RAB MEETING MINUTES
NAVAL STATION NEWPORT
On Wednesday, September 18, 2002, the NAVSTA Newport Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) gathered at the Officers' Club for its monthly meeting. The meeting began at 7:05 p.m. and ended at 8:45 p.m.
In attendance were John Vitkevich, Kathy Abbass, Edward Moitoza, Susan Hester, Howard Porter, Emmet Turley, James Myers, Thurston Gray, John Lennon, David D. Dorocz (NAVSTA), Kathy Marley (NAVSTA), Theresa Ryan (NAVSTA) James Shafer (EFANE), Paul Kulpa (RIDEM), Kymberlee Keckler (USEPA)
John Vitkevich opened the meeting and welcomed the group. He announced that Mary Blake, Manual Marques, David Brown, and Claudette Weissinger would not be in attendance for the meeting. John then asked the group to sign a Get Well card for Thomas McGrath who was presently in the hospital.
John Vitkevich asked for a motion to accept the previous meeting minutes for July. The minutes were approved and then seconded by the group.
ACTIVITY INSTALLATION RESTORATION SITES UPDATE – Jim Shafer
Installation Restoration (IR) Sites were addressed individually in a slide presentation. Enclosure (1) is a copy of the slide presentation. As noted on the enclosure the Old Fire Fighting Training Area (OFFTA) Final Feasibility Study (FS) will be complete as of September 2002. Jim Shafer added that further testing of ground water is to be performed while developing the PRAP for the OFFTA.
Kathy Abbass suggested the Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) for OFFTA be coordinated with Congressman Kennedy's office due to his past interest in the site. The RAB agreed to review the mailing list to ensure information on the site is sent to Congressman Kennedy's office.
John Vitkevich asked if the estimated total cleanup costs include the onshore and offshore areas of the OFFTA. Jim Shafer explained that the $8.7 million dollars is for the cleanup of the onshore only. He further explained that the Navy uses conservative estimates in the planning stage to program funding. A more accurate and separate estimate is prepared for construction. Kymberlee Keckler added that an over estimate of 30 percent is a reasonable amount for the planning.
McAllister Point Landfill Remedial Action Report has been submitted and the plan is to revise the monitoring plan to include both the offshore and onshore. Please see Enclosure (1). Kymberlee Keckler stated that the offshore eelgrass is being handled as a separate project.
Emmet Turley stated that there have been some disturbances of eelgrass beds in the area by persons digging for quahogs from the local waters. These disturbances have caused damage to local eelgrass. Paul Kulpa urged that this type of activity be reported to the Department of Environmental.
Thurston Gray announced that Save the Bay, in conjunction with Dr. Granger, is to be performing eelgrass seeding and transplants. The dates are September 30th, October 1st, and October 4th and volunteers are requested.
Jim Shafer discussed the next step for the Melville North Landfill is to obtain the approval on the Closure Report. The Final Report was submitted February 2002. Paul Kulpa stated correspondence is to be issued by the Department of Environmental Management shortly.
The next step in the Gould Island cleanup project is to complete the Draft (RI) Work Plan and submit it this coming winter.
Derecktor Shipyard Draft Proposed Plan completion date is scheduled for January 2004.
Emmet Turley expressed interest in the future cleanup goals and land use of Derecktor Shipyard. Kymberlee Keckler stated that the Superfund process includes the consideration of future use of property when establishing cleanup goals for the site.
John Vitkevich expressed a past idea of using Derecktor as a cruise ship dock with the thought of tourism for Newport, since railroad tracks are also present at this location. David Dorocz stated that the Navy has no plans to excess Derecktor Shipyard.
Jim Shafer concluded the Activity Update and informed the RAB that a meeting is to be held on September 19th with the state and federal regulators regarding the study and remediation strategy for the Tank Farms. The Navy is proposing to address all of the Tank Farms under the state's Underground Storage Tank (UST) program.
Kymberlee Keckler stated EPA's response to this method of cleanup has been referenced in a letter to Northern Division dated 29 July 2002. Kymberlee Keckler also stated in accordance with the Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) of 1993, the Tank Farms are to be investigated under Superfund.
Paul Kulpa stated that in 1982, several 100,000 gallons of sludge were removed from Tank Farm 1 and disposed of as Hazardous Waste.
David Dorocz stated that Derecktor Shipyard was not originally included in the FFA. This site is now part of the FFA since the Navy asked for it to be added to the Federal Facilities Agreement. He further explained that the reasoning behind this effort was the fact that this was the only method of obtaining the cleanup dollars necessary to fund the remediation at the site. David Dorocz also commented that from an environmental standpoint it is not understood why a tank farm with million gallon tanks would be cleaned up under the CERCLA program when there is a tank program to provide the proper mechanism and protocol for doing the cleanup.
Jim Shafer stated that discussions and decisions of the September 19th meeting regarding these issues are to be addressed at the next RAB meeting.
John Lennon asked "what are the major steps in prioritizing what projects get funded, and in what order". Jim Shafer explained that a Risk Ranking System is utilized as the method for prioritizing risks. The priorities of the RAB, USEPA, and RIDEM are then evaluated by the Navy in order to develop the final ranking. Kymberlee Keckler stated this ranking system is used to identify the risks in a high, medium, low manner.
Education Committee – Kathy Abbass
Kathy Abbass requested that the new graphic map of the Navy sites be produced integrating the Navy Locus Map with a bar graph. She suggested the that the map, showing the cleanup schedule and cleanup progress of each designated Navy site, be provided to the RAB for their review at the next meeting and later for inclusion by the Navy to its web site.
Kathy Abbass discussed an ongoing problem with vandalism in waters off of Navy property. Vandalism, where the RIMAP has been collecting artifacts as part of an ongoing archeological program, has become a political issue due to the sensitivity and high visibility of some projects. One incident has been found to have a grave effect on possible findings and artifacts related to the historical project Endeavor. Disturbance of cultural property during this type of investigation may be as severe as removing the one clue that would clearly identify their findings.
It is felt that protecting vessels and sites owned by other countries having revolutionary artifactual value should be of great importance to Rhode Island as well as the Navy. Kathy Abbass stated that in accordance with international law when a country's Navy owns property and vessels, the vessels will always be considered owned by that country's Navy.
Kathy Abbass stated that finding the Endeavor could be the most historically important ship to be found in North America to date. Do to the historical possibilities, the project may continue for years and there have been nine offers to film a documentary of the specific findings in these waters.
John Vitkevich asked Kathy Abbass what the conditions have been like in the surrounding waters of the Endeavor project. Kathy replied "The divers are lucky to have six feet of visibility, with ripping currents at the heaviest flow of the tide. Volunteers are welcome and do not have to be divers, there is much work to do and since so much of what we do involves the Navy, RIMAP currently has an office located on Pier 2".
Kathy Abbass then passed around a historical map to the committee members and presented a historical briefing, with reference to the Aquidneck Island property and local waters.
David Dorocz inquired about the penalty for disturbing artifacts. Kathy responded that with Rhode Island law there is a problem because currently there is no penalty and no enforcement action. There is legislation pending for the enforcement action of a ten thousand dollar fine if caught and a one thousand dollar finders fee for the person that turns it in.
Kathy Abbass said in closing that there are two ways to establish a security area for this type of work, one is to not tell anyone about what is going on while trying to stay out of site; and, second to clearly establish an area and warn that no one is permitted near the area. Kathy Abbass stated that not clearly establishing an area for the RIMAP work has proven to be ineffective.
Planning Committee – Thomas McGrath
Ed Moitza reported to the Committee in Thomas McGrath's absence. Mr. Moitza announced there is to be an upcoming sub-committee meeting planned for the near future.
Public Information Committee – David Brown
No report as committee chair was not present.
Membership Committee – Thurston Gray
Thurston Gray announced that there is presently eighteen community members with no other new members ready to come on board. Kymberlee Keckler asked what the community is doing to recruit for a larger membership. John Lennon stated he became aware of the committee through website investigation. John Vitkevich suggested that a Newport Daily News ad be designed by the committee to maintain a membership of twenty. David Dorocz suggested contacting specific organizations, as well as utilizing the newspaper to seek out additional members.
Project Committee – Emmet Turley
Emmet Turley distributed a project report subject: "Dredged Material Management Program" ( Enclosure (2)). The document references the local New England District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The information describes the Corps responsibilities regarding dredged material management, disposal monitoring, as well as disposal site research.
John Vitkevich informed the group that the Portsmouth Town Council passed a resolution of support for the concept of building an amphitheater at Tank Farm 2. The next step is to discuss the concept with the Navy. John added the next Aquidneck Island Planning Commission is to be held Thursday, October 3rd at 8:30, at the Middletown Town Hall.
The next meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) will be on October 16, 2002, at 7:00 p.m. David Dorocz suggested the following agenda items: The EFA Northeast Installation Restoration Program Budget and Report on results of the Navy's meeting with EPA and RIDEM on the Tank Farm Cleanup Project. At the request of Ms. Kymberlee Keckler, the OFFTA Update will be postponed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.