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BoRit Questions & Answers - Community

BoRit Questions & Answers Main Page
  1. How is EPA notifying the public of the commencement of any invasive activities at the BoRit Asbestos Site? (9-5-2008)

  2. Why did the EPA not share the preliminary work plans and precaution documents with the Community Advisory Group (CAG) before field work began? (9-5-2008)

  3. Why has the formation of this Community Advisory Group (CAG) taken 8 months to establish? (1-2008)

  4. Does EPA have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s presentation at a public meeting? (8-8-2007)

  5. Does EPA have an electronic response system for questions received from the public? (3-12-2007)

  6. Is the data provided to the public complete and accurate? (3-12-2007)

  7. Questions were received about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, including whether certain documents and raw data would be provided under FOIA, and why monetary charges for requested information may be assessed. (1-24-2007)

  8. How can I review related the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) files related to these sites? (9-2006)

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  1. How is EPA notifying the public of the commencement of any invasive activities at the BoRit Asbestos Site? (9-5-2008)

    EPA notified property owners and municipalities involved about the start of site activities. All the people who were notified are members of the Community Advisory Group, including co-chairs.

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  2. Why did the EPA not share the preliminary work plans and precaution documents with the Community Advisory Group (CAG) before field work began? (9-5-2008)

    EPA recognizes that communications can be improved, and has already met with the CAG leadership to discuss how to improve it. EPA will give a presentation at the next CAG meeting on field activities and the concept for the stream bank stabilization. The work activities that began during the week of July 7 are of a preparatory nature, not the main work to be conducted at the Site. These kinds of activities generally do not have detailed written plans prepared before commencement. Before the actual stream bank stabilization work begins, EPA will provide the plan to the CAG.

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  3. Why has the formation of this Community Advisory Group (CAG) taken 8 months to establish? (1-2008)

    The initial meeting to discuss formation of a CAG representative of the community at large took place in April. EPA’s community involvement staff met with members of the community and outlined the support EPA provides in the formation of CAG's, including the services of a Neutral Facilitator.
    Steps to procure a Facilitator began immediately; Melinda Holland was selected in May. Ms. Holland conducted approximately 70 interviews; delays were caused due to work schedules and/or vacations. Ms. Holland furnished a Convening Assessment Report to all, which summarized the in-depth work that was accomplished May through August. She also facilitated two meetings, as well as a number of conference calls.

    The CAG information public meeting took place on June 26, 2007. The following excerpt from page 18 addresses why the process has taken longer than the norm: “Throughout the convening interviews and at the June 26, 2007 CAG information public meeting, the facilitator was pleased to note a great deal of interest and enthusiasm about the CAG. Unlike many advisory group processes where it is difficult to find an appropriate range of stakeholders who are willing to participate, in this case, there is an abundance of interest throughout all interest groups. The large number of people who are interested creates a unique challenge…”
    The first meeting of the CAG took place on September 10, 2007, 4 months after selection of Ms. Holland as the Neutral Facilitator. 

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  4. Does EPA have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s presentation at a public meeting? (8-8-2007)

    EPA is not a public health agency. EPA's contribution to public health lies in the Agency's authority under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to study, contain, control or remove a hazard. Other agencies, when asked to participate in an EPA forum or meeting, develop their presentation materials based on their particular area of expertise. EPA collaborates with these agencies to ensure that the information presented is correct and accurate.

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  5. Does EPA have an electronic response system for questions received from the public? (3-12-2007)

    EPA is making every effort to respond to all questions we get from the public. Although we have no automatic response system confirming receipt of e-mails, we do try to answer e-mails as soon as possible. Because of the level of public interest at BoRit, EPA has received a large number of e-mails, and has committed to answering all questions on a monthly basis.  EPA will endeavor to send an interim response within 24 hours of receiving e-mail requests.

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  6. Is the data provided to the public complete and accurate? (3-12-2007)

    Yes. EPA bases its decisions upon validated data, and EPA's general policy is to release validated data to the public. Validated data is that which has gone through a quality assurance process. The validated analytical results were posted on EPA's BoRit website and the results have been discussed with the community.

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  7. Questions were received about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, including whether certain documents and raw data would be provided under FOIA, and why monetary charges for requested information may be assessed. (1-24-2007)

    Under FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552, federal government agencies are required to disclose requested documents, subject to exemptions for, among other things, business confidentiality and privacy concerns. The FOIA regulations require that EPA responds to a FOIA request no later than 20 working days of receipt. This does not mean that all requested documents can be provided in 20 days. EPA intends to provide the community with documents responsive to the requests, subject to any exemptions.

    The FOIA authorizes EPA to charge requestors for the cost of document search, duplication and review, depending on the category of request. Generally, requests from the public, for non-commercial use, are assessed search and duplication costs, in excess of 2 hours search time and 100 pages of duplication. Fee waivers may be requested in accordance with EPA policy.

    EPA normally releases only validated data, because it is the validated data upon which EPA bases its decision-making. However, EPA can, in its discretion, release raw data, and has decided to release the raw data for this Site. As with any other documents requested under FOIA, before the raw data can be released, it is subject to screening for confidential business or privacy information, or other information which may be excluded from release under FOIA. Additionally, the raw data for the BoRit Site, as with the majority of analytical-data for EPA projects, is currently in electronic format per EPA data deliverable policy. The electronic data must be converted to hard copy or an electronic format that will prevent tampering or modification prior to its release to the public. An explanation of the terms "raw data" and "validated data" is provided below.
     
    The air sampling location map from the April 2006 is already posted on the website. In addition, EPA will be providing it in response to FOIAs.

    Raw vs. Validated
    Laboratories perform the sample analysis according to a defined published procedure commonly referred to as an analytical method. The air samples for the BoRit Site were analyzed using the International Standards Organization (ISO) Method 10312 Ambient Air - Determination of Asbestos Fibers - Direct-Transfer Transmission Electron Microscopy Method. Analytical methods have required quality control (QC) procedures, such as replicate analysis, blank sample analysis, and calibrations (i.e., defining instrument parameters), with associated acceptance criteria and corrective actions if the QC procedures do not meet the acceptance criteria. To further ensure that asbestos project data quality objectives are met, EPA has developed a spreadsheet (National Asbestos Data Entry Spreadsheet) with internal QC verification that insures specific QC requirements for performing analyses are met and insure that the required data package is complete. The data package is the mechanism through which the laboratory provides documentation that the proper analytical method was performed.

    Data validation involves the verification of reported results, which includes confirmation that the summarized data have been accurately reported, transcribed, the sample results can be reproduced, and the qualitative identifications are correct. Data validation involves verifying the analyte identification and quantification, method compliance, report accuracy, sample blank acceptance or rejection, instrument parameters and sample custody. In conjunction with data validation, documentation of the analytical process are evaluated for compliance with the requirements analytical method, the Quality Assurance Project Plan, and Work Plan. Subsequent to method compliance verification, an evaluation of the usability of the data is performed. Data usability refers to the reliability of the reported results (i.e., usable, unusable/rejected or estimated) and is determined by an evaluation of the QC results.

    In comparison, raw data consists of data of unknown quality and routinely contains information about the analysis (e.g., instrument, voltage, magnification, grid opening area, name of the analyst, date and time of analysis, scale, filter size, mineral type, dimensions, etc.) of the samples that is used to validate the data. The raw data contains all of the information required to validate or confirm the summary data that is reported as validated.

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  8. How can I review related the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) files related to these sites? (9-2006)

    PADEP files are open to the public. Anyone interested in reviewing files should first contact the Southeast Regional Records Management Section to make an appointment. The attached link outlines this process ­- http://www.depweb.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/southeast_regional_office/13778
     
    Subject files can be found under the site names of: Ambler Asbestos Superfund Site; Certain Teed; BoRit Asbestos Tailing Pile; Nicolet; Nicolet Industrial Landfill and Wissahickon Park and Whitpain Park. Related information can be found by requesting the Hazardous Site Clean up Act files, as well as those from our Waste Management and Air Quality programs.

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