LATAG Meeting Minutes

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June 7th, 2011

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Regular Board Meeting

Libby Area Technical Assistance Group, Inc.

PO Box 53 • Libby, MT 59923

June 7th, 2011 • Regular Board Meeting Minutes

(Note: bold items within paragraphs are motions made and voted on as well as action items agreed upon.)

Board Member Attendees:

  • LeRoy Thom
  • JoElyn Brus
  • Mike Noble
  • Karen Horton
  • Brad Black
  • Donna Martin
Contractor/Employee Attendees:
  • Tracy McNew, Grant Administrator
  • Terry Spear, Technical Advisor 

Guest Attendees:

  • Lisa DeWitt MT DEQ
  • Larry Scusa, MT DEQ
  • Mel and Lerah Parker
  • Carolyn Rutland, MT DEQ
  • Jeremy Ayak, USACE
  • Christina Progess, EPA
  • John Popolinsky, MT DEQ
  • Mike Cirian, EPA
  • Katy Norris, Tetra Tech
  • Rebecca Thomas, EPA
  • David Berry, EPA
  • Bob Medler, Remedium 

1.       Meeting began at approximately 6370pm. LATAG meeting was scheduled for 6PM, but start was delayed because of overlap with EPA Q&A session.

2.       Introductions were made around the room. 

3.       Special Presentations

a) Terry Spear, LATAG Technical Advisor reported that he submitted a written report on OU7. This report was sent to DEQ by LATAG. Terry also reported that he has read through the OU2 draft O&M and remedial action plan documents, but that he has not yet compiled written reviews of them as he wanted to understand the property owner’s concerns.

b) Mel and Lerah parker expressed concerns regarding the following:

·         They have not been informed about what is happening with their property. Rebecca T. agreed to make documents regarding OU2 available to them.

·         They are unclear if their property is still considered “contaminated,” and if so, how this happened when more than 185,000 cubic yards of soil were removed. Areas that were originally identified as “trace” contamination and cleaned have again been labeled “trace.”

·         They were concerned that the mine site could be blowing fibers that were removed back in to town or on to their property. No ambient air monitor has been placed on Hwy. 37 as they have requested many times.

·         They expressed concern about what the O&M is going to be on their property and they do not want documentation attached to their deed. They stated that they were told this would not happen previously, and that now they are being told it will.

·         They expressed frustration that Rainy Creek runs on their property, and Mike C. told them that the creek water is safe to drink, but they have lost their water rights for irrigating.

·         They wanted to know why more ABS sampling is needed, and if it could stir up remaining asbestos fibers on their property.

·         They expressed that the ROD issued by EPA is confusing because it sometimes refers to the entire OU2, and sometimes subareas. They do not feel that it is broken down enough to understand how it will impact their particular property.

·         They expressed concern that EPA may blame contamination on naturally occurring asbestos in background soils.

·         They brought up that the cost of simple maintenance with institutional controls such as tree planting, fence post setting or putting in a water line could be too expensive for homeowners to afford.

c) Gordon S. asked EPA if the Parkers are responsible for contamination left on their property. He expressed that this is an important issue for every property owner who has experienced a clean-up. Institutional controls can be very costly to tax payers and significantly decrease property values. 

4.       EPA Report-

a.      Rebecca T. gave updates of current progress:

                                                               i.      OU1: EPA continues to work with the City of Libby on final park design. Libby has their own plan and engineering firm. EPA is now designing a plan, and there are still some decisions to be made.

                                                             ii.      OU2: EPA is requesting access to the property for ABS and looking forward to TAG’s comments on draft RA and O&M from this property.

                                                            iii.      OU5&8: RI are being revised related to new toxicitity values. High hazard index may indicate non-cancer risk. EPA will hold off doing any kind of alternative analysis until toxicity values are finalized.

                                                           iv.      OU6: EPA will meet with railroad to identify gaps in sampling collected then prepare a remedial investigation.

                                                             v.      Lerah P. commented that she owns 3 acres on the highway which has been reclassified as high risk, yet EPA issued a ROD for her property. Rebecca T. clarified that the section of her property in question was addressed as part of OU2.

                                                           vi.      Gordon S. asked about bark sold and shipped from OU5. Rebecca T. stated that EPA is making an assessment on bark left there. Samples taken prioro to removal are being analyzed and ABS is being done on the site.   Terry S. requested that when available these results be given to LATAG for review. Rebecca T. assured Terry S. that they would do so.

                                                          vii.      Tracy M. asked about the process and order of documents released by EPA for each Operable Unit. Rebecca T. reviewed that there are two separate processes; these are the remedial process and a removal process. The steps in the Remedial Process involve first a Remedial Investigation to define the nature and extent of the problem. Then a feasibility document identifies alternatives. A proposed plan is made including a fact sheet which summarizes feasibility and preferred alternatives. Public comment is taken, and then a Record of Decision is issued which is the formal selection of remedy. Remedial design is drawn up about how to proceed with the remedy. The remedial action then implements the design. Operations and Maintenance and Institutional control plans are then drawn up and left in place as long as waste is left on the property. Each property will then receive 5 year reviews.

                                                        viii.      U dig was discussed, and it was clarified that it is a free service.

                                                           ix.      Terry Spear pointed out that the term “trace” is not well defined in terms of asbestos contamination and that a lot of fibers can be considered “trace.”

5.       DEQ Report-

a.      John Popolinsky was introduced as a new hire.

b.      DEQ stated that they received Terry Spear’s comments and will formulate responses.

a.      It was reported that the public meeting held in Troy went well.

6.       W.R. Grace Report (Bob Meddler) -

a.      A pilot study is being conducted for aquatic toxicity. It will tell if they can keep fibers suspended in water.

b.      Surface water sampling is being don e at the mine site as well. Total amount of asbestos in surface water.

c.      LeRoy T. asked what the purpose of these studies is. Bob responded that they are intended to get a better feel for the potential reason to look at clump fibers from standpoint of potential toxicity to fish and amphibians. He stated that both hehuma health and ecological studies are necessary as part of the overall assessment of the mine site. This is how assessments are done at any EPA site.

d.      Gordon S. asked if asbestos fibers are being released into the Kootenai River and Bob stated that yes, they are. He said that this effect is part of what these studies are intended to evaluate.

e.      Gordon S. asked how much sampling has been done between the mouth of Rainy Creek and Bonners. An EPA representative answered that some have been done that show no fibers and that this is a probably a product of dilution.

f.       Mel P. asked when Rainy Creek area is anticipated to be opened to the public. Bob answered that this would probably never happen. Other properties in this area including 17,000 acres have not been assessed. Christina P. added that OU3, the mine site is the only OU requiring ecological risk assessment. 

7.       The meeting was ended by Mike N. at approximately 8:05PM as the college was closing.



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