2003 Progress Report: Technical Outreach Services for Communities

EPA Grant Number: R828770C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R828770
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC (2001) - Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center
Center Director: Banks, M. Katherine
Title: Technical Outreach Services for Communities
Investigators: Banks, M. Katherine
Institution: Kansas State University , Michigan State University , Purdue University - Main Campus
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2006
Project Period Covered by this Report: October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Hazardous Substance Research Centers - HSRC (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Land and Waste Management

Objective:

The objective of this research project is to provide nonbiased technical assistance to communities, government agencies, and individuals affected by hazardous substances on Brownfields, former defense sites, and tribal lands. The institutions involved in providing this assistance include the following: (1) Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center (MHSRC) outreach program; (2) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act [RCRA], and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System [CERCLIS]).

Progress Summary:

The MHSRC outreach program provides nonbiased technical assistance to communities, government agencies, and individuals affected by hazardous substances at U.S. EPA Superfund, RCRA, CERCLIS, Brownfield, former defense, and tribal sites. Outreach personnel at Kansas State University (KSU), Michigan State University (MSU), Purdue University, and Haskell Indian Nations University implement three programs: Technical Outreach Services for Communities (TOSC), Technical Assistance to Brownfields Communities (TAB), and Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities (TOSNAC). Figure 1 depicts the role each university plays in the MHSRC outreach program.

Figure 1. Outreach Program Collaboration

Despite budgets that are significantly lower than past years, the outreach program has continued to provide a high level of technical support to communities and government agencies. The MHSRC outreach program consists of personnel from the two HSRC Phase I centers that covered Midwestern states. These two centers, the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Regional Center and the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic Center, have continued to be leaders in the outreach arena through their participation in the MHSRC. Because of the vast geographic area covered by the MHSRC (10 states covering 673,917 square miles), having outreach personnel located at strategic locations throughout the region has increased the reach and efficiency of the program. Most communities are within driving distance of one of the four outreach offices located in East Lansing, MI; Manhattan and Lawrence, KS; and West Lafayette, IN. This allows personnel to share resources and optimize support provided to recipients of outreach services.

The outreach program provided focused assistance to 30 communities during the past year. An overview of selected outreach projects follows.

TOSC

Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Oregon, OH. At the request of Oregon and Toledo, OH, residents, the Michigan State University TOSC Program provided assistance at the Envirosafe Services of Ohio (ESOI) facility, a RCRA Corrective Action project. The facility owners conducted Phase 1 of the Corrective Action during 2003, and found widespread contamination, with the majority of the wells showing concentrations exceeding 10 times the drinking water standard. TOSC was asked to provide a review of the study's findings. Under the direction of Dr. Shu-Guang Li, TOSC conducted a detailed computer-based visualization of the site geology and contamination using the program Integrated Ground Water. MSU completed the visualization in October 2003, and will present the findings at a public meeting in November, along with a written review of the Phase 1 investigation. TOSC also will provide comments on the Corrective Action investigation to residents, U.S. EPA, and Ohio U.S. EPA. More information on TOSC's assistance can be found at our Web site, http://www.tosc.msu.edu/envirosafe Exit .

Indiana Harbor and Canal TOSC Project, East Chicago, IN. TOSC has been providing assistance to residents of northeast Indiana since October 2002, concerning a proposed dredging project on the Indiana Harbor and Canal. The Army Corps of Engineers project would dredge more than 4 million cubic yards of sediments and place the material into a confined disposal facility (CDF) in East Chicago. The Corps is conducting the project primarily to maintain the waterway for navigation, not because of environmental contamination, but there are some areas of sediments that exceed the Toxic Substances Control Act cleanup standards. TOSC has been asked by area residents to address the following questions:

1. Is the project properly considered a navigational dredging project, or should it be viewed as an environmental dredging project?

2. Is the Corps giving adequate consideration to possible resuspension of contaminants in the waterway during the dredging?

3. Is the technology that the Corps has proposed using (a mechanical or "clamshell" dredge) the appropriate technology for this project?

4. Will the proposed location of the CDF cause residents to be exposed to contaminants during the project?

5. Will the dredging and CDF cause health problems for residents of East Chicago?

To address these varied questions, TOSC faculty have begun to review relevant documents, including the Dredging Alternatives Analysis, which the Corps used to select its preferred dredging method. Participating TOSC faculty included Dr. Danny Reible, Louisiana State University; Dr. Milind Khire, MSU; and Dr. Peter Orris, University of Illinois–Chicago.

Chemical Commodities, Inc., Olathe, KS. The Chemical Commodities, Inc., Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG) in Olathe, KS, requested TOSC assistance in early 2002. The CAG asked TOSC to help review and interpret reports as they became available for review, and they asked TOSC to provide educational presentations on topics of interest such as risk-based decisionmaking or cleanup technologies. TOSC has reviewed the baseline risk assessment and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry health consultations for the CAG, researched the question of why an interceptor trench was originally installed and is now being closed, and provided a summary of how lenders consider environmental risk. TOSC is planning to help the community learn more about the possible cleanup technologies that might be used at the site.

Sugar Creek, MO. TOSC has been providing assistance to Sugar Creek, MO, for almost 5 years. The focus of assistance in recent months has been the review of draft corrective measures studies (CMS) for different portions of the former refinery. This work has been requested by CLEANUP, a citizen's group. Members of CLEANUP have expressed the need to understand the technical review process that the agencies undertake. By reviewing the documents, providing comments, and further discussing these comments with CLEANUP and other stakeholders, TOSC helps this group to become more involved in the decisionmaking process. TOSC attends regular meetings of a city-sponsored group, the Amoco Focus Group, and an EPA discussion group. TOSC also frequently meets separately with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, EPA, BP, and CLEANUP to discuss TOSC activities and issues of concern to different stakeholders. Recently, TOSC made a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the content of CMS reports for two areas of the refinery. More presentations may be made to assist the community in preparing for the upcoming public comment periods.

TAB

Springfield, MO. TAB began providing assistance to Springfield in 2001 by giving the city information and materials about the brownfields process, including guidance on hiring environmental consultants. TAB continues to provide technical assistance to Springfield. TAB attended meetings with the city and U.S. EPA, reviewed and assisted with the city's request for proposals from environmental contractors, summarized and organized proposals for city staff to review, and attended meetings with the contractor selected by the city. TAB assisted the city in requesting and receiving permission for an area-wide Phase I environmental assessment to better characterize the brownfields area and provide information to the city and potential developers. Over the course of the brownfields redevelopment effort, TAB reviewed Phase I environmental assessment reports, work plans for Phase II environmental assessments, and Phase II reports. TAB advised the city on cost-effective assessment procedures and investigation-generated waste disposal options. The city is ready to begin administering another EPA brownfields assessment grant, and they have requested continued assistance from TAB, similar to the assistance described above.

Oak Grove Neighborhood Association in Kansas City, KS. In May 2001, TOSC began working with the Associated Youth Services (AYS) Director in Kansas City, KS, to provide information to the Oakgrove Neighborhood Association (OGNA) about environmental conditions and redevelopment options at John Garland Park, the site of a closed landfill. This activity was initially part of a community outreach plan to discuss the possibility of AYS building a commercial greenhouse on the landfill. The greenhouse project was abandoned by AYS because of economic considerations. Rather than stop support to the community, TOSC continued to explore the environmental issues and reuse potential for the park. In agreement with the OGNA and with supplemental funding from a U.S. EPA environmental justice grant to AYS, TOSC conducted an environmental visioning workshop for the community on October 19, 2002. Following this event, several community meetings were held, and a conceptual design for the site of the closed landfill was developed. The written report for this project is being completed, and it will be available for OGNA to use in further discussions with city officials and in the search for funding to redevelop the park.

Gary, IN, Job Training Pilot Program. MHSRC staff taught an Alternative Remediation class to 28 students participating in the city of Gary’s U.S. EPA Job Training Pilot Grant Program. The training material covered Brownfield Redevelopment, Bioremediation, Natural Attenuation, Thermal Desorption, and Phytoremediation.

TOSNAC

Elem Tribe, CA. Brenda Brandon continued coordination efforts with Ken McGhee, California Bay Delta Authority (CBDA) Environmental Justice (EJ) Program Coordinator in planning the First Annual Lake County Pomo Tribal Environmental Justice Forum, which will be sponsored by Robinson Rancheria, in Nice, CA, on October 17, 2003. Running Grass, the EPA Region 9 EJ Coordinator, will help facilitate the training, which will focus on tribal concerns related to mercury contamination and fish consumption. The training also will provide guidance, strategies, and tools to better equip tribal communities to work effectively with CBDA and other agencies. TOSNAC presentations will be provided by Brenda Brandon and Barb Johnson of Kansas State University, and Dr. Jeffery Hall, Associate Professor of Toxicology, Utah State University. Dr. Hall will provide expertise related to Mercury Contaminants and Ecological Systems and Tribal Exposure to Mercury Contaminants. The TOSNAC team also plans to meet with Elem Tribal U.S. EPA Director, Cheryl Steele, on October 16, 2003, to help address Sulpher Bank Mercury Mine concerns.

Maniilaq, AK. The TOSNAC Coordinator led a roundtable discussion and acted as moderator for the Environmental Ordinances and Tribal Law Workshop in Anchorage, AK, held June 2-5, 2003. The workshop was attended by 158 Village representatives, with 15 speakers participating. The TOSNAC coordinator also made an onsite visit to Noatak Village, June 1-2, 2003, to assess and provide technical assistance related to subsistence diet and metal contaminant concerns related to the Red Dog Mine. Results and recommendations were discussed with Maniilaq Tribal EPA and the Regional EPA EJ Coordinator. The Maniilaq Association submitted the EPA proposal "Collaborative Problem-Solving" and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) proposal "Environmental Justice: Partnership for Communication," with technical assistance and partners coordinated by TOSNAC, other Native American scientists, and health care professionals from the University of Kansas and the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

Internet Presence

The MHSRC Web Site at http://www.mhsrc.org Exit (see Figure 2) is an integral tool for disseminating information to center affiliates and the public. Site pages describe each of the Center programs, including research, outreach, and technology transfer. The research page uses a multimedia approach to communicating information about each project. In addition to written abstracts and information about each principal investigator (PI), the page includes streaming video presentations of PIs describing their projects and slide shows that accompany the presentations.

The outreach section of the site provides a program description, and it lists links to the sites hosted by KSU (http://ksu.mhsrc.org Exit ), MSU (http://msu.mhsrc.org Exit ), and Haskell Indian Nations University (http://www.tosnac.org Exit ). These Web sites include specific information about communities currently receiving support from the MHSRC and other outreach-related projects and initiatives. There also are tools for people seeking more information about hazardous substances and other environmental issues that affect them.

The TOSNAC Program provides outreach services targeted at the Native American community. The TOSNAC Web Site at http://www.tosnac.org Exit (see Figure 3) contains more than 70 unique pages of information related to specific Native American communities currently supported. In addition to providing information to people wanting to know more about the program, the site contains hundreds of links to resources related to specific projects. When possible, documents such as environmental assessments, analytical reports, and factsheets were scanned and electronically posted to facilitate the dissemination of information to interested stakeholders.

The MHSRC began tracking site hits to http://www.mhsrc.org Exit on September 18, 2002. As of October 1, 2003, the site had been viewed 2,504 times from more than 10 countries. A summary of site hits is provided in Table 1.

Figure 2. Screen Shot of the MHSRC Home Page

Figure 3. Screen Shot of the TOSNAC Home Page

Table 1. MHSRC Web Site Statistics From September 18, 2002-October 1, 2003

Country of Origin
Number of Hits
Percent of Total
United States
2,288
87.9%
India
34
1.3%
China
31
1.2%
Korea
28
1.1%
Canada
22
0.8%
Japan
21
0.8%
Mexico
16
0.6%
Italy
11
0.4%
Singapore
10
0.4%
Denmark
9
0.3%

Annual Meeting

The MHSRC hosts a meeting each year that brings together participants from the Center's outreach, research, and technology transfer programs. The Center held the 2002-2003 annual meeting in Kansas City, MO. The meeting gave members of the science and outreach advisory boards an opportunity to review status updates on the research projects and the community outreach programs.

Technology Transfer

The objective of the MHSRC Technology Transfer Program is to advance the transfer of information and technology and to facilitate full-scale application of remediation technologies developed from Center research efforts. In addition, the MHSRC published its first Research Brief this year. The brief, entitled "Constructed Wetlands for Metals Removal," was distributed to more than 300 people and made available on the MHSRC Web Site. The Research Brief also will be featured in a future NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program e-mail distribution.

The Center cosponsored the U.S. EPA International Applied Phytotechnologies Conference, which was held on March 3-5, 2003, in Chicago, IL. This conference was designed to assist professionals in the regulatory community in overseeing the design, implementation, and monitoring of sites that utilize phytotechnology. Site managers, contractors, and consultants benefited from the up-to-date technical information presented as well as interaction with regulators and environmental professionals from universities and research institutions. The MHSRC organized and hosted a poster and commercial exhibit session that included more than 30 posters and exhibits. In addition, the Center organized a student poster competition and awarded prizes to the top three posters.

Future Activities:

TOSC

Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Oregon, OH. MSU completed the visualization in October 2003, and will present the findings at a public meeting in November, along with a written review of the Phase 1 investigation. TOSC also will provide comments on the Corrective Action investigation to residents, U.S. EPA, and Ohio EPA.

TAB

Oak Grove Neighborhood Association, Kansas City, KS. The written report for this project is being completed, and will be available for OGNA to use in further discussions with city officials and in the search for funding to redevelop the park.

TOSNAC

Elem Tribe, CA. The First Annual Lake County Pomo Tribal Environmental Justice Forum will be sponsored by Robinson Rancheria, in Nice, CA, on October 17, 2003. TOSNAC presentations will be provided by Brenda Brandon and Barb Johnson of KSU, and Jeffery Hall, Associate Professor of Toxicology, Utah State University. Dr. Hall will provide expertise related to mercury contaminants and ecological systems and tribal exposure to mercury contaminants. The TOSNAC team also plans to meet with Elem Tribal U.S. EPA Director, Cheryl Steele, on October 16, 2003, to help address Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine concerns.

Supplemental Keywords:

technical assistance, community support, hazardous waste contamination, health, waste, ecology, ecosystem, hazardous, health risk assessment, contaminant dynamics, contaminant transport, human exposure, outreach material, technical outreach, mine waste, mine tailing, tribe, toxic, human health risk, hazardous substance contamination., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Health, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Hazardous Waste, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Hazardous, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, outreach material, contaminant transport, community involvement, contaminant dynamics, environmental decision making, decision making, community response to hazardous waste facility siting, community based environmental planning, human exposure, community participation, technical assistance, technology transfer, human health risk, technical outreach, community support

Relevant Websites:

http://www.egr.msu.edu/~lishug/ Exit
http://www.egr.msu.edu/~lishug/research/igw/index.htm Exit
http://www.tosc.msu.edu/envirosafe Exit
http://www.mhsrc.org Exit
http://ksu.mhsrc.org Exit
http://msu.mhsrc.org Exit
http://www.tosnac.org Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R828770    HSRC (2001) - Midwest Hazardous Substance Research Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828770C001 Technical Outreach Services for Communities
    R828770C002 Technical Outreach Services for Native American Communities
    R828770C003 Sustainable Remediation
    R828770C004 Incorporating Natural Attenuation Into Design and Management Strategies For Contaminated Sites
    R828770C005 Metals Removal by Constructed Wetlands
    R828770C006 Adaptation of Subsurface Microbial Biofilm Communities in Response to Chemical Stressors
    R828770C007 Dewatering, Remediation, and Evaluation of Dredged Sediments
    R828770C008 Interaction of Various Plant Species with Microbial PCB-Degraders in Contaminated Soils
    R828770C009 Microbial Indicators of Bioremediation Potential and Success