9
Community and Environmental Regulator Views Concerning the Alternative Technologies

This chapter discusses the processes and the results of the AltTech Panel's interactions with the public in communities near the Aberdeen and Newport sites, the CACs (citizens advisory commissions) for those sites, environmental regulators for the states of Indiana and Maryland, and managers of the CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program) in both states. Also covered are past efforts by the TPCs and the Army to work with the communities.

Background and Approach

The 1994 report of the NRC Stockpile Committee, Recommendations for the Disposal of Chemical Agents and Munitions, urged the Army to increase public involvement across a wide spectrum of activities (NRC, 1994b, Recommendation 6).

The Army should develop a program of increased scope aimed at improving communications with the public at the storage sites. In addition, the Army should productively seek out greater community involvement in decisions regarding the technology selection process, oversight of operations, and plans for decommissioning facilities. Finally, the Army should work closely with the Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commissions, which have been (or will be) established in affected states. There must be a firmer and more visible commitment to engaging the public and addressing its concerns in the program.

In response to this recommendation, the U.S. Army's Alternative Demilitarization Technology Report for Congress documented increased efforts by the Army to obtain CAC comments on the NRC Recommendations report (U.S. Army, 1994, pp. 5-1 to 5-2 and Appendix G). Of the CACs that responded during the extended comment period, a majority favored a neutralization-based alternative over the baseline incineration technology (U.S. Army, 1994, p. 5-2). The views of the CACs were consistent with the NRC's recommendations concerning a neutralization-based alternative. The Army also decided to pursue a neutralization R&D program to determine the feasibility of neutralization as a technology for destruction of the stockpiles at sites with bulk-storage of chemical agent, namely, the Aberdeen and Newport sites.

In the NRC Criteria Report Evaluation, the Stockpile Committee again emphasized the importance of public involvement in the selection of alternative technologies. A key aspect of this emphasis was that public acceptance was not viewed as one criterion among others but rather the end result of a meaningful process of public involvement in the critical decisions concerning the program (NRC, 1995, pp. 36-37).

Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories conducted a study for the Army in which focus groups in the affected communities were used to identify and characterize sources of support and opposition to the baseline (incineration) system. Battelle recommended that the Army "define the role of the public in decisions about technology choices and implementation" (Bradbury et al., 1994, p.68). The study further concluded, "In today's political and social context, program managers must take the initiative in engaging their stakeholders in a mutual, cooperative problem-solving approach" (Bradbury et al., 1994, p.69).

Finally, in Review of Systemization of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the NRC Stockpile Committee recommended, "A substantial effort should be made by the Army to enhance interactive communications with the host community and the Utah Citizens Advisory Commission on issues of mutual concern . . ." (NRC, 1996, p. 6).

In short, the AltTech Panel had before it a long and important series of recommendations and findings from reports of the NRC, the Army, and Army contractors, all of which emphasize the importance of seeking public input to the CSDP, as well as gathering information about what the public considers to be the important



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--> 9 Community and Environmental Regulator Views Concerning the Alternative Technologies This chapter discusses the processes and the results of the AltTech Panel's interactions with the public in communities near the Aberdeen and Newport sites, the CACs (citizens advisory commissions) for those sites, environmental regulators for the states of Indiana and Maryland, and managers of the CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program) in both states. Also covered are past efforts by the TPCs and the Army to work with the communities. Background and Approach The 1994 report of the NRC Stockpile Committee, Recommendations for the Disposal of Chemical Agents and Munitions, urged the Army to increase public involvement across a wide spectrum of activities (NRC, 1994b, Recommendation 6). The Army should develop a program of increased scope aimed at improving communications with the public at the storage sites. In addition, the Army should productively seek out greater community involvement in decisions regarding the technology selection process, oversight of operations, and plans for decommissioning facilities. Finally, the Army should work closely with the Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commissions, which have been (or will be) established in affected states. There must be a firmer and more visible commitment to engaging the public and addressing its concerns in the program. In response to this recommendation, the U.S. Army's Alternative Demilitarization Technology Report for Congress documented increased efforts by the Army to obtain CAC comments on the NRC Recommendations report (U.S. Army, 1994, pp. 5-1 to 5-2 and Appendix G). Of the CACs that responded during the extended comment period, a majority favored a neutralization-based alternative over the baseline incineration technology (U.S. Army, 1994, p. 5-2). The views of the CACs were consistent with the NRC's recommendations concerning a neutralization-based alternative. The Army also decided to pursue a neutralization R&D program to determine the feasibility of neutralization as a technology for destruction of the stockpiles at sites with bulk-storage of chemical agent, namely, the Aberdeen and Newport sites. In the NRC Criteria Report Evaluation, the Stockpile Committee again emphasized the importance of public involvement in the selection of alternative technologies. A key aspect of this emphasis was that public acceptance was not viewed as one criterion among others but rather the end result of a meaningful process of public involvement in the critical decisions concerning the program (NRC, 1995, pp. 36-37). Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories conducted a study for the Army in which focus groups in the affected communities were used to identify and characterize sources of support and opposition to the baseline (incineration) system. Battelle recommended that the Army "define the role of the public in decisions about technology choices and implementation" (Bradbury et al., 1994, p.68). The study further concluded, "In today's political and social context, program managers must take the initiative in engaging their stakeholders in a mutual, cooperative problem-solving approach" (Bradbury et al., 1994, p.69). Finally, in Review of Systemization of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the NRC Stockpile Committee recommended, "A substantial effort should be made by the Army to enhance interactive communications with the host community and the Utah Citizens Advisory Commission on issues of mutual concern . . ." (NRC, 1996, p. 6). In short, the AltTech Panel had before it a long and important series of recommendations and findings from reports of the NRC, the Army, and Army contractors, all of which emphasize the importance of seeking public input to the CSDP, as well as gathering information about what the public considers to be the important

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--> criteria in evaluating the alternative technologies. Consistent with the above recommendations, the panel sought to obtain public input on the criteria to be used in the evaluation, as well as other factors that stakeholders in the affected communities identified as important. As a starting point in developing the panel's own criteria, the panel adopted criteria that are related to the public perspective and had been accepted by the Army in its Criteria Report and by the Stockpile Committee in the NRC Criteria Report Evaluation (see Chapter 2). The panel also followed the lead of the Stockpile Committee by adopting a variety of approaches to find out how the affected communities viewed the alternatives and what criteria they thought were most important. First, the panel scheduled a series of information-gathering public forums in Indiana near the Newport site and in Maryland near Aberdeen. Second, the panel decided to precede these open forums with CAC meetings in both states. (Unfortunately, the expected meeting with the CAC for Newport had to be canceled because of scheduling difficulties. Subsequent conversations with members of that CAC have been used to augment the CAC's written views.) Third, the panel scheduled meetings in both states with state and local regulators and permitting authorities to learn about the regulatory and permitting hurdles for each of the technologies and to receive answers to written questions the panel had sent them. Fourth, the panel visited the Newport storage facility to learn more about the storage situation there from its administrators. A similar visit to the Aberdeen site was considered unnecessary because of time constraints and because many panel members had already visited that site. Fifth, the panel met with representatives from CSEPP and other emergency managers to determine if any of the alternative technologies under consideration might affect existing response plans and preparations and if so, how. Finally, the panel requested information from the TPCs on their past efforts at community involvement. (Panel members were already familiar with the Army's community-involvement efforts related to the neutralization options, so a similar request to the Army was not needed.) The remainder of this chapter describes what the panel learned. Public Forums The members of the public who offered verbal or written testimony at the public forums held by the panel cannot be assumed to be representative of the affected communities in a statistical sense. The panel does not have public opinion survey data that would provide a statistical cross-section of community views. The panel has been informed that opinion surveys have been conducted by an Army contractor at other chemical stockpile sites—Tooele, Anniston, and Pine Bluff—and will be conducted at the Aberdeen and Newport sites (Gibbs, 1996; Morales, 1996). The public forums were obviously attended by the most concerned residents and by representatives of organizations that are actively interested in and affected by the decisions concerning alternative technologies. In fact, representatives of groups that had opposed the baseline system were invited to attend the public forums and meet with members of the panel to ensure that the panel fully understood the criteria these organizations believed were most important in differentiating among alternative technologies. As will become clear below, the panel heard an array of views concerning both the alternative technologies and the criteria by which they should be evaluated, as well as comments supporting or opposing the baseline system. In reporting on views expressed during the public forums or in correspondence, the panel does not claim that these views represent a consensus or even a majority view within the communities affected by chemical demilitarization activities at the Newport and Aberdeen sites. The panel does assert, however, that these views are important for understanding the intensity of feelings of an active and vocal segment of the affected communities and are therefore worthy of Army and panel consideration. Context The context for the open forums is important for interpreting the comments received. In late January 1996, the Army's Office of the Product Manager for Alternative Technologies and Approaches (OPMAT&A), with representatives of the TPCs for the three technologies other than neutralization, had held a series of public meetings cosponsored by the Indiana and Maryland CACs. The meetings were intended to "provide information to the public on the alternative technologies being considered for APG [Aberdeen] and NECA [Newport], to solicit public input, and to establish a dialogue between Army, public and CACs" (U.S. Army, 1996j). One meeting was held at South Vermillion High School,

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--> northwest of Clinton, Indiana, on January 27. Two meetings were held in Maryland, one at the Kent County Courthouse in Chestertown on January 25 and the second at Edgewood High School on January 26. According to a newspaper report, about 200 people attended at the Indiana meeting (Clinton Herald, 1996), which received fairly extensive coverage by the local media. The panel initially scheduled its public forums for February. However, to ensure that residents had enough time to prepare for the meetings and to absorb the information provided by the Army and the TPCs, the meetings were rescheduled for mid-March. This allowed the Army time to provide the communities with more detailed TPC and Army information on the technologies. The information was placed in repositories that had been established at libraries and public offices in the affected communities. The OPMAT&A further cooperated by providing the panel with copies of the public sign-up sheets from the January meetings, as well as summaries of the question-and-answer periods from those meetings. The sign-up sheets, along with lists provided by the two CACs, were used to augment the panel's mailing list of individuals and organizations who were notified of the public forums planned for March 1996. Major environmental groups were also notified, and their attendance or written input was solicited. The OPMAT&A also placed announcements of the panel's schedule of public forums in local newspapers serving the communities around the Newport and Aberdeen sites. The NRC study director for the panel spoke with the director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG) to ensure that the CWWG and its member groups were aware of the planned forums. The CWWG was invited to provide written and oral testimony on the alternative technologies. Representatives from the TPCs were present at all of the public forums, but the panel asked them not to speak during the formal portion of the forum. The TPCs did have displays outside the meeting rooms and were encouraged to talk with interested attendees before or after the formal part of the program. The panel's public forum in Indiana was held at North Vermillion High School in Cayuga on the evening of March 12, 1996. Approximately 75 people were present, and 15 signed up to offer verbal comments. The panel received 20 letters from area residents commenting on the alternative technologies, the criteria for their evaluation, or the importance of public involvement in the final decision between using the baseline system or an alternative technology for the destruction of the Newport stockpile. Two of the letters were from members of the organization Citizens Against Incineration at Newport (CAIN) and contain about twenty cosigners. The introductory remarks of the panel chair indicated the purpose of the forum, invited everyone in attendance to comment on the technologies and the criteria being considered, and reminded them that the forum was not a debate on the baseline system. The first of two Maryland public forums was held on the evening of March 15 at the Kent County Courthouse in Chestertown. About 50 residents attended, filling the meeting room to capacity. The second forum was held on the morning of March 16 at the Edgewood High School in Edgewood and also attracted about 50 residents. Wayne Gilchrest, the congressman from the district that includes the Kent County area, attended the Chestertown forum to listen and to offer his views on the alternatives. Issues Common to Communities at Both Sites Table 9-1 shows that many of the concerns and views expressed at the public forums were stated by residents of both the Newport and Aberdeen communities. These common issues are discussed first; subsequent sections focus on issues expressed by just one community. Public Health and Safety and the Environment The first two issues listed in Table 9-1 are not surprising and need little explanation. The public requires that any alternative technology protect their health and safety and not endanger the environment. These are necessary but not sufficient conditions for public acceptance of whichever technology is used to destroy the chemical agent stockpile. At Newport, the concerns focused on accidental airborne releases. Residents near the Aberdeen site also expressed particular concern about damage to Chesapeake Bay from airborne emissions or aqueous discharges. The panel considers both issues—public health and safety and protection of the environment—to be of paramount importance in evaluating alternative technologies. The evaluation criteria associated with these issues are discussed in the section on Safety, Health, and the Environment in Chapter 10.

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--> TABLE 9-1 Summary of Community Issues Raised in Public Meetings with the AltTech Panel Issue Description Issues Raised at Both Sites   Public health and safety Any alternative technology must ensure public health and safety. Environment The environment must be protected, including protection of the atmosphere from accidental releases and protection of sensitive ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay from discharges. Opposition to the baseline system There was considerable opposition to incineration and the baseline technology. The Army's credibility was questioned on the basis of a perception that the Army was not committed to finding and evaluating an alternative. Closed loop or batch process The alternative technology should be a closed loop or batch system that can be shutdown quickly; these processes are perceived as intrinsically safer than others. Low temperature and pressure The alternative technology should operate at low temperature and low pressure; these conditions are perceived as intrinsically safer than others. Use of the facility after stockpile destruction No matter which technology is chosen, members of the affected communities want a guarantee that, once the stockpile at their site has been destroyed, the facility will not be used to destroy hazardous materials from elsewhere. Schedule driven by safety, not external commitments The schedule for destruction of the chemical agent stockpile should not be driven by external pressures such as treaty obligations or legislated deadlines, especially if risks to health, safety, or the environment are increased as a result. Public health and safety are the most important considerations. Public involvement in decisions and oversight The decision-making process regarding the alternative technologies should be open to public participation and scrutiny to offset the belief that the Army is biased and remains committed to the baseline system. Appropriate role for cost control Cost should not be the decisive factor in selecting an alternative, but it should be a consideration. Issues Specific to the Newport Site   All-in-one process with minimal process residuals The alternative technology should be capable of destroying the stockpile in a "complete process" that does not produce large amounts of toxic or hazardous waste. Issues Specific to the Aberdeen Site   Consider shipping off-site for final treatment The feasibility of processing the chemical agent to a less toxic condition and then shipping it off-site for final destruction at already existing toxic-waste facilities should be thoroughly investigated. Toxicological assessment of alternatives needed The evaluation of alternative technologies should include an assessment of their potential health (toxicological) effects.

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--> Opposition to the Baseline System At the beginning of each public forum, the chair indicated that the purpose of the meeting was not to discuss the Army baseline system. Despite this admonition, residents near both sites expressed opposition to the baseline system. The presence of opponents to that technology was not surprising at a forum considering alternatives to the baseline system. Although the panel heard criticism of the baseline system at the forums for both sites, the criticism was not universal. The public was reminded during the meetings that the panel had not been asked to compare the alternatives to the baseline incineration system and was present only to receive feedback on alternative technology preferences. Despite the panel's statement, the citizens continues to voice their concerns about incineration. The panel concluded that public objections to incineration would nevertheless be useful to the panel to help determine the objective characteristics of an agent destruction technology that would be opposed or supported by the communities near the sites. There were a number of negative comments on the Army's credibility, and these comments reflected two distinct themes. One theme was distrust that the Army was truly committed to a full assessment of an alternative to the baseline system and doubt that, if one or more alternatives were recommended by the AltTech Panel, the Army would diligently pursue them. A second theme was that, even if an alternative were pursued, the Army did not have the management capacity or commitment to implement it adequately. Newport residents expressed concern that the Army was not committed to a fair evaluation of the alternative technologies offered by the TPCs because it was continuing to promote the baseline incineration system it had developed. These feelings of distrust are outside the panel's task of providing a technical review of specific alternative technologies. Nevertheless, public mistrust may affect the Army's ability to carry out any alternative technology program, which would affect the implementation schedule and ultimately increase the storage risk. Closed-Loop or Batch Process Because the panel members were uncertain what was meant, in engineering terms, by public testimony favoring a closed loop system, they pursued the point in subsequent discussions with some participants who mentioned it.1 To some of the participants it appears to mean "controlled emissions," i.e., a system in which, once the agent enters, there is no route by which any emissions can escape to the environment until they have been held and tested. To others, closed loop seems only to mean a process with fewer emissions, or perhaps fewer unknowns in the emissions, than they perceive as resulting from an incineration process. Several participants said TPC representatives had emphasized a closed loop feature as an advantage of their technology. Those who favored a closed loop system at the Newport forums believed it would be safer and, more protective of the environment and could avoid accidental releases of agent or dangerous process residuals. The public apparently feels that an advantage of the alternative technologies over incineration is that all process residual streams can be captured, held, and analyzed prior to release to their ultimate destination. If testing shows that some material of concern has gotten through, that batch can be recycled through earlier stages for retreating. 2 From a technical standpoint, therefore, the preference for a closed loop process is closely akin to the preference, stated by other forum participants, for an alternative technology that uses batch processing and can be quickly and safely shutdown if testing shows a batch has not been fully treated. In formulating criteria for evaluating alternative technologies (see Chapter 10), the panel represented these 1   In standard engineering parlance, a system is a "closed loop" with respect to a particular material if that material is completely recycled internal to the system. To the extent that some of the material is degraded and lost or otherwise escapes, the system is not perfectly closed. For example, a common automobile battery is a closed loop with respect to the lead and sulfate in it, even through several years of charging and discharging cycles. Modern automotive batteries are coming close to being a closed loop with respect to water, but they are not perfectly closed if they require an occasional topping-up of the cells. In this technical sense, none of the alternative technologies (or the baseline system) is a closed loop with respect to the materials in the chemical agent to be destroyed. 2   To meet the "hold and test" condition in a continuous process, the process stream must be uniformly and continuously sampled, the analytical results from the sampling must be available and action on them taken while the sampled material is still within the system, and the stream of positive-test material must be diverted and somehow returned to an earlier process stage for retreatment. These are tough requirements to meet without having a batch step in the otherwise continuous process.

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--> community concerns for a closed loop or batch process in the criterion of test prior to release. Low Temperature and Pressure Two other process characteristics that the public strongly associates with safety and health issues are the temperature and pressure at which agent destruction processes operate. Many community members near both sites, commented that processes that work at low temperature and low pressure are intrinsically safer than processes that require high temperature or high pressure or both. The panel members in attendance were not always certain that the participants who offered these comments correctly identified which of the alternative technologies had the desirable characteristics and which did not, but it was clear that the speakers viewed these characteristics as important. From a technical perspective, a high pressure process may have a large inventory of releasable energy. This energy itself could be a hazard, or it could increase the risk associated with other hazards in the process. For example, a rupture or leak in a high temperature, pressurized reaction vessel could disperse a larger amount of hazardous material over a wider area or into the atmosphere than a containment failure would in a low temperature, low pressure system. Safety engineers assess the entire inventory of hazards associated with a process, including the thermal energy (heat), pressure, and material hazards. Thus, the public concern about high temperature and pressure is represented in the panel's evaluation criterion of the hazard inventory (Chapter 10). This criterion, moreover, includes hazards other than high temperature and pressure. With respect to process performance and engineering, a system that operates at high pressure may pose more of a challenge to stability than one at lower pressure, so the panel's criterion of stability, reliability, and robustness is also relevant to this public concern. Facility after Stockpile Destruction Another issue raised by many is whether the facility built to destroy the chemical agent stockpile at a site will continue to be used after the stockpile has been destroyed. Two currents of thought permeated the testimony and letters. In both states, the largest number of letters and statements strongly opposed using the facility to destroy hazardous waste after the stockpile had been eliminated. A smaller number of public comments suggested that the facility could be used for the destruction of other on-site wastes. These seemingly disparate views can be reconciled by understanding that they represent the views of people who do not trust the Army or Congress to carry through on promises that the facility will not be used for other purposes after stockpile destruction and will not be used to destroy wastes brought from other locations. The policy issues related to the final disposition of the stockpile destruction facilities are outside the purview of the AltTech Panel. The NRC Stockpile Committee, which has addressed this issue, has supported congressional actions that currently prohibit the use of these facilities after the destruction of the stockpile has been completed (NRC, 1994b, 1995, 1996). To provide information relevant to the potential public acceptance of a technology, the AltTech Panel has indicated in Chapter 10 whether or not an alternative technology would, from a purely technical standpoint, be readily adaptable to treating other wastes. Schedule Driven by Safety, Not External Commitments Several people expressed the desirability of slowing down the evaluation process for alternative technologies. These comments seemed to reflect a belief that the congressionally mandated date of 2004 for the complete destruction of the unitary chemical weapons stockpile was no longer realistic and that more time was needed to ensure that alternatives had been thoroughly evaluated. Many residents felt that the entire examination of alternatives was being driven by the overall demilitarization schedule. They were concerned that the panel and the Army did not have sufficient time to analyze all of the relevant information. The AltTech Panel is not in a position to assess the flexibility of the 2004 date, but members did respond to comments at the forum by saying that the panel did have sufficient time and information to evaluate the alternatives under consideration. Public Involvement in Decisions and Oversight A considerable concern to the public and to this panel is maintaining or increasing the involvement of citizens

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--> and communities in the process for selecting an alternative technology for each of the two sites. Many residents criticized what they perceive as a decision process that will be largely closed to their participation once the panel issues its report. Several members of the public stated their opinion that an evaluation of alternatives to the baseline system would not have been undertaken at all if some of the communities and various members of the public had not organized against the baseline system. The panel cannot assess the accuracy of these views, but it is aware that public involvement has been and continues to be a source of contention between the Army and the public. Comments from the general public, as well as written statements from CAIN and CWWG, urged that members of the affected communities be included in the decision-making process that will continue after the panel makes its recommendations. The testimony heard by the panel in Indiana favored increased participation by including either the Indiana CAC or a representative of the public from the Newport area. In either case, the intention was to increase participation in making the decisions, not merely to increase the release of information from the Army about decisions that had been made without public participation. This frequently and strongly expressed desire for community involvement in the process of deciding about alternative technologies is consistent with several of the Stockpile Committee recommendations cited at the beginning of this chapter. Public acceptance grows out of public involvement in which the affected communities are active partners in the evaluation and decision process (see the NRC Criteria Report Evaluation). In turn, public acceptance of the process can avoid costly scheduling delays and ultimately provide the Army with a strong base of support for the effective implementation of the disposal program. In the communities visited by the panel, opposition to the baseline system is obvious. Yet, it was equally clear that the destruction of the stockpile is a shared goal. The panel believes the Army can increase the probability of public acceptance of its evaluation of alternative technologies—and acceptance of the entire stockpile demilitarization program—by ensuring adequate opportunities for participation in the decision-making by the residents of the affected areas. The panel chair told the forum participants that panel members would return to explain as fully as possible the panel's report and recommendations, but at the time the panel could not provide answers on the Army plans for continued community involvement and participation in the selection process. Appropriate Role for Cost Control Based on verbal comments and written communications from the public, the panel recognizes there is concern about the rising projected cost of the baseline system. A related concern is that, if an alternative is recommended for pilot-testing, it should not be eliminated because of cost projections. At the forum in Indiana, some residents commented that they are also taxpayers and that they wanted the most agent destruction (effectiveness) for their dollar (efficiency) without compromising safety. The apparent conflict between not wanting to eliminate an alternative because of cost but wanting an economically efficient destruction technology indicates that the desire for an alternative to incineration is primary and that cost control is secondary. Although the panel received many comments about cost, assessment of the relative costs of the alternative technologies is outside the panel's charge, and it will not evaluate cost data. Therefore the evaluation criteria developed by the panel do not address this issue. Specific Concerns of the Newport Community The community near the Newport site raised one issue that was not raised by the Aberdeen community. The Newport community wanted the alternative technology selected for Newport to be capable of destroying chemical agent in a "one-step or complete process" and not produce large amounts of toxic or hazardous waste. The panel interprets the reference to a "one-step or complete process" to mean that the alternative should be capable of complete destruction of the agent and not require shipping by-products or wastes for additional treatment or additional steps to complete the processing of residuals before they are released for reuse or into the environment. The comments again indicated that various TPC representatives, in their meetings with citizens, had emphasized these features as advantages of their technologies over neutralization. The panel's evaluation criterion for environmental burden (Chapter 10) directly addresses public concerns about the amount of waste, hazardous or otherwise, from the treatment process. In response to the concern that a process be "one-step or complete"—which is difficult to assess directly because all of the alternatives involve consist of multiple unit process operations—the panel has included summary information in Chapter 10

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--> on the condition and amounts of all process residuals associated with each alternative technology. Specific Concerns of the Aberdeen Community The public forums in Maryland revealed that the public was well informed and that participants had acquainted themselves with the alternatives under consideration. A large majority of the comments favored neutralization as the technology to use at Aberdeen. A preference for neutralization is also the stated position of the Maryland CAC (Nunn, 1996a, 1996b). The Aberdeen community expressed two concerns that were not raised by the Newport community. One was that the feasibility should be investigated of processing the HD at Aberdeen to a less hazardous state and then shipping the process residuals off-site for further treatment. The second concern was that the AltTech Panel (or perhaps another NRC committee) and the Army should include a toxicological evaluation of the alternative technologies before making a decision about which, if any, technology to pursue. Although this concern was not raised by the Indiana citizens, it was mentioned at the Indiana forum by a representative of the Kentucky-based CWWG. Consider Shipping Off Site for Final Treatment Several Maryland residents commented on what they perceived to be a logical solution for destroying the stockpile at Aberdeen: neutralizing the agent and shipping the waste products elsewhere for further treatment and disposal at a permitted TSDF. As noted earlier in the report, partial treatment on-site followed by shipping off-site for final treatment and disposal were not originally options in evaluating alternatives to the baseline system, but they are now being considered by the Army. The "treat and ship" option for neutralization hydrolysate is addressed by the panel in this report. Toxicological Evaluation of Alternatives Needed Several participants at the Maryland forums voiced their desire to have a toxicologist on the AltTech Panel so that the health effects of each of the alternatives could be evaluated. The panel's view on this issue, which the panel chair expressed at the forums, is that, because of the early stage of development of some of the alternatives, it would be premature to attempt a thorough and effective toxicological evaluation. However, the panel fully expects that any alternative(s) that might be pursued would undergo a thorough health risk assessment. Panel Meetings with the CACs The meeting with the Indiana CAC had to be canceled because of scheduling difficulties. However, panel members did subsequently meet with the chair of the Indiana CAC and with state officials. The panel met with the Maryland CAC prior to the first public forum in Chestertown. Meeting with the Chair of the Indiana CAC On April 11, 1996, several panel members met in Washington, D.C., with the cochair of the Indiana CAC, Melvin Carraway. He was accompanied by a representative of the Indiana governor's office and several state environmental regulators. Speaking for the Indiana CAC, Carraway stated that the views expressed at the panel's public forum in Indiana in March strongly reflected the views of the Indiana CAC. In addition, both Carraway and the governor's representative clearly stated that they consider the best alternative technology option to be in-situ neutralization and are adamantly opposed to incineration at Newport. Meeting with and Comments from the Maryland CAC Several Maryland CAC representatives met with panel members on March 15, 1996, prior to the public forum in Chestertown. In addition, several Maryland CAC members spoke at the public forum. The cochair of the Maryland CAC gave the panel a copy of the CAC's 1994 comments, which put the CAC on record as recommending both neutralization of the HD at Aberdeen and reduction of the storage risk at that stockpile (Maryland CAC, 1994). These comments contained several CAC recommendations that were discussed at the March 15 meeting with the panel. According to the 1994 CAC comments, of all the chemical stockpile sites, Aberdeen is located in the most

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--> densely populated area and in the state with the second highest cancer rate in the nation (Maryland CAC, 1994). The CAC further stated that incineration was an unacceptable method of destruction. Consistent with the NRC Recommendations report, the CAC favored (and continues to favor) a low temperature, low pressure system that it believes is inherently safer than incineration or other systems that process agent at high temperature or high pressure (Maryland CAC, 1994, pp. 6-7). Having recommended in 1994 that the Army pursue a neutralization program, the CAC is pleased that neutralization is one of the alternatives being considered (Maryland CAC meeting with panel, March 15, 1996). The 1994 comments recommended neutralization that could transform the mustard agent into a nonhazardous waste; if this could not be accomplished, the recommended action was that the Army use neutralization followed by shipment of the hydrolysate to an existing hazardous waste management facility (Maryland CAC, 1994, p.8). At the March 15 meeting, the CAC representatives said that they view neutralization as a closed loop or batch process, which the CAC favors. In a letter to the AltTech Panel, the Maryland CAC reiterated support for neutralization followed by biodegradation, if that technology is found to be effective, but stated it would accept any other safe alternative technology (Nunn, 1996a). The Maryland CAC members who spoke with the panel raised several issues related to the process of evaluating alternative technologies. First, they were concerned that because of the dual role required of the head of the OPMAT&A (U.S. Army Office of the Product Manager for Alternative Technologies and Approaches), the neutralization technology was not being thoroughly explained to Maryland citizens and the state regulatory community. The head of OPMAT&A is in charge of both the evaluation of all alternative technologies and the Army's neutralization program. The CAC members feared that, in an effort to be completely neutral, neutralization would not be as strongly promoted by the Army as other alternatives were being promoted by the TPCs. Second, CAC members were concerned that the information on the alternatives being provided by the TPCs was not entirely accurate and that some TPCs had been actively lobbying state environmental regulators. Third, one CAC member expressed concern that the Army was not committed to a fair evaluation of the alternative technologies. This member believed that the criteria proposed by the Army for evaluation (see Army Criteria Report) could be scored any way the Army wanted. Fourth, CAC members were concerned that citizen involvement in the Army's evaluation, once the AltTech panel report was complete, might be limited. It was clear that they want to play a role in subsequent government decisions regarding the selection of an alternative technology at Aberdeen. Although the panel is neither knowledgeable about nor charged with exploring some of these concerns, there is clearly a substantial credibility gap between the Maryland CAC, which is a well informed group, and parts of the Army. With respect to the panel's role in recommending an alternative technology for the Aberdeen site, the panel has taken note of the preference, stated by CAC members and others in the community, for a technology that has the characteristics associated with a closed loop or batch process and that processes chemical agent at low temperature and low pressure. Environmental Regulators A critical element in the implementation schedule for disposing of a chemical agent stockpile is the environmental permitting process. Each state establishes its own permitting process with the aim of ensuring public health and safety and protecting the environment. To determine if there are unique permitting issues in Maryland or Indiana for any of the alternative technologies, the panel pursued two information-gathering approaches. The panel was particularly interested in whether there are any potential show-stoppers, i.e., obstacles that could halt implementation of a technology indefinitely. First, the panel developed a series of 25 questions to solicit information on regulatory and permitting matters that could affect the implementation schedule of an alternative technology (see Appendix J). The questions were sent to state regulators, and the answers were compiled as a source of information for the panel. The second source of information was a series of direct meetings with groups of Indiana and Maryland environmental regulators. The meeting with the Maryland regulators was held on March 15, 1996; meetings with Indiana regulators took place on March 13 and April 11. Issues that arose during those meetings

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--> were clarified in materials sent to the panel by the regulators.3 Regulators from both states indicated to the panel that, based on their current knowledge of the proposed alternative technologies, any of the technologies could be permitted in their states. That is, there did not appear to be any show-stoppers for any of the technologies being evaluated. However, there are five particular regulatory and permitting issues that bear directly on the panel's evaluation of the alternative technologies: (1) requirements for permitting under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), (2) time to obtain permits, (3) off-site shipping of process residuals, (4) treatment of synthesis gas combustion, and (5) pilot demonstration of an alternative technology. Permitting Requirements under RCRA Two of the TPCs have approached regulators in both states to explore the possibility of obtaining recycling designations for their technologies. 4 A recycling designation would obviate a RCRA hazardous waste permit, which would otherwise be necessary. The panel believes that a recycling designation may prove difficult to obtain in either state (Hosseinzadeh and Sachdeva, 1996; Ray, 1996). The TPC for CEP (catalytic extraction process) has indicated, according to regulators in both states, that the company is reluctant to accept a requirement to obtain a RCRA hazardous waste permit because of potential negative consequences for applying the technology elsewhere. Time to Obtain Permits Regulators from both states gave the panel estimates of the time required to obtain the necessary permits in their respective states, once formal applications for permits are received. In Indiana, the state may spend a maximum of 365 days conducting a RCRA permit review. This review allows for two "clock-stops," when the applicant may be required to submit additional information at the state's request. (Until the applicant submits the requested information, the time after the request does not count against the 365-day limit or "clock.") Hence, the actual time depends on two factors: the quality and completeness of the initial application and the complexity of the technology being reviewed. The more complex a technology is, the more likely regulators are to require additional information from the applicant, leading to a longer clock-stop. In Maryland, the state has assigned two full-time engineers to assess technology packages on an ongoing basis, even before the Army makes its recommendation to the Defense Acquisition Board. Maryland regulators told the panel that the actual time to obtain permits will depend on the relative complexity of the technology and the familiarity of the regulators with it, but the range would probably be one to two years (Bowles, 1996). Off-Site Shipping of Process Residuals For reasons discussed in Chapter 3, shipping process residuals off-site for further treatment and disposal is now being considered by the Army. This option was discussed with regulators in each state, and no insurmountable problems were identified. However, Maryland regulators noted that there currently are no in-state landfills with RCRA permits for disposing of residuals from a hazardous waste treatment process. Therefore, solid process-residuals from the Aberdeen site would have to be shipped to another state. At present, the liquid hydrolysate from the Army program to develop the neutralization technology is shipped out of state. Indiana regulators said that, because VX residuals would be hazardous wastes, the existing TSDF permits of facilities accepting or receiving process residuals from VX neutralization would have to be amended (Indiana, 1992a). However, the regulators did not think amending the permits would be a problem. Treatment of Synthesis Gas Combustion Two of the alternative technologies, CEP and GPCR (gas-phase chemical reduction), produce a synthesis gas 3   The panel is indebted to these individuals for the thoroughness and timeliness of their efforts and for their willingness to share their experience and expertise regarding potential regulatory issues that may apply to these evolving alternative technologies, even prior to receiving final design information from the TPCs. 4   The issue of a recycling designation for these technologies was raised by state regulators in meetings with the AltTech Panel on March 12, 1995, in Indianapolis, Indiana, and on March 15, 1996, in Baltimore, Maryland.

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--> as part of the processing of VX or HD. The syngas is burned within the on-site facility to produce energy. The environmental regulators said that they have not yet determined whether the products from synthesis gas combustion require regulation under existing hazardous waste rules. Pilot Demonstration of an Alternative Technology A potentially significant issue exists for piloting an alternative technology for chemical agent destruction at the Newport site. An Indiana law prohibits the permitting of any facility to destroy chemical munitions unless the technology has been in operation at another facility at a scale comparable to the proposed facility and for a time sufficient to demonstrate that the operating facility destroys or treats at least 99.9999 percent (six 9's) of the chemical agent (Indiana, 1992b). In effect, this statute prohibits the permitting of any pilot plant for an alternative technology in Indiana. Until another facility using an alternative technology is operated elsewhere, only the baseline incineration system would qualify for permitting. However, Indiana regulators were reasonably sure that this law could be amended to accommodate pilot-testing of an alternative technology, if the technology had strong community support. Emergency Management Although state laws in both Maryland and Indiana have differing requirements for chemical weapon destruction facilities, they share one feature. Both states require that, prior to issuing permits to such a facility, the state must plan and be prepared for emergency incidents involving the release of a chemical agent and a threat to state residents. The permitting of any technology can be delayed until adequate preparations have been made (Maryland 1987a; Indiana, 1992b). Given the requirements for emergency preparedness and the difficulties related to emergency management that the baseline system has encountered at the Tooele, Utah, facility (NRC, 1996), the panel sought information on what, if any, impediments might be encountered by the alternative technologies. To determine if the technologies under consideration might affect the status of emergency planning in either Indiana or Maryland, the panel scheduled meetings with state and local personnel responsible for the CSEPP for the Newport and Aberdeen sites. At a meeting attended by state CSEPP directors from Indiana and Illinois (at least one county in Illinois is part of the Immediate Response Zone for the Newport site) and by emergency management directors and CSEPP personnel from several Indiana counties, two salient points emerged. First, as long as an alternative technology did not change the geographic area encompassed by the response and planning zones that were already established, emergency management personnel believed that their preparations would not be adversely affected by selecting an alternative to the baseline system (panel meeting with CSEPP personnel at the Parke County Emergency Operations Center, Indiana, March 12, 1996). Second, there was some concern that an alternative technology might change the assumptions about the relation between the probability of an emergency incident and its severity. Specifically, it was noted that whichever alternative technology was used, it should not increase the probability of emergency incidents, even if it decreased the consequences of those events (Keane, 1996). The panel met with the Maryland director of emergency management on March 15, 1996. The planning and response zones for the Aberdeen site have recently been reduced in area by national CSEPP personnel because risk-mitigating actions have been implemented that reduce the risk associated with continued storage at the Aberdeen site. The director's concern was that an alternative technology might alter the new planning or response zones, with negative consequences for the densely populated area around the Aberdeen site. TPC Experience with Public Involvement and Environmental Regulators The panel asked each TPC to provide information about recent experience with and approach to (1) involving local communities in siting decisions and (2) working with environmental regulators. The panel already had information about the Army's program and plans in these two areas. Two of the three TPCs and the Army have experience that bears directly on these issues. The TPC for the CEP technology described an aggressive and thorough public information program that targets "key leaders," special interest groups, and a variety of stakeholder groups to identify the issues they

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--> believe are important (M4 Environmental L.P., 1996f). The company has had active outreach programs in both the Aberdeen and Newport communities since January 1996 and has met with environmental regulators in both states. In 1995, the developer of the CEP technology was awarded an EPA Merit Award for community activities associated with the Molten Metals facility at Fall River, Massachusetts. The TPC states that it is committed to a "totally open public involvement policy," which the company credits for several successful sitings and public support (M4 Environmental L.P., 1996f, pp. 3-4). The TPC for GPCR appears from the information submitted to have less experience with public involvement programs. However, the TPC described itself as successful in both winning public acceptance and working with Canadian environmental regulators. The TPC described a public outreach program that is less detailed and has fewer outreach activities than the program described by the first TPC, but the approach has been used with successful sitings (ECO LOGIC, 1996b). The company's efforts at its Toronto project, which will provide additional experience, include a number of information meetings with the public. The TPCs for CEP and GPCR participated in all the public education meetings on alternative technologies hosted by local CACs and the Army at Aberdeen and Newport. Based on the information provided, the TPC for Silver II appears to have less experience than the first two TPCs with public involvement, particularly in the United States (Gill, 1996). Most of the activities cited by a representative of the company have been in providing testimony at hearings for its projects. Representatives of this TPC were not present at the panel's public forums. Given the relative lack of prior experience, this TPC may require more lead time to obtain the necessary information about community needs and environmental regulations pertaining to the Aberdeen and Newport sites. The Army has been active in the Newport and Aberdeen communities for a long time, although the character of its interactions with the communities concerning stockpile issues has evolved considerably since the mid-1980s. The Army recently expanded the public affairs program of the CSDP (Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program) and has begun to plan outreach activities for each of the stockpile sites (NRC, 1996). At the Tooele site, the Army has worked extensively with environmental regulators and the community and has succeeded in getting siting permits for a major baseline system facility, although that facility is still undergoing systemization tests for agent disposal. The continuing presence of the Army at Aberdeen and Newport is positive and negative for future activities. The Army appears to understand the needs and concerns of the communities far better now than in the past, but it has also inherited some citizen distrust (Bradbury et al., 1994). It is not clear if the Army is willing to adapt and make a long-term commitment to more public involvement in decision-making, as it appears to be doing in the alternative technology program. However, the Army certainly possesses the necessary staff and planning capacity to implement a successful public participation program.