Source: EM Update | Vol. 14, Issue 20; Contributor: David Barton | May 24, 2022
More than 100 people attended a May 17 public meeting on the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s (OREM) proposed onsite disposal facility.
The meeting was part of a new phase of public outreach OREM recently launched for the proposed Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF) that includes a 30-day comment period and new website to inform area residents about the project.
View a recording of the public meeting here.
OREM hosted the meeting with representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) on hand. The meeting focused on three key areas related to the project: site groundwater characterization, waste acceptance criteria and ensuring the protection of Bear Creek’s water quality.
The current disposal facility at Oak Ridge is approaching full capacity after 20 years of safe operations. That facility was critical to OREM’s successful completion of major cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park ahead of schedule and under budget.
During the meeting, Roger Petrie, with OREM regulatory affairs, gave a presentation about the project before opening the floor to the public for comments. Local government officials, community and business leaders, advocacy groups and citizens provided input.
“We are committed to keeping the community informed about the plans and details related to this project,” said Petrie. “Public input is an important element of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act process, and we are doing everything we can to give people the information they need to provide meaningful feedback on this project.”
The new public outreach phase marks the second public comment period and public meeting on the project. The previous meeting occurred in 2018 during a 120-day comment period when OREM released the proposed plan for EMDF.
OREM responded to all comments it received from that comment period in the responsiveness summary included in the draft record of decision for the project.
OREM will respond to all comments from the current public outreach phase in an updated draft record of decision scheduled to be submitted to regulators in July.
OREM is accepting public comments on EMDF through June 7.