September 17, 2003

On Wednesday, September 17, 2003, the NAVSTA Newport Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) gathered at the Officers’ Club for their monthly meeting. The meeting began at 7:10 p.m. and ended at 9:15 p.m.

In attendance were John Vitkevich, Thomas McGrath, David Brown, Emmet Turley, James Myers, Thurston Gray, Thomas Reardon, Howard Porter, Manuel Marques, Claudette Weissinger, Kathy Abbass, Stephen Parker (TtNUS), Franco LaGreca (EFANE), Lisa Yeutter (EFANE), Stacey McFadden (TAG/AICAB), David Dorocz (NAVSTA), Captain Robert McLaughlin (NAVSTA), Gregg Kolhweiss (NAVSTA), Kathy Marley (NAVSTA), Paul Kulpa (RIDEM), and Kymberlee Keckler (USEPA).

Mr. John Vitkevich opened the meeting and welcomed the group.


There were no changes to the minutes of the July meeting. Mr. Vitkevich asked for a motion to accept the minutes, which was seconded and then carried.


Ms. Lisa Yeutter began with an overview of the McAllister Point Habitat Survey. A copy of the slide show presented is provided as enclosure (1).

Ms. Yeutter stated that prior to the dredging of the marine sediment a Baseline Habitat Survey and Essential Fish Habitat Assessment was completed in 2000/2001.

Following the dredging of the near shore area off McAllister Point, the Navy performed eelgrass seeding and transplanting, and constructed six artificial reefs to restore the natural habitat impacted by the dredging.

Lisa Yeutter stated the goals of the 2003 Post Dredging Habitat Survey are to monitor the remnant eelgrass bed and to perform inspections of the six artificial reefs. Ms. Yeutter further stated that the 2003 Spring Habitat Survey and Summer Habitat Survey have been completed.

A general biological survey of the artificial reefs was part of the Spring Habitat Survey. The artificial reefs will be compared to the natural, nearby reef north of McAllister Point.

Ms. Kymberlee Keckler asked if the ‘remnant’ eelgrass refers only to the eelgrass that was not disturbed by the dredging. Ms. Yeutter stated the eelgrass being surveyed is eelgrass that was not affected by the dredging.

Ms. Claudette Weissinger asked why the Coddington Cove Breakwater Reef was not used as a reference area for a comparison to the artificial reefs. Ms. Yeutter stated the Breakwater Reef was not chosen for comparison since it has a higher pitch and the slope of the reef is greater.

Ms. Yeutter stated the Summer Habitat Survey included sediment profile interface photography and bathymetric and side scan sonar surveying to examine the sediment and various objects on the bottom.

Dr. Kathy Abbass asked how tall the artificial reefs stand from the bottom. Ms. Yeutter stated the smaller stone is approximately one foot from the bottom and the larger stone approximately two feet from the bottom.

Dr. Abbass asked for the exact size of the stone placed in the artificial reefs. Ms. Yeutter stated the size of the smaller stone was approximately 4-6 inches and the larger stone approximately 8-12 inches.

Dr. Abbass asked for the exact coordinates of the six artificial reefs. Ms. Lisa Yeutter provided the following coordinates for the approximate center of each artificial reef. A schematic of the reefs is located on page 9 of enclosure (1):

Reef (1) 71.31198072W/41.54446778N
Reef (2) 71.31162533W/41.54411291N
Reef (3) 71.31127161W/41.54375704N
Reef (4) 71.31092197W/41.54340327N
Reef (5) 71.31056378W/41.54305145N
Reef (6) 71.31020579W/41.54270077N

Ms. Stacy McFadden asked if the transplanted eelgrass was successful. Ms. Yeutter stated that the eelgrass seeding and eelgrass transplanting was not very successful in these areas.

Lisa Yuetter told the RAB that the 2003 Post Dredging Habitat Survey will include an additional Fall Habitat Survey to be performed in October of 2003.


Mr. Stephen Parker began his presentation with an overview of the NUWC Disposal Area. A copy of the slide show presented during the discussion is included as enclosure (2).

Mr. Parker stated the NUWC Disposal Area is presently being evaluated and the areas of concern have been identified. Mr. Parker further stated that information from persons associated with the site and its past use have been helpful in identifying areas of concern.

The work plan investigations include a study of the soil gas, surface water and sediment, test pits, borings and wells. The specific findings of the study area screening investigation are described in enclosure (2).

The soil gas results show that relative concentrations are indicative of where contaminants are present, but not how much is present. Contaminants identified as part of the soil gas study include: Gasoline type contaminants, Hydrocarbons (C11-C15), and Trichloroethane (a cleaning solvent).

As part of the soil gas study, Mr. Parker stated that it is possible the high concentration of hydrocarbons which are found at the southeast corner of the study area could be explained as a result of creosote seeping from the nearby telephone pole.

Mr. John Vitkevich stated that back in 1974 utility poles were removed from Pier 2 for disposal. Mr. Vitkevich offered to research more information on where the utility poles were disposed of.

As part of the investigation, surface water and sediment samples were collected. The results show a high concentration of lead at several locations. The results also show a higher concentration of chemicals in depositional areas.

Test pits were installed to evaluate the soil conditions 0-10 feet deep. The test pits contained large objects such as rubble debris, brick, and concrete, as well as metal, aerosol cans and crushed drums.

Soil borings and groundwater samples were taken at various locations, to investigate at deeper depths. Drive points were used to help determine the flow of the groundwater.

Bedrock wells were installed at locations where there is a higher concern for contamination. These wells will help better describe how the contaminants are moving.

Mr. Howard Porter asked what is the depth to groundwater. Mr. Parker stated that groundwater was found at 10-12 feet.

Mr. Porter asked if the contamination was flowing downhill into the nearby pond. Mr. Parker stated the contamination has the ability to move and the groundwater and contamination may be flowing toward the pond.

Dr. Abbass stated that a local dry-cleaner located in Middletown, was found to have a past practice of dumping solvents. Dr. Abbass suggested that this may be a contributing source of contamination.

Mr. Parker stated that the location of the dry-cleaner is a far distance from the site. The monitoring wells would have to be very deep to find the contamination since the flow of the groundwater would seep deeper into the bedrock and deeper into the ground as it traveled.

David Dorocz told the RAB that Deerfield Pond is downgradient of the NUWC Rubble Fill and, the 2-acre pond receives drainage mostly from the surrounding community. He further stated that Deerfield Pond has a dam where water is pumped to the adjacent Wanumetonomy golf course. The water is pumped to the golf course pump house and then to a pond located in the center of the golf course. The water is then used for irrigation.


Project Committee – Emmet Turley

Mr. Emmet Turley provided information on the various aspects of dredging. Enclosure (3) is provided as this months Project Committee Report.

Education Committee – Kathy Abbass

Dr. Kathy Abbass discussed the draft introductory training manual provided to the RAB at a previous meeting. The training manual will be revised based on review comments provided by the RAB. The manual will then be printed and distributed to newcomers, and serve as a reference document.

Planning Committee – Thomas McGrath

Mr. Thomas McGrath revised the RAB Planning Schedule with the RAB members. Enclosure (4) is a copy of the revised planning agenda for the next four months.

An overview presentation will be given by the Navy and the USEPA to present a TAPP/TAG Overview. Ms. Kymberlee Keckler asked the RAB to forward specific questions they would like to see addressed during the presentations.

Membership Committee – Thurston Gray

Mr. Thurston Gray announced there are presently thirteen community members. There were eleven community members present at the meeting.

Mr. Vitkevich announced that Mr. Christopher Burnett who was not able to attend the meeting. Mr. Burnett has recently been accepted as a new RAB member by a majority vote.

Mr. Gray reminded the RAB that the community website has been established and the new address is www.rabnewport.org.


Mr. John Vitkevich told the RAB he will not be able to attend the RAB meeting in October.

Ms. Kymberlee Keckler announced that Mr. Michael McGagh, an EPA representative, will be presenting a TAG Overview to the RAB at the next meeting.


The next meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) will held on October 15, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. at the Officers’ Club.


(1) McAllister Point Post Dredging Habitat Survey 2003 (2,792KB)
(2) NUWC Disposal Area - Study Area Screening Investigation (4,546KB)
(3) Project Committee Report dated September 18, 2003 on the Highlights of Dredging (903KB)
(4) Planning Committee – Planning Schedule (34KB)