regional Administrator, and Paul Sloan, TDEC. Mr. Eschenberg said the three parties are motivated to resolve the issue.

 

Mr. Eschenberg said DOE, EPA, and TDEC as parties of the Federal Facility Agreement agreed to work jointly to identify cleanup priorities and how that affects budget on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR).

 

Mr. Eschenberg said the three parties are looking into instituting a ‘six sigma’ improvement process to streamline the waste acceptance criteria attainment procedure. The current procedure can take up to 10 months to characterize materials from building demolition for disposal. He said the six sigma process is a widely used industry standard that he hopes will significantly reduce the time necessary for the characterization process.

 

Work will begin within the next few weeks to remove transite panels from the K-33 Building at ETTP. Mr. Eschenberg said work to demolish the building should begin by the end of the year. He said the schedule is to have the building razed by January 2012 and will include removal of the slab if the project is managed efficiently and on schedule.

 

Mr. Eschenberg said work to bolster the western side of White Oak Dam should begin in a couple of weeks. He said the project is about two month behind schedule.

 

Regarding the protest of the contract awarded to remove hot cells from the 3026 Building demolition project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Mr. Eschenberg said SEC Corp. had been awarded the contract valued at about $51 million. Another company protested the awarding. He said the General Accounting Office will rule on the protest September 27.

 

Mr. Eschenberg said proposals for the new prime cleanup contract for the ORR are due
September 21.

 

Dave Adler – Mr. Adler showed some photographs of work underway on the ORR (Attachment 1) including work at Tank W-1A,  Solid Waste Storage Area 3, and 3026 Hot Cells at ORNL, and the West End Mercury Area at Y-12 National Security Complex.

 

Mr. Adler said he had received a report on suggested historic preservation measures for ETTP and other areas on the ORR. He said he will circulate the report among pertinent DOE personnel and then to the public for comment. Mr. Adler explained that two different studies are underway on preserving the North Tower of the K-25 Building at ETTP. One is an engineering study to determine the feasibility of preserving the North Tower or a portion of it. A second study is to determine the economic feasibility of having something commemorating the work that had been done at K-25, either by preserving a portion of the building or having an interpretive center on site.

 

Mr. Olson asked if anything is being done to mitigate continued deterioration of the remaining North Tower. Mr. Adler said deterioration of the building during the short time frame before a decision is made about its fate will be relatively insignificant. Steps have been taken to prevent a structural collapse of the building, primarily to ensure the safety of workers.

 

Mr. Bonner asked if the studies being done concerning the North Tower will include any suggested milestones for preserving or demolishing the building. Mr. Adler said DOE will take the information and make decisions based on the reports. He said DOE should be able to make a decision on the future of the North Tower within the next 12 months.

 

Mr. Adler commented the status of recent ORSSAB recommendations.

Recommendation 190: "Bridge" Memorandum of Agreement for Site Interpretation of East Tennessee Technology Park on the Oak Ridge Reservation – DOE has not yet formally responded to this recommendation. Mr. Adler said a response is forthcoming that addresses the main points of the board’s recommendation. One point the board questioned was why the North Tower of the K-25 Building at ETTP isn’t being torn down. Mr. Adler said DOE has delayed making a decision on tearing down the tower at the request of the state, plus it wants to get reports of work by structural engineers on the practicality of retaining the North Tower before making a decision. He said DOE has also addressed points made by the National Historic Trust on preserving the North Tower.


Recommendation 191: Recommendation Regarding the Request for Proposals for the East Tennessee Technology Park – Mr. Adler said DOE’s response was that comments on the proposal for a new cleanup contractor had to be dealt with through the mechanism of the procurement process.

 

Recommendation 192: Recommendations and Comments on the Draft 2010 Remediation Effectiveness Report – DOE’s response was that basically it was accepting ORSSAB’s recommendations and comments on the report.

 

Recommendation 193: Agenda Topics for the Long-term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference in Grand Junction, Colo., November 2010 – Designated Federal Officer Cate Brennan accepted all the suggestions the board made regarding the agenda for the conference. She indicated she would provide those suggestions to the Office of Legacy Management, which is sponsoring the conference.

 

Connie Jones – Ms. Jones announced that Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming has been named EPA regional administrator. She is the former district attorney for DeKalb County, Georgia. Ms. Jones said she is expected to continue to work with Stan Meiburg, who has been the acting administrator, to make decisions, with her input, on work with which he has been involved.

 

Mr. Murphree asked Ms. Jones to comment on a letter from EPA’s Carl Froede regarding storage of demolition materials from the 3026 Project in Melton Valley. Ms. Jones said DOE had requested temporary storage of material prior to disposal for 120 days. That deadline has since passed and EPA has directed DOE to dispose of the material or return it to the demolition site.

 

Mr. Adler said the temporarily stored material came from two projects – the 3026 Project and the 2000 Complex demolition project. The 2000 Complex material has been disposed. He said the remaining boxes will be removed within the next couple of weeks.

 

John Owsley – Mr. Owsley reiterated Mr. Eschenberg’s comments saying that DOE and TDEC are in dispute over several issues, but that TDEC remains committed and optimistic that the issues can be resolved. Mr. Murphree asked if there was an anticipated schedule of new milestones related to the disputes. Mr. Owsley said he was hesitant to discuss any anticipated milestones, but he said all disputes would be resolved simultaneously. He said he was encouraged that DOE was going to provide a budget and prioritization presentation at the October ORSSAB meeting. He felt there would be consensus among DOE, EPA, and TDEC on prioritization by that time.

 

Public Comment

Mr. Axelrod, commenting on the evening’s presentation on stewardship, asked why the public should be concerned with stewardship. He said one reason was cost, estimated at $20 million a year. Carried over 300 years the un-escalated cost would be $6 billion, more than the cost to clean up the reservation. The other issue of concern is what could go wrong with stewardship implementation and what can be done about it. He felt this evening’s presentation would not adequately address cost and damage mitigation actions. He said after 13 years and $6 billion spent on cleanup of the ORR he recommended that DOE develop a full report on stewardship. He said the report should include information on cost and risk assessment/damage mitigation actions. Mr. Axelrod provided a copy of his comments (Attachment 2).

 

Mr. Mulvenon cautioned the board not to be too encouraged over what is presented at this meeting regarding stewardship because ‘things change a lot.’ Over the next 30 years there could be changes in remedies that could be used to readdress work that has already been completed. There will also be changes in leadership. He said while plans for stewardship must be made it’s difficult to speculate on what may happen in the future.

 

Presentation

Mr. Adler’s presentation was Stewardship on the ORR. The main points of his presentation are in Attachment 3.

 

Mr. Adler said the presentation was in response to last month’s discussion on stewardship where concerns were raised about the adequacy of stewardship on the ORR. He said DOE wanted to show what it is doing now on the reservation related to stewardship and what it plans to do over the next 30 years.

 

He began with DOE’s definition of stewardship (Attachment 3, page 2). He explained that stewardship is needed because not all contamination will be removed from all areas of the reservation. Contamination left in place will be controlled through a combination of institutional and engineering controls. Thus far more than 50 sites on the ORR require stewardship efforts.

 

The objective of stewardship is to put controls in place to protect receptors from harm. Mr. Adler said controls are spelled out in legally enforceable documents.

 

Mr. Adler showed a number of photographs of examples of engineering controls that are the remedies to ensure contamination is contained in place (Attachment 3, page 4). He said engineered controls are inspected regularly to make sure they remain effective. He also showed photographs of land use controls (Attachment 3, page 5) to keep human receptors away from remediated contamination sites.

 

DOE’s obligation to stewardship is noted on page 6 of Attachment 3. Currently about $19 million per year is budgeted for stewardship. There about 50 full-time equivalent employees involved with stewardship on the ORR. Stewardship requirements spelled out in decision documents are re-evaluated for effectiveness every five years. When EM completes its mission of cleanup on the ORR, stewardship activities will become the responsibility of the DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Mr. Adler said the challenge will be to keep people, money, and resources focused on stewardship for decades. He said it would be ideal if a trust fund could be created to ensure funding for stewardship into the future, but with limited exceptions the federal government does not set up trust funds for such activities.

 

In addition to keeping receptors away from contamination sites, the site boundaries are monitored to make sure contamination is not migrating from remediated sites. Results of monitoring activities are published annually in the Remediation Effectiveness Report and every five years in the Five-year Review. Mr. Adler showed photographs of monitoring efforts (Attachment 3, page 8).

 

Stewardship is not done alone. It includes components of federal, state, and county authorities and citizens. However, the ultimate responsibility of stewardship falls on the federal government (Attachment 3, page 9). A listing of stewardship efforts are noted on page 10 of Attachment 3. Mr. Adler said the public is the first and last line of defense to ensure stewardship efforts are in place and working. The public can do that by participating in the stewardship reviews and reading documents that spell out stewardship requirements.

 

The tracking of stewardship efforts is a formal process (Attachment 3, page 11). The process includes understanding all of the stewardship requirements and then documenting that the requirements are being met and if not what corrective actions are being taken. Controls are tracked monthly, quarterly, or annually depending on what they are. Stewardship requirements and the status of those requirements are published annually in the Remediation Effectiveness Report. Mr. Adler showed an example of a stewardship tracking page in the report (Attachment 3, page 14).

 

A way of managing all the data related to stewardship is in the Oak Ridge Environmental Information System (OREIS). The system includes all areas of contamination, all of the restrictions, and all of the monitoring points. The system is available to anyone (http://www-oreis.bechteljacobs.org/oreis/help/oreishome.html).

 

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

 

Mr. Juarez – What is the frequency of updating the tracking sheets you mentioned? Ms. Sims – Stewardship activities are tracked on a daily basis. As soon as a document is produced that includes stewardship elements, it is placed on the tracking sheet.

 

Ms. Sigal – You mentioned that select activities are already a part of the Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration stewardship responsibilities. What activities are you talking about? Mr. Adler – It’s limited but there are a few treatment systems that are part of remedies that were put in place, for instance the Big Springs Water Treatment Plant at Y-12 National Security Complex. As we move out of areas it’s likely we’ll see more of that. But right now 99 percent of stewardship is maintained by EM. Ms. SigalDo you sense any understanding of what the future holds for these agencies with regard to stewardship? Mr. Adler – I think they are happy to have someone else be responsible for stewardship, but as EM finishes its work they will be responsible for stewardship. It probably doesn’t make sense to have another agency come in and be responsible for stewardship. However, there are some small sites where that has happened. But for a large reservation it probably makes sense to couple stewardship with the mission of the landlord, but for Oak Ridge that is decades away. Ms. Sigal – Do you have any sense for what is going on at DOE Headquarters regarding budgeting for stewardship at ongoing mission sites like the ORR? Mr. Adler – We regard stewardship costs as part of minimum safe operations. They are the first things to get funded and the last things to get cut. If you want to talk to someone at headquarters about stewardship in Oak Ridge the contact there is Fred Butterfield.

 

Mr. Bonner – I’d like to hear the state’s and EPA’s position on land use control implementation plans. Mr. Owsley – Land use controls will be defined in an implantation plan that will be an enforceable document. The state would enforce those controls if DOE fails to implement them. Ms. C. Jones – I echo Mr. Owsley’s comments. Each of the records of decision (RODs) at ETTP and the other sites the land use control issues are defined. They are defined generically because the activities of cleanup have to have some aspects of control that limit exposure. When you get to the final RODs at ETTP that’s where you have the land use controls. The final RODs will be specific as to the types of land use controls, and the RODs are enforceable documents.

 

Mr. Hatcher – Regarding the database system, what is the percentage of information in the system that is complete and also when will it go live so people can access it? Ms. Halsey – We have started using a system that is already in place through the emergency preparedness organization. We already had the basis of the geographic information system formulated. The current activities underway are to better define what the boundaries of the National Priorities List are. A large percentage of the reservation is not contaminated. The hope is to use the system to better define where the contaminated areas are. What we are working on now are the links to the documents. The system will also provide information like the acreage of the caps on contamination areas, the contaminants that are contained, what the land use controls are, and what the engineering and monitoring requirements are. I hope to have the first maps available by the end of September to go to the federal project managers for review to replace the current site boundary map that is in Appendix B of the FFA. Hopefully we can go live at that time.

 

Mr. Axelrod – You cite $19 million a year with about 50 full-time equivalents. About what are the principle components of the $19 million? Mr. Adler – I’ll have to research that and get back to you. We’re doing an analysis of that now. Mr. Axelrod – What is the expectation that that cost might be reduced? Mr. Adler – If these remedies show increasing effectiveness over time it’s conceivable we might be able to reduce some of the monitoring requirements. But the physical containment measures aren’t going to change unless we come up with a better kind of cap or a more durable grass. Those costs are going to be fixed. So I don’t see a big opportunity for cost reduction. We’re always looking for ways to reduce costs through automation and new technology. But a lot of this is straightforward activity that will have to be done.

 

Mr. Axelrod – What are the primary things you are concerned about if things go wrong? Mr. Adler – The things we are trying to prevent is contamination in a controlled area escaping from those areas or preventing some human intrusion into those controlled areas. We have monitoring systems that should prevent that. If there is a release these monitoring systems should tell us that long before the magnitude of release approaches anything that could be harmful. The primary contaminants we see in groundwater are volatile organic compounds and not radionuclides. Generally the groundwater in this area leads to a surface water body.

 

Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Juarez said the committee did not meet in August. He said, however, the board’s finances were in good shape and the board will end the year with an excess. He credited Ms. Halsey with helping the board manage its finances.

 

Ms. Owen reported on the ORSSAB annual retreat. She noted a summary of the retreat was available and asked the board members to review it (Attachment 4). She said overall the retreat went well. She noted that evaluations on the retreat were positive. Facilitator Lori Isenberg said the group worked well together, but she felt the meeting was somewhat rushed. Ms. Isenberg suggested continuing the seating of student members on the board. She also suggested continued recruitment of public members to board committees, with the potential of eventually becoming board members. Ms. Isenberg also suggested that the committees set goals to accomplish during the year based on topics that were identified at the annual retreat. The goals and how to achieve them would determine the number of committee meetings for the year.

 

EM – Mr. Olson reported the committee did not meet in August because the main presenter for the topic of the Transuranic Waste Processing Center was not available. That topic has been rescheduled for the September meeting. The committee will begin developing its FY 2011 work plan and elect committee officers for the coming fiscal year.

 

Public Outreach – Ms. Owen said at the August meeting the committee discussed how to inform the public about what ORSSAB is and what it does. The committee discussed using other media such as social networking to help educate the public about ORSSAB. The committee discussed upcoming opportunities for public outreach including the East Tennessee Environmental Business Association conference in November and having an entry in the Oak Ridge Christmas parade. Ms. Owen said some of the committee members will be meeting Friday, September 10 with Stan Mitchell, the publisher of the Oak Ridge Observer. She reported that a new issue of the Advocate newsletter will be published at the end of the month.

 

Stewardship – Mr. Bonner said the committee at its August meeting reviewed the DOE responses to two ORSSAB recommendations that originated in the committee: Recommendation: 188: Recommendations and Comments on the Long-Term Stewardship Implementation Plan and

Recommendation 193: Agenda Topics for the Long-term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference in Grand Junction, Colo., November 2010. It determined the responses to both recommendations were adequate.

 

The committee also discussed the possible use of social networking to educate the public about stewardship. Mr. Bonner said the committee reviewed comments EPA had made regarding DOE’s Public Involvement Plan.

 

Mr. Bonner said the committee will begin work on its FY 2011 work plan and elect committee officers at its September meeting.

 

Executive – Mr. Murphree reported the committee did not meet in August. He presented the list of top issues for ORSSAB that will be presented at the Fall EM SSAB Chairs’ meeting September 16 in Santa Fe, N.M. (Attachment 5).

 

Mr. Murphree asked members to look at the list of upcoming meetings on the travel schedule in the meeting packets. He encouraged members to try to attend some of the meetings if their schedules allow.

 

Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be “DOE-Oak Ridge Budget and Prioritization.”

 

The minutes of the July 14, 2010, meeting were approved.

 

The board heard the second reading of the revision to the ORSSAB Bylaws Operating Instructions for Calling Special Public Meetings (Attachment 6). The board approved the amendment.

 

Mr. Murphree reviewed the process for developing committee and board work plans for FY 2011 (Attachment 7). He reminded the board that primary issues were identified and ranked at the August annual retreat. Those topics were also identified to be addressed by certain committees. The committees will develop their initial work plans at their September meetings. Those work plans will be submitted to the Executive Committee for review. The Executive Committee may suggest revisions of the committee work plans. The work plans will be returned to the committees to finalize at their October meetings. The final work plans will be compiled into an overall board work plan at the end of October. Mr. Murphree said the committees are to set goals for each of the issues it will follow and determine objectives for reaching that goal. The goal could simply be an informational

 

presentation or presentations on a topic, or the goal could be recommendations or comments to DOE on an issue.

 

The minutes of the August 31 Public Outreach Committee meeting were distributed (Attachment 8).

 

A chart of committee rosters as of September 8 was distributed (Attachment 9). The chart could have additional changes after the election of committee officers at September committee meetings.

 

The board elected a slate of officers for FY 2011. The slate included Mr. Murphree, chair; Mr. Westervelt, vice-chair; and Mr. Juarez, secretary.

 

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey referenced the Abbreviated Quarterly Project Report that was in the meeting packet. She noted that the milestone for the Remedial Action Report for the Zone 1 ROD for ETTP had been missed in August. The reason, she said, was the need for additional remediation in the Duct Bank area of ETTP. She said some changes will have to be made to the ROD to include the remediation of the Duct Banks. She also noted there will likely be a focused feasibility study for the final ROD for Zone 1 at ETTP.

 

She asked members to review the report related to the closure of the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator and the Transuranic Waste Processing Center. Mr. Murphree asked if the center will make its milestones. Ms. Halsey said the center will not achieve its milestones for the fiscal year. Mr. Adler said a milestone modification request has been made to delay the milestone. He was said he would check to see how a long a delay has been requested.

 

Ms. Halsey said the report is a valuable tool to use in the prioritization of issues for the board and DOE to consider.

 

Ms. Halsey reported on the policy of travel for non-board members who serve on committees. She said Cate Brennan, the EM SSAB Designated Federal Officer, informed her and Mr. Adler that approval for non-members to attend conferences at DOE sites would have to come from the DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management Inés Triay. Approval for non-members to attend conferences that are not held at DOE sites would have to come from the DOE undersecretary. She said such approvals would make it very difficult for non-members to get approval for travel to any meetings. Ms. Halsey encouraged the new board members who have joined the Stewardship Committee to consider going to the Long-term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference in Colorado in November.

 

Additions to the Agenda

None


Motions

9/8/10.1

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

 

9/8/10.2

Mr. Juarez moved to approve the minutes of the July 14, 2010, meeting. Mr. Mead seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

9/8/10.3

Mr. Mead moved to approve the slate of candidates for officers for FY 2011. Mr. Bonner seconded and the motion passed with 11 members voting ‘yea’ to accept the slate of candidates. Mr. Juarez and Mr. Murphree did not vote.

9/8/10.4

Mr. Mead moved to approve the amendment to the ORSSAB Operating Instructions to Incorporate the Procedure for Specially Called Public Meetings (Attachment 6). Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

Action Items

Open

1.   Mr. Adler will determine the components of the $19 million a year dedicated to stewardship on the Oak Ridge Reservation.

2.   Mr. Adler will check to see how long a delay has been requested to meet the milestone for the Transuranic Waste Processing Center.

 

Closed

1.   Mr. Adler will determine the cost to remediate the ponds at ETTP and the projected annual LTS costs. Closed. Sid Garland, Bechtel Jacobs, Inc., provided the following information on August 31, 2010: Project costs through January 2010 were $2.73 million. Estimated to-go costs for the remainder of fiscal year 2010 are $694,000.  The to-go costs will cover the completion of the on-going and planned restocking, a second year of pond planting (if necessary), riparian buffer zone and wildlife management activities, and the first year of operational monitoring. Cost estimates for the second year of operational monitoring and future performance monitoring will be determined at a later date since these costs will be driven largely by the relative success of the work completed to date, as gauged by results from the operational monitoring.

2.    Mr. Eschenberg’s staff will present a program to the board on stewardship activities on the ORR at the September meeting. Closed. The presentation was made at this meeting.

 

Attachments (9) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.