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Community Involvement
restoration advisory board
community relations plan
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Restoration Advisory Board

Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RFAAP)
Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)
July 22, 1999

Meeting Minutes


Members: Organization:
Allen Boynton Dept. of Game & Fisheries
Steve Cole Blacksburg Rotary Club
Joe Parrish Anderson & Associates
Rick Parrish Christiansburg resident
Attendees: Organization:
Shelley Barker ACO
Joy Leketa ACO/PAO
Jim McKenna ACO
Mark Thomas ICF Kaiser
Katie Phillips WPI

Handouts Distributed at Meeting:

  1. Information Repository Fact Sheet (July 1999)
  2. Northern and Western Burning Grounds and Building 4343 Status Report
  3. SWMU 54 Status Report

Agenda Item #1. Introductory Remarks, Approve Minutes of 5/20/99

Mr. McKenna convened the meeting at 7:10 PM and asked if there were any comments or questions about the May 20, 1999 RAB meeting minutes. There were none, and the minutes were approved as written.

Mr. McKenna explained that Katie Phillips from WPI is under contract to RFAAP and will be helping with the RAB. Support of the RAB is funded by headquarters and will continue dependent upon interest generated from the community.

Agenda Item #2. Information Repository

Mr. McKenna explained that RFAAP will be establishing an information repository to house site-related documents, making these documents accessible to the public. The RFAAP Community Relations Plan specified that there would be two information repositories located in local libraries. However, Mr. McKenna suggested that one information repository be located in a local library and the other version be available via the Internet (i.e., web site).

The information repository will include decision-making documents, which are documents that include validated field data collected to assess human and ecological health risks and to determine if a cleanup action is needed. Such documents include RCRA facility investigations, screening documents, proposed plans, and records of decision. Right now, RFAAP is in the screening level or first stage of the decision-making process. RFAAP has prepared draft decision documents, but the documents have not yet received EPA approval.

Mr. McKenna addressed the Information Repository Fact Sheet and explained that there are three local libraries that are willing to house a RFAAP information repository: Radford Public Library, Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library (Christiansburg and Blacksburg branches), and Pulaski County Public Library. He asked for feedback from the RAB. Upon discussion, it was decided that the Christiansburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library would be the most suitable location because of its central location and because it is the regional headquarters for Christiansburg, Blacksburg, and Floyd (as well as the library planned for Shawsville). It was also discussed that having a hard copy of the documents physically located in a local library (in addition to the web-based version of the information repository) is a good idea for those not familiar with the Internet and for those that don’t have computer access.

In reference to the web-based version of the repository, Mr. Rick Parrish suggested that RFAAP may want to share this opportunity with the library. The library may be able to receive funding through grants or other vehicles to help with the repository.

Mr. Boynton asked for clarification about RFAAP decision documents to date. Mr. McKenna reported that there have been draft decision documents developed pursuant to the RCRA permit (e.g., verification investigations, facility investigations). Mr. Boynton asked about remedial actions, which Mr. McKenna confirmed have taken place at some sites (e.g., the disposal trench, SWMU 54, and Equalization Basin). Mr. Boynton suggested that the repository contain information about the remedial action sites so the public knows that while RFAAP is just now starting a repository, the site cleanup has been going on for some time.

Agenda Item #3. New River Unit/Building 4343 Status

Building 4343

Mr. McKenna and Mr. Thomas explained and pointed out on a site map Building 4343’s location in the Horseshoe Area. Subsurface soil, ditch, and sump samples and interior swipe samples have been collected at Building 4343.

New River Unit (Northern and Western Burning Areas)

Mr. McKenna reported that preliminary test borings have been conducted to characterize the material in the Western Burning and Northern Burning Areas at the New River Unit. Mr. Thomas added that as of now, they have two rows of 20 by 20 foot test pits and one row of 20 by 10 foot test pits for a total of 18 test pits. The crew is getting down to native soil/bedrock at about 2 feet. The soil is being stockpiled for proper disposal instead of being put back into place; they have basically sampled the site away. They will stop digging once they receive confirmatory analyses that the crew has dug deep enough to reach the native soil (i.e., soil that is not contaminated). The stockpiled soil is being tested separately, and the results thus far have shown the soil is not hazardous.

Mr. Rick Parrish asked what was in the soil. Mr. McKenna explained that the materials in the Western Burning Area consist of ash, burning debris, solid pipes, metal bands, building material, and construction debris. Ms. Barker asked if there was any contamination at the site. Mr. McKenna and Mr. Thomas explained that lead is the main contaminant of concern. Results indicated lead concentrations exceeding 2,000 parts per million (ppm) in four out of five borings. Therefore, they test pitted further to determine the actual extent of contamination. Mr. McKenna reported that 400 ppm is usually used as a concentration standard for residential sites (i.e., sites with unrestricted use by residents). With the relatively small size of the Western Burning Area, RFAAP is over-excavating (i.e., taking out more soil) and removing the contamination now, which is much cheaper than having to come back and do more characterization later.

Mr. Boynton asked if they are characterizing the soil in the Western Burning Area extensively (i.e., 100 percent coverage). Mr. McKenna explained that they are characterizing the soil extensively; they break the area into grids and take a test pit in each grid.

Agenda Item #4. SWMU 54 Status

Mr. McKenna reported that though on a larger scale, activities at SWMU 54 are very similar to what’s currently happening at the Western Burning Area (i.e., test pitting to characterize the site). Contractors also used a grid pattern at SWMU 54 to take test pit samples. However, unlike the burning areas, they did not remove the soil; they put it back in place because it is a much larger site. Mr. Rick Parrish asked if they had found consolidated materials at the site. Mr. McKenna explained that they have found different materials such as laboratory bottles, metal debris, and ash residue. Contamination at the site is mainly lead and some explosives from propellant ash. Mr. Rick Parrish asked if there was any concern for detonation at the site. Mr. McKenna replied that while some explosives were detected, they were not found at a concentration that would cause detonation.

Mr. McKenna reported that they moved the fence around SWMU 54 to prevent trespassers. They are currently looking at options to address the construction worker scenario (i.e., protect construction workers working on the site from any health risks). Mr. Cole asked for clarification about fencing the river from the site. Mr. McKenna explained that the site used to be outside of the fence, and so they moved the fence around the site to protect people who may come up from boating or other recreational activities on the river in order to keep them away from the site.

Mr. McKenna reported that RFAAP is preparing a draft decision document for SWMU 54, which will be submitted to EPA, with different scenarios for cleanup, including hot spot removal. The document will evaluate the different scenarios based on specific criteria. For instance, cost is one criterion that has to be considered in the decision. Mr. McKenna explained that materials were trucked in and deposited in different locations. Therefore, some areas have a higher concentration of contaminants (i.e., hot spots) than other areas. In some of the alternatives being considered, RFAAP would remove the higher areas of concentration or the areas with contaminant levels above the cleanup criteria. Mr. McKenna reported that the decision document produced from this effort may take several weeks/months to complete. The document needs to be submitted to EPA before it can be provided to RAB and the information repository.


Mr. Boynton asked when the physical work at the Western Burning Area would be finished. Mr. Thomas of ICF Kaiser, the company doing the work, reported that the field work should be complete in mid August. They are almost finished with the test pits, and then they have to backfill the excavated area, regrade, reseed, and clean up the entire site.

Agenda Item #5. Closing Remarks, Schedule Next Meeting

Mr. McKenna adjourned the meeting at 8:00 PM. The next RAB meeting will be held at RFAAP on Thursday, September 16, 1999, at 7 p.m.

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