SUMMARY OF 2/19/02 ROCHE VITAMINS CAP MEETING
The Roche Vitamins Community Advisory Panel convened at 7:03 P.M. on February 19, 2002. CAP members present at the meeting were Kathy Belby, Jane Bullis, Judy Chamberlain, Peter Grogan, Lisa Jacob, Andy Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Betty Merring, Claude Mitchell, Totsy Phillips, Dave Pritchard, Doug Smyth, Eric Van Horn, Gary Wassel and Stan Wilkins. Present from RVI were Buff Andresen, Jim Brandl, Duane Campbell and Paul Minehart. The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross and the minutes was taken by Rachelle Benson, both of Holt & Ross. Nine guests were also present, Toby Hanna of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Donald Patterson and Charles Pieterinen of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Richard Kowal and Joseph Vewesky, White Township residents and members of PURE, Bill Rosebrock of the Warren County Environmental Commission, and Al Ferullo of PPL. Peter Guarraci of the Star-Ledger attended the meeting as well.
SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT ON AIR MONITORING
Toby Hanna reported that since the CAP’s January meeting he had developed a prioritized outline of the air monitoring program’s components for the Memorandum of Understanding now being developed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Four sites have agreed to host monitoring stations, in the following order of priority: Belvidere High School; the Warren County complex; a former PPL monitoring location on Scotts Mountain; and the White Township School. After its first three months of operation, the monitoring program will scan monthly for the air toxics that Roche emits (toluene, methanol and chloroform); quarterly for a full scan of 58 volatile organic chemicals; and continuously for sulfur dioxide and fine particulates. During the first three months of operation, the air monitoring system will conduct a full scan of all target chemicals every six days. When price quotes for the different components of the monitoring program are provided by the firms bidding for the work, these costs will be shared with the CAP for use in making final recommendations on the prioritization of this SEP’s components. Deposition mercury testing will also be added to the monitoring at the Belvidere High School. Cost permitting, mercury testing would follow the DEP protocol of every 12 days.
Jane Bullis suggested that for purposes of consistency and cost-effectiveness the mercury monitoring program tie in with NJDEP’s existing network and utilize a laboratory currently used by NJDEP for data analysis.
Betty Merring asked whether industrial facilities would be able to adjust their operations to reduce emissions on days when sampling scans are occurring. Mr. Pieterenen, Director of NJDEP’s air monitoring division, said some sampling could be randomized after the first three months to prevent that from happening.
Don Patterson, the NJDEP’s Director of Enforcement, reported that Roche’s SEP program is New Jersey’s first. It provides DEP with the opportunity to provide the community with information about industrial impacts on air quality that goes beyond the scope of the state’s current monitoring program. This will allow DEP to make better decisions about resource allocation, helping to insure that the right environmental priorities receive attention. Noting that the SEPs approved for Roche’s environmental compliance program represent the first time such projects have been used in conjunction with New Jersey’s environmental enforcement program, Mr. Patterson said the state was hoping to expand the use of SEPs statewide to enhance the resources available to address important environmental issues. Therefore, the DEP is looking to learn from the Roche experience and receive the community’s agreement that local environmental problems are being addressed appropriately. As a result, the DEP has committed its full technical support to the air monitoring SEP, to make sure that it produces accurate data for use in reaching conclusions about the public health impacts of existing air quality and any improvements that may be needed.
The following public comments were presented:
Belvidere Environmental Commission: Jane Bullis reported that the BEC was concerned about mercury emissions from Pennsylvania coal-fired power plants. She recommended that mercury be monitored using water deposition sampling to be consistent with NJDEP’s statewide mercury monitoring program. Doug Smith commented that if cost was a problem mercury only needed to be monitored once in order to see if it was present at safe levels or not. Betty Merring said the community was concerned about mercury emissions from the Oxford incinerator and Mr. Pieterinen responded that all New Jersey waste-to-energy facilities were equipped with mercury control devices and all of those facilities are very low emitters of mercury.
Warren County Environmental Commission: Peter Grogan said the WCEC was also concerned about mercury and wanted it to be monitored as part of this SEP. The County Environmental Commission was also concerned about the frequency of the air sampling. Mr. Grogan applauded the decision to take frequent samples during the first three months of the program and to monitor monthly, rather than quarterly, for the air toxics associated with Roche’s operations. Bill Rosebrock, chairman of the Warren County Environmental Commission, suggested that Anthony Carpi, an assistant professor at John Jay College in New York, should be involved in the review of the mercury monitoring, since he had done a study on the impacts of mercury on the environment and humans. Carpi has experience working in Warren County because he was previously involved in a mercury study of the Oxford waste incinerator. Mr. Rosebrock also suggested that a health survey of area residents be conducted to determine any neurological impacts linked to mercury exposure.
White Twp. Environmental Commission: Dave Pritchard reported that the WTEC did not express concerns about mercury but did want the monitoring program to be expanded to include a station at the White Twp. school. The Commission also wanted groundwater and soil sampling to determine whether volatile organic chemicals were being washed out of the air by rain.
Mr. Patterson indicated that to address cost issues and the community’s priorities, the DEP would allow money allocated to the four SEPs to be reallocated from one SEP to another if there were excess funds in one of the other SEPs. Jim Brandl said that in view of the community’s concerns about mercury Roche would include some kind of mercury monitoring in SEP 1.
Other Public Comments:
Jim Brandl pointed out that the original CAP recommendation for SEP 1 was limited to sulfur dioxide only and that RVI had suggested that air toxics should be included as well on a quarterly basis. From that point the program has now evolved to include a large list of air toxics, beyond the three involved in Roche’s operations, as well as particulates, mercury and much more frequent monitoring. This expanded program entails higher costs that may affect the ability to monitor all of the pollutants of concern at an expanded number of monitoring stations than were originally proposed. Once bids from monitoring firms are received in late March, RVI will know more about the cost parameters and will be able to share that information with the CAP so that the issues of priorities and tradeoffs can be addressed one last time.
Mr. Pieterinen asked for comments on how the air monitoring results should be made available to the public, since this might entail a considerable cost. He suggested that the best way to ensure public access to the air monitoring information was to set up a website. Steve Ross said that the CAP will soon have a website that could be used to post the air monitoring results as well as linked to the DEP’s website.
JANUARY MEETING SUMMARY
The CAP approved the January meeting summary, with the correction of the spelling of Stan Wilkins name.
RVI COMPLIANCE STATUS
Jim Brandl reported that Roche will be retiring $450,000 worth of emissions allowances as part of its Administrative Consent Agreement, rather than selling those allowances, equal to 250 tons of volatile organic chemical emissions, to other companies. He asked if the CAP would support the idea of inviting the mayors of White Township and Belvidere to attend the March CAP meeting and participate in a ceremony to destroy those emissions allowances. Roche does not believe any allowances are available in Warren County but will check to make sure.
The CAP agreed that the mayors should be invited to participate in such a ceremony at its March 19 meeting.
Jim Brandl also reported that Roche made four calls to the NJDEP’s emissions reporting hotline since the February CAP meeting, all for very minor violations.
Buff Andresen, the webmaster for the new CAP website, reviewed the website’s design and content with the CAP and reported that the web address would be www.rochecap.com.
The CAP approved the website design.
WHITE TOWNSHIP TOLUENE CONCERNS
Claude Mitchell reported that he had attended a meeting with concerned parents, the Warren County Health Department and RVI on toluene exposure to children. As a result of the meeting, the Warren County Health Department had tested water quality at four locations – the Oxford Street school, 3d Street school, Little Cedars day care center, and Belvidere High School – and found concentrations of chlorination byproducts at harmless levels below one part per billion. Claude also reported that an independent physician had reviewed the tests done on the child of a concerned parent and found that the test results were normal.
Lisa Jacob reported that the White Township health survey will be complete by the next meeting and the results will be made available to the CAP at its March meeting.
The meeting concluded at 10:10 p.m.