SUMMARY OF APRIL 20, 2004 DSM CAP MEETING

 

The Community Advisory Panel working with DSM met on April 20, 2003.Present at the meeting were Jane Bullis, Judy Chamberlain, Kevin Cavotta, Judy Chamberlain, Andy Mark, Gary Meddaugh, Betty Merring, Doug Smyth, Joe Venesky, and Dr. Zollinger.Mike Adams, Jim Brandl and Andy Tynan 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 summary of the March 2004 meeting.

 

Chloroform Status Report

Andy Tynan reviewed the results of chloroform monitoring to date by the Warren County Air Monitoring Program, as well as additional analytical work on those results by a California laboratory that is able to achieve a minimum detection limit roughly equivalent to the health benchmark for chloroform set by the NJDEP and adopted by the AirQAP.

 

In summary, chloroform has been detected in 25% of the monthly sampling events undertaken since monitoring began Ė nine times out of 36 samples.An analysis of the meteorological data at the time of the sampling events combined with a review of DSM plant operations at those times failed to show any consistent correlation among wind direction, chloroform detection and DSM operations.In fact, at some times when higher levels of chloroform were detected, the wind was blowing toward DSMís facility and away from the Belvidere High School monitoring station.Joe Venesky said that the hilly terrain to the north of DSMís location would prevent winds out of the north from blowing on DSMís site and carrying chloroform south to the BHS monitor.

 

Nevertheless, the fact that DSM is a large user of chloroform in its operations makes it impossible to exclude it as a contributor to the levels detected by the monitoring program.However, there are other chloroform sources that also need to be assessed, including wastewater treatment facilities, swimming pools and other large users of chlorination, which generate chloroform as a byproduct, as well as general background levels that are present all over the state and all over the country, not just in Warren County.DSM would like an objective third-party, perhaps the AirQAP, to assess the data collected, including the more intensive analytical information now being provided by the new laboratory, and determine what the source of the chloroform findings might be and what if anything needs to be done.

 

Mike Adams noted that higher levels of chloroform are being detected than are projected by computer models.Andy added that while all VOC monitors in New Jersey are finding chloroform, the levels found at the Belvidere High School (BHS) monitoring station were higher than readings taken at any other VOC monitoring location in New Jersey.Jim Brandl pointed out that while those levels may be higher than those found elsewhere in the state, they are still comparatively low.In fact, the monitoring instrument is so sensitive that if just one pound of chloroform was leaked nearby, it would be detected.

 

Mike Adams pointed out that DSM is allowed to emit certain levels of chloroform by their air permit.He said we need to determine what the natural background level of chloroform is and what, if anything, DSM is adding to that.Since 75% of the readings are actually Non Detects or below the minimum detection limit of the instruments, itís hard to answer this question.Jim Brandl said he would report back to the CAP in July, after a few more months of data become available from the new laboratory and the ongoing WCAMP.

 

Doug Smyth said the community should be informed about whatís been learned so far, since there was so much concern after the initial announcement about the excessive chloroform emissions that led to the enforcement action against DSM.Steve Ross suggested that the CAP advise DSM on how to communicate this information to the public.Dr. Zollinger noted that the results of the asthma study would also need to be communicated.Betty Merring pointed out that other CAPs distribute newsletters reporting on their activities, which might be more cost-effective than a public meeting of some kind, given the poor attendance at previous meetings and open houses sponsored by the CAP.Joe Venesky recommended that the chloroform results not be reported to the public until more information is available, since reporting them now might create undue concern.The key, he said, was to identify where itís coming from.

 

Jane Bullis pointed out that with respect to the asthma issue the Belvidere Environmental Commission (BEC) was the initiator, based on their community asthma survey.The BEC can play a role in publicizing the results of the UMDNJ asthma study as well, by pulling together a presentation and tailoring it for other audiences as a road show.Joe Venesky noted that he didnít think DSM was responsible for the incidence of asthma in the area but the results of the UMDNJ study should also be reported to the White Township Environmental Commission.

 

Mike Adams said that a regional and national audience would be interested in how the asthma study evolved, originating as a result of an environmental violation by means of a Supplemental Environmental Project recommended by the CAP, and then assigned to experts at UMDNJ to implement.He noted that the American Chemistry Council and Chemistry Council of New Jersey would be interested in hearing about this case study.

 

Followup to EPA Presentation on Clean School Bus Program

Dr. Zollinger reported on his discussions with the White Township school district and contract bus operator, which are very interested in participating in the program and applying for a grant.He suggested the School Bus Association be contacted about the program and perhaps invited to serve on the AirQAP.Doug Smyth said that Belvidere is interested in adopting the engine idling rules promoted by that program.

 

The CAP members agreed that now that the Panel had served as a catalyst for community awareness about the EPAís program for reducing diesel exhaust emissions from school buses, the members, not the CAP, should pursue followup actions.

 

Agenda for May 2004 Meeting

Steve Ross noted that the CAPís May meeting would feature a one-hour review and discussion of the results of the asthma study, with Drs. Weiss and Weisel participating from UMDNJ.The Panel will also discuss a communications and community outreach program, an update on the AirQAPís activities, and, time permitting, a preview of the updated Risk Management Plan that DSM will be submitting to EPA in June under the requirements of the Clean Air Act.Jane Bullis asked that the CAPís June agenda include a discussion of land use and DSMís Toxic Release Inventory report, which will be submitted to EPA in July.

 

The meeting concluded at 9:05 p.m.