SUMMARY OF THE REMEDIATION TECHNOLOGIES DEVELOPMENT
ACTION TEAM CO-CHAIRS CONFERENCE CALL
February 11, 1997
Walt Kovalick (EPA/TIO) quickly reviewed the agenda for the call and reiterated his and Bob Olexsey's (EPA/NRMRL) intent to have regular conference calls. The items to be covered in today's call include an update from each of the RTDF Action Teams, a brief discussion of the RTDF Update, the date for the next annual RTDF meeting, and issues concerning the review process for RTDF publications.
Update on the Lasagna Partnership Project
Sa Ho (Monsanto) indicated that Mason Hughes (Monsanto) has replaced Steve Meyer as the Project Manager for the Phase II Lasagna effort and Mason provided a brief update on the Lasagna activities. Over the past year the Lasagna Partnership has been very busy. They received a contract from the Department of Energy (DOE) to fund Phase II of the project. Mason indicated that Phase II is divided into two subphases. In Phase IIa the Partnership is testing the installation and iron degradation treatment zones and evaluating the process for 1/6 of the total volume that will be cleaned up in Phase IIb if Phase IIa is successful. Mason also mentioned that the Lasagna Partnership has been interfacing with DOE's Rapid Commercialization Initiative (RCI). There will be a team of state regulators involved in reviewing the data from Phase IIa and they plan to develop a consensus verification statement and conclusions for the Phase IIa study. Although the project has been progressing well there has been a set back. The site is apparently much more contaminated than DOE and the Partnership originally thought. There appears to be liquid-phase contaminants in the clay (primarily TCE). Therefore, they are getting varying results from the periodic sampling tests. Because of this increased contamination, the Lasagna Partnership has requested a 6-month extension on their contract with DOE for Phase IIa They plan to take a number of soil samples next month to determine how long the Phase IIa study should continue. Sa and Mason reported that, despite the setback, they have been getting some encouraging results. For example, in two of the wells they have seen an order of magnitude drop in TCE concentration. In the third well, however, they still see a higher level of TCE than expected. They plan to take five soil borings around that well and analyze them to try to figure out what is happening at that well. Mason mentioned that the temperature at the test plot is above 70°C at four of the sampling sites and that water flow, voltages, and temperatures all comply with the models. Mason also reported that the iron filings study went very well. There is degradation of TCE in the iron filings zones. Although they did not expect degradation of DNAPL (because of the high concentrations of contaminants), Sa noted that the DNAPL is being degraded by the iron. The only problem that they are having with the Phase IIa study is to document what is happening with the free-phase TCE. The Partnership plans to move forward to test the Lasagna technology on DNAPLs at the site.
Steve Shoemaker (DuPont) mentioned that the Partnership had designed the Phase IIa study to operate under fairly optimal conditions so that they could get an estimate of cost. Steve reported that the cost incurred thus far is about what was expected and is very reasonable. Mason indicated that Phase IIa will be completed by mid-August 1997. At the end of February 1997, they will take a series of soil samples and if the results meet the original objectives of Phase IIa, they will go on to Phase IIb. If the results are not as expected, they will ask for more time (up to 6 months) and then they will test again in March or April.
Update on the Bioremediation Consortium Projects
Dave Ellis (DuPont) provided a brief update on the Intrinsic Bioremediation and Accelerated Anaerobic Biodegradation studies at Dover AFB. He reported that the Consortium held their third annual meeting last week in Dover, DE. There were approximately 60 attendees from the various organizations involved in the projects at Dover. Dave indicated that natural attenuation appears to be appropriate for the Dover AFB site. The Consortium members have gotten unequivocal proof that TCE is degrading to cis-DCE at the site. DuPont, Dow, and Monsanto all independently confirmed this degradation. Dave also mentioned that they have seen a hint of direct oxidation of TCE. They have a good mass balance for chloride, which is helping the Consortium understand what is happening in the ground. The Consortium also is beta-testing a new computer modeling tool called RT3D (reactive transport in 3 dimensions). This modeling tool is being developed by DOE and will be public domain software, available for just the cost of the disk. Dave also mentioned that the Consortium is working closely with the ITRC Bioremediation Work Group to provide state regulators with guidance, as well as cost and performance data on the bioremediation of chlorinated solvents. Dave noted that the ITRC Work Group is reviewing the guidance document for natural attenuation of chlorinated solvents developed by the Consortium.
Dave reported that the Accelerated Anaerobic Biodegradation pilot is up and running. The major problem appears that the site was installed in an area of the plume that is not very bioactive. Therefore, the Consortium is seriously considering bioaugmentation. They have a number of well developed, nonpathogenic cultures that could be used to stimulate degradation at the test site. However, not all of the potential cultures for use at the site have been tested for pathogenicity.
Greg Sayles (EPA/NRMRL) provided a brief update on the Cometabolic Bioventing study at Dover AFB. He reported that the Consortium has been performing lab work in preparation for the field study. Zeneca has been doing most of the lab work and NRMRL also has been supporting these efforts. They have performed both microcosm and column studies using TCE and various cosubstrates. Based on the results of these studies, they have selected propane as the cometabolite for the field study. Greg mentioned that the sampling and analysis of soil taken from the site indicated the presence of 1,1,1-TCA. They decided to include TCA in some of the column studies to determine if both TCE and TCA could be oxidized using propane as the cometabolite. They observed co-oxidation of the TCE and TCA in the column studies, so they expect to degrade both contaminants in the field.
Greg mentioned that there has been a delay in getting the study in the field due to a shortage in funding. This funding problem has been resolved and he anticipates that the study will be installed in the field by early spring. Greg also indicated that they have just begun the modeling efforts. ICI, one of the new members of the Bioremediation Consortium, will be working to develop a model for cometabolic bioventing. Greg expects that this model will be very useful to the Consortium in interpreting their data.
The Consortium plans to conduct a second cometabolic bioventing field study at Hill AFB in Utah. Hill AFB has a site with the vadose zone contaminated with TCE. Greg mentioned that he has been involved with studies at Hill before and indicated that it is a very favorable place to conduct a field study. In 1 to 2 weeks, the Consortium will get soil from Hill so that they can start the lab portion f the Phase II study.
Dave Ellis indicated that the Phase II Intrinsic Bioremediation and Accelerated Anaerobic Biodegradation studies will take place at a multiparty PRP site- the Strother Field Superfund site in Winfield, Kansas. The Consortium is currently in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with the PRPs for the Phase II studies. This agreement is primarily to shield the Consortium members from PRP liability. Dave reported that these negotiations will probably be completed next week. John Wilson (EPA/NRMRL) and Don Kampbell (EPA/NRMRL) have done some sampling and analysis for the site and these and other lab studies conducted by the Consortium members indicate that TCE is degrading at the site. Dave also mentioned that the Consortium has negotiated a contract with the Chlorine Chemistry Council (CCC) to fund some of the field work at Strother Field and the study at Hill AFB. Walt mentioned that his office is working with the EPA Region and EPA enforcement to try to help move the RTDF project at Strother Field forward.
Lynn Wood (EPA/NRMRL) asked where the cometabolic bioventing study will be located at Hill AFB. Greg Sayles responded that the study will take place at operable unit 2. In response to a question concerning the schedule for the cometabolic bioventing study at Hill, Greg stated that they will collect soil for lab work in the next few weeks and that the field work will probably begin approximately 9 to 12 months from the time that lab work begins. Dave Ellis pointed out that the ROD for op unit 2 identified SVE as the remedy. Because cometabolic bioventing is basically SVE with in situ destruction, cometabolic bioventing will be implemented as the remedy for the site if the study is successful.
Update on the Permeable Barriers Action Team Activities
Because Dale Shultz (DuPont) and Bob Puls (EPA/NRMRI) were at the containment conference, Steve Shoemaker (DuPont) provided a brief update on the activities of the Permeable Barriers Action Team. This Action Team has had several major meetings during the past 2 years and has continued to grow with each meeting. Their last meeting was in December 1996 in Denver and the meeting included a visit to the Denver Federal Center where a funnel & gate system is being installed. This installation is the largest permeable barrier (150 ft long) installed in the United States to date. Most of the individuals attending the Permeable Barrier Action Team meetings are involved in one or more ongoing field efforts. Therefore, the Action Team meetings have been excellent opportunities for networking and sharing knowledge and experience.
A small group of Action Team members serves on the Design Committee that is working with the Air Force in an advisory capacity on a SERDP-funded project at Dover AFB. The permeable barrier study at Dover AFB will be installed in Area 5. (The Accelerated Anaerobic Biodegradation and the Cometabolic Bioventing projects are located in area 6). Steve reported that the permeable barrier project at Dover should be in the field sometime in 1997. He noted that this particular project was the impetus behind the formation of the Permeable Barriers Action Team. The Dover AFB project will be unique in that they will install a funnel & gate beside a continuous permeable wall to allow side-by-side comparison. Steve mentioned that the Action Team hopes to use innovative emplacement techniques at the site, but this decision is subject to SERDP advisory panel approval. Two years ago, when the proposal for this project was submitted to SERDP, these new emplacement techniques were not envisioned and were not included in the proposal; therefore, SERDP may not want to consider them in this study.
Steve reported that the Design Committee is also involved in a project at Cape Canaveral. This project will test several innovative emplacement techniques, such as deep soil mixing, jetting, etc. The goal of the study at Cape Canaveral, which is expected to begin in 1997, is to achieve deeper emplacement (> 30 ft) of permeable barriers. The depths achieved by the tradition construction techniques that have been used to date are limited.
Steve noted that the Action Team is considering the formation of a steering committee. He mentioned that as the attendance at the meetings grows, it is becoming increasingly difficult to plan future efforts and get the real work done. The Steering Committee is meeting for the first time this week at the containment conference in Florida. Steve mentioned that representatives from the University of Waterloo, EnviroMetal, Air Force, EPA, and most of the companies (Monsanto, GE, DuPont) are members of the Steering Committee. One of the tasks to be accomplished by the Steering Committee is to work with the ITRC's Permeable Barriers Work Group to develop guidance for permeable barrier technology. Steve indicated that Permeable Barrier Action Team members have been to the last two ITRC Work Group meetings and they are working together to design a protocol document to help state regulators determine what to look for in approving the design and application of a particular permeable barrier design. Steve noted that the Steering Committee will meet regularly throughout the year and they will hold an annual Action Team meeting. This annual meeting will be primarily an information exchange event- there will be invited speakers and sharing of data, etc. Jeff Heimerman (EPA/TIO) suggested to Steve that the "price" of admission for those attending the Action Team meeting should be their data. Steve thought that was a good suggestion and agreed to pass it along to Dale Shultz and Bob Puls. He also mentioned that there had been some concern voiced by some of the long-term Action Team members about how some companies share information and others just come to listen. Jeff's suggestion may eliminate this problem. Jeff also mentioned that there are currently 135 barrier wall projects in the field (a major increase during the past 15 months). He agreed that there is a need to share information on these various projects in an effort to optimize this technology and provide guidance for regulators of its application and use.
Update of the IINERT Soil-Metals Action Team Activities
Jim Ryan (EPA/NRMRL) gave a brief update on the activities of the IINERT Action Team. Jim explained that this Action Team is looking at more than the demonstration of IINERT technologies- it is trying to find appropriate models (other than animal models) for simulating bioavailability of contaminants. In vitro tests may be just as good as an animal model for predicting bioavailability. Jim noted that the data/information that are available to date agree that there is good correlation between such tests and the pig model.
Jim reported that the Action Team is involved in the planning of a field study that will be conducted at a metal-contaminated site in Joplin, MO. The project will be in the field by spring 1997. Jim thinks we will see a reduction in lead concentration at the site with time and that there will be almost no biological availability. Jim stated that the Action Team is trying to determine if they can cause the necessary reactions to occur, identify the specific metal species formed, and determine the thermodynamic stability of the species over time. He noted that some work in this area is currently being conducted by various members of the Action Team and that other groups are coming to the table to carry such studies forward. At the next Action Team meeting they want to bring together scientists who are working in this area so that they can focus the research effort on the primary areas of concern. Jim also mentioned that the Action Team needs to address funding issues as well as the scientific issues of the project. The IINERT Soil-Metals Action Team also is working with the In Situ Stabilization Work Group of the ITRC. In addition to IINERT technologies, the ITRC Work Group focuses on phytoremediation and soil washing. Like a number of the other RTDF Action Teams the IINERT Action Team plans to work with the ITRC to develop a guidance document on IINERT technologies for use by state regulators.
Phil Sayre (EPA/TIO) asked what the specific technology is that they will be demonstrating. Jim Ryan responded that the Action Team will be looking at several techniques that alter the chemical species of lead in soil- the Team will try to chemically change the lead so that it is not biologically available or water soluble. Jim mentioned that there are a variety of materials that can be added to the soil to change the chemical species and bioavailability. He noted that with this technology the contaminants remain in place at the site but they are deactivated.
Walt Kovalick asked if some of the Action Team members are interested in fixation by plant roots. Bill Berti (DuPont) responded that this is not the primary focus of the group but that a number of the members have expressed interest in the role of roots in the reactions that change the chemical species. A number of scientists suspect that the reactions occur on the root surface; however, there are still many unanswered questions concerning the role of plants.
Update on the Surfactants Action Team
Lynn Wood (EPA/NRMRL) explained that efforts are underway to organize the first of official meeting of this Action Team. Although there have been several meetings on surfactants, this group has never met under the guise of RTDF. Lynn hopes that the momentum and interest generated from this first meeting will launch another RTDF Action Team. He reported that the meeting will be held at Hill AFB in early May 1997. At this meeting there will be a review of all of the work that is being done in this area There has been a lot of field activity during the past 2 years- much of which has been conducted at Hill AFB. Lynn wants the new Action Team to interact with Hill AFB to plan future studies that will be conducted at the Base. He also wants the Action Team to interface with the National Academy group that is preparing a report on their activities for the past 2 years. Lynn stated that one of the key goals of the May meeting will be to chart a course for the group to become a formal Action Team.
Jeff Heimerman suggested that Lynn talk to representatives of GWRTAC before the meeting. Lynn responded that he had already been in touch with them and has invited them to make a presentation at the May meeting. Lynn also mentioned that he wants to broaden the scope of the Action Team to include other types of flushing, surfactants, and solvents. He wants some new people to attend the meeting and wants to get the notice out about the meeting as soon as possible. Lynn is working with SCG to make the arrangements for the upcoming meeting.
Update on the Sediments Remediaton Action Team Activities
The Sediments Remediation Action Team has had several meetings since it first met in conjunction with the last annual RTDF meeting. Because the co-chairs were not on the conference call, no detailed update for this Action Team was provided. Dave Ellis mentioned, however, that Phil Palmer (DuPont) said that they would like to recruit more problem owners into the Action Team and to broaden participation in the group.
Walt Kovalick responded that he has asked Phil Palmer, Phil Brodsky (Monsanto), and Joe Salvo (GE) to identify three national trade association type meetings where RTDF could be presented in order to recruit new problem owners into the RTDF.
Walt Kovalick reminded the co-chairs that during the last conference call the idea of creating a periodic factsheet on RTDF activities was suggested. SCG has prepared a draft RTDF Update which has not yet been circulated to all of the co-chairs. Phil Sayre has reviewed the draft and provided comments to SCG. Dave Ellis mentioned that he had seen a draft and liked it; he also mentioned that he thought it was a good idea. Walt indicated that we will circulate the draft to the co-chairs soon and that the publication will be out before the end of March 1997.
Walt Kovalick mentioned that Cincinnati has printed more RTDF factsheets and will be sending more out to the co-chairs soon. Walt asked if anyone had received them yet and only Greg Sayles replied that he had gotten them. Walt indicated that the co-chairs can request additional copies by calling 1-800-490-9198 Remember to identify the EPA publication number at the top of the document when ordering additional copies.
Dave Ellis mentioned that the RTDF Bioremediation Consortium has its own session at the Battelle conference in April. He asked for several hundred copies of the factsheet for distribution at their session. Walt noted that TIO will have a booth at the conference and that the presenters at the RTDF session can direct individuals to the TIO booth for copies of the factsheet. Walt and Dave agreed to coordinate this effort so that it will be clear where to direct attendees for copies of RTDF materials.
Walt Kovalick mentioned that ASTSWMO has created a nonprofit organization called Clean States. The purpose of Clean States is to deliver services and information directly to the states. They will play a role in ISO 14000 and its relationship to state regulatory programs, rural waste management, and innovative technologies. Walt also noted that Clean States will take the lead on certain issues, as opposed to just following EPA's lead (as usually is the case in ASTSWMO). Unlike ASTSWMO, Clean States can take money from government, states, industry, etc. Walt has a one page press release on Clean States and he agreed to circulate it to the co-chairs. Steve Shoemaker asked if Clean States had developed any priorities regarding innovative technologies. Walt responded that he had only met with their Washington, DC attorney so he really did not have too much detail on their priorities. He mentioned that this will be much clearer after they have held their first Board meeting. Walt indicated that he thinks they plan to include both waste and remediation technologies, and he pointed out that they will probably work on issues identified by states that can provide them funding.
Mason Hughes asked Walt if there was any way to get all of these various multistate organizations (e.g., ITRC, Clean States) to develop a standard protocol for the way states review or certify innovative technologies. Each state has their own way of doing this and it would be much easier for companies if these groups could come to some agreement and create a standard protocol (clearly identify what information the state needs to get an innovative technology approved for use). Mason asked Walt to encourage Clean States and similar organizations to address this issue. Walt pointed out that this has been the goal of the ITRC, and they are still trying to deal with this issue 2 years later. Although Walt agreed with Mason concerning the need for a standard protocol, he noted that there is no simple solution to this problem. Dave Ellis pointed out that although the ITRC has not yet achieved this overall goal, they have made substantial progress and achieved some goals.
Support for the RTDF Home Page
Walt Kovalick reminded the co-chairs that EPA/TIO had agreed to fund the development of the RTDF Home Page and subpages for approximately 6 months. He indicated that the funding has stretched to cover more than 6 months, but that the RTDF Action Teams will have to give consideration to financially supporting the Home Page in the next few months (the current funding will last until April or May 1997). Walt asked if the Action Teams found the Home Page useful and Dave Ellis replied that the Bioremediation Consortium uses the private side of the Home Page as a means of communicating and sharing data among the numerous scientists who are involved in the ongoing research efforts. Steve Shoemaker asked how much money it will take to maintain the site. Walt responded that Joe Salvo agreed to take the lead on collecting about $20K to $30K from the Consortium members. Dave Ellis indicated that Joe had not mentioned this to the Bioremediation Consortium. Walt asked the co-chairs to consider whether or not they want to support the site in the future.
Possibility of a New RTDF Action Team
Walt Kovalick mentioned that a Phytoremediation Action Team may be forming in the near future. He noted that there was substantial interest expressed at the December 18-19, 1996, conference organized by Phil Sayre. This Action Team will look at phytoremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil and, possibly, pesticides and chlorinated solvents in soil and groundwater. Companies that will be involved in the Action Team include Exxon, Monsanto, Union Carbide, Chevron, Mobile, and some other companies that are members of PERF. The new Action Team will probably hold its first meeting in conjunction with the Battelle bioremediation conference in New Orleans.
Review Process for RTDF Products
Walt Kovalick and Greg Sayles indicated that there is a need to establish a formal review process for RTDF products. Because the RTDF is associated with EPA, the RTDF products will have to be subjected to some type of EPA review. The level of review required will depend on the type of product. For example, the level of review for a technical paper/presentation would be quite different from a protocol, guidance document, or course. Greg suggested that one approach would be to subject RTDF products to the same review process to which an EPA product would be subjected. Products that have no policy implications (such as scientific papers) are subjected to minimal review. Products that have policy implications (such as guidance documents) would be subjected to a higher level of review. EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) has a flowchart that they use to identify the level of review required for an ORD product. Greg said that the same flowchart could be used for RTDF products.
If the co-chairs do not like the option of subjecting RTDF products to the same EPA review, another option would be to place a disclaimer on the product that basically states that EPA does not endorse the guidance, protocol, etc. (Walt pointed out that a disclaimer regarding specific vendors is not the same as a disclaimer concerning the entire process.) Several of the co-chairs expressed some concern regarding the inclusion of an EPA disclaimer on RTDF products. They pointed out that one of the reasons of involving EPA in the research efforts is to obtain EPA endorsement of the protocol, guidance, etc. Therefore, a number of the co-chairs indicated that they would prefer to subject the RTDF products to the same review as EPA products. Dave Ellis expressed some concern about the time required for complete EPA review and asked if Greg could provide the flowchart to the co-chairs (along with an indication of the time required) for review. Steve Shoemaker agreed that seeing the flowchart would be helpful before making a final decision concerning RTDF product review. Greg agreed to send a copy of the flowchart to SCG for distribution to the RTDF co-chairs. Steve also asked if the number of EPA staff authorized to review RTDF products could be increased to speed up the EPA review process. Greg responded that this would have to be determined by EPA management.
Greg Sayles indicated that the EPA co-chair of each Action Team will have some responsibility for determining which level of review will be required by an RTDF product.
Walt pointed out that EPA review of the natural attenuation guidance document prepared by the RTDF Bioremediation Consortium will probably not be completed by the Battelle conference in April. Dave and Greg indicated that there are several products developed by the Bioremediation Consortium that may have to undergo an accelerated review because they were developed before this review process was determined. Walt asked about the natural attenuation course that is being developed by the Bioremediation Consortium. Greg said that the Consortium has decided that the course should be subjected to EPA review and will work with John Wilson and Fran Kremer to facilitate that review.
Next RTDF Action Team Co-Chairs Conference Call
The next RTDF Action Team Co-Chairs conference call will be held from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. (EST) on March 10, 1997.
Walt asked the co-chairs about possible dates for the next annual RTDF meeting. Most co-chairs indicated that late May 1997 would be a good time. Walt indicated that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC or Cincinnati, OH. Walt noted that we will begin making arrangements for the meeting and will send out the Information as soon as possible.
List of Participants and Others
Dr. Bill Berti
Ms. Beverly Campbell
Dr. David Ellis
Ms. Annette Gatchett
Mr. Jeff Heimerman
Dr. Sa V. Ho
Dr. B. Mason Hughes
Mr. Mike Kosakowski
Dr. Walter W. Kovalick, Jr.
Dr. David R. Mount
Mr. Robert Olexsey
Dr. Jim Ryan
Dr. Greg Sayles
Mr. Phil Sayre
Mr. Stephen Shoemaker
Dr. Lynn Wood