The second business meeting of the revitalized Roche Vitamins Community Advisory Panel convened at 7:00 p.m. on February 27, 2001. Ten members of the CAP were present: Rob Aptaker, Jane Bullis, Judy Chamberlain, Betty Merring, Claude Mitchell, John Negri, Dorothy Phillips, Roy Uhlman, Eric Van Horn and Gary Wassel. Present from Roche Vitamins were Duane Campbell and Jim Brandl. The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross of Holt & Ross, Inc.

Absentee CAP Members

The meeting began with a report on the status of the members not in attendance. Frank Nugent has resigned due to a change in his schedule while Peter Grogan, Tony Amato, Dave Pritchard and Gary Meddaugh all had conflicts with other meetings, many of which would recur based on the CAP meeting schedule adopted in January. Therefore, the CAP agreed to change its meeting schedule to the third Tuesday of each month. The CAP also agreed to explore recruitment of additional White Township representatives, as requested by Dave Pritchard.

Status of RVI Pollution Prevention and Control Program

Duane Campbell updated the CAP on the status of Rocheís pollution prevention and control program. Noting that Roche had overestimated the magnitude of its chloroform releases somewhat in its previous reports to the community and the CAP, he reported that the facilityís fermentation process conversion began on February 18, with the goal of significantly reducing methanol releases. Mr. Campbell said pilot testing has demonstrated that once the process conversion was complete, by the end of March 2001, methanol emissions would be reduced by 85%, from about 300 tons per year to 50 tons per year. This was the emissions reduction expected from the yet-to-be installed scrubber that was initially identified as the means for achieving an 85% reduction in methanol releases by the end of September 2001. Therefore, Roche was discussing with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) whether installation of a scrubber would still be required if a reduction of that magnitude was achieved through pollution prevention alone. In the meantime, Roche was still planning to install a scrubber, as reported to the CAP on January 30.

The slides presenting RVIís update report are attached to this Meeting Summary.

CAP Administrative Matters

Turning to CAP-related matters, the panel approved the draft summary of the revitalized CAPís first meeting, on January 30, 2001, which is now available for public distribution.

The panel also approved its draft charter and bylaws, with the proviso that they may be revisited in future should the CAP wish. After brief discussion, the CAP unanimously selected Doug Smyth as its chairman.

The CAP agreed that a tour of the RVI facility would be very helpful, especially if it focused on those aspects of the facility that are of greatest community interest and concern and most relevant to the issues on which the CAP will be focusing in future.

Issues for Future CAP Focus

The CAP then discussed the issues and priorities that should be its focus in the coming months. The panel assigned the highest priority to the following four issues:

  • County-wide air monitoring
  • Use of the Roche fine money to benefit the regional community impacted by RVIís compliance violations. Claude Mitchell reported that the Warren County Health Department was sending a letter to the DEP asking that this be done.
  • Development of recommendations to the NJDEP and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) to which the fine money should be applied. Jane Bullis said she would draft a letter to the DEP about the CAPís strong interest in this matter.
  • Expansion of the CAPís focus beyond Roche to address regional impacts of all industrial facilities, particularly PP&Lís Martins Creek power plant, BASFís facilities in Washington and Belvidere, the waste-to-energy facility in Oxford, and Mallinckrodt Bakerís Phillipsburg facility. It was noted that the facilities operated by BASF and Mallinckrodt Baker already work with CAPs of their own.

In addition to these issues, which the CAP agreed needed to be addressed as quickly as possible, the panel also identified the following additional issues of concerns to address:

  • Noise
  • Odors (which the CAP agreed the community continued to perceive as a problem, notwithstanding significant improvements that had occurred at the facility but gone unrecognized)
  • Peer review of the health risk assessment conducted for Roche by Environmental Resources Management (ERM)
  • Water impacts of regional industrial facilities
  • Enhanced community benefits from Roche to compensate for the RVI facilityís environmental compliance lapses
  • Improved communication between Roche and the community about these and other issues so that the community can be better informed and so misperceptions can be corrected and minimized in future.

With respect to the issue of improved communication, the CAP agreed that the panel should issue a news release after each meeting reporting to the community on what transpired. The CAP will also consider such other communications vehicles as a website (including links to other relevant websites, such as those maintained by Warren County and Belvidere), a community newsletter, community meetings, and CAP representation at appropriate community events. Roche noted that it planned on holding a community meeting following the issuance of an approved Consent Agreement.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m. The next meeting will be on March 20, 2001.

Action items for the future were as follows:

  • CAP meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of each month
  • Steve Ross will pursue recruitment of additional members representing White Twp.
  • Steve Ross will draft a CAP news release and coordinate with CAP Chairman Doug Smyth
  • Roche will plan and schedule a facility tour for the CAP
  • Jane Bullis will draft a CAP letter to NJDEP asking that SEPs be developed for implementation to the benefit of Warren County
  • The CAP will research other SEPs approved by the EPA, as the basis for developing SEP recommendations relevant to Rocheís situation
  • Roche will schedule a community meeting following DEP issuance of an approved Consent Agreement.