The Roche Vitamins Community Advisory Panel convened at 7:00 P.M. on September 18, 2001. CAP members present at the meeting were Bud Allen, Kathy Belby, Jane Bullis, Judy Chamberlain, Peter Grogan, Lisa Jacob, Andy Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Betty Merring, Dorothy Phillips, Doug Smyth, Gary Wassel and Stan Wilkins. Present from RVI were Jim Brandl and Duane Campbell. The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross of Holt & Ross.

Approval of June Meeting Summary

The meeting began with approval of the Summary of the August 16 meeting. Gary Meddaugh requested that the July 2001 Meeting Summary be corrected to reflect the fact that he was in attendance.

New Members

Steve Ross welcomed four new members to the CAP: Kathy Belby of Belvidere, a Registered Nurse; Stan Wilkins of Belvidere, a consulting and civil engineer; Lisa Jacob of White Township, a member of PURE and a newly appointed member of the White Twp. Environmental Commission; and Bud Allen of White Twp., President of the Brookfield Homeowners Association. (Mr. Allen and Ms. Jacob arrived late due to prior commitments.). Steve will arrange for new members to receive background packets containing the CAP Bylaws, an updated CAP membership list, and all meeting summaries and news releases issued to date by the revitalized CAP.

RVI Compliance Status

Duane Campbell reported that a water scrubber for methanol removal will be installed by late October. Roche has received a new permit that allows methanol emissions of up to 15 tons per year, which represents a reduction of 300 tons per year from the unanticipated and unpermitted level reported last year. Toluene emissions have been reduced to five tons per year, which is one-third of the permitted level. Process improvements in Vitamin C manufacturing have succeeded in reducing chloroform emissions to two tons per year, down from the more than 20 tons per year reported in December 2001. Additional process improvements are expected to reduce this level even further, to within the one ton per year allowed by Rocheís facility-wide permit. With the elimination of chlorine as a process chemical used at Rocheís facility, chloroform is now the basis for the Risk Management Plan worst-case scenario required by section 112 of the Clean Air Act. Duane reported that the impact of that worst-case scenario would be confined to Rocheís property.

Jim Brandl reported that Roche will meet with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on September 26 to resolve the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) and clarify implementation details for the Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) that the CAP has recommended and the DEP has conceptually approved. Jim summarized the SEPs for the benefit of the new CAP members and noted that the air monitoring station would continuously monitor sulfur dioxide, while toxic screening would monitor periodically for hazardous air pollutants and possibly ozone as well.

Jane Bullis asked whether PPL would be doing air monitoring too. Jim said he fully expected them to so they could demonstrate that air quality in Warren County is in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide. He noted that computer modeling of local air quality had shown the area to be in non-attainment for only a few days a year.

Doug Smyth asked how PPL would address mercury emissions from coal plants, noting that the Pennsylvania DEP had yet to respond to public comments and questions from the hearings it held on the power plants proposed by PPL and Reliant Energy. Gary Meddaugh noted that mercury is a naturally occurring contaminant in surface water due to natural decomposition. Jim Brandl commented that the PDEP was probably considering the issues and would certainly address them before acting on the permit applications. He added that based on discussions with PPLís Martins Creek plant manager, Roche believes PPL is committed to doing the right thing and getting involved to make sure New Jerseyís air quality is not harmed by PPLís operations. Doug Smyth responded that PPLís public presentations to date had not been responsive to public concerns and left him skeptical about their position on reducing emissions and protecting the community against harmful impacts. Bud Allens said he had participated in a PPL tour of the Martins Creek plant and had been told that PPL had not looked into the cost of adding a scrubber.

In response to these concerns, the CAP agreed to send a letter to the PDEP expressing concerns about the impacts of Pennsylvania power plants on Warren County air quality and a letter to the NJDEP requesting a continuing role for the CAP in developing and implementing the SEPs, including the addition of mercury as an air pollutant to be monitored. Betty Merring and Bud Allen will draft the letter to PDEP for Doug Smythís approval and signature, while Jane Bullis will draft the letter to NJDEP for Dougís review and signature. Jim Brandl said he would report to the NJDEP on the CAPís concerns and continuing interest in staying involved on SEP implementation planning when he meets with the DEP on September 26, and would hand-deliver the CAPís letter at that time.

Community Forum

The CAP agreed to host a community forum from 7-9 P.M. in the Belvidere High School auditorium on November 7, with a fallback date of November 14. The forum will consist of the following program:

  1. Introduction of the CAP members
  2. Summary of the meeting format, rules and procedures (Gary Wassel)
  3. Review of Rocheís environmental compliance problems and progress made to date (Mike Adams)
  4. Summary of the ACO and the SEPs (Mike Adams, RVI/Don Patterson, NJDEP)
  5. Summary of the CAP-sponsored peer review of the ERM health risk assessment (Doug Smyth)
  6. A report on the Belvidere community health survey and the status of the White Twp. health survey (Jane Bullis, BEC/Cindy Snyder, WTEC).
  7. Public input.

The CAP will sit on the stage in a roundtable format. It was suggested that members of the public be asked to write down and hand in their questions, comments and suggestions on index cards to make it easier to give everyone a chance to speak while keeping the length of the meeting to no more than two hours. The community forum will be publicized and promoted through issuance of a news release, posting on the websites maintained by Warren County, White Twp. and Belvidere and on the community bulletin boards maintained by area newspapers and community groups, and display ads in the "River Bend" newspaper over a three-week period. Steve Ross will draft copy for that ad for approval by the CAP at its October 16 meeting, when the CAP will hold a dry run for the community forum. The CAP will also consider offering a press briefing earlier in the day of the forum, to review the CAPís activities and be available for questions from reporters.

Warren County Response to World Trade Center Disaster

Gary Wassel reported that Warren Countyís emergency plan was implemented in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the plan worked extremely well. He thanked Roche for all of its support and material assistance in that response, which included 500 protective suits, caps and masks.

The meeting concluded at 9:30 p.m.