2003 Progress Report: Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields

EPA Grant Number: R829515C006
Subproject: this is subproject number 006 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R829515
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites
Center Director: Shackelford, Charles D.
Title: Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields
Investigators: Burgher, Karl
Current Investigators: Burgher, Karl , Mellott, Kevin
Institution: Montana Tech of the University of Montana
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:

Technical Outreach Services for Communities (TOSC)

The TOSC Program was established in 1994 to provide technical assistance to communities impacted by hazardous wastes. TOSC is invaluable to communities facing hazardous substance management issues that may threaten their health or environment. By using the educational resources of the participating universities, citizens gain a better understanding of the local hazardous waste problem. This allows citizens to make informed decisions and to participate more fully in activities that affect their communities. The TOSC Program is technical assistance provided to communities free of charge and based on the following principles:

• A partnership between a community and TOSC is "two-way." TOSC will contribute valuable, independent, and necessary information and expertise to assist the community in addressing hazardous waste problems. The community will contribute knowledge, expertise, and time.

• A TOSC/community partnership reflects a commitment to fostering and sustaining a relationship for the time period required for meeting the needs of the community.

• A TOSC/community partnership is an opportunity for TOSC to learn ways continuously to improve its technical assistance outreach.

• TOSC/community partnerships are characterized by the principles of trust, neutrality, and flexibility.

Montana Tech of the University of Montana, a member of the Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center (HSRC), has been associated with the TOSC Program since 1994. Montana Tech continually adds communities using the established site-selection process pending available resources. In this endeavor, the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC will meet the following TOSC Program objectives: (1) create technical assistance materials tailored to the identified needs of a community; (2) inform community members about existing technical assistance materials, such as publications, videos, and Web sites; (3) provide technical information to help community members become active participants in cleanup and environmental development activities; (4) provide independent and credible technical assistance to communities affected by hazardous substance problems; (5) review and interpret technical documents and other materials for affected communities; and (6) sponsor workshops, short courses, and other learning experiences to explain basic science and environmental policy related to hazardous substances.

Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB)

The brownfields issue is one of President Bush's environmental priorities. In his 2002 budget, President Bush proposed increasing brownfields funding to $97.7 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Brownfields are defined by the U.S. EPA as "abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination." These brownfields sites often are targets for cleanup and redevelopment because they typically have low to medium levels of environmental contamination (as opposed to Superfund sites, which may have very high concentrations of a wide variety of contaminants).

Redevelopment of brownfields properties also has emerged as a top priority for local governments, environmentalists, industry, and other stakeholders. The brownfields boom is fueled by prospects of urban renewal, job creation, profits, and environmental improvement. Indeed, the growing number of brownfields success stories testifies to the potential of putting America's lands back to productive, sustainable use. To succeed in brownfields, however, a local community must juggle a complex set of factors, such as funding and financing schemes, cleanup tools and technologies, multiple levels of regulation, issues of legal liability, risk assessment, real estate, and public participation. Success in brownfields is no easy task, despite the abundance of information on the issue.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC TAB Program, directed by Karl Burgher at Montana Tech, addresses brownfields sites throughout U.S. EPA Region 8. The objective of the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC TAB Program is to provide technical assistance to meet the needs and desires of the community or group seeking assistance.

Activities to provide technical assistance can take many forms, including leadership training, risk assessment, training concerning brownfields processes and site assessment, and technical information concerning cleanup alternatives. Leadership training for community leaders focuses on the technical side of cleanup activities, interaction with government agencies, environmental regulations, cleanup technologies, and risk assessment. Risk assessment training is provided for local government planners, developers, and community members to help build knowledge of basic mechanisms and protocols of risk assessment. Topics include site inventory, characterization, end use, and environmental quality requirements as part of the measurement of risk. Training covering the technical aspects of the brownfields redevelopment process is provided to a variety of stakeholders. Specific subject matter is tailored to local requirements and interests. Training on the assessment of hazardous waste sites helps community leaders and local government environmental professionals develop a better understanding of site assessment principles. Sessions focus on the integration of assessment with land use decisions, and provide information about the acceptable tools for data collection. Local government officials, developers, and environmental/planning professionals are provided.

The TAB Program differs from the TOSC Program, yet should incorporate similar principles of involving stakeholders, meeting stakeholder needs, building trust, creating teams of individuals with a wide range of expertise, and striving for continuous improvement. Our approach, therefore, includes the following:

• Because TAB projects involve a wide range of contaminants and issues, the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC will assemble an interdisciplinary group of faculty and staff to work with the projects. The groups of faculty and staff will vary with the project needs.

• In addition to identifying appropriate faculty and TAB staff, stakeholders with a wide variety of opinions must be consulted.

• The TAB Program will work with the group requesting assistance to develop an initial agreement that establishes community needs and describes outcomes.

• Evaluation of TAB projects will be ongoing. The initial agreement will identify mechanisms for formal evaluations.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC is assisting U.S. EPA Region 8 brownfields in many ways, such as through the development of print-based materials (creation of handbooks or compilation and review of literature); face-to-face meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops; or use of technologies (such as the Internet, including development of Web sites, Internet-based instruction, Internet conferencing, or electronic newsletters). Each of these methods will be used, as appropriate, to help communities better understand technical issues and support redevelopment of brownfields.

The benefits of this project are many. The project will provide assistance to a variety of stakeholders. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC will involve faculty and staff from the Center depending on community needs and faculty expertise. The effectiveness of outreach programs will be improved by incorporating a variety of face-to-face and technology-based methods to work with stakeholders. Our ultimate goal is to assist in the redevelopment of brownfields properties by providing information and support to communities.

Progress Summary:

TOSC Program

Because of the many different types of communities served by TOSC and the wide variety of contaminants and issues, the creation of a single method to work with all communities is not possible. The principles of the TOSC Program, however, indicate several best practices that will be applied.

Principle 1: A partnership between a community and TOSC is "two-way." TOSC will contribute valuable, independent, and necessary information and expertise to assist the community in addressing hazardous waste problems. The community will contribute knowledge, expertise, and time.

• Because communities require assistance in understanding issues involving a variety of contaminants, the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC will assemble an interdisciplinary group of faculty and staff to work with communities, as necessary. The group of faculty and staff will vary with community needs.

• In addition to identifying appropriate faculty and TOSC staff, it is important to include, and consult with, individuals with a wide variety of opinions and to involve stakeholders from the community and from local, state, and federal agencies.

Principle 2: A TOSC/community partnership reflects a commitment to fostering and sustaining a relationship for the time period required for meeting the needs of the community.

• An important initial step in creating this partnership is to work jointly with the community to develop a needs assessment. This needs assessment will be conducted for those projects that emerged from the site selection process established by the TOSC Program.

• The community and TOSC Program will develop an initial agreement that establishes community needs and describes outcomes. This agreement will indicate a continued commitment by the TOSC Program.

Principle 3: A TOSC/community partnership is an opportunity for TOSC to learn ways to continuously improve its technical assistance outreach.

• Community evaluation of the project will be ongoing. The initial agreement will identify mechanisms for formal evaluation twice per year and at important milestones. The agreement also will include procedures and contact information, in the event the community is not satisfied with the assistance that it is receiving.

Principle 4: TOSC/community partnerships are characterized by the principles of trust, neutrality, and flexibility.

• This principle indicates best practices, such as being inclusive of all stakeholders and working with communities to jointly develop needs assessments, initial agreements, and mechanisms for continuing evaluation by communities.

There are many activities that can be conducted to assist communities, including:

• Conducting technical presentations and seminars;

• Performing technical document reviews;

• Providing literature related to treatment technologies;

• Conducting workshops related to risk;

• Providing assistance with redevelopment projects (such as field demonstrations);

• Participating in public meetings;

• Assisting the community group to develop its capacity to monitor sites¾such as determining access to monitoring data; and

• Providing information on health and environmental risk of applicable contaminants.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC also provides assistance through: (1) the development of print-based materials (creation of handbooks or compilation and review of literature); (2) face-to-face meetings, seminars, and workshops; and (3) the use of technologies (such as the Internet, including development of Web sites, Internet-based instruction, or electronic newsletters). Each of these methods is used as appropriate to help communities better understand technical issues and make informed choices.

The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC provides assistance as needed related to scientific and engineering issues, policy, and human and ecological health. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC also provides assistance to communities that must deal with all types of contaminated sites. In addition, information and assistance are provided to other HSRCs that may be dealing with issues concerning mining wastes and acid mine drainage, upon request to the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC.

Status of Current TOSC Sites

Rocky Mountain Steel Mill, Pueblo, CO, Collateral Grant

Background. Rocky Mountain Steel Mills (RMSM) is an integrated steel-making facility located on a 639-acre site in Pueblo, CO. RMSM also is a major recycler of scrap metal and is one of only two plants in the country that manufacture rail. The City of Pueblo is located about 105 miles south of Denver, with a population of approximately 125,000 people, primarily Hispanics. Currently, the RMSM facility employs approximately 800 people.

In 1996, RMSM, together with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), initiated a 30-year Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program. A total of 82 areas of concern, or solid waste management units (SWMUs), that contain waste material were identified at the site by RMSM and CDPHE. Under this corrective action program, RMSM has committed $35 million to clean up SWMUs at the facility.

Concerns. Pueblo Community is concerned with air quality, site cleanup, and CO, NOx, PM10, SO2, VOC, and Pb.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the RMSM in the Pueblo community since the fall of 2002. Since then, TOSC has met with stakeholders and facilitated meetings between the stakeholders. In April 2003, TOSC presented draft fact sheets to the various stakeholders for comment. These fact sheets were created to empower the community surrounding the RMSM.

Activities/Status. After receiving input from the Pueblo community, draft fact sheets were prepared by TOSC on RCRA and the RCRA Corrective Action Program for the RMSM facility. In general, TOSC helped assist the community of Pueblo in understanding the impacts of hazardous waste and the RCRA corrective action activities at the facility. TOSC personnel prepared RCRA fact sheets and attended the April 7, 2003, public meeting in Pueblo. Previous interaction with the community included meeting with the various stakeholders and evaluating the potential technical issues associated with this site. Fact sheets prepared at this point on RCRA activities are as follows:

Pueblo Fact Sheet #1: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

Pueblo Fact Sheet #2: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) CorrectiveAction Program - Rocky Mountain Steel Mills (RMSM)

Pueblo Fact Sheet #3: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Progress RMSM

Pueblo Fact Sheet #4: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) Identification

Pueblo Fact Sheet #5: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Solid Waste Management Unit Identification (SWMU) Cleanup Process

Pueblo Fact Sheet #6: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Solid Waste Management Unit Identification (SWMU) Cleanup Status

Pueblo Fact Sheet #20: Population and Health Statistics

Accomplishments. Primary accomplishments for this project include interacting with the various stakeholders and identifying the various technical issues associated with this site. In addition, to assist the community of Pueblo in understanding the impacts of hazardous waste and the RCRA corrective action activities at the RMSM facility, draft fact sheets were prepared and presented at the April 7, 2003, public meeting in Pueblo. The funds received for this project are separately accounted for and are held for future work.

Army Depot/Rural Farmers, Pueblo, CO

Background. Boone and Avondale are small agricultural communities adjacent to the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The communities generally are poor, with Hispanics making up a large part of the population.

The Depot currently is undergoing decommissioning and closure under the Base Reuse and Closure Act (BRAC). The base currently is storing more than 750,000 chemical rounds containing mustard agent. These rounds are scheduled for neutralization and destruction over the next 10 years. Additionally, historic activities at the Depot have resulted in the release of explosive constituents into the groundwater. This plume contaminated the Avondale Municipal Well, causing the Army to install filters on the well and to construct a groundwater barrier on the perimeter of the base.

Finally, the Pueblo Chemical Depot contains more than 40 SWMUs. These SWMUs are being remediated under RCRA and managed by the CDPHE.

Concerns. The primary concerns at this site include groundwater contamination, air pollution, and cleanup of the SWMUs.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with Army Depot/Rural Farmers of Pueblo, CO, since the fall of 2002. TOSC has met with stakeholders and facilitated communication between stakeholders during this period. The TOSC Program also has opened lines of communication between HSRC Centers with the joint efforts of the Midwest Center in creating an “Institutional Control Map.” These efforts provide environmental resources to empower the community to make informed decisions.

Activities/Status. Both the groundwater contamination and the proposed destruction of chemical weapons have created controversy and concern within the nearby communities. The communities have reached out for assistance within the larger community and among various regulatory agencies. TOSC has assisted the community in understanding the options available in connection with the regulatory and administrative processes that are active at the site. The farmers and ranchers in the area have discussed a need for an agricultural risk assessment. The TOSC Program has given several options for obtaining risk assessments, including approaching the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment for the financial resources to equip the community with the appropriate information.

An Institutional Control Map of the impacted environmental area surrounding Avondale currently is being created with Kansas State University. This project will provide the community with planning information and assistance from Kansas State University's Energizing Institutional Control Program.

Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has assisted the farmers and ranchers in the area with options to obtain a risk assessment through the various agencies associated with the site. The TOSC Programs of the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC and the Midwest HSRC are combining efforts in creating an Institutional Control Map of the impacted environmental area surrounding Avondale. This map should provide the community with a greater awareness of their environmental issues.

Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, MT

Background. Rocky Boy Indian Reservation provides a home for about 2,500 members of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe. The reservation is near the Canadian border, in north central Montana, and is graced by the Bear Paw Mountains, which provide dramatic contrast to the flat bottomland of the area. Rocky Boy’s residents who work on the reservation are employed by the Schools Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and Tribal Government. Some wheat farming and post-pole production also are on the reservation. The Tribe is actively working toward development of its natural resources to provide more jobs and income for its people. Stone Child College, a 2-year college located in Rocky Boy's Agency, offers associate's degrees in Arts and Sciences. A cultural center for the campus also is planned.

Concerns. The primary concerns at Rocky Boy Indian Reservation include issues related to water quality, Superfund cleanup, underground storage tanks (USTs), redevelopment, illegal dumping, and pollution prevention.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the Rocky Boy Reservation since the summer of 2001. Since then, TOSC has provided educational short courses to the faculty and students at Stone Child College, as well as the Tribal Environmental Protection Program and Water Program Associates. In 2001, the TOSC Program provided a short course on groundwater monitoring that coincided with a Cultural Risk Course instructed by Brenda Brandon of the Technical Outreach and Service for Native American Communities (TOSNAC) Program (Haskell Indian Nations University). In 2002, TOSC provided assistance on UST issues to the Rocky Boy Environmental Program. In 2003, the TOSC Program provided a short course on groundwater and surface water, as well as a course on the geology of the Bear Paw Mountains.

Activities/Status. One of the major concerns on the Rocky Boy Reservation is groundwater that potentially has been impacted by a former Superfund site and agency landfill. The Tribe primarily is concerned with protecting culturally significant plant species and ground/surface water. The TOSC Program will continue to provide education upon request concerning these issues.

Accomplishments. In July 2003, the TOSC Program provided a 2-day short course on Geology and Ground and Surface Water Protection. This course provided the participants with a basic understanding of the geology in the Bear Paw Mountains, as well as monitoring techniques for evaluating ground and surface water.

Bonner Development Group, MT

Background. The Milltown Dam, built at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers in 1907, acts as a repository for sediment and mining wastes. Sediment from upstream mining activities accumulated in the reservoir and caused the formation of a groundwater arsenic plume that impacted Milltown’s drinking water supply. The U.S. EPA added the site to its National Priorities List in September 1983. The site is being addressed through the combined actions of federal and state agencies and the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), primarily the Atlantic Richfield Company and the Northwestern Energy Corporation. The Milltown Reservoir/Clark Fork River Superfund Site is divided into three Operable Units: Clark Fork River, Milltown Water Supply, and Milltown Reservoir Sediments.

Concerns. The primary concerns at this site include economic redevelopment, historic preservation, a groundwater arsenic plume, and sediment and mining wastes.

Site History. The Bonner Development Group (BDG) contacted TOSC in late August 2003. An introduction to the TOSC Program was presented to the BDG in September 2003. On October 9, 2003, TOSC attended a public meeting presented by the Montana Natural Damage Restoration Program.

Activities/Status. The TOSC Program was requested by the BDG to provide technical assistance to the community of Milltown and Bonner concerning the issues pertaining to the Milltown Dam removal. At present, the TOSC Program has attended two meetings concerning the State's proposed plan for reclamation and remediation. The BDG also has requested that the TOSC Program provide outreach to the community concerning the regulations that must be followed to destroy a historical building. This is a concern because the State of Montana's proposed plan would include the removal of the powerhouse associated with the dam. This building has been listed as a historical building, and the BDG would like to preserve it, if possible.

Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has been in contact with the State Historical Society collecting information concerning the regulations associated with destroying a historical building. The TOSC Program also has been in contact with the State of Montana Natural Damage Restoration Program.

Status of Inactive TOSC Sites

United Steel Workers, Pueblo, CO

Background. The RMSM plant has been a fixture in South Central Pueblo for more than 100 years. For years, the plant was the largest employer in Pueblo. Currently, the plant employs about 800 workers. Much of the community surrounding the plant is Hispanic and has expressed concerns about the air emissions from RMSM's operations. Both the State of Colorado and the Air Division of the CDPHE have initiated air monitoring efforts, both on the plant and offsite.

Concerns. The primary concern has been air quality.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the United Steel Workers Union in the Pueblo community since the fall of 2002. Since then, TOSC has met with stakeholders and facilitated meetings between the stakeholders.

Activities/Status. TOSC has prepared fact sheets that describe air quality and air pollution issues. TOSC has educated the community on how and where to request information on air quality issues from the active regulatory agencies. TOSC has coordinated with the State of Colorado and U.S. EPA Region 8 to gather information on the impacts of plant air emissions as a result of changes mandated by the state and federal consent decrees. TOSC has met with representatives of the Union to ascertain what additional information the Union wanted to help determine how to deal with air quality issues relating to the emissions from the RMSM plant. Data from U.S. EPA/CDPHE air monitoring in Pueblo should be available and helpful to the Union. A review meeting for the consent decree was planned for June, but later was cancelled. The TOSC Program will discontinue service, but U.S. EPA Environmental Justice will continue to work with the United Steel Workers.

Accomplishments. TOSC interacted with the steel workers, the Union, and the community while helping to identify the various technical issues associated with this site. TOSC’s role as a facilitator has provided the community with a greater understanding of technical issues, as well as interaction with the various agencies associated with the site.

Salt Creek Residence, Pueblo, CO

Background. The Salt Creek Residence is a local scrap yard near the RMSM. During investigations and background work on RMSM, TOSC became familiar with a variety of environmental issues concerning this neighborhood for years. The people have had concerns about burning cars for copper scrap recovery, aluminum smelting, and fluid deposition from scrapped cars. In addition, semi-size trucks use a neighborhood street running by a park, and the citizens are concerned for the safety of their children. The neighborhood’s demographics are 95-percent Hispanic, and relatively poor compared to the rest of Pueblo. Thus, the neighborhood can be classified as an environmental justice site.

Concerns. The primary concerns at this site have been air quality and groundwater contamination.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the Salt Creek Community in Pueblo since the fall of 2002. The TOSC Program conducted site visits in September 2002, as well as monthly visits and meetings from April to July 2003. During that time, TOSC met with stakeholders and facilitated meetings between the stakeholders.

Activities/Status. TOSC initiated discussions with local residents concerning air and groundwater quality. With TOSC's assistance, the residents started a local community group and have sent a letter expressing their concerns to the State of Colorado. TOSC has been teaching the neighborhood leaders how to work within the state and federal environmental framework. The community has requested environmental sampling data from the state. TOSC met with Salt Creek residents in March 2003, to determine what information would be helpful in their environmental concerns surrounding the nearby automobile recycling yard. Also, in March 2003, TOSC met with the community and state, federal, and local officials to discuss solutions to their health and safety concerns.

In an April 2003, meeting with Salt Creek residents, TOSC discussed the current status of their activities relating to the scrap yard. The community members will approach the City for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). TOSC will assist in understanding the CDBG process. In May 2003, TOSC met with Salt Creek residents to discuss the current status of their activities relating to the scrap yard and the RMSM. TOSC also facilitated a meeting with the community representatives of the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo to discuss funding for community development from the Church's Campaign for Human Development. The TOSC Program has closed this site and turned this work back to the U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Program and the Diocese of Pueblo.

Accomplishments. The development of a community group associated with the environmental concerns of the community has provided the Salt Creek Community with a voice that can be heard by the appropriate authorities.

Community Health Study, Pueblo, CO

Background. Community concerns regarding air pollution have been active and vocal in Pueblo. Much of that concern has grown out of observing health problems in the community and, while regulatory agencies are working to reduce emissions from local point sources, the community is concerned with the possible legacy from historic emissions. In response to this concern, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the CDPHE have agreed to design and carry out a public health consultation in the city of Pueblo. This effort will take more than 1 year to complete.

Concerns. Long-term exposure and inhalation of contaminated air has been the primary concern at this site.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with the United Steel Workers Union in the Pueblo community since the fall of 2002. The TOSC Program conducted site visits in September 2002, as well as monthly visits and meetings from April to July 2003. During that period, TOSC met with stakeholders and facilitated meetings between the stakeholders.

Activities/Status. TOSC worked with the citizens' groups concerned about community health in Pueblo by providing information on public health consultations, the community's role in defining the scope of work, and how the community can participate in the ongoing work of cooperating agencies. Moreover, community concerns likely will lead to issues that are beyond the ability of ATSDR/CHPHE to address in this effort. The community has voiced concerns about the form and content of a proposed health study by ATSDR and CDPHE. In fact, the community has decided to ask that a Public Health Consultation not be performed, and that more comprehensive air quality data be collected. This site will be closed by TOSC and turned back to the U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Program.

Accomplishments. The TOSC Program has empowered the citizens' groups to question the form and content of the proposed health study by ATSDR and CDPHE. The groups have decided that more information concerning the air quality data is necessary before a Public Health Consultation should be performed.

Black Hills Army Depot, SD

Background. The former Black Hills Army Depot is located 10 miles southwest of Edgemont, SD. Nicknamed "Igloo" after the 830, large, concrete, earth-covered, ammunition-storage igloos peppered throughout the 21,095-acre former munitions depot, Black Hills was used for long-term storage of ammunition, propellants, and chemical agents. The depot was closed in 1967, and the property subsequently was purchased by several individuals and organizations. Environmental restoration activities at the former Black Hills Army Depot are facing increasing scrutiny and criticism from local residents. Historically from Kansas State University, the TOSC Program has worked with the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) in providing a forum in which the members of the community and representatives from the Army, the U.S. EPA, and the state regulatory agency work together to achieve a common goal of cleanup.

Concerns. The primary concerns at this site have been contaminated soil and groundwater, and contaminant transfer.

Site History. The TOSC Program has been engaged with this site since prior to the restructuring of the national HSRCs. Kansas State University, the former lead institution of the Great Plains/Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC, was the last active TOSC Program on the ground at this site. The Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC has attempted to open lines of communication with the community stakeholders by mailing brochures and letters to 40 community members and RAB participants in April 2003. TOSC also was discussed in a 2003 RAB newsletter.

Activities/Status. TOSC has spoken with Jill Solberg and Linda Wagner of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Joanne Lineburg of the South Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, Blasé Leven and Michael Lambert of Kansas State University, and Jeff Mashburn of the U.S. EPA. TOSC also has obtained background information on the site, including site history. In addition, a RAB newsletter discussed TOSC’s services. TOSC mailed brochures and letters to 40 community members and RAB participants. No telephone calls or e-mail messages were returned to the TOSC office. This site is closed due to a lack of community requests and budget.

Accomplishments. Kansas State University has participated on the ground at this site, but the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC has not.

Status of Current TAB Sites

Crow Nation, MT

Background. A former carpet mill (Big Horn Carpet Mill) located on the Crow Tribal Reservation has been designated as a brownfield site by the U.S. EPA. The Crow Nation has received a brownfields pilot grant to perform an environmental site assessment and plan for cleanup. This work will allow the Crow Nation to develop plans for converting the property into a productive, community-based facility.

Concerns. The primary concerns at this site include issues related to water quality, coal bed methane, coal mining, public health, USTs, groundwater, non-point pollution, and environmental justice.

Site History. The TAB Program has been active on the Crow Indian Reservation since November 2000. Since that time, the Crow Tribe has requested assistance with understanding and following guidelines associated with their Brownfields Assessment Grant related to the former Big Horn Carpet Mill. The TAB Program has participated in numerous public outreach and planning meetings with the Crow Tribal Government. A Brownfields Job Training Grant was awarded to the Crow Tribe and its partners, Little Big Horn College and Montana Tech, in March 2002.

Activities/Status. The TAB Program has provided education to the Crow community on the possible health hazards associated with the chemicals that may have been used at the Big Horn Carpet Mill. The TAB Program and the Crow Tribal Brownfields Coordinator, Patricia Dust, attended Brownfields 2003 in Portland, OR, on October 26-29, 2003. The networking opportunities, as well as learning from other programs, will be beneficial to the Crow Tribal brownfields program. The TAB Program will continue to assist the Crow Tribal Government by reviewing the document and assisting with public outreach.

Accomplishments. The TAB Program has provided a constant link between the U.S. EPA and the Crow Tribal Government. The TAB Program also has provided outreach on the status of the Big Horn Carpet Mill to the Crow community.

Fort Belknap Reservation, MT

Background. The Gross Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes, referred to as the Fort Belknap Indian Community (FBIC), reside on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. In 1888, an Act of Congress established the reservation. The site for the Fort Belknap Agency as the government headquarters was informally established in 1889. The reservation is located in remote north central Montana, about 40 miles from the Canadian border, and is included in portions of Blaine and Phillips Counties. The boundaries of the reservation are the Milk River to the north, the Little Rocky Mountains to the south, and survey lines to the east and west.

On July 19, 2001, the U.S. EPA awarded the FBIC a Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilot Grant. There currently are two sites that have been designated by the U.S. EPA and the Fort Belknap Community Council as Brownfields Assessment Pilot Sites: the Old Agency Landfill and the Snake Butte rock quarry, both of which are located wholly on tribally owned lands. The Old Agency Landfill, located 1 mile east of the Fort Belknap Agency, was in operation for approximately 60 years. During this time, the landfill reportedly accepted residential, industrial, and agricultural wastes and allegedly received unspecified amounts of pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Residents, federal agencies, and health facilities used the landfill since the Agency was formed in the early 1900s. The landfill was closed in 1970. The Snake Butte rock quarry, located approximately 10 miles south of the Agency, was used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1930s for obtaining rip-rap during the construction of the Fort Peck Dam. Upon completion of the dam, the butte was left without any form of cleanup. There remains evidence of blasting, railroad construction, and other debris that have damaged the area.

Concerns. The primary concerns related to this site include mining issues, landfills, groundwater, environmental justice, chemical contamination, pollution prevention, and cultural sites.

Site History. The TAB Program began working with the FBIC in the fall of 2002, although Montana Tech and the Mine Waste Technology Program have had a long working relationship with the FBIC. In 2002, the FBIC requested assistance with its Brownfields Assessment Grant concerning the Snake Butte Rock Quarry and a former landfill located near the Milk River. The TAB Program assisted FBIC with public outreach planning, review of the Request for Proposals (RFP) process, and technical review of the Phase I and Phase II assessment reports. The FBIC was awarded a Brownfields Job Training Grant in June 2003, and has requested assistance in providing education associated with the Grant.

Activities/Status. The TAB Program has provided Brownfields Workshops to the Fort Belknap community and has worked with the Fort Belknap Environmental Protection Program in evaluating RFPs associated with the Brownfields Assessment Grant. The TAB Program attended both the Brownfields 2003 conference in Portland, OR, and the Brownfields Job Training conference in Alexandria, VA, with an FBIC Environmental Program representative. The TAB Program will continue to assist in public outreach and education to the Fort Belknap Community.

Accomplishments. The Brownfields Assessment Grant for the two sites is near completion and on schedule. FBIC Brownfields Job Training has started with two courses, Industrial Hygiene and Lead Abatement. This program will provide environmental education to the Fort Belknap Reservation.

Bear Paw Development Hill County, MT

Background. Hill County is located in north central Montana covering an area of approximately 2,896 square miles with a total population of 16,673 (a population density of approximately 5.8 persons per square mile). The largest community within Hill County is Havre, with a population of 9,621 (based on the 2000 census), and the primary industry in the county is agriculture. Hill County also includes a portion of the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation and is the regional trade center for the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. According to the 2000 census, 2,884 American Indians live in Hill County. The Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway maintenance shop is located in Havre, along with a diesel refueling stop for all trains traveling Montana's northern line. Approximately 35 trains per day travel through Havre and use the diesel refueling station. A variety of light manufacturing plants also is located in the community, as well as former gas stations, paint shops, dry cleaners, and various agriculture-related businesses.

Concerns. The concerns related to this site include BNSF railroad refueling and maintenance areas, abandoned USTs, former industrial properties, former automobile body repair and paint shops, non-point source pollution, and groundwater contamination.

Site History. The TAB Program has been engaged with Bear Paw Development (BPD) in Hill County since the spring of 2003. The TAB Program attended public meetings in April 2003, concerning brownfields issues and the development of a brownfields program within Hill County. Although BPD's initial Brownfields Assessment Grant efforts were not funded by the U.S. EPA, they plan to reapply in December 2003.

Since then, the TAB Programs of the Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC and the Midwest HSRC have provided BPD with an Institutional Control Map of contaminated areas. This tool will help strengthen the BPD's grant application as well as provide a wonderful planning tool for the community.

Activities/Status. Because this project is in the early stages, the TAB Program's primary goal will be to help identify potential development opportunities for, and to provide information and support to, the Havre community. The TAB Program will offer various meetings and workshops to help the community better understand the technical issues surrounding the brownfields program. Hill County's Brownfields Grant Proposal was denied by the U.S. EPA for funding this past year. The County has requested groundwater training from the TAB Program to better understand some of the environmental issues that plague the area. In addition, TAB will be working with Kansas State University to develop an Institutional Control Map of contaminated areas for city planning. This map will serve as a tool for Havre and as an example case study for Kansas State University to develop an institutional control project.

Accomplishments. At the request of Hill County, TAB personnel completed a site visit and presentation of the TAB capabilities in March 2003. Hill County submitted the application for funding to the U.S. EPA in March 2003, with an expected notification of award in June 2003. Although Hill County was not awarded funding, the County is expected to resubmit the application next year, and has requested training on topics such as introductory hydrogeology, groundwater contamination, and brownfields development.

Status of Inactive TAB Sites

Spirit Lake Reservation, Fort Totten, ND

Background. The Spirit Lake Sioux belong to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Band. The Tribe's ancestral grounds lie in what is now Minnesota. An 1862 gold discovery in Minnesota enticed gold seekers and settlers through Minnesota Sioux Country, resulting in the Minnesota Uprising that same year. Following this conflict, many of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Band migrated southwest to what is now known as Fort Totten, ND. The reservation was established in 1867 by a treaty between the U.S. Government and the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Bands. The Candeska Cikana Community College just recently received a Brownfields Training Grant and has requested TAB assistance.

Concerns. The concerns at this site include contamination to groundwater and surface water, brownfields issues, hazardous waste, and cultural issues.

Site History. The TAB Program has had a longstanding relationship with Fort Totten and the Candeska Cikana Community College. This relationship began during the original HSRC program when Kansas State University was the lead institution for the HSRC, representing U.S. EPA Regions 7 and 8. During the transition period between the current Rocky Mountain Regional HSRC and former HSRC, the TAB Program has been monitoring and maintaining communication with this community. Recently, the TAB Program assisted this community with issues concerning its Brownfields Job Training Grant. This site currently is closed, but future requests for TAB assistance will be evaluated at the time of the request.

Activities/Status. Fort Totten and the Candeska Cikana Community College located on the Spirit Lake Reservation contacted the TAB Program, requesting assistance with their Brownfields Job Training Grant. In particular, they needed help in locating educational contractors. The TAB Program has provided assistance in locating and contacting contractors to provide their job training. This was completed, and assistance was terminated. This site will be closed.

Accomplishments. The TAB Program has provided Fort Totten and the Candeska Cikana Community College with the contact information to local educational contractors, as requested.

Gold Hill Mesa Tailings Site, Colorado Springs, CO

Background. This 200-acre site formerly contained a gold ore processing plant. The ore was shipped to the site from mines located in the Cripple Creek mining area. The site, located within the city limits of Colorado Springs, has been abandoned for several years. Recently, the site has been proposed for high-density residential use. An environmental assessment was performed under the State of Colorado's Voluntary Cleanup Program. The results of that assessment identified the presence of several heavy metals in the soils and concluded that the site was appropriate for residential use if the soil was stabilized and a cap was placed over the site. Site grading is underway.

Concerns. Community members living nearby have been concerned about three principal issues:

• Does the proposed capping provide sufficient protection for the prospective residents?

• Are adequate measures being taken to suppress dust during the site grading?

• Will there be contaminated runoff from the site into the nearby stream system?

Site History. TAB activity began in the winter of 2002 and ended in the summer of 2003. Although this site had a relatively short life as a TAB project, the lines of communication that where formed by TAB's involvement with the community, the U.S. EPA, and the State of Colorado were substantial. As this project continues to develop, the TAB Program will remain idle unless the community requests more appropriated TAB assistance.

Activities/Status. TAB met with community members to ascertain concerns and to develop an understanding of the site. Community members took TAB representatives on a tour of the site and provided preliminary documentation regarding site activities. This site is temporarily closed.

Accomplishments. TAB has created an awareness of the regulatory process used in assessing this site and has facilitated access to current environmental records, thus permitting community members to decide on an appropriate course of action. TAB has directed the community to the appropriate history and environmental documentation.

Future Activities:

TOSC Program

Future Activities for the RMSM. TOSC will continue to assist the community and provide an opportunity or a method for the Pueblo community to present questions and concerns regarding the RMSM facility's hazardous waste problems or cleanup activities. In addition, TOSC will continue to interact with the community to provide the appropriate expertise to answer their questions and meet the needs of the community by creating and providing fact sheets, educational materials, and presentations, as necessary.

Future Activities for the Army Depot/Rural Farmers, Pueblo, CO. This work will result in the creation of a baseline agricultural risk assessment, engagement of a technical consultant for the agricultural community, and development of a more effective working relationship with the Army and the CDPHE.

Future Activities for the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. The result of TOSC activity of providing education to the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation will be community members with a better understanding of groundwater, pollution prevention from various sources, Superfund issues, and the roles that various regulatory agencies play in these processes.

Future Activities for the Bonner Development Group. TOSC will continue to provide service to the BDG and the communities of Milltown and Bonner by providing technical support and public outreach. The TOSC Program's future at this site is slightly unclear because TOSC is just beginning to provide service to this community.

Future Activities for the United Steel Workers. This site has been closed for the TOSC Program, but the U.S. EPA Environmental Justice Program will continue working with the United Steel Workers.

Future Activities for the Salt Creek Residence. The Salt Creek people have become empowered. A grant should be forthcoming from the Diocese of Pueblo to continue community group development, and there are now 60 people in the community group. A leadership board is being established.

Future Activities for the Community Health Study, Pueblo. This site has been closed by the TOSC Program, but U.S. EPA’s Environmental Justice Program will continue to work here.

Future Activities for the Black Hills Army Depot. TOSC has not been contacted about the site, which has been dormant for some time. TOSC now considers the site closed, but will continue to monitor community requests.

TAB Program

Future Activities for the Crow Nation. This work will result in creating a baseline to environmental and industrial assessment and in developing a more effective working relationship with federal agencies for the Crow Government.

Future Activities for the Fort Belknap Reservation. The award of a Brownfields Job Training Grant will provide the FBIC with a viable workforce to continue to clean up both brownfields sites as well as any other environmental issues located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. The TAB Program will continue to assist the FBIC in providing education to the community and assistance with the Brownfields Job Training Grant.

Future Activities for the Bear Paw Development Hill County. TAB will meet the needs of the community by creating and providing educational materials, workshops, and/or presentations, as necessary. Overall, the public will develop an enhanced understanding of a variety of issues, such as groundwater contamination from petroleum contaminated sites, so that private investors will more likely consider developing local real estate. The Institutional Control Map of contaminated areas may be used as a planning tool for the community of Havre.

Future Activities for the Spirit Lake Reservation, Fort Totten. Future involvement with the TAB Program will be evaluated based on the need for assistance and budgetary issues.

Future Activities for the Gold Hill Mesa Tailings Site. This site will be closed by the TAB Program, but the U.S. EPA and the State of Colorado will continue working with this community. TAB will remain accessible to community requests.

Supplemental Keywords:

Technical Outreach Services for Communities, TOSC, Technical Assistance to Brownfields, TAB, hazardous waste, hazardous substance, community, Montana Tech, University of Montana, Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center, HSRC, cleanup, environmental development, technical assistance, outreach, contaminants, site monitoring, ecology, mine waste, acid mine drainage, risk assessment, brownfields, stakeholders, solid waste management units, SWMU, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, CDPHE, groundwater, surface water, institutional control map, Superfund, underground storage tanks, UST, pollution, landfill, sediment, arsenic plume, dust, gold ore, economic redevelopment, remediation, air quality, plant air emissions, regulatory agencies, environmental justice, contaminant transfer, public health, reservation, landfill, environmental assessment, runoff, Colorado, CO., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Industry Sectors, Waste, Water, Contaminated Sediments, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Mining - NAIC 21, Hazardous Waste, Brownfields, Ecological Risk Assessment, Environmental Engineering, Hazardous, risk assessment, brownfield sites, contaminant transport, contaminated marine sediment, contaminated waste sites, suspended sediment, runoff, sediment transport, acid mine drainage, remediation technologies, training and outreach, stream ecosystems, natural organic matter, field monitoring, mining, Selenium, treatment, aquatic ecosystems, technical assistance, water quality, technology transfer, outreach and education, environmental education, arsenic, mining wastes, metal contamination, redox, groundwater, heavy metals, mining impacted watershed, technical outreach

Relevant Websites:

http://www.engr.colostate.edu/hsrc/ Exit
http://www.toscprogram.org/tosc-overview.html Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

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

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R829515    HSRC - Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center for Remediation of Mine Waste Sites

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R829515C001 Redox Transformations, Complexation and Soil/Sediment Interactions of Inorganic Forms of As and Se in Aquatic Environments: Effects of Natural Organic Matter
    R829515C002 Fate and Transport of Metals and Sediment in Surface Water
    R829515C003 Metal Removal Capabilities of Passive Bioreactor Systems: Effects of Organic Matter and Microbial Population Dynamics
    R829515C004 Evaluating Recovery of Stream Ecosystems from Mining Pollution: Integrating Biochemical, Population, Community and Ecosystem Indicators
    R829515C005 Rocky Mountain Regional Hazardous Substance Research Center Training and Technology Transfer Program
    R829515C006 Technical Outreach Services for Communities and Technical Assistance to Brownfields
    R829515C007 Evaluation of Hydrologic Models for Alternative Covers at Mine Waste Sites
    R829515C008 Microbial Reduction of Uranium in Mine Leachate by Fermentative and Iron-Reducing Bacteria
    R829515C009 Development and Characterization of Microbial Inocula for High-Performance Passive Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C010 Reactive Transport Modeling of Metal Removal From Anaerobic Biozones
    R829515C011 Assessment of Electrokinetic Injection of Amendments for Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage
    R829515C012 Metal Toxicity Thresholds for Important Reclamation Plant Species of the Rocky Mountains
    R829515C013 An Improved Method for Establishing Water Quality Criteria for Mining Impacted Streams