Summary of November 2003 Meeting of DSM Community Advisory Panel

The Community Advisory Panel working with DSM met on November 18, 2003.Present at the meeting were Kathy Belby, Jane Bullis, Judy Chamberlain, Mike King, Andy Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Betty Merring, Totsy Phillips, Doug Smyth, Joe Venesky, and Dr. Zollinger.Joe Gentile and Paul Minehart were present from DSM.The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross.

Approval of July, August and September Meeting Summaries

The meeting began at 7:00 p.m. The Panel approved the summaries of the July, August and September meetings.

Chairmanís Report

Gary Meddaugh reported that he had received the July Warren County Air Monitoring Program (WCAMP) report.He noted that the CAPís December meeting would be a holiday dinner hosted by DSM.Steve Ross said that at that meeting the Panel should be prepared to approve the November meeting summary and elect a chairperson for 2004.

Debriefing on October Community Open House

Gary Meddaugh noted that many students attended the open house armed with thought-provoking questions for the CAP and AirQAP representatives.A lot of good questions were asked by the members of the public who attended as well.There were a lot of positive comments about the CAPís website, and that of the AirQAP.Steve Ross reported that over 100 people attended the open house, making it the most successful event yet held by the Panel.

The CAP asked that future meeting packets include the previous monthís AirQAP meeting summary and that the CAP agendas include a report on the AirQAPís activities as a standing item.

CAP Membership Review

Steve reported that several changes in the CAPís membership were in store.Dave Pritchard has resigned due to his work schedule.Daveís alternate, Joe Venesky, suggested that White Twp. Environmental Commission Chairman Rich Kowal be asked to designate a replacement.

 

Peter Grogan and Kathy Belby have also tendered their resignations, Steve reported.The Panel acknowledged the major contributions both had made to the CAP, especially Peteís management of the search for and work of the CAPís independent scientific consultant, who performed a peer review of the health risk assessment commissioned by Roche following its air emissions violations, and Kathyís important role in the pediatric asthma study.

 

The CAP agreed that the White Twp. and Belvidere Environmental Commissions should be asked to designate replacements for Dave and Pete.In addition, Jane Bullis will work with Belvidere High School to identify a student representative and perhaps a teacher representative as well.

 

AirQAP Status

 

Steve Ross reported that at the AirQAPís October press briefing, AirQAP chairman Bud Allen had asked NJDEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell for help with additional funding for continued operation of the Warren County Air Monitoring Program beyond its scheduled three-year life and additional funding for the AirQAP itself, whose budget would be exhausted soon.Steve added that the AirQAP had written to Warren Countyís state legislators and to Commissioner Campbell to urge that Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) be a standard component of environmental fines, as had been the case with Roche Vitamins and the SEPs conceived and recommended by the CAP and approved by DEP.The AirQAP had cited as one opportunity for the use of SEPs the case of Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe of Phillipsburg, which had recently signed an Administrative Consent Order with NJDEP that entailed a fine of $1.3 million for air and water violations.

 

Jane Bullis said the DSMCAP should support continuation of the WCAMP and AirQAP and advocate funding sources to do that.She added that the CAP should also support the use of SEPs in general and particularly in the case of ASCIP, since that company was in the process of establishing a CAP and until one existed would have no other community group to advocate SEPs on its behalf.

 

Steve mentioned that one possible SEP could involve retrofits of diesel school buses with catalytic converters that would significantly reduce their air emissions.Steve noted that USEPA had a grant program for that purpose, which had been reported to the AirQAP as part of a presentation by EPA on diesel emissions and their health impacts.The CAP expressed great interest in learning more about this program and the possibility of receiving such grants for the Belvidere and White Township schools, which were served by the same contract school bus operator.Joe Venesky cautioned that it was his understanding that such a retrofit could have a very negative impact on the performance of diesel engines.Steve said he would try to arrange for a presentation by EPA at the CAPís January meeting.In the meantime, Steve will forward some information on that EPA program.

 

The CAP expressed interest in forming a joint task force with the AirQAP to advocate the use of SEPs by NJDEP and EPA.Betty Merring askd if fines were being levied against other companies and, if so, where do the payments go.Betty wondered if this could be another source of SEPs.

 

The CAP members agreed to work with the Belvidere and White Twp. school districts to pursue a joint application for a grant from EPAís school bus retrofit program.The CAP also asked for the AirQAPís support for that joint application.Chairman Gary Meddaugh said he would call the EPA Region II representative on the AirQAP, Bill Baker, to discuss this with him.

 

DSM Environmental Scorecard

 

Joe Gentile reported that since the October CAP meeting there had been fewer reportable incidents than ever before, with none involving violations of DSMís permitted emissions limits.

 

Joe noted that DSM wanted to know whether chloroform levels reported by the WCAMP were above or below the health benchmark set by NJDEP.To do that, DSM has instructed its contract laboratory to analyze specifically for chloroform, in addition to the more general analysis done for the 59 volatile organic compounds that are monitored monthly by the WCAMP.†† By analyzing specifically for chloroform the laboratory will be able to significantly reduce the minimum detection limit for that chemical, to a level roughly equal to the health benchmark level.That means that if chloroform is detected below that limit, it does not pose a health risk.If it is detected above that benchmark, then further study will be needed to determine the source, as DSM is not the only potential source of chloroform in the area.

 

Doug Smyth asked how the chloroform levels compared with the concentrations projected by DSMís computer models.Joe said that Roche did not appear to be the source of the June chloroform reading, based on the wind direction reported by the Belvidere air monitoring station.Joe noted that the communityís public and residential swimming pools had been opened that month, and chlorination generates chloroform as a byproduct.

 

Other Business

 

Doug Smyth expressed frustration that the CAP had not yet received even a preliminary report on the results of the SEP 2 pediatric asthma study.One of the main concerns of the community is the health impacts of air pollutants and he didnít understand the absence of any information on that from the asthma study more than six months after the conclusion of the data-gathering period.Kathy Belby said the delay was a function of the University of Medicine and Dentistryís stringent review requirements for such studies involving human subjects before results could be reported.

 

Joe Gentile noted that with DSMís acquisition of Roche Vitamins now complete, the CAPís name should be changed to the DSM CAP, and the website address as well.

 

Gary Meddaugh noted that Gary Wassell was responsible for ordering the December VOC random sampling event.Mr. Wassell should contact Enviroplan after Thanksgiving to set that December date.

 

Betty Merring requested a presentation on plant security as a topic for the January CAP meeting, in view of a recent feature on that topic by 60 Minutes.Joe Gentile pointed out the sensitivity of that topic and the limitations on how much could be divulged about the security system without compromising security, but that he would make sure the CAP is given as much information as possible and prudent.

 

The meeting concluded at 9:00 p.m.