The regular meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) was called to order at 6:30 PM on October 20, 2011 in Lewiston-Porter Community Center Alumni Room by Joe Gardella, Ph.D.
See sign in sheet
The agenda was unanimously approved as distributed.
The minutes of the previous meeting were not distributed.
Introductory remarks were made by Doug Sarno, Facilitator US Army Corps of Engineers (US ACE), Co-Chair CAC, and Dr. Joe Gardella, Co-Chair CAC. The Corps needs a framework of due dates based on results from CAC comments. The question of flexibility of meeting times arose due to cancellation of a previous meeting due to travel and family problems. The question was asked if CAC comments could be delayed for a short time; and apologies were made for the last minute cancellation of the last meeting.
Attendees were introduced: representatives of Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Frontier Publications, US Army Corps of Engineers, RRG, DEC (phone caller), Chemical Waste Management, and interested citizens.
Sarno offered a fact sheet on the September 28 USACE workshop, released early by ACE to elicit comment. Key points were:
1. Fernald cleanup of K-65 (identical to LOOW wastes) and technical details of removal, containment and radon generation; and
2. The universe of disposal options based on waste classifications and potential volumes.
Discussion at the workshop was encouraged on future land use of site after cleanup. Discussion led to possible alternative range; i.e., no action to complete disposal. One idea generated was a “toolbox”. Land use was generally discounted for residential or commercial reuse. Participants desires include industrial reuse, green or open space, or history or legacy use. There was expressed on Sept. 28 a strong desire of participants for no encroachment by adjacent landfills. Values also included the achievability, school protection, cooperation, and no misinformation. The question arose as to how adjacent properties influence impact on the site, water protection and truck traffic issues. Participants did not support a no action scenario, and expressed interest in hi-risk material removal. Also listed of concern was the risk to human health and construction impacts upon removal activities. Cost became a much discussed issue.
Those present questioned the current use of the Fernald site, and Sarno reported that Fernald, Ohio, has some on-site disposal areas (15-20%), 800 acres of natural resources, and an environmental education program under the US DOE Legacy program.
Options for reuse of the LOOW NFSS and adjacent areas were discussed. Comments focused on the containment center being on a highly industrialized site per historical perspective, a brownfield. Contamination exists in a “slash in the ground”. Chemical contamination is on the buffer zone that currently is an unrestricted area for trespass. It was suggested that contaminants be covered in the next public meeting.
Sarno reiterated that the Feasibility Study covers only the NFSS, but it is legitimate to talk of adjacent properties, and of congruent impacts. Gardella stated that the charge agreed upon is that we deal with issues on vicinity properties; but know the ACE priority is NFSS. We still can gather questions and suggestions on further land use. An example of Occidental Company property was raised. Sarno suggested holding it till later in the agenda.
A presentation was given by PowerPoint projection of the work of the Radiation Committee for comment. The presentation was done by Dr. Bill Boeck. Boeck received one comment on his draft sent to the committee. That noted that the Bechtel map to be shown has plugs, and that Building 434 was the tower. Boeck discussed Mining, Slurry, Solidification, and Radon Exposures. (attached)
After the presentation, questions were elicited about any metallic objects buried under the IWCS. Magnetic surveys were done but rebar in the buried building supports prevented a good look. There may be drums, as well as debris. It is known there is equipment buried north of Building 411; e. g., a mining pump, piping and concrete rubble.
The question arose whether Boeck was advocating extracting radioactive material from the residue buried. Boeck said the radium was too hot to handle, according to Canadian authorities. There is the possibility of going after the radium with barium sulfate leading to a fine precipitate (slime) with separation to allow lower level of transportation by volume, or use low level waste as shielding. US ACE is factoring this possibility into the Feasibility Study.
Speculation ensued about the possibility of further adding contaminants to top of pile. US ACE does not envision making the cell bigger. At Fernald a large amount of on-site material and equipment, including buildings demolished, were put in layers (with soil for stability). Vitrification was discussed. US ACE will consider in the Feasibility Study due late spring, 2012, with comment part of the public process. The need for radioactive material for military use was discussed; e.g., cleanup of depleted uranium after wars. Could such waste be dispatched to Lewiston? US ACE said unlikely as depleted uranium is cleaned up the Armed Services, goes into the country where found, goes to a licensed facility for nuclear materials and there is no such facility in New York State. NFSS is not a licensed disposal facility. However, concerns were expressed that such facilities may be strained and were likely to need increase for radioactive materials. It was explained that the Department of Energy (DOE) has such responsibilities to quantify such waste and take ownership. DOE knows the waste streams and there should be few unknown sources.
Dr. Boeck was thanked for his presentation. Dr. Gardella stated that Boeck’s proposals are motions to be endorsed by CAC with individual comments on strengths and weaknesses of the proposals. Our responsibility is to bring forth comments from public meetings. Gardella charged Niagara Frontier Publications to ask the community for comments on the technical memorandum prior to the October 28th public meeting. The process may be to use Gardella’s secretarial support for one document to put on the Niagara Frontier Publications website as the paper has just gone to press.
Another public concern heard outside the meetings was the possibility of leaving the waste alone and undisturbed. Gardella and the CAC have had no such input. US ACE must consider this possibility as an alternative in the Feasibility Study. Alternatives development is a later step. Now is the time to provide information about the process, risk benefits and costs. The no action alternative is still on the table.
Concerns were raised about high local cancer rates; countered by a comment that such conclusions were incorrect. Lewiston-Porter reps concerned about the fast process now requested the process and steps be outlined with endings so that information can be analyzed. Gardella proposed finalizing by the October 28th meeting, without value judgment, and in a standard format for publication in the Sentinel for comments. Sarno states that this group will establish a website and that the URL is LOOWCAC.org. This is supported through his facilitation contract with USACE. The site is not up now. The proposed toolbox will be fodder for the website.
The toolbox was discussed with the agenda (attached).
1. Color coded maps? USACE states that such maps tend to be buried inside reports.
2. Link to Community LOOW Project through Niagara County Health Department which is web based. It can be queried by the public re: chemical and other contamination. It is up under Ecology & Environment and is difficult to navigate. Crashes may be lessened by more traffic usage. Navigation is benefited by GIS expertise. We need to help people find and use materials and links on the website, with context; provide a collection of print documents organized in the Lewiston Library with a Toolbox format; and link on Niagara Frontier Publications website. An Administrative Table of Contents exists, and we can share the disk with the library. Suggestions were made to add the regulatory framework to the toolbox. Sarno states that ARARs are coming soon and we can give an overview and a link to them. A suggestion stated that each topic should have a link to more detail. Sarno states there should be hard copy and an online shadow version.
Dr. Gardella felt that we should form an unelected steering committee under the name Executive Committee. Co-Chairs should serve, and Terry Duffy, Dr. Bill Boeck, Keith Fox and Nona McQuay offered to serve. A request was made to find more stakeholders, and Sarno offered outreach to same.
Meeting dates were set based on the next set technical memo from US ACE on radon exposure and meteorological concerns, due late November. A November 30th public workshop will focus on wastewater treatment plant, Occidental and sampling. Therefore, CAC will meet at the following times at 6:30 PM at Lewiston-Porter Community Center Alumni Room:
Wednesday, December 7, 2011, with focus on toolbox and website;
Wednesday, January 11, 2012,
Wednesday, February 1, 2012, and first Wednesday of month thereafter.
Executive Committee will meet by phone with UB Conference Call capability. UB will call participants with voice-over IP.
Announcement of future meetings with be through Niagara Frontier Publications website for public outreach. Dr. Boeck’s presentation will be on the website with US ACE public meetings and CAC meetings. Information will be forwarded to Nancy Fischer of The Buffalo News Niagara Bureau. Keith Fox will contact The Niagara Gazette reporter. US ACE will put fact sheets for new memoranda on website.
Concerns were raised about issues of transparency and the loss of Mr. Jim Rauch’s email from a listserv. His name has been returned and his criticism of Fernald cleanup noted. The lack of independent technical support was again discussed, and suggested made available for radon technical memo.
Fundraising was suggested as follows;
Create a 501C-3 organization.
Use funding from Larkin Funds, UB
Use funding from Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, Western NY Environmental Alliance
Use funding and help from Community LOOW Project
Sarno suggested we ask which areas to prioritize and what sources to study next.
A further request was made to ask US ACE for valid environmental data about the lower water bearing zone. US ACE will see about posting on the Corps website. Pipelines have not been investigated yet.
Meeting was adjourned at 9 PM by Dr. Gardella. The next general meeting will be at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, December 7, 2011, in Lew-Port Comm Ctr Alumni Room..
Minutes submitted by: Nona McQuay, Secretary