Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)
March 16, 2000
Rodney K. Alston
Army Corps of Engineers
IT Group / Kaiser
#1. Introductory Remarks, Approve Minutes of 4 November 1999
Mr. McKenna convened the meeting
at 7:10 p.m. and asked if there were any comments or questions
about the 4 November 1999 RAB meeting minutes. There were none,
and the minutes were approved as written.
#2. Project Update Work Plan Addendum 9
Mr. McKenna provided a project
update on the Work Plan Addendum 9. RFAAP prepared the Work
Plan Addendum 9 to perform some work in the Horseshoe Area,
south of the main plant. RFAAP sent the plan to the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and received comments in February. After
discussing with EPA, RFAAP has come up with a strategy to change
the work plan. RFAAP will collect and evaluate existing data,
and then go to EPA and propose specific changes to the work
Mr. McKenna stated that RFAAP initially
proposed to do a dye trace study, which is one of the tools
used to better understand karst geology. RFAAP has collected
some information by conducting a thermal fly over, which takes
an infrared picture of the area, to determine temperature differences
in the surface water and identify the location of springs. Mr.
McKenna explained that dye trace studies need places where you
can put dye in (e.g., sinkholes) as well as discharge points
(e.g., springs) so you can see where it comes out. Because the
Horseshoe Area lacks springs, it does not have the kind of geology
that is conducive to a dye trace. Instead, RFAAP plans to take
water level measurements in the river to get some relative information
between river elevations and groundwater elevations in several
monitoring wells. RFAAP will then compile and evaluate data
to help determine groundwater flow in the Horseshoe Area. The
tentative plan is to have a specific proposal to EPA by June.
Mr. McKenna stated that there were
other factors that made it necessary to change the work plan.
RFAAP had already conducted (or attempted to conduct) a dye
trace in the Horseshoe Area, and it didnt work. Dye was
placed in a well and was not recovered. In order for a dye trace
study to be effective, you need to know where the dye is going
to come out. Therefore, you must walk around the site and find
potential discharges like springs and seeps. RFAAP and EPA hydrogeologists
walked around the area and did not find any springs or seeps.
Therefore, conducting a dye trace study is not viable at this
time. RFAAP will use other methods to determine groundwater
flow in the Horseshoe Area.
Mr. Robert Freis asked whether
subsurface conditions are less porous than was originally thought.
Mr. McKenna replied that the water in the area is being recharged
to the New River. There is no flow under the river or through/under
the mountains. RFAAP doesnt know the specific points where
water is recharging to the New River (e.g., water could be coming
up through the riverbed through seeps and springs). However,
there are not enough known outlets to account for all the water
coming out of the Horseshoe Area.
Mr. Freis asked if the subsurface
conditions would inhibit or make it less likely for contamination
to migrate. Mr. McKenna replied that this isnt the case
because there are two systems. There is an overburden groundwater
system in which water goes down into the second lower karst
system. Either way, the water is going to the New River. Water
is either going from the overburden into the river or going
down lower and then recharging underneath to the river through
the karst system. Regardless of the tools that are used, there
will be some uncertainty with groundwater flow around the area.
RFAAP knows that the water is going into the New River, but
a specific path is going to be difficult to determine. However,
RFAAP will be able to determine enough information about groundwater
flow to develop reasonable risk assessments, and if needed,
to conduct appropriate cleanups.
Mr. Steve Cole asked what kind
of decisions would be made differently if RFAAP had more information
about groundwater flow. Mr. McKenna replied that there have
been no decisions made yet regarding the groundwater. RFAAP
only has conducted soil cleanups (i.e., source removals) such
as the work conducted at SWMU 54, but groundwater really wasnt
a factor. In areas with soil contamination, the contaminants
may percolate or leach out into the groundwater. However, when
contaminated soils are removed or cleaned up, the source of
contamination to the groundwater is eliminated. Mr. McKenna
added that groundwater flow and soil background data are integral
pieces to the baseline risk assessments. Since both of these
have yet to be adequately determined, baseline risk assessments
work is being put on hold. The background study effort is funded
and is being procured by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore
Mr. Rob Thomson of EPA added that
there is a new theory about groundwater flow in the RFAAP area.
Water within the basin or drainage area of RFAAP most likely
flows towards the New River and does not flow off the base,
away from the river, through karst channels.
While there is some uncertainty
about how the water gets to the river, Mr. McKenna explained
that they do know the water is going to the river. RFAAP has
collected a lot of data but still needs more data, such as measuring
water levels of river and comparing that with groundwater levels
in monitoring wells and determining the depth of the river bottom.
Then new wells will be installed below the river bottom to see
if any contamination is seeping down.
Mr. McKenna responded to a question
about AEP water releases from the Claytor Dam and its effect
on the Horseshoe study. RFAAP does not have any influence over
their releases as AEP releases water in response to electric
power demand. Thus any study effort will monitor the river levels
as it occurs from AEP dam releases as this is the reality of
#3. RFAAP IRP Web Site Demo
Ms. Katie Phillips of WPI provided
a demonstration of the new RFAAP IRP web site (www.envnet.org/rfaapirp).
Mr. McKenna reported that the new Installation Action Plan (March
1, 2000) is available on the web site. RFAAP has not received
hard copies of the plan yet because of formatting problems.
Once corrected, a hard copy will be placed in the information
repository. If any RAB member wishes to have his or her own
hard copy, it can be provided.
After the demo, Ms. Phillips asked
if the RAB members had any questions or comments. Ms. Carolyn
Jake asked about the comment form. Ms. Phillips responded that
one comment has been received so far and that comments received
through the web site go to Mr. McKenna and also to Ms. Phillips
as the site webmaster. Mr. McKenna indicated that comments would
be forwarded to the appropriate people for a response.
Ms. Jake asked if the RAB members
were listed on the web site. Ms. Phillips replied that the web
site does not include a separate list of all the RAB members
with contact information, but RAB members names are included
on the meeting minutes.
Ms. Jake asked about the coordination
of responses and how the information is managed. She feels it
is important to see how other organizations manage comments
and suggested having a protocol. When responding to comments
received, Ms. Jake feels there should be a unified voice for
the organization representing RFAAP. RFAAP may need to get public
affairs/relations involved to be responsible for coordination
of responses to comments. LTC Rodney K. Alston added that a
coordinated effort would be required to answer certain questions,
depending on the question and how the comment is tracked (i.e.,
whether the comment is forwarded to other organizations). Mr.
McKenna added that the web sitelike the RABis primarily
for restoration issues and that unrelated comments will be forwarded
to the appropriate person for a response outside of the RAB
or web site.
Ms. Phillips reported that the
web site includes a disclaimer for related web site links per
the U.S. Army web site guidance.
Mr. Freis asked if the web site
is ready to be unveiled and suggested having a press release
about the web site. Ms. Phillips replied that a draft press
release has been prepared and is currently under review. Also,
per U.S. Army web site guidance, the RFAAP IRP web site has
been registered with the U.S. Army webmaster and the Government
Information Locator Service.
Mr. Frank Swit asked if the RFAAP
web site was like other IRP sites. Ms. Phillips replied that
it basically was and showed an example of another IRP site.
Upon discussion, it was decided that WPI would add search capabilities
to the RFAAP IRP web site.
#4. Closing Remarks, Schedule Next Meeting
Mr. McKenna adjourned the meeting
at 8:10 p.m. The next RAB meeting will be held at RFAAP on Thursday,
18 May 2000, at 7 p.m.
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