|From:||CPEO Moderator <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Mon, 7 Feb 2000 11:54:59 -0800 (PST)|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Picantinny: Committed to Cleanup?|
[This message was posted to the listserve by Michael Glaab, <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Michael asked us to make it clear that this is his own opinion, not necessarily that of the Picatinny Arsenal Environmental Restoration Advisory Board.] Lenny: Your E-mail concerning the Defense Department's committment to environmental remediation was very interesting and sobering. Unfortunately I cannot say with conviction that I believe that the DEFENSE DEPARTMENT is in fact COMMITTED TO CLEANUP. With respect to Picatinny Arsenal, it is unclear to me just which agency is most responsible for the deviation from what appears to be the more environmentally responsible course. The precedent setting challenge to the state of New Jersey's cleanup standards appears to have been precipitated by a reevaluation conducted by the USACHPPM (US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine). Prior to their reevaluation, a remediation action for site 20/24 had already been agreed upon and funded. This action initially consisted of undertaking a removal action of contaminated soils. Principal contaminant appears to be PCB. However, there is also a considerable presence of such diverse substances as lead, beryllium, barium, cobalt, arsenic, dioxins - and interestingly enough the strontium-90 and Cesium-137 isotopes. Apparently the strontium-90 isotope is in insufficient quantities to merit it being considered a COPEC (chemical of potential ecological concern). This is very fortunate considering the following quote: "One of the most dangerous radioactive isotopes produced when a nuclear bomb explodes is strontium-90..." Chemical Principles - Masterton, Slowinski, 3rd. edition Assuming I recollect correctly, the strontium-90 is allegedly derived from helicopter gauges/instrumentation. The Environmental Office at Picatinny Arsenal had asked for and received the RAB's approval of the removal action. However after Mr. Lawrence Tannenbaum, a (Biologist) Risk Assessor in the Environmental Health Risk Assessment and Risk Communication Program of USACHPPM, issued his (April 22, 1998) report the removal action was postponed and eventually cancelled. The RAB was informed that the earlier promulgated cleanup standards were inappropriate and also that the mathematical formulae which were used to compute risk were inapplicable and that they would not be used. The RAB was then asked to approve the new cleanup standards which were less restrictive than those of the state (NJ) and apparently of the EPA. It was argued that the state legislature had not properly promulgated its cleanup standards and that therefore the army was not required to conform to them. The RAB declined to approve the less restrictive standards. The RAB then asked for an appraisal from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services - Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Div. of Health Assessment and Consultation. It was forthcoming and it concerns the REVISIONS to the exposure and toxicity assumptions (i.e. cleanup standards, averaging the degree of contamination over a larger area, etc.) cited in the "Addendum to the Phase I Remedial Investigation Human Health Assessment for Picatinny Arsenal" which resulted from the USACHPPM report: "HEALTH CONSULTATION - Review of Picatinny Arsenal PCB Health Risk Assessment Assumption - Picatinny Arsenal Dover, Morris County, New Jersey CERCLIS NO. NJ3210020704 January 21, 1999" Some statements of note in the ATSDR document are, on page 11: a. "ATSDR does not concur with the assumptions made when intermediate or acute exposures and noncancer health risks are considered. The PCBs in soil north and southwest of the gravel pad in the western half of the grid area pose a potential public health hazard ..." b. "No, the conclusion of 'no further action' is not appropriate. The PCBs in soil north and southwest of the gravel pad in the western half of the grid area pose a potential public health hazard on the basis of risk for immune and developmental effects." Eventually the RAB decided to ask its local federal legislators to intercede. Our local Congressman, Rodney Frelinghuysen, publicly supported adherance to the state cleanup standards. To my knowledge, our Senators Lautenberg and Torricelli have done nothing remotely similar. Shortly after this the EPA representative announced that he had been informed that his superiors had cited to him an internal memo which they interpreted such that the EPA would no longer oppose conformance to the less restrictive standards. Needless to say, this was not helpful with the local media. Shortly after this Sen. Torricelli sent a representative to one of our RAB meetings who, (Mr. Joe Tyrrell) citing the ATSDR concerns above, actually seemed to recommend "Capping" as an immediate action intended to avoid a short term public health hazard. He stated to the RAB that he would intercede with the state and federal authorities to facilitate the speedy approval and implementation of a "Capping" action and implied that there would then be real remedial followup action. Privately, he informed me that he intended that the contaminated soils even be first "Capped" and then later excavated as necessary. However, my contacts with environmental authorities inform me that this would be atypical and that they normally do not approve such actions. Since then neither Mr. Tyrrell nor anyone from Sen. Torricelli's office has been available. Telephone calls are not even returned. Now the Army asserts that "Capping" a "Natural Attenuation," with as yet undefined "engineering/institutional" controls, will be adequate to achieve the less restrictive cleanup levels. Michael Glaab Citizen Co-chairman PAERAB You can find archived listserve messages on the CPEO website at http://www.cpeo.org/lists/index.html. If this email has been forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe, please send a message to: email@example.com _______________________________________________________ Follow the U.S. presidential race on our Politics list! http://www.topica.com/lists/politics
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