Thursday, September 5, 2013

Disinformation or Poor Recall?

The  meeting being hosted tonight by BAE Systems and the U.S. Army is reported to be a follow up to concerns from the April 23rd. meeting. The following written responses written responses were provided already:

These answers raise more questions that ought to be answered tonight.

1. Is perchlorate currently being burned at the Open Burning Ground?

2. What were the results of the perchlorate testing performed in July?

3. U.S. Army MERIT documents have noted the following perchlorate levels at RAAP:

   Media Sampled

   *Drinking Water --* 

Three samples taken from drinking water intake points showed no presence of perchlorate. The Army also tested drinking water from raw water intake points at two drinking water plants under
the Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule (UCMR). Perchlorate was not detected in any of these samples.

      *Groundwater --* 
     > In 2005, 113 groundwater samples were collected near a solid waste management unit.              Perchlorate was detected in two of the 113 samples with a high detect of 140 ppb. 

    > In 2007, 88 samples out of 112 detected perchlorate. The sample results ranged from 
       0.1 to 101.0 ppb.

*Surface Water --* 

     > Twenty-eight surface water samples were collected and
analyzed for perchlorate. Of the 28 samples collected, perchlorate was
detected in one sample at a concentration of 1.71 ppb. 
    > In 2007, all nine samples taken detected perchlorate. The sample results ranged from 0.1
to 5.7 ppb.

Appropriate Action
The Army continues to monitor perchlorate levels in groundwater and
surface water as part of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
(RCRA) requirements. In August 2007, a permit modification was submitted
by RFAAP to add corrective action to address groundwater and source
areas. We are in the process of working with the Department of
Environmental Quality (DEQ) on this permit modification process.

POC Information
Malcolm Garg, Army Cleanup Programs, Emergent Contaminant Issues
/Created: 01-MAR-08/
/Updated: (null)/

Then, in 2010 MERIT reports:

Media Sampled and Findings
Drinking Water — Prior to 2007, three samples from drinking water intake points reported no
detection. Drinking water from raw water intake points at two drinking water plants under the
Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule also reported no detection.

Groundwater — 
> In 2010, 16 of 16 samples detected perchlorate from 2.8 to 143 ppb. 
> In 2009, 16 of 16 samples detected perchlorate from 1.3 to 127 ppb. 
> In 2008, 33 of 35 samples detected perchlorate from 0.13 to 81.9 ppb. 
> In 2007, 88 of 112 samples detected perchlorate from 0.07 to101 ppb. 
> Prior to 2007, 2 of 113 samples detected perchlorate with a high of 140 ppb.

Surface Water — In 2007, nine of nine samples detected perchlorate from 0.14 to 5.66 ppb.
Prior to 2007, 1 of 28 samples detected perchlorate at 1.71 ppb.

Clearly, the levels of perchlorate in groundwater is going up. This groundwater is in Karst, meaning it travels unpredictably through fissures, sinkholes, caves and underground conduits. Prior dye tracer studies at RAAP demonstrated that groundwater flow could not be tracked.

3. Why did Rob Davie of the U.S. Army tell our community on April 23, 2013 that he didn't know if perchlorate was a part of the waste stream (being burned) at the Open Burning Ground when their own records show levels of perchlorate are indisputably increasing

Why does the U.S. Army claim in the follow up answers (linked above) that they have not tested drinking water intakes since 2004? Is Mr. Davie, Chief of Operations for the Army at the Radford Arsenal, unaware of the record of perchlorate testing or intentionally misleading the public?  Mike Gangloff of  the Roanoke Times reported ten years ago in 2003: (emphasis added)

"Rob Davie, the Army's operation's chief at the Radford arsenal, said Friday that the arsenal had not carried out comprehensive testing that would indicate whether the plant has a perchlorate problem.  'We haven't sampled enough to say there's none here,' Davie said.  Davie said he wasn't sure if perchlorate is still used at the arsenal.  Perchlorate turned up in a 1999 water sample taken at an area used in the 1970s as a disposal site for ash from the burning of waste propellant, said Jim McKenna, who heads the arsenal's cleanup of waste left from former operations."

4. Does the U.S. Army and BAE Systems condone the dissemination of disinformation?

 Why is the EPA, Virginia DEQ and DHS not scheduled to participate in this important community engagement meeting? According to the unique RCRA permit issued to RAAP in 2000, a site manager from the Superfund Division has been assigned to assist our community. Who is that person and why has our community never had anyone from EPA's Superfund division at a RAAP meeting? The only EPA site managers that have attended important community meetings have NOT been from Superfund. The current site manager is Erich Weissbart, a Virginia Tech graduate and former VA DEQ employee where in 2006 he worked in the Central Office overseeing permits including those issued to the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. He was subsequently hired by EPA Region 3 and assigned to RAAP in 2011, when the RCRA permit was coming up for renewal. Mr. Weissbart stated at an EPA community meeting on May 2, 2011 that he had "just been assigned to RAAP," and didn't know much about the facility or permit yet. He is not part of the Superfund division. This hastily called (less than seven days notice) community meeting was recorded by Tim Thornton of WVTF, the Virginia Tech Foundation owned public radio station here. Tim's report the next morning was VERY short lived and disappeared from their archive later that same day. 

Curiouser and curiouser.

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