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Exxon Fairmont Coke Works

Meeting Minutes

Fairmont Community Liaison Panel
April 1, 1999

Attendees: Lt. Joe Amoroso, Michael Cummings, Mayor Nick Fantasia, Karen Gribben, Bea Hunter, Bruce McDaniel, Barbara Metcalfe, Kevin McClung, John Parks, Robert F. Sapp, Debbie Saurborn, Wayne Stutler, Ron Swope, John Watson, Norma Watson, Marcella Yaremchuk.

Exxon Representative: Art Chin.

Agency Representatives: Richard Kuhn, Melissa Whittington, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Thomas Bass, West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).

Contractor: Doug Taylor, ICF Kaiser.

Guests: Bob Ashcraft; Bill Byrd, Fairmont Times-West Virginian; Harold Caudill; Griff Fowler; William Jacquez; Kevin Sansalone, Fairmont City Attorney; Jennifer Vargo, WDTV; Jenni Vincent, Morgantown Dominion-Post.

Facilitator: Roberta P. Fowlkes, Ann Green Communications, Inc.

Minutes: Dan T. Londeree, Ann Green Communications, Inc.

The April meeting of the Fairmont Community Liaison Panel was called to order at 5:30 p.m. by Roberta Fowlkes, facilitator. Roberta welcomed all participants. Guests were asked to introduce themselves.

Roberta reviewed the panel ground rules with the group. She reviewed the agenda, and there were no additions. She mentioned to panel members that the March 4 meeting minutes were not mailed but instead were part of the handouts for this meeting. The panel agreed the reviewing of these minutes will be postponed until the May 6 meeting.

Unfinished Business

Communication Update

Roberta asked if anyone had heard specific comments about the site. Community members indicated they have heard no specific comments.
Karen Gribben said Nick Fantasia did a program for Association of Businesses. Nick said he received questions regarding who is responsible for the site, how long they are responsible and what the future use of the site will be. Marcella Yaremchuk said John Hannig will be at the Action Marion meeting April 14 to speak about the site and answer questions. Roberta said there have been no questions asked via the community information line.

Project Update

Art Chin said so far ICF Kaiser has had a daily presence at the site, and there has been no need for a security guard. He said Exxon has requirements regarding who can provide the security on the site. He said the company is currently working on the issue and hopefully will come to a resolution in the near future.

Art said the asbestos removal is continuing. He said more asbestos was found in the boiler house than was anticipated, as was stated in the March 4 meeting. He said this finding will extend the asbestos removal program four to five weeks longer than originally scheduled. He said the asbestos removal work will be complete sometime in May. Art said because the asbestos removal must be complete before the demolition can be completed, the demolition will not be completed until May.

Art said the site has changed a lot in the past two weeks. He said the piles of scrap steel are being moved and mentioned the piles of rubble are concrete that may be used on the site. He said community members should not be alarmed regarding these piles because they will be moved when the use of the concrete is determined. He said much of the brick left from the demolition of buildings will be crushed and used as fill material in the existing basins on the site.

Art said the analysis of soil and groundwater sampling has been completed, except the second round of groundwater sampling. He said interpretation of data should begin within the next two weeks. He said interpretation of this data will lead to a model that will show what contamination exists, where the contamination is located and where it is going. He said presenting these results to the panel will take place within the next several months.

Art gave an update on the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA). He said the work plans for the human health risk assessment and the ecological risk assessment were submitted earlier in the day. He said the assessments will proceed once the work plans are approved by EPA. He said he hopes the EE/CA report will be completed sometime in the fall. He reviewed the contents of the report, which include:

· Field sampling results
· Human health risk assessment
· Ecological risk assessment
· Removal response action

Art said the "Removal response action" section includes a proposed response to the contamination found on the site. He said the EPA needs time to review the report and either agree to the report as is or make revisions. He said work in the process areas of the site will not begin until the EE/CA report is agreed upon by EPA.

Robert Sapp asked when the data from samplings will be discussed with the panel. Art said although the report will not be complete until the fall, the results of field sampling will be discussed with the panel over the next several months. Robert asked when the human health risk assessment will be discussed with the panel. Art said the human health risk assessment discussion likely will begin in May, but the final model will not be ready until late summer or early fall.

Melissa asked Art if there will be a brief summary of the sample findings for the May meeting. Art said there will be a summary, but it will not include a great amount of detail. He said the summary mostly will cover the soil sampling because it was the first to occur. Art said a delay in presenting the final report may result from gaps in data that will call for more sampling, but he said he will not know this until the data from recent sampling are analyzed.

Art addressed inspection of asbestos removal. He said EPA recently conducted an inspection of the process Exxon is using to remove asbestos. He said Exxon has taken EPA's recommendations and incorporated them into the asbestos removal program. Art said he wanted the panel to know that the asbestos removal program is being followed closely by EPA and any deficiencies found would be rectified.

Harold Caudill referred to an item he saw on television about the Colorado River being contaminated by waste. He said anything removed from the Fairmont Coke Works Site should not be moved to a location where it will contaminate other areas. Tom Bass said contaminated material may be transported to either a hazardous waste landfill with the proper lining or to a hazardous waste treatment facility that will remove contamination. Art said Harold's point is well-taken and said Exxon will not transport contaminated material to another site in such a manner that other areas would be contaminated. Art said material will be handled by certified landfills or treatment facilities. He also said he is confident that some material on the site can be recycled and reused in some way.

Project XL Update

Melissa said she is pleased to announce Exxon and the agencies have a final document for the Final Project Agreement (FPA). She said the final step is for Tom to brief the director of the WVDEP about the FPA, and the director has been out of the office. She said all of the EPA concurrences have been received. She said she has been working with several people at Exxon and she will give a copy of the final document to Roberta after the meeting for distribution to panel members. She said if there are no changes from the director of the WVDEP, the notice will enter the federal register that the document will be available for public comment. Melissa clarified a statement she made at the previous meeting. She said that she told the panel the document itself will be published in the Federal Register, but this was not correct. She said the layout of the Federal Register, which is two columns and small print, does not lend itself well to a document the size of the FPA. She said a notice that states the document is available for review will be published instead. She said a copy of the document will be in the Marion County Library, and all panel members will have a copy. She said there also will be a copy of the FPA on the Project XL web page. She said the comments previously received from the panel have been incorporated into the document. She said panel members will still have a chance to comment during the public comment period, which will begin the day the notice is published in the federal register (April 9 or April 12).

Roberta asked if the panel will have another chance to comment at the end of the 30-day public comment period. Melissa said she would like to give the panel a chance to review the document after the public comment period to review any comments made during this time. Roberta said because panel members will be signing the FPA, members should have a chance to view the document before signing. Melissa agreed to make sure panel members have a chance to see the FPA after the public comment period and before signing the document.

Roberta referred to a discussion from the previous meeting regarding city ordinances and how they might impact the site. She asked Bruce McDaniel for the report. Bruce said the city has looked at four specific ordinances that are on record for Fairmont. He said the ordinances are as follows:

· Ordinance 551, adopted 10/6/81
· Ordinance 597, adopted 6/7/83
· Ordinance 828, adopted 3/13/90
· Ordinance 829, adopted 3/13/90

Bruce said he has asked Kevin Sansalone, Fairmont City Attorney, to check how these ordinances apply to the FPA. He said Ordinance 551 was specifically adopted for application to the Sharon Steel site, and it declared the site a public nuisance. He said this ordinance also identified seven areas of the site which contained contamination. He said Ordinance 597 prohibited the permanent disposal of hazardous waste within the corporate limits of the city and defined hazardous waste storage, disposal, hazardous waste itself and the party or parties responsible. He said Ordinance 828 added the prohibition to the temporary disposal of hazardous waste. He said Ordinance 829 is targeted toward the prohibition of the production, creation/generation and transportation of solid waste that contains petroleum byproducts. He said these ordinances have applicability in various ways to the FPA, and these differences need to be reconciled to make sure the FPA and the ordinances are compliant with one another.

Bruce said the key issue that needs to be agreed upon is the final disposition of landfill waste. He said if the landfills are consolidated and capped, this may be interpreted as permanent disposal and this could be in violation of Ordinance 597. He said the city is working with Exxon and is exploring possible amendments to the ordinances that would allow an environmentally responsible cleanup that would comply with EPA and WVDEP regulations. He said this would allow Project XL to proceed, and the city is checking to see if this is the proper course of action.

Melissa said EPA has different definitions for disposal and consolidation, but she said she is not sure if the Fairmont ordinances also treat these as separate terms. She said EPA and DEP definitions state that consolidation of waste already on site is not considered "disposal." She said this is because new waste is not being created and is not being brought from off-site. Melissa said if the city ordinances do not treat the definitions as EPA and WVDEP do, then the alternative reviewed by Bruce will have to be considered. Bruce said city officials want to make sure they are being good environmental stewards. He said the city wants to facilitate the cleanup of the site while doing so in an environmentally responsible manner.

Wayne Stutler said he has a concern about permanent disposal of waste on the site, and he would be opposed to any amendment to the ordinances that would allow this to happen. Robert said the city needs to make sure amendments to the ordinances will not allow waste to be brought in and disposed of because an area is classified as a dump. Bruce said there are two central issues to be dealt with: 1) He believes Ordinance 551 was created to try get cleanup initiated at the site, and there were several penalties issued as a result of violations of this ordinance, and 2) Ordinance 597 was created after 551, and its purpose was to try to facilitate a complete cleanup and prevent future sites such as the Sharon Steel site. He said the goal is to complete the process of reconciling the ordinances without harming the environment.

Tom said because the site is a Superfund site, EPA can issue a waiver to the ordinances. Melissa said this has been done in other cases, but it is not the preferred way of conducting cleanup. Tom said although this method is not preferred, if the City of Fairmont is not opposed to it, it could be a simpler option. Melissa said this is a possibility, but she will have to talk with the attorneys involved.

Melissa asked how Fairmont has dealt with landfills or other areas where waste has already been disposed of. Bruce said these have been dealt with on a case by case basis, but he said he is not sure about the specific actions taken in other locations. Melissa asked if there have been any landfill caps or any type of containment used within the corporate city limits. Bruce said he does not know of any instances where this has happened within the corporate limits of the city. Wayne said Ordinance 597 was the ordinance that went to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not a city had the right to make an ordinance that was retroactive in dealing with the disposal of hazardous waste.

Griff Fowler noted that landfills which contain hazardous waste exist within the county limits but not within the city limits. Wayne noted these are solid waste landfills and are not classified as toxic waste landfills. Griff said although they are not classified as such, they do contain toxic material from different sources. Wayne said he agreed that these landfills do contain toxic material. Griff asked Wayne what he would propose to do with the waste currently located on the Coke Works Site. Wayne said he did not have a proposed solution, and he attends panel meetings to find out what options exist. Griff said he believes if the standards of the disposal meet EPA standards, the community should accept it as a solution. He said EPA has the resources to determine whether or not a solution is good for the environment. Melissa said in the coming months Exxon and the agencies will identify the different areas of the site and what material is located in those areas. She said these areas will be discussed at length when the data has been analyzed. Wayne said if nothing has changed since 1983, he is still opposed to the disposal of waste on the site.

City Attorney Kevin Sansalone addressed Robert's concern about amending the ordinances in such a way that waste is allowed to be brought in because an area is classified as a landfill. He said the proposed amendments will not allow waste to be brought from outside the site to be dumped, but instead facilitates the remediation of what now exists on the site. He said the amendments provide protection from other areas being allowed to dispose of waste, and said the amendments are only in conjunction with the remediation of the Coke Works Site under the guidance of EPA and DEP. Nick said he personally would not support any amendment to the ordinances not signed off on by Exxon, EPA and WVDEP. He said if one or more of the three entities does not agree with a recommended action, then he will not support that action. He said he cannot speak for the rest of the City Council.

John Parks asked Kevin if leaving the waste sites as they currently exist will violate the ordinances. Kevin said this is the issue that went to the Supreme Court. He said whoever caused the contamination is in violation of the ordinances. He said as they currently exist, the ordinances do not facilitate the method of cleanup that is anticipated to be used at the site. He said the ordinances prohibit the disposal of any toxic waste on the site, which is within the corporate city limits. He said they need to be modified to permit the storage of toxic waste on site for the purpose of remediation as long as the work is under the guidance of the federal and state regulatory agencies. He said it would not be fair to others to transport the waste off the site when it can be properly contained on the site. Kevin said the facilitation of remediation will require additions to Ordinance 828 and Ordinance 597. He said Ordinance 829 permits a facility that stores waste under the supervision of regulatory agencies. He said he believes City Council took a situation such as the current situation with Project XL into consideration in 1990 with the adoption of Ordinance 829. He said this ordinance does not need any revisions or additions. He said Ordinances 828 and 597 do not have any flexibility to allow a responsible entity working under the guidance of regulatory agencies to store waste. He said the city wants to add this provision to those ordinances, and further limit the action by including that it must be for remediation purposes only. He said this will prohibit anyone from bringing waste into the city limits under a federal or state permit and leaving it there, and it will prohibit the creation of additional sites.

Wayne Stutler said he was a member of City Council at the time the ordinances were adopted. He said 828 and 829 dealt specifically with a proposed petroleum tank and soil reclamation project at the Owens-Illinois plant property. Tom said he believes the state regulations prohibit the importing of any waste into the state.

Roberta asked the panel if an information session about these issues would be helpful to panel members and guests. Nick suggested a work session dedicated to examining the new technologies used in remediation and compare these methods with the regulations that were in place at the time the ordinances were adopted. He said the ordinances may have been a "watchdog" in their day, but they may need some modifications now that new state and federal regulations are in place and new technologies are available.

Ron Swope asked if there have been materials marked for permanent disposal on the site. Art said there are two landfills currently on the site--the north and south landfills--and one smaller unit that is now covered with a polyethylene liner. He said samples have been taken from each area, not to identify specific chemicals, but to identify generally what type of waste is present. Art said coal and breeze (the byproduct left when coal is broken down into other products) are present. He said this material is basically coal and can be sent off-site as a product if enough is present. He said materials classified as hazardous waste will be left on the site. He said there will be no way to tell exactly what exists in every portion of the landfills, but if a material is solid or even semi-liquid, it will not migrate off the site.

He said one hazard in this case is if surface water gets into the landfill and then comes out of the area contaminated, and the other is if contaminated surface water seeps directly into the groundwater. He said sampling the surface water and the groundwater will tell if there is a seeping problem. He said the solution is to put an impermeable cap on the landfill so no water can enter it. He said this also stops groundwater contamination because no surface water is allowed into the landfill. Art said the goal is to engineer the landfill so it is structurally sound and impermeable to surface water. He said he does not yet know exactly what materials are located on the site because the data has not yet been analyzed. He asked Doug Taylor if he had any further information.

Doug said when trenches were cut into the landfills with a backhoe to find the edges, breeze (fine coke dust), logs and scrap steel were found. He said he believes this material was used to level the area. He said there was no evidence of drums or other things typically found in a true hazardous waste landfill. He said the plant did not make many things that were hazardous.

Ron asked if there is any material that will stay on the site. Doug said some material may stay on site, but it is too soon to tell exactly what material, if any, will remain. Ron asked if Exxon and the agencies were sure that everything will not be removed. Art said he is certain not everything will be removed.

Roberta asked panel members if they would like to have more information about how landfills are engineered and maintained. Panel members said they would like to have more information at the next meeting. Bruce said he would like information on what is environmentally acceptable as far as maintaining the waste on the site as compared to how the waste was handled in the 1980s. Michael Cummings said verbal descriptions of landfill technology are informative, but these descriptions bring different mental pictures to different people. He asked if it would be possible to view pictures of the different methods of maintaining the integrity of landfills. Melissa said she can bring pictures of the different ways of maintaining a landfill and the individual steps taken in the process. Nick said the objective is have everyone arrive at a comfort level, otherwise there will be no amendments to the ordinances. He said panel members will be asked questions by other residents and having pictures or diagrams will make it easier to explain.

The question was asked if Exxon and the agencies will have some idea of what is in the landfills before the next meeting. Art said there is no way to know everything that is in the landfills because of their size. He said because the plant processed all materials it could to sell them, there was not much left over as waste. He said the breeze and coal tars are simply coal in a different form and are not hazardous waste. He said the material in the landfills is not consistent with a landfill that accepts hazardous waste from other sites. He said this is not a waste site, but instead it is a landfill that may have in it some materials defined as hazardous waste.

Wayne Stutler asked if anything has been done to remediate the materials found in the 1994 public health assessment survey. Melissa said the action was completed in 1996 but she does not know exactly what occurred between 1993-94 and 1994-96. Wayne said the report was written in 1997. Melissa said the report reflects the current conditions on the site. Norma Watson said when Sharon Steel was on the site, there were bulldozers digging in front of her house between midnight and 6 a.m. She said they were digging so deep that she couldn't see the bulldozers when they were in the bottom of the trenches. Art said he is talking with as many people as he can, and he is finding things as the demolition is being done. He said he does not know anything about what Norma saw.

Offsite Subcommittee

Robert apologized for not calling a committee meeting. He said he has been working on his own company's Risk Management Program. He said he would like to have a meeting as soon as possible.

New Business

Discussion of Signing Ceremony Plans

Roberta and Melissa agreed the time frame for the signing ceremony will be between May 24 and the first week of June. A discussion followed regarding ideas for the signing ceremony. The main ideas presented during the discussion are listed below:

· Invite Neighbors
· Parking off-site ( W.S. Thomas)
· Publicize
· Bus with guided - tours
· Consider having a media tour (Outside Fairmont media who attend)
· Have dignitary to draw people
· Have photo of same spot as panoramic photo

· Location - Suncrest Blvd. side where Earth Day event was held or near Administration Bldg.
· W.S. Thomas has warehouse (contingency location)
· Light of Life Church (contingency location)
· Make it a special event
· Subcommittee (Publicity and Invitees): Michael Cummings, Ron Swope, Nick Fantasia, Bob Ashcraft, John Hannig, Rich Kuhn
· Plan mechanics of signing
· Have history of site

The panel agreed to let the subcommittee take the suggestions and formulate a plan for the signing ceremony. It was agreed a date for the subcommittee meeting will be set within a week.

Next Meeting

The next regular meeting will be May 6. The agenda will include a communication update, a project update, a Project XL update, an Offsite Subcommittee report, a signing ceremony update and discussion, a summary of current remediation and waste management technologies as compared to methods used in the 1980s, a presentation of current site landfill data and a presentation of preliminary soil sampling results.

Comments from Guests

There were no additional comments from guests.

There was no further business, and the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Next regular meeting: Thursday, May 6, 1999
5 p.m. refreshments
5:30 p.m. meeting

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