The Community Advisory Panel working with DSM met on February 17, 2004.  Present at the meeting were Bud Allen, Judy Chamberlain, Andy Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Doug Smyth, Joe Venesky, Stan Wilkins, and Dr. Zollinger.  Jim Brandl was present from DSM.  The meeting was facilitated by Steve Ross.


Approval of January Meeting Summary

The meeting began at 7:00 p.m. The Panel approved the January meeting summary. 



Steve Ross reviewed the program for the February 26 CAPFest event sponsored by the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, which will feature a panel discussion on chemical plant security, a topic of interest to the DSM CAP.  Steve noted that CAPs and sponsoring companies from around the state typically attend the event, and in some cases have displays and exhibits illustrating their activities.  Jim Brandl suggested that the DSM CAP may want to have its own display, utilizing materials developed for last yearís open house.  The CAP agreed and Steve was asked to work with DSM and CCNJ to arrange for an appropriate display table for the event.


Noise Update

Jim Brandl reported significant progress in addressing the noise issues raised by Mr. and Mrs. Gould at the CAPís January meeting.  Based on the results of a study of noise sources, new noise control measures have been implemented at the scrubber and improvements to the rusted mufflers are also being developed.  The noise related to the cogeneration plant will be more challenging to resolve, and further study of noise abatement options there is now underway.  Jim said DSM would keep in touch with the Goulds while studying this matter and will update them every two weeks.


Topics for CAP Focus in 2004

As a starting point for group discussion, Steve Ross suggested seven different new areas of focus for CAP advice, input and recommendations this year.  These were:


  1. DSMís corporate giving program in Warren County, advising the company on how to prioritize its decision-making on local contributions, funding and volunteerism.
  2. The DRBCís master water resources plan, now being developed and presented for public input and comments.
  3. DSMís pending Title V permit covering all of the facilityís air emissions, which will be the subject of regulatory review and public comment this spring.
  4. Supplemental land use options involving undeveloped DSM property, as suggested previously by Jane Bullis.  Doug Smyth noted that hundreds of new senior citizen homes will be developed across from the Belvidere pool and DSMís site in a wooded area.  The Belvidere Environmental Commission is seeking a donation from the developer to fund access to parkland that DSM donated in the past.  Jim said DSM was still open to a pathway to interconnect the open space areas. 
  5. The production process and related environmental, social and economic aspects of new products being manufactured or processed at the facility, beginning with the new baby formula ingredient now being made with use of the facilityís fermentation process that had been inactive after production of lasalicid was discontinued.
  6. Improvements to the environmental scorecard of incidents reported to NJDEPís hotline that is sent monthly to the governing bodies of White Twp. and Belvidere.
  7. Support for the new mercury awareness program being developed by Belvidere High School.


Other Topics for CAP Focus

Air Monitoring: Bud Allen suggested that the CAP identify local schools, colleges and other researchers whose work would benefit from access to the mercury monitoring data being collected by the Warren County Air Monitoring Program.  Bud also suggested that, with a full year of air monitoring data now available, the CAP should receive a briefing on what the results have been and how those results will be used.


Joe Venesky asked whether the monitoring data showed anything relevant to DSMís operations.  Jim Brandl said that chloroform, a raw material used by DSM which has a very low health benchmark, had been detected several times at levels above that benchmark. The company has hired an independent laboratory in California to do an intensive analysis of the chloroform readings as part of the effort to better understand how much is actually in the air and what the source might be.  DSM has been unable to identify how it could be the source, especially as its use of chloroform is much less than ever and improved emissions control technology (such as the thermal oxidizer) is operating to keep emission levels as low as possible.


Doug Smyth asked if there are non-DSM sources of chloroform and Stan Wilkins noted that the Belvidere sewage treatment plant is one such source, as are other facilities that chlorinate water, such as municipal swimming pools.  Jim Brandl pointed out that chlorinated drinking water contains 40-60 parts per billion of chloroform, compared to the health benchmark of 0.009 ppb for air concentrations.  Gary Meddaugh asked if chloroformís dispersal characteristics in air were well enough understood to help determine where it might land after being emitted. 


Steve Ross suggested that a presentation on chloroform be scheduled for the CAPís March or April meeting, when more analytical information will be available from the new laboratory.


Diesel School Buses:  Dr. Zollinger asked about the status of EPAís diesel school bus program.  Steve reported that EPA has agreed to send a representative to the CAPís March meeting to provide an update on that program.  Joe Venesky and others noted that the improved environmental performance technology for cleaner school buses entailed the use of higher-cost fuel and equipment.  Steve noted that diesel emissions have been identified as a significant trigger for asthma attacks, especially for children, and childhood asthma has been a major concern locally.  Steve noted that EPAís expert would be able to address the cost, reliability, environmental and health implications of the program as part of their presentation. 


After some further discussion, the CAP agreed that this presentation should be the first item on the March agenda, that an hour should be set aside for that discussion and that guests should be invited from local school districts and school bus operators. Dr. Zollinger and Andy Mark will talk with school bus operators, Andy will invite the County School Superintendent, Gary Meddaugh will invite the White Twp. Board of Education and Doug Smyth will talk with the Belvidere Board of Education and the County and Belvidere Environmental Commissions.


Right to Know Reports: Jim Brandl added several additional topics that the CAP should focus on in the coming months.  These relate to the right-to-know reports that DSM will be filing in March (known as SARA Title III) on the use and disposal of hazardous materials, the hazardous waste report it will be filing with NJDEP in April and the Toxic Release Inventory report it will be filing with USEPA in July.


DSM Environmental Scorecard

Jim Brandl reported that January was the first month for which the facility had no DEP hotline incidents to report. A DSM Safety and Environmental Guidelines team will be conducting an audit of the facility in March and he will report back to the CAP on the results in April.


CAP Membership Review

Steve Ross welcomed Doug Smyth back as a CAP member.  He also noted that the Warren County Department of Public Safety had not been represented at CAP meetings for several months.  Gary Meddaugh suggested DPS be notified when an agenda item relevant to their interests is scheduled for discussion.  Dr. Zollinger noted that the forthcoming discussions on the right to know reports should be in that category.


The meeting concluded at 8:50 p.m.