Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options

Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Public Health Assessment Work Group

Public Health Assessment Work Group

May 19, 2003 - Meeting Minutes


ORRHES Members attending:

Bob Craig (Work Group Chair), Don Box, David Johnson, James Lewis, Tony Malinauskas, and Pete Malmquist

Public Members attending:

Gordon Blaylock, Timothy Joseph, and Danny Sanders

ATSDR Staff attending:

Karl Markiewicz, Jack Hanley (telephone), Lorine Spencer (telephone), Bill Taylor, Melissa Fish

ERG Contractor:

Michelle Arobogast


Bob Craig called the PHAWG meeting to order and attendance was noted for the record.

The purpose of the meeting was to preview a presentation that Karl Markiewicz will present at the June 3, 2003 ORRHES meeting and talk about new business. The presentation will discuss the Chemical Screening of Current and Future Exposures as they relate to (1) Ground Water and Surface Water Pathways and (2) the Scarboro Community.

Meeting Minutes

There were two sets of meeting minutes to review: the April 21, 2003 PHAWG minutes and the May 5, 2003 PHAWG minutes.

Comments Regarding the April 21, 2003 minutes:

Owen Hoffman has submitted his comments and those comments will be forwarded to ERG for corrections to the minutes.

Comments Regarding the May 5, 2003 minutes:

Gordon Blaylock spoke of specific corrections that needed to be made which included the following:

  • Page 33, the fourth paragraph, the fourth line down contains an incorrect statement. The text that reads: "until 1960, when White Oak Dam was flooded" is incorrect because White Oak Dam was flooded in 1943. [Referring to statements made by Paul Charp.]
  • Page 33, the fourth paragraph, the seventh line down contains text that is out of context. In the text that reads: "Dr. Charp discussed the settling basin part of the figure," the words "settling basin" are out of context in this place and "settling basin" should not be referred to until later on. [Referring to statements made by Paul Charp.]
  • Page 34, the fourth paragraph, the sixth line down contains an incorrect statement. The text that reads: "measurements conducted by SENES followed" is incorrect because SENES did not conduct any measurements. [Referring to statements made by Paul Charp.]
  • Page 47, the last paragraph, the last line contains an incorrect statement. The text that reads: "that SENES measured and estimated" is incorrect because SENES did not measure anything, they estimated.
  • Page 48, the second paragraph, the eighth line down contains incorrect information. The text that reads as "He knew there were high concentrations in the creek going up to 2,500 pCi/g (rough estimate) for cesium." Should read as "He knew there were high concentrations in the creek going up to 40,000 pCi/g (rough estimate) for cesium."

Gordon Blaylock submitted a marked copy of the draft May 5th PHAWG meeting minutes to Melissa Fish which contained the corrections he had presented above as well as some minor additions. The additions include the following three bullets, none of which were presented orally or discussed in the meeting:

  • Page 34, first full paragraph. In addition to no swimming in the water and no irrigation from White Oak Creek, the same is true for the Clinch River.
  • Page 35, first full paragraph. Releases to White Oak Creek were from WOD (White Oak Dam).
  • Page 35, fourth paragraph. The reference to people in Jones Island should be people in "the area of" Jones Island

Bob Craig and Timothy Joseph said that the previous meeting Minutes need to remain as stated. However, because the meeting Minutes are often referred to and referenced it is important that they accurately reflect what was said and are factually accurate. Thus, it was decided that statements that were made at the meeting should remain in the minutes and corrections made which address the accuracy of the statements would be entered next to the original minutes in parentheses.

Action Items Regarding the Minutes

  • Comments submitted by Owen Hoffman by email to Jack Hanley and Bob Craig regarding the April 21st Meeting Minutes need to be incorporated. Jack will forward the comments to ERG so that they can be incorporated. .
  • (Note included after the May 19th PHAWG Meeting: ERG will review Owen Hoffman's email submission and make corrections to the April 21st Meeting Minutes based on what was said during that meeting. Additions and subtractions to the April 21st Meeting Minutes in Mr. Hoffman's email will be highlighted and distributed to the PHAWG members for further consideration.)

  • Comments made about Paul Charp's presentation need to get back to Paul so that he has the opportunity to make necessary changes.
  • (Note included after the May 19th PHAWG Meeting: Gordon's recommended changes to the May 5th Meeting Minutes will be given to Paul Charp for his concurrence. Paul's concurrence or lack of concurrence will be reported at the next PHAWG meeting for the record and for determination of any follow-up actions.)

The PHAWG Meeting Minutes of April 21, 2003 and May 5, 2003 were approved on the condition that the noted changes are made.

James Lewis expressed "serious concern" over the issue of Meeting Minutes. The history of PHAWG Minutes has had many ups and downs and people have challenged the Minutes. Thus, it is imperative that Meeting Minutes are of the highest quality. The detail of Minutes is extremely important. Currently, the Meeting Minutes that are being produced are of high quality. It is too bad that ATSDR does knee jerk reactions. ATSDR should reevaluate the decision to shift from the Minutes being taken by ERG to Minutes being taken by Melissa Fish in the Field Office. It is important that too much work is not placed on certain people.

Presentation and Discussion Regarding Chemical Screening of Current and Future Exposures by Karl Markiewicz

Karl Markiewicz began by reminding the group that today's presentation would be a continuation of the Soil and Sediment presentation that was given previously. Today's presentation would be about Ground Water and Surface Water.

Bob Craig noted that the topic of Surface Water was due today and the topic of Ground Water is not scheduled until August 17th. Karl Markiewicz is combining the topics.

Karl Markiewicz informed the group that his presentation in front of the ORRHES will be on Microsoft PowerPoint rather than the slides that it is currently on. The first slide of the presentation will be the ATSDR Screening Process diagram/figure that was previously approved. He will follow the same basic procedure as he did with the Soil and Sediment presentation last time at the ORRHES meeting. However, he feels that there might not be a need to show sample location maps and maps of chemicals above comparison values (CVs) for every chemical that is screened in, like he did at the last ORRHES meeting. Perhaps there is not a need for that type of redundancy. Thus, it may be helpful to cut the presentation down from five chemicals to two or three chemicals and use the rest of the time for questions.

Groundwater Screening Summary Statistics Handout

Karl pointed out that all of the tables in this handout (14 pages) will not be in his PowerPoint presentation but he will have them in the handout at the ORRHES meeting on June 3, 2003.

Karl clarified that CV refers to Comparison Value and that the group had previously discussed the rationale for not including chemicals if they were below 10%.

After looking through the handout Bob Craig asked whether Exposure Dose means exposure to surface water and ground water contact through actual ingestion. Karl responded, "yes." Bob also commented that many of the doses seem to exceed the guidelines. Karl said that he is using the 67th percentile (one standard deviation above the mean sample concentration), which may be above the maximum concentration detected in some cases. (Note: Karl Markiewicz clarified that the sentence should read as:  Also, the calculation assumes that people drink two liters of water per day from groundwater and 0.5 liters from surface water.) Also, the calculation assumes that people drink two liters of water per day from the surface water or groundwater. He then explained that when he considers the Public Health implications, he would be able to look at the data and say for example, that our high samples were all in a certain area and water from residential groundwater wells may or may not be used. One can look at this and do more of a spatial analysis. This is just another part of the screening process.

Tony Malinauskas expressed concern that the same substances are in both the Estimated Noncancer and Estimated Cancer tables. Gordon Blaylock thought that it was misleading to have the same substances in both tables. Tony Malinauskas agreed and noted that aluminum was in both tables. Tony believes that a substance should be in either one table or the other but not in both. Karl Markiewicz reminded the group that some chemicals have both carcinogenic and noncarcinogenc effects. Gordon Blaylock's concern is that if a substance is not a carcinogen it should not be in the table as having a dose because it is confusing. You cannot calculate a cancer dose if it does not produce cancer. Karl Markiewicz explained that exposure dose is the calculated exposure to the compound. It was pointed out that the issue is that if the substance is not a carcinogen, it should not be in the table.

It was decided by the group and Bob Craig clarified that the substance name should be left in the column but there should not be any dose included. The entire row should contain an asterisk and a footnote saying noncancerous, or saying not applicable (NA) so that a dose is not implied. Karl Markiewicz agreed that the dose would not be calculated for any substance that is not a carcinogen.

Groundwater Sample Maps (11 total slides)

Karl Markiewicz pointed out that at the June 3, 2003 ORRHES meeting these eleven slides will be available but he will likely not go through this level of detail. He believes that people will ask for more detail if they are interested. In those cases Karl will provide that information.

As the slides were being discussed Karl expressed his thoughts about the importance of having a comfort level in the room that relates to the compounds that people have an issue with. However, Karl does not believe that he will need to go through all five contaminants of concern to achieve the desired public comfort level. Karl reminded the group that after one map they all follow the same pattern and that the only changes are the title of the map and the location of the dots. He believes that showing the Contaminants of Concern will focus people on the process and set the stage for Scarboro. Bob Craig agrees that people will ask for more detail if they want it. Karl suggested that perhaps only one or two contaminants will need to be discussed in detail. He suggests that arsenic, mercury, or TCE be used if the decision is made to not discuss all five contaminants.

Antimony Groundwater Samples All Locations Slide

James Lewis noted that there were two dots located outside of the study area. Karl Markiewicz responded that he will go back to the data to see where the two dots came from and what study they came from. Karl also pointed out that the two dots are both below the screening value.

Antimony Groundwater Samples Locations >4 ppb Slide

Arsenic Groundwater Samples All Locations Slide

Karl Markiewicz believes that this slide would serve as a good example at the ORRHES meeting because arsenic can be found almost everywhere and there are low comparison values.

Gordon Blaylock noticed that there was nothing in the map at the Kingston Steam Plant and he said that this area would certainly have arsenic at high levels. Bob Craig said that he thought the TVA data were not in the compendium of data that the ORRHES approved for Karl's use. Karl said he didn't think they were.

Gordon made the point that Karl was not trying to relate the data to any facility, but just to look at exposures for public health. Karl Markiewicz responded that he was not trying to differentiate where the contamination came from but he was centering on data from Oak Ridge. The idea is to focus on public health rather than the source. Thus, he does not try to differentiate where a substance came from but rather the concentrations in the media.

Arsenic Groundwater Samples Locations >0.02 ppb Slide

Karl Markiewicz explained that many of the arsenic groundwater samples are greater than 0.02 ppb because the comparison value is low.

Lead Groundwater Samples All Locations Slide

Lead Groundwater Samples Locations >0.015 ppb Slide

Mercury Groundwater Samples All Locations Slide

Karl Markiewicz clarified that this screening is for Total Mercury. He also pointed out that even if a chemical screens out, it still can be used in the Public Health Implications section if concern is expressed. He went on further to say that the screening level is a conservative number and, if we are below a comparison value or health guideline we can be very comfortable in saying that there is not a public health hazard. If the level is at or above the screening level, then we can say that we need to look at this further and then begin looking at the species, bioavailability, and behavior patterns such as fishing and swimming.

Mercury Groundwater Samples Locations >1 ppb Slide

Trichloroethylene Groundwater Samples All Locations Slide

If the PHAWG decided to limit the number of compounds that are discussed during the ORRHES presentation, Karl Markiewicz believes that trichloroethylene should be one of the few that are discussed because the public has seen or heard about this compound in the community or through the media.

Trichloroethylene Groundwater Samples Locations >0.005 ppb Slide

Thorium Groundwater Samples All Locations Slide

Karl Markiewicz pointed out that there is only one map available for thorium because a screening value has not yet been established.

After reviewing the eleven maps Karl wanted the group's opinion about the number of color map slides that should be presented at the ORRHES meeting. After some discussion, Bob Craig and Tony Malinauskas as well as the rest of the group generally agreed that it would only be necessary to show one map as an example. There was a general consensus that the example that should be used is mercury. Bob Craig thinks that people can ask questions if they want additional examples.

Timothy Joseph was concerned about the clarity of the maps and asked that the map that is going to be used in the ORRHES presentation be more detailed so that the locations of the sampling can be seen. Karl agreed to work on this issue but pointed out that so many samples were taken it is difficult to create a map that does not have dots on top of dots.

Surface Water Screening Summary Statistics Handout

Karl Markiewicz pointed out that this handout follows the same pattern as the Groundwater Screening Summary Statistics handout. He also explained that a Summary slide will be presented to the ORRHES explaining what ATSDR did and the chemicals that were analyzed. The bottom line is which substances are Contaminants of Concern.

After reviewing this handout Tony Malinauskas made the suggestion that the word "Noncaner" in the table titles be replaced with "Chemically Toxic" because the term Noncancer is confusing. Karl Markiewicz responded that typically in documents ATSDR uses the terms Cancer effects and Noncancer effects. However, he will think about the suggestion.

Regarding the tables in the summary statistics handouts, Timothy Joseph wanted clarification on the exact purpose of the tables. After some group discussion, he pointed out that the document should not say toxicity value as one person suggested. From this discussion the group agreed to leave the Estimated Exposure Dose column as it is in the tables but to alter the last column titled, "Does the estimated exposure dose exceed the health guideline?" The last column will be changed to read, "Does the estimated exposure dose exceed the noncancer screening health guideline?" Karl Markiewicz pointed out that he would do the same for both the Noncancer and Cancer Exposure Doses.

Karl Markiewicz was concerned about presenting information on the substances aluminum and iron. He pointed out that because there are clays, levels of these substances are naturally high and he wonders if the general public understands this concept. He asked the group if and where they thought he should explain the reasoning behind the high levels. Timothy Joseph and Bob Craig answered that Karl should verbally explain the high levels.

Gordon Blaylock pointed out that on Page 10 of the Surface Water Screening document there is a column titled Risk. He wanted to know why it contains risk when ATSDR said that it would not use risk. The previous vote came out to not use risk. ATSDR said they would not use risk for radionuclides. Karl Markiewicz's response was that the agency seems to be split 50/50 on this issue. Karl does not have a problem using risk if there is an explanation to how it was calculated (i.e. for chemicals during the screening process). Karl referred to the ATSDR Health Physicists for any additional comments about the use of risk for radionuclides.

Surface Water Sample Maps (11 total slides)

Karl Markiewicz pointed out that the Surface Water Sample Maps would follow the same pattern as the Groundwater Sample Maps.

Antimony Surface Water Samples All Locations Slide

Antimony Surface Water Samples Locations >4 ppb Slide

Arsenic Surface Water Samples All Locations Slide

Arsenic Surface Water Samples Locations >0.02 ppb Slide

Lead Surface Water Samples All Locations Slide

Lead Surface Water Samples Locations >0.015 ppb Slide

Mercury Surface Water Samples All Locations Slide

Mercury Surface Water Samples Locations >1 ppb Slide

Trichloroethylene Surface Water Samples All Locations Slide

Trichloroethylene Surface Water Samples Locations >0.005 ppb Slide

Thorium Surface Water Samples All Locations Slide

Scarboro Issue

Sample Locations in Scarboro Slide

Karl Markiewicz pointed out that this map has different symbols representing different media. Also, he will have summary statistics available to compliment this slide.

Bob Craig asked where the data came from? Karl Markiewicz responded that the data is from DOE, EPA, and 1998 Florida A&M. It was later agreed upon by the group that these three sources needed to be identified on the map.

David Johnson pointed out that some triangles on the map are black and some are blue. He wanted to know what the differences were between the two colored triangles. Karl Markiewicz responded that the blue triangles are a result of the surface water symbol being inside the sediment symbol. James Lewis, Bob Craig, Timothy Joseph, and David Johnson all agreed that the blue drops need to be located on the outside of the triangles.

Timothy Joseph pointed out that co-located samples are not the same samples and that DOE sampling was an independent campaign. Even if two samples are in the same location there must be two dots because the sampling took place at two different times by two different agencies. Because of this issue, James Lewis, Timothy Joseph, and Karl Markiewicz decided that two maps should be created so that the difference in data can be shown.

Scarboro Locations All Chemical Concentrations > Respective Comparison Values Slide

Bob Craig and Karl Markiewicz pointed out that the map mostly consists of arsenic, lead, iron, and a few instances of gamma-chlordane heptachlor epoxide due to the use of pesticides.

Karl Markiewicz would like to include all of the media when this discussion is brought to the ORRHES meeting.

ATSDR Chemical Screening Process for Scarboro Slide

Karl Markiewicz emphasized that the key to this slide is to focus on the center of the chart. At the bottom of the slide are the three chemicals (arsenic, heptachlor epoxide, and iron) that will be put into the Public Health Implications portion of the document.

Bob Craig pointed out that some chemicals are all natural and are not coming from the plants or the Oak Ridge Reservation. Karl Markiewicz understands this but reminded the group that the primary function of the Public Health Assessment is to show public health effects and not the source. He went on to use lead as an example. If lead was found to be very high in drinking water or soil there would still be a need for some type of intervention regardless of the source of the lead. Bob Craig made the remark that there can be extended benefits from being a CERCLA site.

James Lewis pointed out that there are both plant/man-made products and naturally occurring products. He believes that the man-made and naturally occurring products should be identified by separate colors so that the public can distinguish the natural ones from the man-made ones. Both Bob Craig and Karl Markiewicz responded that some products would fit into both categories. Karl added that he does not consider until the end of the screening whether the substance is naturally occurring or not. If the substance is not a public health concern, the substance would not go any further in the process regardless of where it came from. Bill Taylor pointed out that there is an opportunity later in the screening process to discuss where the substance came from. Karl agreed with Bill, especially if a concern is expressed. Bill Taylor told the group that ATSDR does not remain blind to the source.

Jack Hanley asked Karl Markiewicz if he had conducted the Public Health Implications yet. Karl responded that he is only taking the three contaminants up to the Public Health Implications point as was done previously with the other media. Jack does not want people to be left hanging and suggested that the process for contaminants in Scarboro needs to be taken further for the June 3rd ORRHES meeting. The three chemicals need to be taken to the next phase. Karl agreed that he could continue the presentation but will need to examine the other media (air & biota) because he does not want to set a precedent with Scarboro. Jack Hanley suggested that Karl may want to examine the biota for East Fork Poplar Creek as well as the gardens. Karl agreed that taking the three chemicals to the next phase is doable by the June 3rd ORRHES meeting.

Karl Markiewicz told the group that he believes this document should be a stand-alone document.

James Lewis made the suggestion that this slide should be shown before the other slides. He wants Karl Markiewicz to lead with Scarboro so that the entire story is told. Both Bob Craig and Karl Markiewicz agree that leading with Scarboro is a good idea.

James Lewis wondered what Karl Markiewicz would do if other people begin wanting the same level of detail in their town as is shown for Scarboro. Karl indicated that he would explain that historically Scarboro was well sampled which resulted in numerous data being available. Other communities have not been as well sampled so the amount of data that is available is less than for Scarboro.

James Lewis also asked Karl Markiewicz what he would do if a person or a group brought data to him and if the new data would cause ATSDR to need to collect additional samples. Karl responded that he would need to study the data and see if they were properly QA/QCed, whether they did split sampling with a regulatory agency and generally ensure that the data were legitimate. If there was good quality data and they indicated that there were high levels of something, one of the recommendations that could come out of ATSDR would be to recommend that additional sampling be performed.

Surface Elevation Map for Scarboro and Surrounding Area Slide

Jack Hanley and Karl Markiewicz stated that this slide will be used if questions arise about surface water bringing contaminants into Scarboro. This map demonstrates that almost 50 feet of water would be required in order to see surface water impacts in the Scarboro neighborhood. Timothy Joseph pointed out that DOE discovered that there would need to be 35 feet of water over the top of Kmart in order to get into the Scarboro neighborhood.

Bill Taylor suggested to Karl Markiewicz that the insert is not needed in the bottom right corner of this map. Bob Craig and James Lewis agreed that the insert should be taken out.

Bob Craig said that Karl Markiewicz that had shown a tremendous amount of data. Bob does not want to see the data trivialized by speeding through all of it. However, he also does not want to bore people with map after map. Bob Craig said he is looking forward to Karl Markiewicz's ORRHES presentation.

New Business

Bob Craig announced that the next ORRHES meeting will be on June 3, 2003 at the DOE Information Center. The next PHAWG meeting and the Y-12 Uranium Release Public Comment and Public Availability Session are scheduled for June 2, 2003. Bob Craig would like to have the PHAWG meet at the DOE Information Center at 5:30 pm so that both meetings are combined. Bob thought that meeting at the DOE Information Center would increase community involvement. Lorine Spencer agrees with Bob Craig and believes that it will be an excellent opportunity for PHAWG to hear the community concerns and for the public to see the ATSDR/ORRHES process. The group then decided that PHAWG will meet at 5:30 pm on June 2nd at the DOE Information Center. A sign will be posted on the Field Office door directing people to the PHAWG meeting.

James Lewis wondered what is on the agenda for the PHAWG meeting and wanted to know about any outstanding issues. Bob Craig is not aware of anything on the agenda or any outstanding issues. He reminded the group that the PHAWG agenda is not final yet. Bob Craig thinks that the PHAWG meeting will be a good time to meet the public.

Jack Hanley explained the Public Availability Session to the work group. The Public Availability Session is not a typical public meeting, it is a poster session. He noted that the session serves as a time for the public to express their concerns to ATSDR and for ATSDR to address concerns, answer questions, and make clarifications. Bill Taylor told the group that an oral presentation is not planned during the Public Availability Session.

Pete Malmquist is very concerned that there is only one place/location for people to attend the Y-12 hearing and that is in Oak Ridge. He pointed out that many people will not travel this far to attend. Bob Craig agrees that the locations for Availability Sessions are important but in this case, Y-12 Uranium Releases are mainly a Scarboro concern. Jack Hanley told Pete Malmquist that for mercury, meetings may need to occur in Kingston, Spring City, and Oak Ridge. However, uranium is an issue primarily around the Y-12 plant.

Pete Malmquist also expressed concern over the fact that the Public Health Assessment document is only available in the Oak Ridge Public Library. If ORRHES is going to cover a large area they must make the information available in more than one location. Lorine Spencer agrees and is willing to send it to other libraries but needs some assistance. She wants to make sure that it is sent to the appropriate libraries. Pete Malmquist will call her Tuesday, May 20th to provide his assistance.

James Lewis made the suggestion that Work Group meetings be moved near the areas where people are concerned so that people who are affected have the opportunity to actually become involved. Jack Hanley agreed with James and had previously thought of moving the ORRHES meetings but not the PHAWG meetings. James said that the PHAWG meetings allow for more public involvement than the ORRHES meetings. Bob Craig stated that as the Public Health Assessments are written, there must be a discussion of the ORRHES and PHAWG meeting locations on a case by case basis. James reiterated that the public perceives work groups as more friendly than the ORRHES. If meetings are going to be held at different locations, it is imperative that adequate time is provided for the community to express their concerns.

James Lewis wanted to point out that he thought the ATSDR presentation to SSAB was well received. He also mentioned that there is a group in Oak Ridge that is performing additional sampling near K-25. He would like to obtain a copy of the group's brochure so that ORRHES is aware of what the group is about.

Action Items Regarding New Business

A note will be posted on the Oak Ridge Field Office door directing people to the DOE Information Center on June 2, 2003 for the PHAWG meeting.

Pete Malmquist will contact Lorine Spencer and assist her with getting the Public Health Assessment document distributed to the public libraries in the cities surrounding Oak Ridge.

At 7:00 pm the meeting was adjourned.

Contact Us:
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    4770 Buford Hwy NE
    Atlanta, GA 30341
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Contact CDC-INFO
  • New Hours of Operation
    8am-8pm ET/Monday-Friday
    Closed Holidays The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #