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Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Public Health Assessment Work Group

Historical Document

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Public Health Assessment Work Group

October 7, 2002 - Meeting Minutes


ORRHES Members attending:

Bob Craig (Work Group Chair), Kowetha Davidson (ORRHES Chair), George Gartseff, David Johnson, LC Manley, and Tony Malinauskas

Public Members attending:

Gordon Blaylock, Mike Knapp

ATSDR Staff attending:

Jack Hanley and Karl Markiewicz (phone), and Bill Murray


  1. Radiological Air Monitoring - Dr. Charles R. Yard
  2. Non-radiological Air Monitoring - Bill Childres, P.E.
  3. Environmental Monitoring - Roger Petrie
  4. Groundwater Monitoring - Robert Benfield

Purpose: To hear talks presented by staff of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of DOE Oversight, about their environmental monitoring program and to determine what information on their program should be presented to the ORRHES at their meeting on October 22, 2002.

Overview: Jim Harless, Program Manager, Environmental Monitoring and Compliance, presented an overview of the site and its history and the proximity of population and neighborhoods to the site. He talked about the disposal of wastes on site and illustrated the contamination of the local environment.

Radiological Monitoring and Oversight: Bud Yard, Program Manager, described the sections of this program:

  1. Radiological air monitoring – includes three components:
    • ORR perimeter (low volume) ambient air monitoring – 12 stationsMonitoring for fugitive emissions
    • Environmental Radiation and Ambient Monitoring System (ERAMS) Air – 5 stations
  2. Radiological water monitoring – includes two components:
    • Environmental Radiation and Ambient Monitoring System (ERAMS) Water – 5 stations
    • Monitoring of uranium transport in Bear Creek Valley – 33 sampling locations (6 springs, 13 tributary, 14 Bear Creek)
  3. Ambient radiation monitoring using environmental dosimetry – includes three components:
    • Optically stimulated luminescent (OSL) dosimeter program – 60 gamma and 6 neutron OSL dosimeters
    • Gamma monitoring using continuously recording gamma exposure rate monitors
    • Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) cylinder yard OSL monitoring
  4. Radiological environmental restoration – includes three components:
    • Footprint reduction surveys – 12 sites
    • Walkover surveys
    • Poplar Creek surveys
  5. Radiological emergency response monitoring – work with REACTS on the following activities:
    • EMCC
    • Field teams
    • Coordination for multifaceted response (Rad-Chem-Water-Air)
    • Tracking occurrences
    • Exercise participation
  6. Radiological facility survey (140 buildings) – includes the following:
    • Historical document research
    • Walk-through of facility
    • Evaluate facility
    • Rank facility as to potential for environmental release
    • Present results to DOE
    • Maintain facility file for public viewing
  7. Radiological materials management – includes the following:
    • Reactor oversight
    • Enriched uranium, depleted uranium, and plutonium (Pu)
    • Pu production at ORNL (on hold)
    • Spent fuel management
    • Spallation Neutron Source
    • UF6
    • Miscellaneous radioactive materials tracking (metals, concrete, other)

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) Monitoring: Kristof Czartoryski, Assistant Manager, Waste Management Program, described this program.

  • Began in 1998 in response to concerns about health effects in and around ORR
  • Initial locations at K-25 (3), later at X-10 (2) and Y-12 (2) in 1999
  • Parameters consider regulations and ORR operations
  • Metals of concern – arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, and uranium
  • Discussed standards used
  • All metals are below guidelines and/or limits of detection
  • Other incinerators, (e.g., TVA) may have an impact on ambient air around ORR
  • TSCA can not be singled out as sole contributor to levels at ETTP or ORR

Surface Water Monitoring: Roger Petrie discussed this program. There are 25 surface water and sediment monitoring sites including two (2) control sites near the Norris Dam outflow on the Clinch River. There are 22 parameters measured in surface water including 9 metals. Fifteen parameters are measured in sediment including 11 metals.

There is nothing in the surface water and only mercury (Hg) in the sediment in Clinch River below Poplar Creek. The levels are less than 1.2 milligram Hg per kilogram of sediment (mg/kg). There is no regulatory guide for Hg in sediment.

Rapid bioassessment monitoring of 25 parameters is done at 18 sites. The following ratings are based on the impact on benthic organisms (not water quality):


No. of sites

Moderately to severely impaired


Moderately impaired


Slightly to moderately impaired


Slightly impaired


In 1998 Canada Geese on ORNL has cesium 137 (Cs-137) levels exceeding the game release level of 5 picocuries per gram (pCi/gm). No contaminated geese were found off site. Subsequent collections have not found geese exceeding that level.

Groundwater Program: Bob Benfield discussed this program that includes the following:

  • Spring sampling – analytes include metals (16), radiochemical (6), inorganics (4), nutrients (3), and volatiles (VOAs)
  • Well sampling – analytes include metals (17), radiochemical (5), inorganics (3), nutrients (2), and volatiles (VOAs)
  • Underground storage tanks investigations and remediations
  • Dye tracing – includes Bear Creek Valley, Chestnut Ridge, Union Valley, and others
  • Drinking water – K1515 water treatment plant, ORR distribution systems, emergency planning, liaison with Division of Water Supply

Bob Craig thanked the presenters for their excellent presentations on the work done by the DOE Oversight program.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

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