October 2019 CAG Meeting—Minutes

Wolverine Community Advisory Group

Full CAG Meeting
Plainfield Charter Township Hall
6161 Belmont Ave NE, Belmont MI 49306

Thursday, October 17, 2019  6pm

Attendees:  Tammy Bergstrom, AJ Birkbeck, Jenny Carney, Lance Climie, Kevin Green, Elaine Isely, Fletcher Johnson, Tom Konecsni, Gail Mancewicz, Susan Marschell, Grant Medich, Jonathan Miner, Wendy Ogilvie, Rick Rediske, Tom Sapkowski, Doug Sarno, Kelly Sheeran, Mike Shibler, Rick Solle, Cameron VanWyngarden, Jamie Vaughn, Sandy Wynn-Stelt

Guests:  Diane Russell, Mark Worrell, Karen Vorce

Estimated Number of Public Attendees:  35

Media: Garrett Ellison, MLive | Evan Kutz, MSU

Welcome, Introductions and Agenda Review

  • Roundtable introductions
  • Reading of Mission Statement

New Member Discussion

Membership Committee

  • Tammy Bergstrom will be backfilling Thad Beard’s position on the committee.  Tammy is a member of the Rockford City Council.
  • Leadership Team considering sending invitations to KCHD, EPA, EGLE, WWW in hopes of a representative to attend meetings.
    • Formal invitations have not been sent to these agencies; the Leadership Team will get these sent.
    • These representatives would be considered “ex-officio” which means they would be present to make comments and answer questions. They will not be “voting” members.

Updates to CAG Charter

Sandy Wynn-Stelt and Doug Sarno

  • Leadership Team was established to run meetings and obtain resources
    • Team members established by vote from CAG. 2019 leaders are Rick Rediske, Sandy Wynn-Stelt and Jon Miner.
    • Every January will be a time to vote in Leadership Team members (members can be re-voted to serve again)
  • Clarification to membership
    • Members serve a 3-year term
      • Terms will be staggered so there will not be a complete turn over occurring at the same time
      • Reviewed yearly leading up to the January meeting
      • Recruitment process will largely be done through social media – it should advertise that we’re seeking interested members and potentially also list what “area” we are in need ex: Wolven/Jewell Resident
      • If we have a mid-term resignation, we’ll have the ability to backfill the position at that time rather than waiting until January
        • Group is interested in having an exit survey to determine if improvement could be made which contributed to the member leaving
      • Attendance requirements will be adopted stating members are allowed to miss up to 2 CAG Meetings per calendar year
      • Meeting occurrence will update from no meetings in August and December, to August and December being optional and the CAG will decide if they are necessary
      • The January sessions will be working meetings for the CAG to review members, leadership items such as future agenda topics
        • This will be open for the public, however there is not much content that would be fulfilling to the public interest
      • Update the language that “we’re meeting under Superfund designation” to “we’re meeting in the same manner as those who are Superfund sites”.
        • Want to avoid perception that the site(s) are officially Superfund(s)
      • Comment cards and email responses
        • info@wolverinecag.org mailbox is opened by Grant Medich and  Elaine Isely. 
          • Grant and Elaine will send a timely reply on each to answer questions such as: when is the next meeting?
          • For more complex questions, Grant and Elaine will let the sender know they will bring the question to the next CAG meeting for group discussion and send a response after
        • Questions/comments from public during public comment, comment cards and email will be part of the contact in a “FAQ” page on the CAG website

Report from the Technical Committee

Technical Committee

  • Recently reviewed work plan for the Tannery and proposed disposal location of waste from the excavation
    • Almost 15,000 cubic yards of material total fall under the “time critical” remediation rules. The time critical rules state that WWW has until the end of 2019 to have the material removed.
    • Work plans are not as detailed for this work vs how it will be for the long-term remediation
    • Due to the State of MI working to establish more rigorous requirements around PFAS MCL’s, WWW was not able to identify a disposal facility in the state of Michigan to send the excavated materials to.
      • WWW’s options were; temporarily store it on another property they own (House St), Oregon, Idaho, Ohio or Canada.
      • A meeting was held with EPA and residents of the House St area 10/8/19 and due to an abundance of concerns from residents, the EPA went to WWW and wanted the House St site to be the very last option.
      • WWW received approval from the Ohio and Canada facilities and thus those will be the locations which the materials will be sent.
    • Committee made recommendations about the truck traffic route in downtown Rockford, diverting the trucks to go through the industrial park rather than residential for the full stretch to exit downtown
    • Looking for clarification on the dewatering process of excavated materials.  Where is this water going?  Diane Russell will look into this
    • A coffer dam will be created to dredge the river bottom. The technical committee is questioning the durability of the proposed plastic piping rather than using steel walls
    • Groundwater clean up plans need to be drafted to make sure contamination will not enter the river
    • The clean up criteria at the site is for Residential use instead of Industrial because EPA cannot be certain of what the land use will be in the future – it could potentially be residential
    • 3 wells are installed along the river to basically suck up the water, filter it and send it to the North Kent Sewer Authority. This process will be reviewed during the Interim Remediation phase.
    • Focus of concern is to get the water running through the site to the river clean rather than getting all of the soil removed
      • Is there a plan to address the soil that is now under the new parking lot on WWW’s property? 
        • No, the parking lot is serving as a cap

Report from the Communications Committee

Communications Committee

  • Elaine Isely:
    • Collecting bios of each member, send in your paragraph bio to Elaine if not done so already
      • Was going to rework the bios so they were uniform but after receiving them, it actually nice to have them be different
    • Member contact information is being collected but will not be available to the public
    • MI Tech student reached out with interest in doing a study on biosolids with PFAS – her focus is the Lowell area, asked the group if this would be beneficial for us too
      • Maybe because of the concern over where contaminated home’s septic tanks will be disposed
        • Clarification made though that this student is looking for locations with the biosolids already spread
  • Jenny Carney:
    • Organizing discussion between the Communication Committee created a pace for information to be done and disseminated              
      • 1st Thursday
        • Draft agenda completed by Leadership Team 
      • 2nd Thursday
        • Final agenda completed by Leadership Team – send to Jenny Carney, Elaine Isely and Grant Medich
        • Create Press Release – Elaine Isely
        • Send Press Release – Grant Medich
        • Post to Facebook and Website – Jenny Carney
      • 3rd Thursday
        • CAG Meeting
        • Minutes emailed to group for review – Jenny Carney
      • 4th Thursday
        • Group’s comments regarding minutes due to Jenny Carney
  • Grant Medich
    • Press Release was sent, published today
    • Website improvements will be made
    • GVSU Students are working on creating a timeline of events that will be posted on the webpage
    • Working with The Squire to have someone from their staff attend these meetings so information can be published for the community to see    

Reflection on CAG Progress and Next Steps

Sandy Wynn-Stelt

  • Reviewing and refining information sharing and communication between the committees
  • Topics for upcoming CAG meetings:
    • Jeff Kimble, EPA – secure for November meeting
      • Upcoming clean-up plans for each site
      • Define emergent vs long term remediation
      • Rum Creek clean up
      • Protection methods for the river while river work is being done
    • Mark Worrell/Karen Vorce, EGLE – secure for November meeting
      • Conceptual model for House St plume
      • Any information regarding the Wolven/Jewell site?
    • Bill Ferrell, KCHD Toxicologist – secure for November or December meeting
      • Wells
        • Difference between monitoring and drinking water wells
        • Explain well restriction zones, determination, etc
      • Health Studies from grant funding
      • Any information regarding the water served to the City of Rockford through the previous well location (downstream from the Tannery)
    • TBD – who can speak to this?
      • MCL’s being established for the State of Michigan
        • Various levels depending on water: drinking water, municipal, groundwater, treatment plants, leachate, etc
          • Explain how/why this is not applicable to private wells and how these new limits can be used in clean up for those private wells
        • Timeline of approvals and public comment period for new standards
    • TBD – who can speak to this?
      • Innovation
        • What technology and processes are being used now and what may be coming in the future
  • For ease of understanding relation of what’s being said to how each site is situated, show a map of House St on one screen and Tannery on the other. Or just an overall map to show the entire scope of the contamination or area being studied.
    • What should be on these maps? Contamination levels, only PFAS or all contaminates, location of monitoring wells, individual homes results, flow of plumes, set up of site remediation/excavation, etc
    • Obtain updated Gantt chart prior to meeting – understanding these change every few weeks, if an updated Gantt chart cannot be sent monthly, then compensate with showing work completed, in progress and upcoming in the form of milestones or bullet points – some way to easily show the information
      • Rick Rediske has access to a plotter to print poster board size prints

Public Comment

  • Well restriction zone – how is this established, enforced, is this forever, etc
    • CAG will have KCHD attend and present this topic for full understanding
    • Explain why residents cannot drill a well in a contaminated area and then use a filter
  • If filtration is not a long-term option, then why is that what the township is using on the water that they’re providing the community
  • Should some of the soil samples be set aside and saved for any potential future research?
  • Can/will there be monitoring of the water around the Rogue River while the coffers are being used
  • Deed restrictions for homes and land are causing real estate concerns – can the type of restrictions be explained and what can homeowners do regarding their property values
    • Could also cause lender and insurance concerns
  • Bicyclists are using the diverted White Pine Trail and residents have observed close calls with them sharing the roadway with vehicles
    • Can there be temporary signs or barriers?
  • Residents are interested in hearing more dialogue about the House Street and Wolven/Jewell sites
  • Fence along House St site looks like a prison neighbors say.  Also, it’s very close to the roadway.
  • Community Involvement Plan – suggestions will be accepted by Diane Russell until 10/20.

Adjourn:  8:20pm

Upcoming Meeting Dates:       Thursday, November 21

                                                Thursday, December 19