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Oak Ridge Reservation

Historical Document

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ORRHES Meeting Minutes
June 28, 2005

Presentation/Discussion: Evaluation of Potential Exposures to Contaminated Off-Site Groundwater from the Oak Ridge Reservation

Dr. Evans explained that he was presenting work conducted by Lt. LeCoultre (who was unable to attend) and Mr. Hanley regarding the public comment draft PHA for off-site groundwater.

Regarding the scope of the PHA, Dr. Evans said that the document is an evaluation of the potential for off-site exposure of the community to contaminated groundwater–it is not, however, a) a characterization of on-site groundwater contamination, b) a report on the effectiveness of various remedial ongoing actions related to groundwater, or c) an evaluation of exposures to contaminated surface water or sediment that may be the result of discharge of contaminated groundwater.

Dr. Evans presented a map of the ORR watersheds, which are broken into three different areas for this PHA: East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) Watershed, Upper East Fork Poplar Creek (UEFPC)/Bear Creek Valley Watershed, and White Oak Creek (Melton Valley and Bethel Valley) Watershed. He said that DOE, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and various contractors have studied the groundwater in the area extensively. The following generalizations were made about groundwater flow:

  • Groundwater occurs in the unconsolidated zone–bedrock is typically very near the surface.

    • Very little unsaturated flow and not a lot of sediments.

    • No alluvial flow unless in river valleys and creeks.

  • Groundwater primarily occurs in cracks and fissures in the bedrock.

  • Fractures decrease significantly with depth.

    • Fractures and cracks caused by dissolution of limestones and other rocks by fresh water.

  • Flow paths to surface water are very short.

  • As much as 95% of shallow groundwater ends up as surface water.

  • Seeps, springs, diffuse discharge to streams.

    • There are no areas of concentrated discharge per se; rather, a lot of little fractures along the area constitute a baseflow to streams.

  • The Clinch River is a major topographic feature that prohibits migration of groundwater off site.

Dr. Evans presented a map of the ETTP Watershed, noting the range of samples collected. The map showed some of the on-site wells; and yellow labels represented off-site seeps, wells, or springs that have been sampled at least once. According to Dr. Evans, even though basic geology and hydrogeology indicate pretty short flow paths and not much contamination off site, these off-site areas were still sampled to ensure that contaminants were not showing up there.

Dr. Evans provided the following points regarding the ETTP summary:

  • Groundwater contamination is a result of several commingling volatile organic compound plumes.

  • Plumes occur in the shallow groundwater.

  • Mitchell Branch serves as a discharge point for shallow groundwater.

  • There is no evidence that site-related contaminants have migrated beyond ORR boundaries in groundwater from ETTP.

  • Contamination has moved off site in surface water.

Dr. Evans explained that during the study of off-site ETTP seeps, springs, and monitoring wells, two contaminants were detected above comparison values (CVs). However, he said, these were naturally occurring and not site-related.

Dr. Evans presented a map of the X-10 area. In his opinion, he said, a good number of off-site areas that have been sampled for the White Oak Creek Valley Watershed. He read the following summary points regarding Bethel Valley and Melton Valley:

  • Very shallow water table with short flow–paths to surface water.

  • The corehole 8 plume is intercepted, treated, and released under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to surface water.

  • The hydrofracture process is expected to effectively and safely contain contamination.

  • Groundwater discharges to surface water (White Oak Creek and Melton Branch).

  • Contamination moves off site in surface water.

Dr. Evans presented a map of the Y-12 area, noting that a number of areas had been sampled. He stated that this represented the only area with an off-site groundwater plume that has migrated beyond the reservation boundary. He presented the following summary statements regarding the Bear Creek Valley and UEFPC Watersheds:

  • Groundwater contamination occurs in the Maynardville Limestone.

  • Groundwater flows along strike (down the valley) beyond the ORR boundary into Union Valley (where it leaves the reservation).

  • Groundwater surfaces via seeps, springs, and diffuse discharge to streams.

  • Site-related groundwater contamination has not been detected beyond Scarboro Creek.

  • The nearest residential well is approximately 2.25 miles away.

  • No exposure has occurred to the groundwater plume coming from Y-12.

    • No residential drinking water wells are affected.

    • There are a few wells, but most of the area is restricted.

    • Dr. Evans expressed his belief that DOE has property restrictions and institutional controls with property owners to prevent groundwater use in the area of the plume.

    • The plume is undergoing treatment and remediation.

Dr. Evans presented a slide showing the off-site groundwater data that were used and evaluated in the PHA. This included data from the Oak Ridge Environmental Information System (OREIS) database and TDEC reports. It includes over 2,150 on-site and over 120 off-site monitoring locations.

Community concerns that had been extracted from the Community Concerns Database were presented. Dr. Evans indicated that concerns related to groundwater would be responded to and included in the PHA. He read the community concerns.

  • Is the groundwater helping to contribute to kidney cancer?

  • Past exposures to arsenic from groundwater may have resulted in high levels of arsenic in my body.

  • Groundwater flows from the Y-12 Plant to Scarboro.

    • According to Dr. Evans, this was not true.

  • What effect do the solid waste storage areas have on groundwater?

    • In Dr. Evans' opinion, he said, they are contributing some to shallow groundwater plumes, but not to groundwater exposure.

  • Concern that communities that share a limestone slab with a burial ground or dumping ground might have contaminated groundwater.

    • Dr. Evans said that there is contaminated groundwater in the K-25 area.

    • All monitoring data, according to Dr. Evans, indicate that discharges are to Mitchell Branch or Poplar Creek–not migrating under the Clinch River, which is not hydrogeologically possible.

Dr. Evans read the following statements regarding residential wells:

  • In 1996, TDEC initiated a residential well sampling program (these data were received and included in the PHA).

  • There were 71 residential wells identified southwest and within 2 miles of the ORR.

  • A house-to-house survey in 1996 revealed no anecdotal problems with well water.

  • Based on analytical results, TDEC reports "no discernible impact [to residential wells] from the activities of DOE on the ORR."

Regarding residential well data, ATSDR found that:

  • Near ETTP: only one sample (boron, in 1998) exceeded the CV.

    • All concurrent and subsequent samples were well below the CV.

    • The detection could have been an analytical problem, but this is a naturally occurring element.

  • Near ORNL: no contaminants were detected above CVs.

  • Near Y-12: no contaminants have been detected above CVs.

Data for seeps and springs were presented in tabular format, including the area, substance, number of detects, samples detected above CVs, CVs, maximum concentrations, maximum locations, and dates maximum concentrations were detected. Dr. Evans indicated that lead and manganese were detected above CVs near ETTP, but in his opinion the detections were not that elevated and could be a result of plumbing.

The following summary was presented for the seeps and springs data:

  • Near ETTP: for both substances (lead and manganese), concurrent samples from an adjacent well yielded concentrations below CVs.

  • Near ORNL: thallium was not detected in this well 6 months earlier.

    • One thallium detection is the only significant concentration off site.

    • Subsequent sampling has not been conducted.

  • Near Y-12: seeps and springs with elevated contaminant levels are within the known extent of the East End volatile organic compound (EEVOC) plume.

    • Subsequent sampling has not been conducted of seeps and springs.

    • Much sampling of wells and plume has occurred as undergoing remediation.

The following summary points were presented:

  • Groundwater at ORR is shallow with short flow paths to surface water

  • Water bodies surrounding the site and subsurface geology prevent most off-site migration of contaminant plumes.

  • The only site-related off-site groundwater contamination is from Y-12 in Union Valley.

  • No site-related contaminants have been detected in residential wells.

  • Exposure to the off-site EEVOC plume is unlikely because of zoning regulations, administrative controls, and the absence of residential wells.

  • There is no public health hazard from exposure to contaminated groundwater emanating from the ORR.

For more information, Dr. Evans suggested contacting Lt. LeCoultre at 404-498-0332 or

Mr. Washington asked whether underground explosions in this area could have caused fissures to go even deeper. Dr. Evans said they could, but asked if such explosions had occurred on the reservation–he was not aware any had taken place on site. Mr. Washington asked how far it would have to be; Dr. Evans replied that it would have to be directly there.

Mr. Washington asked if these wells had only been sampled at one time. Dr. Evans expressed his belief that there were two separate sampling events, but that some of the monitoring wells were probably sampled on a semi-regular basis. Most of the off-site seeps and springs have been sampled once or twice. According to Dr. Evans, there were two sampling episodes: one occurred in the 1980s and one took place about 1995. He expressed his belief that TDEC conducted the most recent study in 1995.

Mr. Washington asked if they had taken into consideration that they would drill a hole and pump effluents down into one of these sites in particular. Dr. Evans asked whether he was referring to the on-site hydrofracture zone; Mr. Washington said he was correct. Dr. Evans said that this was in the deep aquifer, which was a completely different aquifer zone. Dr. Evans explained that there are numerous sources of on-site contamination, but said the point was that most of that contamination is not migrating as a groundwater flow to any off-site locations. He said that the shallow burial sites are migrating in the shallow subsurface, discharging it into creeks. Mr. Washington responded that they could not know that for sure, noting his opinion that the pathway from Oak Ridge to Chattanooga is contaminated as a result of contamination from some of these sites. Dr. Evans said that there was contamination in surface water, including the Clinch River and Watts Bar. Though it might have originated in the shallow subsurface, it left the site as surface water–not as groundwater. In his opinion, Mr. Washington said, this made no difference. Dr. Evans agreed in terms of exposure, noting that this still needed to be evaluated, and expressed his belief that surface water exposures were evaluated in the White Oak Creek PHA.

Don Box asked whether the survey included the very large spring coming out from under the Y-12 building. Dr. Evans said that he did not have the specifics of that spring: the state study only looked at off-site springs and seeps. He expressed his belief that the spring had probably been studied, but not in the context of off-site groundwater. According to Mr. Box, there was quite a bit of mercury in the Y-12 building. Dr. Evans expressed no doubt about there being contamination on site or about contamination having leached into groundwater; he said that the question, however, was whether there is exposure to groundwater or springs or seeps.

Mr. Lewis asked if anything would be expected to change as a result of a tremor or light earthquake. Dr. Evans said that no changes would be expected. He explained that these flow paths are well established and topographically controlled. The rock becomes more impermeable as it gets deeper. Therefore, he said, the rock wants to follow the line of least resistance from high to low areas. From fractures, the flow will be downhill until it finds the nearest spring or stream and then discharges.

Mr. Box questioned whether there were any known hydrofracture wells that transported contaminants off site. Dr. Evans said he was not sure, but expressed his belief that this was a pretty successful procedure. He indicated that some migration has occurred, but it would be in much deeper systems than these flow systems. In his opinion, he said, nothing from that area has left the site. According to Dr. Evans, the rate of migration is much smaller in deeper areas because the fractures are much less and the rock is relatively impermeable. Mr. Manley asked why the hydrofracture procedure was discontinued. Dr. Evans answered that EPA changed its rule regarding subsurface disposal because it did not constitute treatment. Even though the waste was sequestered and isolated, according to Dr. Evans, EPA declared that this was not actually treatment. Therefore, Dr. Evans said, there was still a potential for migration, and it was being monitored. Mr. Brooks expressed his belief that it was being treated and it was being put into grout.

According to Ms. Adkins, two geologists had told her that Dr. Evans's comments about the yellow slab (referring to her map) were correct for that slab. However, based on conversations with these experts, she said that the bright pink slab on her map (Chickamauga Slab) is extremely porous and karst. She said she was told that there are underground drainage channels (deep in the bottom of the Chickamauga Slab) that run where things were buried at K-25. She expressed her belief that the slab is extremely porous and any chemicals and acids (e.g., nitric and hydrochloric) easily erode deep into its bedrock. In her opinion, she said, it was not shallow as Dr. Evans had described. Dr. Evans asked Ms. Adkins to be mindful that she was referring to a two-dimensional picture and depth (vertical dimension) is what truly matters on the Chickamauga Limestone. He said that she was correct: the limestone is susceptible to dissolution by acids. However, he said, they are not finding these contaminants in the monitoring wells, which suggests that they are not migrating in that direction but discharging to surface streams.

Ms. Adkins asked whom Dr. Evans was referring to. He said that TDEC, DOE and its contractor researchers, USGS, and ATSDR have agreed on this water flow conceptual model. According to Ms. Adkins, people have told her that when they went to sample they were told where to test. In her opinion, they were not allowed to sample in areas most likely to contain toxic damage. In the last 2 weeks, she said, she has heard 10 times that people could not test where they asked to test, but only where they were told they could test. She expressed her belief that everything comes out fine in water tests when DOE is involved, and she said people discussed methods used to ensure that the test results were fine. In her opinion, they could not count on accuracy when DOE has been involved because they have everything to lose.

Dr. Evans said that multiple organizations have been involved in work around the reservation, including TDEC, USGS, and other entities. He explained that there are always limitations on where you could drill wells based on property ownership, where you can find water, and other factors. In his opinion, there are ways used to pick locations that are entirely appropriate. However, he could not say whether these represented biases.

Tim Joseph expressed an interest in having any information Ms. Adkins could provide regarding these statements that people are making. He said that he would investigate this issue and asked her to provide him with any papers and statements that she had. For a long time, he said, DOE sampled residential wells on both sides of the river for anyone who wanted their wells sampled. Jeff Hill indicated that they had discussed this issue and some new sampling that was being done on new wells that were drilled by the river. He asked whether the information was available. Dr. Joseph answered that he had not followed up yet on this issue, but asked Mr. Hill to e-mail him as a reminder to follow up. Dr. Evans said that ATSDR has typically received large data dumps from the OREIS database, and could not confirm whether data from those wells would be included. Mr. Hill said that they were being drilled a few months ago. Dr. Joseph said he did not know the time it took for data to be entered into OREIS, but stated that data are automatically dumped into OREIS after quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC). As done at other sites, Dr. Evans suggested, they should go back to see if new data are available that would contradict or supplement what has already been done.

Dr. Davidson pointed out that the PHA will be sent to the EEWG. She asked Ms. Adkins to ensure that her comments were submitted to Tony Malinauskas, Work Group Chair, for inclusion in the comments that will be sent to ORRHES.

Ms. Sonnenburg asked if she could send Dr. Joseph a list of the wells that had been avoided so he could make sure that were tested. Dr. Joseph answered that he could not make sure that the wells were tested in the future, but he could see if they had been tested in the past. He said that he could also give Ms. Adkins or any other resident information on how to get their wells tested. He explained that TDEC–not DOE–tests residential wells. Dr. Joseph asked if Ms. Adkins had contacted TDEC as he had previously suggested to have her neighborhood wells tested. Ms. Adkins said that she had not. In his opinion, Dr. Joseph said, she needed to do this–it is a free service.

Ms. Adkins said that they needed to be careful where they tested. She said she was talking to a geologist who said that they needed to test in the meander of a creek instead of outside because it erodes outside and deposits on the inside. Dr. Joseph said that those comments concerned surface water, not groundwater. Dr. Evans said that groundwater samples could be collected from the tap, but noted that plumbing can contribute a lot of problems, such as lead detections as an artifact of plumbing.

Mr. Lewis asked if anyone could dig and pump a well for water without having it tested. Mr. Nwangwa indicated that TDEC has a program to test all wells. Dr. Joseph expressed his belief that this was not required: he said that anyone could put a well on his or her property and not have the well tested before using it for drinking water. Nonetheless, he said, the state does offer free services. As he understood it, Dr. Evans said, the State of Tennessee only requires that a licensed driller drill the wells and that a driller's log of the well be submitted to TDEC. Dr. Joseph said that any person could dig a well. Ms. Sonnenburg questioned why DOE would not test the well. Dr. Joseph indicated that DOE used to have a testing program, but that TDEC now handled this sampling, adding that there was no need to have duplication of efforts.

Ms. Vowell clarified that the groundwater division of TDOH will sample, but will not check for chemicals. Dr. Evans confirmed that only biological samples were collected, and she said that this was correct. Mr. Lewis asked if TDEC could provide a summary on its program so that they would not need to return to this issue again. Dr. Evans indicated that all of this information was presented on TDEC's Web site, which could be linked to from the ORRHES Web site, and provided information on the state's programs for groundwater testing, water management, and other services. Mr. Hanley said that TDEC presented this information a few years ago. Dr. Davidson suggested having the EEWG evaluate this issue.

Dr. Cember asked how the corehole 8 plume had been treated. Dr. Evans said he believed a carbon filter was used, but he was not completely sure. Dr. Cember asked how wide the plume was. To his knowledge, Dr. Evans said, this probably followed standard groundwater remediation practice, where a) a well is installed and pumped, b) the water is run through some carbon filters, c) it is certified that the water is clean, d) monitoring treatment standards take place, and e) the water is put back into surface water. Dr. Cember asked about the fraction of the plume that would be pumped out through this method. Dr. Evans answered that it varies by each site; in this case, it could be precise if the correct fracture was found. Dr. Craig expressed his belief that a French drain was used. According to Dr. Evans, intercepting it before it becomes surface water would be more logical.

Regarding the Bethel Valley and Melton Valley summary, Ms. Adkins expressed her belief that the third statement was not true for the Chickamauga Slab because the hydrofracture area is in shale. Dr. Evans said that it is not in surface limestones. Ms. Adkins expressed her belief that it is extremely porous under the Chickamauga and contaminants were likely to sink down, which in her opinion contradicted Dr. Evans' comments regarding short pathways. As he understood it, Mr. Brooks said, hydrofracture wells terminate in shale, thereby remaining geologically stable for a few million years. Dr. Evans agreed, stating that it would remain stable longer than their lifetimes. According to Dr. Evans, shales are typically pretty tight, which was why they had to be fractured to get porosity down there. In his opinion, Mr. Brooks said, if there had been enough fresh water going through to move the system, it would have removed the salt, which was not consistent with poor retention.

Dr. Craig asked whether the groundwater plume leaving Y-12 contained trichloroethylene (TCE). Dr. Evans said that the plume primarily contained TCE and its breakdown products. In his opinion, he said, the plume had various contaminants, though most were not at really high levels. He noted that the plume also had dense nonaqueous-phase liquid (DNAPL), a product that is present under portions of Y-12.

Mr. Richards asked if the residential wells were up in Union Valley; Dr. Evans said this was correct.

Mr. Washington asked whether Dr. Evans was familiar with the S-3 ponds at Y-12 and the remediation of them. Dr. Evans replied that he was not intimately familiar with them, but said that remediation is ongoing and had knowledge of the general area of the off-site groundwater plume.

Dr. Davidson asked if Dr. Evans was stating that the limestone slab is bounded by the Clinch River. Dr. Evans said this was correct.

In discussions of the seeps and spring data, Dr. Cember asked where the manganese was from. Dr. Evans said that it was naturally occurring. In Dr. Cember's opinion, some of the manganese concentrations were high. He said that volitional tremors can be caused by manganese as well as mercury, adding that people develop Parkinson's disease spontaneously. He questioned how they could separate the effects of naturally occurring Parkinson's disease from the effects caused by mercury and manganese. Dr. Evans did not believe this was conversant with data underlying the CVs; he added that all of the toxicological profiles discuss this information. He said that the standard was 500 ppb, which goes back to the dose-response relationship, and that this CV was on the conservative side of the dose-response curve. Dr. Cember asked if CVs were based on exposure to only that agent, and asked if there was exposure to several agents. In his opinion, Dr. Evans said, this was interesting to know since the agents have the same mode of action. Dr. Cember said they are almost the same, the similarities related to dopamine receptors and similar factors. Dr. Evans noted that this should be kept in mind.

Ms. Smith asked for a definition of CVs. Dr. Evans explained that these are health comparison values used as a standard for determining contamination. He noted that ATSDR has to determine whether something represents a health threat, and CVs are used as preliminary screening values. He indicated that they were similar to the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) used by EPA, noting that they were drinking water standards of various sorts.

Mr. Lewis asked Dr. Evans to project a sheet containing concerns from a document prepared by The RadioActivist Campaign (TRAC). Mr. Lewis explained that this document was distributed in the community and discussed groundwater. In his opinion, he said, whether or not Dr. Evans believes the information is not the issue. He asked Dr. Evans to read the following regarding the groundwater/surface water pathway, described by the author as referring to a contaminated stream in Scarboro: "Scarboro residents expressed frustration that their concerns for contaminated water seeping from ORR into Scarboro had not been addressed. TRAC compared maps of DOE, TDEC, and EPA ... sampling locations with the locations of community concerns. Residents pointed to a stream emerging from the north side of Y-12, flowing north along the east side of South Fisk Avenue, and joining East Fork Poplar Creek west of the intersection of Tusculum Drive and East Tulsa Road. That stream is shown on the ‘Oak Ridge & Anderson County, TN street map.' TRAC collected Sample 6 from the stream to address this specific concern. Results were positive." Dr. Evans said that if Mr. Lewis believed this sampling, then he had some land he wanted to sell him. Mr. Lewis explained that he was not pointing out whether or not the report was accurate. He said that this is a publication that is out there in the community. According to Mr. Lewis, this was a concern raised by someone, and added that he is not laughing at the issue. He stated that it is a given–this is a concern that has spread through the community. Mr. Lewis said he did not find this concern in the database and expressed an interest in seeing this type of issue addressed. Dr. Davidson said that this organization was coming to present at a work group meeting. Dr. Evans agreed that this concern should be in the database.

Mr. Lewis said that these types of issues and comments are in the newspaper. In his opinion, Mr. Lewis said, regardless of whether they agree with the sampling conducted in this study, it might carry more credibility within the community. Mr. Lewis expressed concern that he repeatedly brings this up; when a person identifies an issue, he said, at a minimum the agency needs to address it. Mr. Hanley explained that Lieutenant LeCoultre received the document a few weeks ago, and is planning to address it in the community concerns section of the document by using a diagram or figure. Mr. Hanley pointed out that this was something that occurred recently, and Lieutenant LeCoultre is already responding. According to Mr. Lewis, some of these issues were voiced by community members in meetings and captured in newspapers 3, 4, and 5 years ago. Mr. Lewis expressed his belief that to win people's trust, they had to treat people's concerns as if they were reasonable and valid and address them in a timely manner. If they did not do this, he said, then these types of things are released first. In her opinion, Dr. Davidson said, the best way to address these issues was by having the group that prepared the report come and talk to the community. She indicated that they were trying to do this and that they wanted the group to come to town and answer the community's questions. Mr. Washington indicated that they could address the concerns even if they did not come here. Dr. Davidson said she understood this, but that they were trying to also go one step beyond. Mr. Lewis asked if she missed the point. Dr. Davidson answered that she did not miss the point; they said that they would address the issue, and were also trying to get the group to come here.

Dr. Evans said that they have been discussing seepage into the Clinch River. From his perspective, he said, it is difficult to address an unattributed citizen concern–he was not sure how to respond on a technical basis to this other than through a paper. He expressed an interest in hearing from the community members instead of through a second-hand, non-peer-reviewed paper. In his opinion, Mr. David Johnson said, this related to the element of trust: if the community does not participate or trust them, then they needed to go to the community to regain its trust and capture the public's concerns (regardless of what they are).

Dr. Evans asked how many public availability sessions had been held in the community to communicate directly on a "retail"–not "wholesale"–level. Mr. Hanley said that ATSDR held one and the state had some prior to that. Dr. Evans suggested these as a means for ATSDR to interact directly with the community instead of through these types of unattributed documents or other media. Mr. David Johnson said that the process of bureaucracy is not people-friendly. In his opinion, he said, grassroots personalities might take offense at dealing in this manner and prefer interfacing with personalities.

Ms. Smith said she attended a public meeting where TRAC presented its results. According to Ms. Smith, the researchers did not represent their work as the be-all and end-all; rather, the message was that Scarboro community members had pointed to this particular location as an area of concern, and therefore it was sampled. She expressed her belief that someone needed to take this as a flag and follow up at this location. She stated that TDEC had told her that it had data from the creek that could be shared, but had not supplied the data yet. She suggested reviewing these data instead of bringing TRAC back, and conducting followup because this one area was identified as one that people had expressed concerns about.

Dr. Evans expressed his belief that sampling had probably already been conducted at the creek. According to Mr. Manley, the creek had been sampled twice: Florida A&M University (FAMU) conducted the first sampling, and EPA conducted a second sampling to verify FAMU's results. He expressed his belief that plenty of data should be available.

Dr. Creasia said he had no familiarity with the waterflows in Oak Ridge, but asked whether anyone had tested in any of the creeks or wells around the Oak Ridge Country Club. Dr. Evans asked if this was northwest of Y-12; Dr. Craig said this was correct, adding that it was very close to areas that have been sampled a lot, but he was not sure if it itself had been sampled. Dr. Evans said he would have to refer this question to Lt. LeCoultre, since it dealt with specific locations where on-site sampling has occurred.

In the Northeast, according to Dr. Creasia, a common practice for removing contaminants is to pump them into fissures or drop them off on back roads. He asked whether similar problems had been reported here. Ms. Adkins said she had been told many stories regarding people bringing truckloads of waste and dumping the materials in various places; she said she had markings of these areas on her map to show where things had been buried. According to Ms. Adkins, thousands of tubes of picric acid were dumped into the edge of the Clinch River and exploded there. In her opinion, she said, contaminants are everywhere around there. Dr. Creasia indicated that this could be a source of contamination rather than the plants. In terms of residential wells, Dr. Evans said, contaminants detected are commonly occurring natural elements. Dr. Creasia said he was referring to other contaminants, such as PCBs, that are especially common in the Northeast. According to Mr. Brooks, the flow of contaminated water from Y-12 to Scarboro had to be considered; the contaminated water would have to flow from the plant, through the hill, and at the same level without any change in altitude. Mr. Hanley indicated that Lt. LeCoultre was preparing a map of elevations to convey this point.

Ms. Adkins asked Dr. Evans to return to the slide containing the sources of off-site groundwater data. In her opinion, she said, this is a significant problem. She complimented Dr. Evans as a presenter and stated that Mr. Hanley, Dr. Taylor, and Ms. Horton were great people from ATSDR in her opinion. But, she said, they are a joke in the community for reasons such as the list of sources. She expressed concern that they laugh at studies conducted by anyone without a DOE connection. She said she did not know the influence DOE has had on TDEC monitoring, but her sources have told her that DOE tells TDEC where it may and may not sample. In her opinion, she said, this was why the public did not trust them. She asked the group to look at all of the sources being used for information, saying that they were obtaining information from the people who polluted their environment yet they were still treating these as valid sources. She expressed concern that many people laughed at the report brought in by Mr. Lewis, but noted that it was an organization other than DOE conducting a study.

According to Ms. Adkins, many people have told her details about how they doctored tests. For instance, Ms. Adkins said individuals told her that they knew when to flush, to add chemicals, and other techniques to use prior to testing. She expressed concern that records have been lost. She said she had been told about a study on K-25 workers' excrement: the results indicating the amounts of cesium and strontium found, she was told, were not released. In her opinion, she said, DOE keeps many secrets and no one other than DOE-related personnel trusts the department. She expressed concern that ATSDR was using these data as a basis for the PHA.

Dr. Joseph said that he did not necessarily expect Ms. Adkins to trust him or DOE. However, he explained, he has been involved with on-site groundwater, surface water, and biota sampling for 17 years, including collecting samples in the field and conducting QA/QC of the samples. According to Dr. Joseph, he has never seen anything except purely honest scientists who would never risk their profession; he has never been associated with someone he did not trust. He said that this would not change her mind, but that he was sure that these are good data. Ms. Adkins indicated that things might have occurred differently before he was there. Dr. Joseph responded that these types of activities would have not changed because he started to work there. Ms. Adkins said she had a lot of stories from people who have no reason to lie.

Dr. Evans said he agreed with many of Ms. Adkins's comments, noting that people could come up with whatever sample they wanted if they knew what to do. However, he continued, the sources being used have undergone different levels of peer review, including reviews by EPA, the state, and ATSDR. According to Dr. Evans, the purpose of peer review is to look for obvious indicators of bias. He noted that she was contending that the DOE reports are biased and the TRAC study is not, but explained that the reason he had laughed at the report was that TRAC would not submit its materials to the same type of review process that the sources being used in the PHA have undergone. In her opinion, Ms. Adkins said, if the initial data are no good, then it will not matter who conducts the review.

Mr. Hill explained that K-25 workers in the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy (PACE) Workers International Union had expressed a similar concern about DOE being the only agency that was checking their drinking water. According to Mr. Hill, the PACE Union asked EPA to test their drinking water and the agency prepared a full report to convey its findings. Mr. Hanley noted that other organizations are part of these efforts. For example, DOE had brought FAMU into Scarboro, which contracted with Florida State University (FSU) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Mr. Hanley asked Mr. Richards about EPA oversight of CERCLA sampling and the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) data that are used.

Regarding EPA oversight, Mr. Richards said that EPA commonly conducts split or duplicate samples at any Superfund site. He could not, however, answer where TDEC specifically took samples, and said he agreed that this should be looked at. He said he welcomed independent sources, but that this report discredits itself by a) claiming that radium comes from nuclear weapons, b) stating that radium at 0.5 picocuries per gram (pCi/g) is not natural, and c) misusing MCLs. He expressed his belief that these factors cause the report to lose all credibility. He indicated that he had hopes about this independent review, but expressed his opinion that the authors obviously knew nothing about the basics of health physics. In his opinion, he said, the report destroyed everything that it tried to do. Though its authors might have legitimately gone to these locations, the report's incorrect application of MCLs to sediments and other factors destroyed the entire report in his opinion.

Mr. Lewis expressed his belief that the approach used by Mr. Richards to address this issue and respond to the report brings credibility, which is helpful for the community. Mr. Richards replied that Mr. Crane had asked him to address the report, but said he was not sure how the agency would respond,. In his opinion, Mr. Lewis said, the Scarboro community has been waiting for a response for the past 4 or 5 years, since FAMU conducted its sampling. He said that there is a tendency to look at the last person who did something.

Dr. Davidson asked Dr. Evans whether the following statement was true: "The significance of looking at contaminated groundwater is that it has the potential to become surface water or to be used as well water." Dr. Evans said that was correct. Dr. Davidson questioned if there were any other problems associated with contaminated groundwater; Dr. Evans explained that volatilization of could occur depending on the contamination present. For instance, TCE could volatilize in the area of the TCE plume. Dr. Davidson asked if he was referring to toxic vapors. He said that he was, but that it would take a unique set of conditions, which would not really occur in this area, to produce an air problem. Enclosed spaces, such as basements, could be a significant issue in areas that did have these problems.

Mr. Lewis asked if the presentation had included a clear definition of the differences between surface water and groundwater. Dr. Evans said he had not seen one. Mr. Lewis said that they should begin with definitions as a reference point. Dr. Evans agreed, noting that these definitions should appear in the beginning of the PHA, during the discussion of the scope of the problem. According to Dr. Joseph, it was important to note that the media changes: going from groundwater to surface water and from surface water to groundwater. He indicated that this was simply based on surface water being above the surface and groundwater being below the surface.

Mr. Washington asked about the use of innocuous dye. Dr. Evans said he was aware of these dye trace studies.

Dr. Malmquist indicated that he had run a landfill in Roane County for many years. He said that monitoring wells were flushed with distilled water several times prior to taking samples to ensure a proper sample. According to Dr. Malmquist, the landfill had been accused of contaminating wells all around the system. When they hired TDEC or someone to sample the wells, the wells were flushed first. However, according to Dr. Malmquist, no problems were found regarding the leachate at the landfill or the monitoring procedures used. He explained that usually contamination was found from the site itself rather than the landfill, such as a septic tank draining into the well or other issues.

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