2001 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 30 Nov 2001 18:39:08 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] A personal view on regulatory oversight
[From Cal Baier-Anderson <cbaie001@umaryland.edu>]

To Bill Franks, my thanks for sharing your views. They are insightful
and profound.

As a technical advisor to the Aberdeen Proving Ground Superfund Citizens
Coalition, I monitor and evaluate the cleanup of Superfund Sites at APG.

 Although APG is an active site, we share many of the same concerns as
those  dealing with FUDS and BRAC sites. In any event, at some point in
the future,  APG will likely become a BRAC site…hence the decisions that
we make today will  have implications well into the future. So in the
interest of continuing this  dialogue I would like to amplify some of
the points you made, by discussing  some of the obstacles we have
encountered at APG. These obstacles directly  relate to the conflicts
between the EPA and DoD.

APG is in the process of conducting a Five -Year Review for its Edgewood
Area  Superfund site. There are around 200 individual sites under
investigation  within the Edgewood Area. The sites are in various stages
of investigation.  Some have gone to a ROD, while others are still in
the early stages of the  Remedial Investigation. Of course, the purpose
of the Five-Year Review is to  evaluate the protectiveness of the
Superfund remediation process.

Within the context of evaluating the “protectiveness” of site remedies,
there are several issues I would like to address:

1. The Generation of Documents
2. The Problem of UXO
3. The Designation of No Further Action
4. Comprehensive Monitoring

1. On the Generation of Documents
Although the generation of documents in and of itself should not be the
only  product of a cleanup effort, the documentation of potential risks
and hazards  (including the potential for UXO/CWM and waste left in
place) is extremely  important.  The compilation of this record, if
executed properly, can and  should serve as an invaluable resource in
the future.  This database is part  of the protectiveness of the remedy,
as it contains information that we need  to know about these sites.

In my view, the problem is that unless this record is digitized and 
searchable, it is virtually unusable.  The administrative record at APG
is so  large, that anyone needing to research a specific site in the
future would  only be able to perform a cursory review, focusing on
executive summaries and  RODs. As we all know, at each successive level
of documentation, information  is filtered out in these reports. While
the detailed information may not be  considered important now, it may
become very important in the future and it  will be missed unless the
documents can be digitally searched.

It is possible to mitigate this problem somewhat by requiring clear
summaries  of residual risks and hazards in the RODs.  We routinely
insist that the  language of final administrative documents clearly
state that UXO may be  present, waste was left in place, sites are
limited to industrial use, etc.,  and that specific references to older
documents be made. But this is only a  partial solution.  Digitized and
searchable documents are a better solution.

2. The Problem of UXO
We are all very familiar with the problems presented by the presence of
UXO at  DoD facilities.  On the one hand, the DoD has a very strict
definition of when  UXO can be considered “waste”, limiting the ability
of IRP programs to address  UXO in a comprehensive manner.  On the other
hand, the presence of UXO limits  the protectiveness of remedial
actions. So when examining the protectiveness  of a remedy, there will
always be the caveat that UXO may be present (and at  APG, this includes
chemical warfare material (CWM)) and therefore citizens and  the EPA
cannot conclude that a remedy is fully “protective”.

Since APG is an active base, the community has taken the approach that
APG  must at least address UXO along the boundaries.  In addition, they
must ensure  that all documents clearly state that UXO may be present at
each site, so that  in the future no one will confuse site remediation
with making a site safe for  unrestricted use.

One problem that may be somewhat unique to APG is that of UXO in the
shallow  waters of the Bush and Gunpowder Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
The Army has  estimated that there may be up to 20 million UXO in these
waters.  And of  course the UXO move with tides and currents. The public
has access to these  waters (with the exception of some embayments that
are permanently  restricted). At times, river access is also limited due
to APG’s needs for  testing and training.

In the open areas, boaters and fishermen are “protected” by not being
allowed  to touch the bottom.  This is such an unworkable,
non-protective non-solution  that it defies all logic. Last June a man
drowned off of the coast of Maxwell  Point on the Edgewood peninsula. 
The Army could not allow divers to attempt  to recover the body due to
the presence of UXO.  There has got to be a better  solution.

DoD needs to own up to its responsibility for correcting the hazards
posed by UXO and establish a separate fund to deal with UXO. Period.

3. No Further Action
It is my opinion that the “No Further Action” designation in the CERCLA 
process is misleading in the way it is being applied at APG. The
designation  of a site for No Further Action MUST be limited to those
sites that are  cleared for unrestricted use and unrestricted exposure.
This is not the case  at APG.  Can you think of a military site that can
be guaranteed to be free of  UXO/CWM or residual contamination?  At APG
this is simply not possible, and  yet the No Further Action designation
is quite frequently used to close out an  area.

This is an important reason why it is essential to be precise in the
documents  entered into the administrative record.  There should be no
confusion in 20 or  50 years as to whether an area is free of hazards or
not.  If UXO/CWM were  never addressed, or if waste was left in place,
the land use MUST be  restricted and therefore cannot be listed as No
Further Action.  At a minimum,  specific Land Use Controls and the
reasons for them must be clearly spelled  out. (The adequacy of Land Use
Controls, however, is a another subject unto  itself.)

4. Comprehensive Monitoring with RCRA/CERCLA Integration With an active
base, we face the problem of the blurring of lines between  historic
contamination and that coming from current activities.

The priority for the community is to ensure that local citizens are
protected  from exposure to contaminants, regardless of the source. 
Managers, however,  care about the source, and their concerns cannot be
ignored.  Spending money  allocated for one thing (historic
contamination) to address another  (contamination from current
activities) can be considered a misuse of funds.  This is an important
issue. So, on the Federal level, we need to provide a  means by which
RCRA and CERCLA activities can be integrated by establishing 
comprehensive monitoring programs in the boundary areas. This will
provide for  the following:
A. Protection of the adjacent communities, regardless of source of contaminants
B. Comprehensive understanding of the total burden of contaminants
present (necessary to perform meaningful risk assessments)
C. Streamlined remedial actions.
D. Reduced chances that new Superfund sites might be created.

To accomplish the goal of comprehensive monitoring may require a new
approach  at both the EPA and DoD – one that allows for funding for the
coordination of  RCRA/CERCLA activities.

We address these issues (and more!) in our Comments on the Edgewood Area
Five-Year Review.  Please contact me if you would like a copy.

Cal Baier-Anderson

Cal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D.
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Program in Toxicology

Home Office:
821 Bowie Shop Road
Huntingtown, Maryland 20639

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