LATAG Meeting Minutes

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September 13th, 2011

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Regular Board Meeting

Libby Area Technical Assistance Group, Inc.

PO Box 53 • Libby, MT 59923

September 13th, 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:

  • Eileen Carney, Secretary
  • LeRoy Thom, Vice Chairman
  • Mike Noble, Chairman
  • JoElyn Brus, Treasurer
  • Karen Horton
  • Donna Martin, Ad-Hoc
  • Brad Black

Contractor/Employee Attendees:

  • Tracy McNew, Grant Administrator 

Guest Attendees:

  • Mel Parker
  • Carol Campbell, EPA
  • Victor Ketellapper, EPA
  • John Popolinsky, MT DEQ
  • Christina Progess, EPA
  • Libby Faulk, EPA 

1)       Meeting began at approximately 6:05pm.

2)       Introductions were made around the room.

3)       EPA Report

a)  Victor K. reported that there have been 23 ERS responses this season.  Residential clean ups are expected to finish in October. He then reported by OU as follows: 

85 clean-ups have been done on OU4. 

A post-construction ABS plan is being prepared for OU2. 

Surface water sampling continues on OU3.  A test burn will also take place in a burn chamber in North Carolina to simulate the possible effect of a forest fire.  Work is also being done with DNRC to research commercial logging activities. Toxicity testing on fish has not succeeded to date.  Karen H. asked how the testing has failed and Christina P. answered that the asbestos fibers adhere to surfaces and will not stay in suspension.   

DraftRIreports for OU5 and OU8 will be released with risk assessments based on draft toxicity values.  It is expected that toxicity values will be finalized in about a year and then the reports can be finalized.   

b) Libby F. stated that she will email TAG information on submitting comments for the draft toxicity values and on the listening session that is scheduled for October 6.

c) EPA met with school board regarding possible demolition of a portion of Asa Wood School building that is contaminated with asbestos.  The course of action has not yet been decided.

d) Investigation of possible asbestos contamination in wood chips is continuing.  Old samples have been found to contain low levels of asbestos using new techniques.  ABS has been completed with the wood chips and EPA is awaiting the results.  Brad pointed out that the pile is very large and not homogonous so that there could be pockets of high asbestos concentrations and therefore may not be safe even if all samples come back fine.  Mel P. suggested that the pile be taken to the mine site for revegetation.  Brad agreed that this would be a good option to remove the pile from a public area and aid in soil conditioning of the mine site.  Christina and Victor pointed out that there is no plan yet for revegetation of the mine site and that the idea will be taken in to consideration. 

e) Victor shared that the construction contract has been awarded to PRI/ ER who work as a joint venture.  PRI provides technical services while ER implements clean-ups.

f) Mel P. asked about contamination of creek and run off water coming from the mine site that he has previously reported to both EPA and DEQ.  Victor stated that they are looking in to the issue and that it is complicated.  Christina discussed results obtained of fibers per liter concentrations at peak flow.  She stated that a significant contribution from Carney Creek and Rainey Creek lead to high concentrations of fibers in lower Rainy Creek.  Mel P. asked if there had been any studies on reducing contamination from Carney Creek.  Christina stated that preliminary discussions with W.R. Grace had begun.  Brad asked if a holding pond for Carney Creek would be helpful to reduce fiber concentrations as it seems logical.  Carol stated that it is being discussed with W.R. Grace, and Christina referred to this action as “low hanging fruit.”  Brad asked how long it would be before W.R. Grace made a decision regarding action and Victor stated that EPA was hoping to have scientific justification with ecological studies because it would be hard to enforce.   

4)       DEQ Report- John Popolinsky

a)  TetraTec completed 34 evaluations this season

b)  ABS was done on both wet and dry season.  Results are expected in early 2012.  Thank you letters are being sent to residents for participation in ABS.

c)   The DEQ will decrease hours to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the non-construction season.  They will work on data validation and database tasks. 

d)  DEQ hopes to hold a town meeting toward the end of fall so that Troy residents can get to know John.

e)  Mel P asked if DEQ had investigated water quality regulations.  John reported that he had interviewed the “water quality folks” and that it is a “complex situation.” 

f)  Brad asked about possible contamination of the Troy ball park and railroad corridor.  John stated that he isn’t sure if data is available regarding ABS in those areas but that he will look in to it. 

5)       W.R. Grace Report (No Report)

6)       Special Presentations

a) Technical Advisor Report (No Report)

b) Mel Parker- Mel reported that he has legal access to the Rainy Creek area and monitors it because OU3 (the mine) effects OU2 (Mel’s property.)  He states that presence of Tansy weed along the side of Rainy Creek road only indicated that construction material is falling from trucks.  He also points out that trucks do not use a tarp from the amphitheatre to the mine.  Contamination, he says, flows from the amphitheatre in to the creeks and then in to town; the impoundment dam spills in to the creek.  He also points out that a telephone line was put in going from the bottom to the top of the hill which created a trench further facilitating contamination by asbestos laden run off water.  He states concern that EPA is not doing anything about continued asbestos contamination that is going in to Rainy Creek.  Brad pointed out that ultimately DEQ has the power in this situation, as they could push W.R. Grace to meet water quality standards.  A motion was made and unanimously passed to request sampling information from the EPA on fiber counts at high water, acceptable standards, and readings from both above and below Carney Creek so that they can be reviewed by Terry Spear for possible further follow-up with MT DEQ. 

7)       Meeting minutes from August 2011 were reviewed and unanimously approved.

8)       Treasurer’s Report –JoElyn Brus

Balance is $32,731 as of reimbursement 90.  91 will be submitted tomorrow. 

9)       Sub-Committee Reports

a) Communications Committee- Phillip Erquiaga (Chairperson) – No Report.

b) Nomination Committee- LeRoy Thom (Chairperson) – No Report

c) O&M Attendance Rotation Committee- Mike N./LeRoy T. (Co-chairs) – Brad reported that the county health board is working with an attorney and the EPA regarding establishment of interim O&M.  Donna stated that she may be able to start attending O&M meetings.

d) Technical Advisor Committee- Dr. Brad Black (Chairperson) – No Report. 

10)   Old Business

a) Newsletter- It was briefly discussed that the newsletter be outsourced, but it was agreed that Donna and Karen would work on it. 

b) Symposium – a meeting was scheduled for Sept 22 to discuss symposium details. 

11)   New Business (None)

12)   Open Discussion

a)  It was agreed that Terry S. would be asked to come to Libby for the next TAG meeting and stay through the symposium. 

13)   Action items were reviewed and agreed upon, and an executive board meeting was scheduled.

14)   In kind hours were submitted.

15)   E-board meeting was scheduled for Friday 8/19/11 at Noon to take place at the Venture Inn.

16)   The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday October, 11th 2011 at the College.

17)   The meeting was ended with unanimous approval at approximately 7:55PM


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