Restoration Advisory Board (RAB)
Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Fort Detrick
Restoration Advisory Board Meeting
November 8, 2000

  1. Index of Minutes
    Items addressed at the meeting are listed below, with corresponding section numbers indicated in the column on the right.

    Subject/Topic Paragraph Number
    Index of Minutes 1
    Meeting Opening 2
    Attendance 3
    Opening Remarks and Introductions 4
    New Member Nomination 5
    Outreach Efforts 6
    Camp Lejeune Groundwater 7
    Private Well Sampling Results 8
    Cancer Cluster Studies 9
    Status Report--Area B-11 Removal Action and Areas A, B, and C 10
    Community Co-Chair Summary 11
    Meeting Summary and Agenda Items/Date for Next Meeting 12
    Meeting Closing 13
  2. Meeting Opening
    The meeting was convened at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday, November 8, 2000, in Conference Room 1, 810 Schreider Street, Fort Detrick, Maryland.

  3. Attendance:

    Members Present:
    Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Springer, P.E., Chief, Safety, Environment and Integrated Planning (SEIPO), Fort Detrick (Installation Co-Chair)
    Mr. Gerald P. Toomey (Community Co-Chair)
    Colonel James Greenwood, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Detrick
    Mr. Larry Bohn, Frederick County Health Department
    Mr. Thomas Meyer, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
    Ms. Helen Miller Scott, Community Member
    Mr. Dennis Orenshaw, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Region III
    Ms. Linda Robinson, Community Member
    Mr. Craig Toussaint, Ph.D., Community Member

    Others Present:
    Ms. Helen G. Alexander, Local Resident
    Mr. Rich Bradstreet, Local Resident
    Ms. Tara Buck, Frederick News-Post
    Mr. Benito Burdo, Local Resident
    Mr. Chick & Ms. Diane DeThomasis, Local Residents
    Mr. John Fairbank, Maryland Department of the Environment
    Ms. Kim Gross, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    Mr. David Iseri, IT Corporation
    Mr. Hubert J. Kaempf, Local Resident
    Ms. Joyce Kelley, Public Affairs Office, Fort Detrick
    Ms. Jo Ann Krantz, Local Resident
    Mr. & Mrs. K. L. Krantz, Local Residents
    Mr. Michael Kurtianyk, Macintosh Realtor
    Mr. Tim Lynch, Local Resident
    Mr. Gilbert Monck, American Association of Retired Persons
    Ms. Margaret Pigott, Local Resident
    Mr. Gary Pauly, Local Resident
    Mr. Jim Richmond, Maryland Department of the Environment
    Mr. John Sinsel, Universe Technologies, Inc.
    Mr. Gary Snyder, Local Resident
    Dr. & Mrs. Robert Venezia, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
    Ms. Nancy Shropshire, SEIPO, Fort Detrick (Recording Secretary)

    Members Absent:
    Mr. Charles Billups, Ph.D., Community Member
    Mr. William Effland, Ph.D., Community Member
    Mr. Michael Gresalfi, Community Member
    Mr. Thomas Meyer, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District
    Mr. Paul Offutt, Frederick County Health Department
    Mr. Jay Rhoderick, Community Member
    Mr. Douglas Scarbrough, U.S. Army Environmental Center
    Mr. Stewart Taylor, Ph.D., P.E., Community Member
    Mr. Thomas Wade, Community Member

  4. Opening Remarks and Introductions
    Lieutenant Colonel Springer introduced Colonel Greenwood, who welcomed everyone to the meeting. Colonel Greenwood explained that we take the environmental issues here on Fort Detrick very seriously. He added that, during the 18 months he has been at Fort Detrick, he has seen great improvement in keeping dialogue open with the community. He expressed his appreciation for the community involvement. He added that we now have funding and will begin to see action in Area B.

    Mr. Toomey stated that our community RAB is made up of dedicated people and that a wealth of information has been garnered from Fort Detrick over the years. It has progressed from study and concern to finding a source, and now to taking action to eliminate a source of contamination from the ground. He added that community members, as well as Army members, have come and gone from the RAB, and that we are always looking for new members, especially people who can provide a different insight and have different concerns they would like to express.

  5. New Member Nomination
    Mr. Toomey introduced Mr. Kurtianyk, a prospective member from the real estate community. Ms. Robinson nominated Mr. Kurtianyk for membership in the RAB. She added that Mr. Kurtianyk is interested in public affairs and science, and that he would be a worthy candidate. Mr. Toomey seconded the nomination. He noted that a final vote could not be taken due to the lack of a quorum. Mr. Toomey added that the RAB Charter would allow the vote to be conducted outside the meeting. The consensus was to take the vote by phone or email and to distribute the results through a joint email from Lieutenant Colonel Springer and Mr. Toomey.

  6. Outreach Efforts
    Lieutenant Colonel Springer asked that everyone introduce himself/herself for the benefit of everyone present. Lieutenant Colonel Springer stated that outreach efforts continue. Special efforts made for this meeting include:

    • Pinpointing targets by pointedly contacting, for example, the AARP and asking whether a representative would be interested in attending RAB meetings
    • Sending a postcard to each of 21 families who requested, following the June 1, 2000, public meeting, that their wells be sampled
    • Sending a postcard to the entire roster of people who attended the June 1, 2000, public meeting
    • Publishing an article in the newspaper to advertise the meeting

    We are also trying to contact homeowners' associations near Fort Detrick to determine what homeowner or condominium associations are near Fort Detrick and to then use these contacts as a conduit to invite officers or homeowners from that community to attend our meetings. That effort has been productive as shown by a significantly larger and more diverse population present at this meeting to represent the public. Lieutenant Colonel Springer added that the purpose of the RAB is to communicate to the public what we are doing in the environmental restoration program and to receive input from the public about what we should be doing to protect community interests.

    Mr. Toussaint asked for an update on the status of the RAB web page. Lieutenant Colonel Springer responded that the RAB web page is up and energized. He added that the web site is and includes extensive information about Fort Detrick's restoration program and the RAB.

  7. Camp Lejeune Groundwater
    Lieutenant Colonel Springer provided copies of a recent newspaper article (Attachment 1), from The Frederick Post, which highlighted the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base. The article indicated that groundwater below the base was contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE), also called perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene (TCE), and that the water was consumed by the Camp Lejeune population. Lieutenant Colonel Springer explained that this was not the case at Fort Detrick or in the surrounding communities. No one in or immediately near the groundwater plume below Fort Detrick is drinking water contaminated from Fort Detrick. Residents who were at risk, particularly those along Shookstown Road near the southern boundary of Area B, some time ago were provided bottled drinking water at our expense. Others that were within Frederick's city water supply system were connected to the public drinking water system at our expense. So, as opposed to what Camp Lejeune has done, we have taken proactive steps to protect public health and preclude the kind of thing that has happened there. Colonel Greenwood added that the newspaper articles were provided to the RAB because the Camp Lejeune incident involved some of the same chemicals or toxic substances that are being discussed in connection with Fort Detrick and could cause concerns about how that situation relates to Fort Detrick.

    Lieutenant Colonel Springer also provided copies of a letter to the editor (Attachment 2) that was recently published in the Frederick Gazette and the draft reply (Attachment 3). The article pointed to issues about what was buried at Fort Detrick, the desire for more information, and how Fort Detrick is dealing with it. Lieutenant Colonel Springer prepared the draft reply using input from Mr. Iseri, Mr. Meyer, Mr. Dasey, and others. The intent is to inform the public and answer the questions posed by Mr. Mastrino. Lieutenant Colonel Springer added that the briefing charts, to be presented by Mr. Meyer, will show that the contamination on Fort Detrick is not small. But, to a very large extent, it has not reached off post in significant quantities and, to date, has not reached off post in quantities above the USEPA maximum contamination limits.

    Mr. Snyder asked whether it is possible that other tests were conducted using biological agents that were disposed of in the Grid Area. Ms. Scott stated that she worked at Fort Detrick for 40 years and in biological labs, and that she was present when deactivation occurred between 1969 and 1972. Simulants, not actual biological agents, were used for dispersion information. Tests, using simulants, were conducted to see how far things might go in the wind with radiation from the sun. The simulants were nonpathogenic agents that occur in nature. Lieutenant Colonel Springer explained that nonpathogenic agents are bacteria that cause no negative health effects.

    Ms. DeThomasis asked whether animals roaming the property or people working in the area were tested and whether they tested positive for these contaminants. Lieutenant Colonel Springer replied that, to his knowledge, no tests had been done. Ms. DeThomasis asked what led to the determination that a problem existed in Area B. Mr. Fairbank replied that TCE was detected in a monitoring well installed to monitor the active sanitary landfill on the facility. The state, in conjunction with the Army, tested wells along the perimeter of the road and found low levels of TCE in the water. Mr. Snyder stated that the USEPA told a farmer whose property sits on Shookstown Road that he could no longer use his cows for dairy purposes. Lieutenant Colonel Springer responded that the USEPA did not shut down the farm. Mr. Krantz added that he was a relative of the farmer, and that the operation was shut down because the cattle were contaminating the water stream. The cattle were tested periodically, but no bacteria or anything was detected in them. Mr. Toomey stated that, to his knowledge, none of the animals ever had a positive detect for any of the chemicals discussed. TCE was detected in the groundwater in 1984, and a small group of citizens became increasingly concerned. Then, in 1992, the RAB was created and has been tracking the contamination ever since. Mr. Toomey added that the problem here was discovered in 1984, and that the history was tracked to use of the area as a dumping ground during the 1950s and 1960s. He stated that he would like to know what the population was like just southeast of Areas A & B during that time and whether a study should be undertaken to look at how many people, if any, were affected. Lieutenant Colonel Springer agreed that we could look at that. Mr. Krantz and Mr. Kaempf both said they worked at Fort Detrick for many years in the past, that safety was always the first priority, and that Fort Detrick had the most fantastic safety division the world had ever seen. Colonel Greenwood noted that each known dumping site was tested, and the only site that tested positive was Site B-11, where work is scheduled to begin in February 2001.

    Mr. Orenshaw commented on the draft response to the letter to the editor. He stated that in his opinion the statement about using unproven technology to clean up the area was not sufficiently addressed, especially considering the amount of time, effort, and money that the Army is pouring into making sure that this process is conducted safely. Lieutenant Colonel Springer agreed to edit the draft response to better cover that issue.

  8. Private Well Sampling Results
    Lieutenant Colonel Springer stated that at the June 1, 2000, public meeting, he opened an invitation to members who attended that meeting for the Army to sample, test, and inform them of the results of the tests on the quality of drinking water from their wells. He provided a data sheet (Attachment 4) with addresses and test results for the 21 residential drinking water wells that were sampled and tested for a long list of volatile organic chemicals. Two wells tested positive for some of these volatile organic chemicals. The well at 5812 Shookstown Road tested positive for Bromodichloromethane (5), Chloroform (46), and Chlorodibromomethane (1). These three chemicals, along with Bromoform, are known as disinfection byproducts, or Trihalomethanes. Chlorine is added to water to kill bacteria so you will not get sick from the bacteria. When Chlorine interacts with bacteria, it generates these Trihalomethanes. The USEPA Standard for the sum of these four chemicals is 80 parts per billion (ppb). The sum for the Shookstown Road residence was 52 ppb, which is well below the USEPA Standard. This well also tested positive for Acetone. The original test showed Acetone at 7 ppb, and the duplicate test showed 1 ppb. Acetone has not been detected anywhere else, and we do not know where it came from. Acetone is in nail polish remover, and we question whether a woman took the sample. The USEPA Health Advisory Limit is 610 ppb, which is almost 100 times greater than the highest test result for this well. The only positive test result for the residence at 7915 Runnymeade Drive was 1 ppb Chloroform. None of the remaining 19 wells contained a detectable amount of any of the volatile organic compounds.

  9. Cancer Cluster Studies
    Mr. Bohn introduced Dr. Venezia, Environmental Health Coordinator, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Venezia gave a presentation on cancer cluster studies and provided copies of two brochures: A Message about Cancer Clusters (Attachment 5) and Guidelines for the Investigation of Suspected Cancer Clusters, Fall 2000 (Attachment 6), both published by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Venezia noted that vast, unfiltered information (from scientists, residents in areas that have dealt with cancer clusters, etc.) is available on the Internet for anyone to see. Cancer registries are large databases used since 1992 by state health departments around the country to store data on anyone diagnosed or treated for cancer. Cancer registries put out volumes of statistical information each year on every type of cancer on which it collects information. Statistics are listed by county, state, and other demographic factors, such as race, age, and gender.

    Cancer clusters are often difficult to detect and verify due to:

    • Small number of cases in small areas--scientifically impossible to draw conclusions from such small numbers
    • Vague exposure and disease definition
    • Long latency periods
    • Publicity generation creates bias
    • Lack of agency resources and expertise

    In response to questions, Dr. Venezia responded that he is not aware of any cancer cluster in Frederick County, but that he is aware that the Maryland cancer rate is high, compared to the rest of the country. He added that states with large cities tend to have higher cancer rates, and that Washington DC residents tend to come to Maryland for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Maryland has a tremendous diversity of people, covering all different cancer types that might be related to different cultures, ages, occupations, etc. Genetic concerns are changing everything and have become the number one issue in cancer research. Dr. Venezia explained that TCE is dangerous to the liver and the kidneys; it can cause skin problems from direct exposure. Mr. Toomey asked how we could develop a cancer cluster study on the area southeast of Fort Detrick based on the population living there between the 1960s and the 1980s. Dr. Venezia explained that it would be difficult because data in the Maryland Cancer Registry only goes back to 1992. Another issue would be finding the people who lived there during that time, getting these people to agree to provide medical records, and convincing the states where they moved to agree to provide their vital statistic numbers. This could take years and would be very expensive.

    Dr. Venezia complimented the RAB and stated that he has never seen such a high level of on-going communication where this type of testing was made available to the community without prior scientific study. He added that Fort Detrick has been extremely responsive to the concerns of the community and that this community has a great opportunity that most communities in the country don't have. In addition, the county and state health departments are available to answer questions.

  10. Status Report--Area B-11 Removal Action and Areas A, B, and C
    Mr. Meyer provided copies of his presentation (Attachment 7). He briefed the status of the Area B-11 Removal Action for the three chemical waste disposal pits. The contract was awarded last year to IT Corporation, using the remainder of the FY00 funds, and the remaining portion will be funded with FY01 funds. Work plans are in development by the contractor and scheduled to be completed/ approved by January 2001. Seismic refraction work has been started to find the surface of the bedrock for the freeze wall design. Mobilization will begin in February 2001. The sprung structure will be erected and other activity will begin at the site. Excavation is scheduled to begin in April 2001 and continue for approximately four months. Closure is expected before the end of the year. Mr. Meyer added that we basically know what's in one pit, and that the schedule could shrink or expand, based on what is found in the other two pits. In response to a question about access to the work area, Lieutenant Colonel Springer stated that a fence already surrounds Area B and that part of the plan is to increase security to prevent unlimited access to the area by the curious.

    Mr. Meyer discussed lead and clay pigeon removal from the skeet range. Source removal will be accomplished to prevent further problems. Plans are to remove the top three inches of grass and soil in an area extending 600 feet from the firing location. This soil will be stockpiled and tested to determine the best method of disposal. The remaining soil will then be tested to determine whether additional remedial work is needed. Removal should begin around the end of November and take two weeks, and the project should be finished before the end of the summer.

    Mr. Meyer stated that the remedial investigation study for Area A was completed. Work is being done on the final feasibility study for this site. Underneath Area A is a TCE groundwater plume emanating from Building 568. This water is being captured from a well near Building 568 which is being pumped and monitored. The current tenant has decreased the pumping rate from an average of 14 gpm to approximately 11 gpm. A limited number of wells were measured to assess the capture area for the existing well, and it was determined that the overall capture area remained similar between 1995 and 2000. A feasibility study and proposed plan are being developed to describe capture area monitoring to ensure containment of contaminants in the source area.

    Mr. Meyer stated that completed documents pertaining to Area B are located on the RAB web site. A groundwater pilot study is being done for Area B to address possible use of chemical oxidation methods to attack the TCE in the groundwater. A dye trace study will be done by injecting dye in locations on Area B and monitoring the groundwater flow pattern. Area B quarterly sampling and residential well sampling was done in August 2000. The USGS completed the first round of stream gauging here in September 2000, as a preliminary step for the dye trace study. The latest data shows no real changes in surface water test results for PCE and TCE at Robinson's Box and Rock Springs. TCE plume sample results show that TCE distribution is similar to previous tests. However, Well 47D had apparent TCE detection. The well was resampled to confirm and plans are being made for a new round of well sampling west of Kemp Lane.

    Area C is the wastewater treatment plant located off post in Frederick. Mr. Meyer stated that the risk assessment approach is currently being coordinated with USEPA and that USEPA planning meetings were held in October at Fort Detrick.

  11. Community Co-Chair Summary
    Mr. Toomey thanked the citizens who attended the meeting for their insight and for expressing their concerns. He thanked Mr. Meyer for his presentation and stated that he is anxious to see the remediation begin on Area B.

  12. Meeting Summary and Date/Agenda Items for Next Meeting
    The RAB meetings are held bimonthly on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meeting will be Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 7:30 p.m., at Fort Detrick.

    Agenda items for the next meeting:

    • Age and Depth of Groundwater Wells
    • Walk Through of Final Plan
    • Soil Freezing Video

    Mr. Toomey asked whether documents could be posted on the RAB web site, downloadable in pdf format. Lieutenant Colonel Springer responded that graphics and storage space could be a problem, but that the issue could be explored. Lieutenant Colonel Springer added that the issue could be addressed at the next partnership meeting.

    Colonel Greenwood stated that the relationship between Fort Detrick and the community is very impressive. He thanked everyone for attending the meeting and extended an invitation to future meetings.

  13. Meeting Closing
    The meeting was adjourned at 10 p.m.

Reviewed by:
Jeffery C. Springer, P.E.
Lt. Col. U.S. Army
James R. Greenwood
Colonel, U.S. Army
Deputy Installation Commander

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