Comments on December 17, 1996 LEHR Site RPM Meeting

February 3, 1997

Julie Roth, Exec. Director
Route 2, Box 2879
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Julie:

Please find presented below comments I have on the last RPM meeting that was held on December 17, 1996.

Vadose Zone Modeling

With respect to the discussions on the vadose zone modeling, as I have indicated previously, it is unlikely that this modeling effort can show that there is no need to remediate a particular waste management unit. There will be few areas at the LEHR site where there is not sufficient organic nitrogen in the waste disposal pits, trenches and landfills that will, in contact with water, convert to ammonia and then lead to nitrate pollution of groundwater. The key issue to this situation is the rate of conversion of organic nitrogen to ammonia, and ammonia to nitrate. If the rate is slow, then the nitrate generated from the organic nitrogen in the wastes will not add significantly to the nitrate already in the groundwater. This issue is not being addressed in the modeling.

Also not being addressed are the daughter products from radium decay. While these were dismissed as unimportant when I raised this issue at a previous RPM meeting, it cannot be certain from the information available that radon which is generated from radium decay will not accumulate to a sufficient extent to cause problems. To my knowledge, radon still has not been adequately or reliably measured at this site.

DOE appears to be locked into doing this modeling. It will almost certainly have limited utility in addressing issues of concern. It certainly will not be sufficiently reliable to determine whether a waste management unit can only receive capping with a RCRA or less than RCRA cap. There will be need to conduct actual sampling to verify that there is not sufficient transport of constituents occurring under the existing conditions to justify leaving the wastes in place with or without capping the waste management unit. As discussed in previous correspondence, the money being spent on modeling could far more effectively be spent on actual measurements since, ultimately, the actual measurement of constituent transport will have to be done to leave any of the waste management units in place with or without a cap.

One of the issues that was raised by Salem at the RPM meeting was what waste characteristics values were to be used in modeling waste transport through the vadose zone and groundwater system. I indicated that from my experience and perspective, it is important to assume plausible worst-case conditions in predicting potential impacts - transport of hazardous chemicals from waste management areas to off-site groundwaters. While I appreciate that typically dischargers such as UCD and DOE attempt to model the average conditions, such an approach is not appropriate. The public is entitled to protection under plausible worst-case conditions. They are not concerned about the average time that hazardous constituents reach their well; they want to know what is the worst-case condition where they could start to be adversely impacted by hazardous conditions.

Groundwater IRA

From the results of the UCD groundwater IRA studies presented at the RPM meeting, it appears that large amounts of groundwaters may have to be pumped to effect capture of the chloroform and other contaminant plumes. This means there could be an even greater hydraulic loading to the UCD wastewater treatment plant if the pumped groundwaters are to be managed by discharging to the campus sewerage system. The issue that must be addressed, which has been discussed in my recent correspondence, is whether the pumping of this groundwater to the campus wastewater treatment plant as part of the testing and/or remediation is, because of the hydraulic loading, aggravating the conditions that exist at that plant with respect to UCD violating its NPDES permit limitations for the control of toxicity discharged to Putah Creek. I did not raise this issue at the last RPM meeting since the RPMs and others had not had time to review the comments I prepared on the highly significant technical deficiencies with the University of California, Davis' draft Environmental Impact Report and final Cumulative Impact Report for UCD's wastewater discharges and stormwater runoff to Putah Creek that was sent to them a couple of days before the meeting. An issue that should be addressed at the January RPM meeting is how will UCD ensure that adding any additional hydraulic loading to the campus wastewater treatment plant will not aggravate the current situation where the plant is periodically discharging toxic constituents to Putah Creek in violation of the permit requirements and the Basin Plan objectives?

The University of California, Davis L. Vanderhoef administration has finally, as part of its draft EIR on the impact of the campus wastewater discharges to Putah Creek, admitted that its wastewater discharges from is campus treatment works are toxic to aquatic life. As discussed in my comments, this information is contained within the draft EIR that the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration released last fall for public review in connection with its attempt to develop a replacement campus wastewater treatment plant. This draft EIR states that its campus wastewater discharges to Putah Creek have been toxic to aquatic life since 1992. Further, it indicates that UCD's attempts to identify the cause of the toxicity have been unsuccessful. This means that UCD has been and continues to discharge toxic wastewaters to Putah Creek where the toxicity is due to unidentified constituents.

While the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration in the draft EIR asserts that this toxicity is of no significance to the beneficial uses of Putah Creek, such assertions are technically invalid and contrary to information developed by State Water Resources Control Board staff (V. deVlaming) and US EPA Region IX staff (Denton). Further, in 1996 the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published the results of a workshop devoted to evaluating the reliability of whole effluent toxicity testing in which experts in the field of aquatic toxicology and its impacts concluded that toxicity of the type that the University of California, Davis has been discharging in its wastewater effluents is likely to be detrimental to the beneficial uses of Putah Creek. This report, Grothe, Dickson, Reed-Judkins, Whole Effluent Toxicity Testing: An Evaluation of Methods and Prediction of Receiving System Impacts, SETAC Press, 346pp (1996), should be reviewed by anyone who questions whether UCD should be required to meet the Basin Plan requirements and its NPDES permit limitations of controlling toxicity in its wastewater effluent and other discharges to Putah Creek.

The toxic discharges from UCD's campus wastewater treatment plant are in violation of its NPDES permit issued in 1992. This permit states, as an "additional limitation," "The discharge shall not cause the following conditions in Putah Creek: dissolved oxygen concentrations to fall below 5.0 mg/L; visible oil; grease, scum, foam, floating or suspended matter; concentrations of any materials that are deleterious to human, animal, aquatic, or plant life...." In its draft EIR, the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration makes a preposterous claim that the discharge of toxic wastes to Putah Creek does not represent a violation of the permit since the constituents responsible for the toxicity are not specifically identified as constituents for which there are permit limits imposed in the permit. In my over 35 years of work in the water pollution control field, I have never encountered a more distorted, inappropriate claim than the one made in the draft EIR by the L. Vanderhoef administration regarding compliance with the permit when the NPDES permit specifically states as one of the limitations that the discharge shall not be adverse to aquatic life in Putah Creek. Further, specific requirements are set forth in the permit for the control of toxicity. These issues have been documented in the comments you have provided to the RPM's that I have developed on the draft EIR. Evidently, based on the draft EIR, the L. Vanderhoef administration and its consultants have essentially no knowledge of how NPDES permit general conditions and limitations are applied and should be enforced by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, or they are deliberately distorting what is common knowledge in the field on the requirements of a wastewater discharger to meet the limitation requirements set forth in the permit. Using the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration's approach, UCD could discharge large amounts of highly toxic chemicals, such as dioxins, in its wastewater discharges and not violate its permit conditions since dioxins are not specifically delineated in its permit as a constituent that must be controlled.

The toxicity situation in UCD's wastewater discharges is such a blatant, flagrant violation of the permit, and the fact that this situation has been going on for extended periods of time without correction has caused me to recommend to you and others concerned with Putah Creek water quality that you should file formal complaints with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the State Water Resources Control Board, the US EPA, the Yolo County Attorney General and the Governor's Office to require the NPDES permit conditions of no impairment of aquatic life due to toxicity are, in fact, enforced. The enforcement must require that the effluent be nontoxic at the point of discharge. Any measurable toxicity in the effluent at this point will be detrimental to Putah Creek aquatic life. There are standard, readily implementable approaches that are used in other areas through the toxicity reduction evaluation (TRE) that should have been implemented years ago to address this problem. As I have recommended in my comments on the draft EIR, UCD should be given one year to control toxicity in its effluent or be prohibited from discharging its wastewaters to Putah Creek. This means that if UCD wishes to continue to discharge its wastewaters to Putah Creek, it is going to have to initiate advanced treatment technology for control of toxicity. Such technology has been used at other locations for many years and should be immediately implemented by UCD if it wishes to continue to discharge to Putah Creek.

While UCD claims that it can control toxicity through establishing specific limits on the discharge of specific chemicals to its sewerage system, it is obvious that UCD's efforts to try to control the toxicity in its treatment plant effluent through controlling laboratory discharges to its sewerage system have failed, and UCD must either stop discharging to Putah Creek or construct the treatment works necessary to protect the Creek from toxic discharges.

The days of when the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration could count on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to continue to look the other way with respect to enforcement of permit conditions should immediately come to a halt. UCD should be required to meet the performance standards for its wastewater discharges as defined by its NPDES permit. There should be appropriate toxicity testing of the receiving waters for toxicity. While Mr. Crooks, the former Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, at the September 20, 1996 hearing objected to my suggestion of requiring the University of California, Davis to evaluate whether its discharges of wastewaters to Putah Creek are causing in-stream aquatic life toxicity as "precedent setting," he did point out that toxicity testing of this type is required of some dischargers. However, the University of California, Davis has been exempted from this type of testing. Such inappropriate, discretionary implementation of monitoring in accord with achieving compliance with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board's Basin Plan cannot be allowed. The University of California, Davis is a large research complex at which a wide variety of exotic chemicals which are not specifically listed in its NPDES permit are used and disposed of on campus. The general permit language, as set forth in the permit of not causing toxicity that impairs aquatic life, human health, etc. is as much of a permit condition as a specific constituent concentration limitation. It is naive and inappropriate to assert, as the L. Vanderhoef administration has done in its draft EIR, that toxicity only needs to be controlled for those chemical constituents which have been specifically identified in the permit as having a discharge limit.

It is this kind of warped approach to protecting the beneficial uses of Putah Creek from the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration's mismanagement of the campus wastes that caused the public to contact Governor Wilson to ask for assistance in correcting the lack of regulatory enforcement for UCD's waste discharges. This contact, coupled with similar contacts by other public groups, led to the termination of Mr. Crooks as the Executive Officer. Mr. Crooks was given fair warning that the approaches of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board were not protective and if not corrected, it would be necessary to take this matter to higher authorities. When Mr. Crooks and the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board refused to address these issues, the public was left with no alternative but to eventually call for his resignation. Based on his comments at his appeal hearing, it appears Mr. Crooks may have become a victim of the Board's policy of lack of enforcement of NPDES permit conditions and his own personal views on the significance of toxicity as a cause of water quality use impairment. This is a situation that has developed over many years that must now be corrected by the new executive officer and the reconstituted Board.

Julie McNeal, in a November 14, 1996 letter to Dr. Karl Longley, CVRWQCB Board Chairman, in an attempt to add support for not terminating Mr. Crooks claimed, "Over the years, we have received assistance and advice that has allowed us to maintain compliance in a reasonable and cost-effective manner." That statement is more of the propaganda by the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration. UCD's wastewater treatment plant has not been in compliance with respect to protecting Putah Creek from aquatic life toxicity. It has repeatedly been found to be in violation of the Basin Plan objectives. Mr. McHenry and Mr. Crooks have failed to take action, even though this was pointed out to them.

The thrust of Ms. McNeal's letter on behalf of L. Vanderhoef to Chairman Longley was that Mr. Crooks has greatly assisted UCD in its waste management activities, where he and members of his staff would work with UCD to come to a solution. This is exactly the kind of situation that the public complained about. Mr. Crooks and his staff have been leaning over backwards on behalf of the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration, a recalcitrant polluter, and have not been working with the public to ensure that the water resources of the region have been protected in accord with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board's Basin Plan requirements.

Ms. McNeal provides further propaganda in her November 14, 1996 letter where she states that past "legal practices" resulted in groundwater pollution by chemical wastes. UCD has been following the recalcitrant polluter approach for management of wastes for many years including at this time, where it does the least possible to just get by current regulatory staff interpretation of regulations. Just because the regulatory staff under the direction of Mr. Crooks have not taken action to enforce their own Basin Plan does not mean the action was legal. The facts are the UCD campus landfills at LEHR have been violating Water Resources Control Board Chapter 15 requirements for pollution of groundwaters since these requirements were first adopted in 1984. This violation is occurring today. Contrary to the unreliable information provided by Ms. McNeal in her November 14, 1996 letter, the pollution of groundwaters has not been legal. Further, and most importantly, it has been obvious since the 1950's that UCD's campus landfills would all eventually pollute groundwaters with waste-derived constituents. Research done at the University of California, Berkeley demonstrated that landfills of the type that UCD was constructing would eventually pollute groundwaters. Further, the American Society of Civil Engineers landfill design manual, released in the late 1950's, also made it clear that landfills sited at locations similar to those that UCD was using would eventually pollute groundwaters.

Ms. McNeal finishes her letter by stating, "[Mr. Crooks] works cooperatively with the regulated community and provides every opportunity for dialogue while protecting the water resources of the state of California." This is more propaganda on the part of Ms. McNeal on behalf of the L. Vanderhoef administration. Mr. Crooks did not protect the water resources of the state of California. Several independent investigations have shown this to be the case. I have provided detailed documentation of this issue in connection with the Petitions I have filed on the inadequate Orders that were developed by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding UCD's current and proposed waste management practices.

The fact that Governor Wilson and Secretary Strock listened to the public on these issues and terminated Mr. Crooks should send an important message to UCD and DOE with respect to LEHR site issues. The kinds of practices that UCD and DOE have been allowed to participate in in the past will no longer be tolerated. Effective waste management will have to be practiced. The public will take action, if necessary, to ensure that the regulatory requirements set forth in the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board's Basin Plan are, in fact, implemented in a reliable way. While Mr. Littlejohn and possibly others in DOE-Oakland management feel, based on the July 1996 ten-year plan for LEHR site remediation, it is unreasonable for the public to require the LEHR site be investigated and remediated in accord with state of California and Regional Water Quality Control Board regulations and Basin Plan objectives, I am confident if this matter is brought to full public review, the public will again prevail on these issues as they did with respect to Mr. Crooks' termination.

Ms. McNeal starts off her letter in support of Mr. Crooks continuing to serve as executive officer by claiming that Mr. Crooks's cooperative approach toward addressing complex water issues has been instrumental in enabling the University to comply with California water quality laws. This is more of the propaganda that pervades this letter by claiming that UCD is in compliance with California water laws. All one needs to do is to look at the record to see that UCD has been out of compliance. Examination of the LEHR data on the campus wastewater treatment plant discharges shows there has been repeated violations of the discharge permit with respect to protecting Putah Creek from toxics. This, evidently, was such a significant issue to the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration that they deliberately, without permission from the RPM's, stopped monitoring the campus wastewater treatment plant discharges to Putah Creek because this monitoring had shown that there were frequent violations of discharges of ammonia to Putah Creek. Rather than acting as a responsible public entity by controlling the toxicity due to ammonia and other constituents, the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration took the approach of terminating the monitoring which showed the violations were occurring. This is just one more of the examples of why the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration's approach toward addressing the protection of Putah Creek water quality is that of a recalcitrant polluter who conducts a propaganda campaign to try to convince the regulatory agencies and the public that they are protecting Putah Creek, when, in fact, it is obvious this is not the case.

As long as the UCD L. Vanderhoef representatives continue to provide propaganda on UCD's waste management activities, they will not have any credibility with the public and regulatory agency staff who enforce the regulations in accord with the letter of the law.

The fact that the UCD campus wastewaters are frequently toxic to aquatic life at the point of discharge to Putah Creek has important implications for the remediation of the LEHR site polluted groundwaters. It will no longer be possible for UCD to dump its leachate polluted groundwaters into its sewerage system without proper monitoring and enforcement of the permit conditions governing the impact of its wastewater discharges on Putah Creek. What should be done is for UCD, as part of any further testing of the groundwater remediation approach as well as any actual remediation that takes place at LEHR, be required to develop and implement a reliable toxicity testing monitoring program in which, for several days prior to, during, and for several days after the testing involving discharge of LEHR site groundwaters to the campus sewerage system, a suite of aquatic life toxicity tests of the campus wastewater effluent should be conducted. These tests should be conducted daily using standard US EPA three species short-term chronic toxicity tests.

The issue of concern is not only whether the LEHR site polluted groundwaters are toxic but also whether the increased hydraulic loading increases the violations of the campus wastewater treatment plant discharges to Putah Creek. If the testing shows the increased hydraulic loading to this plant results in increased toxicity, then as part of further testing and remediation, it will be necessary that the LEHR site activities develop treatment works to remove the additional toxicity in the treatment plant effluent that is occurring because of these LEHR site discharges to the campus sewerage system.

As I have discussed in previous correspondence and is well-documented, UCD's and the past CVRWQCB's approach of evaluating whether the campus wastewater treatment plant can accept additional flow based on BOD and suspended solids removal is obviously technically invalid. BOD and suspended solids are not issues of concern in the ranges in which they could occur due to the discharge of LEHR site or "west" landfill leachate polluted groundwaters to the sewerage system. Toxicity, however, is of concern and needs to be properly addressed in evaluating the ability of the treatment works to protect the designated beneficial uses of Putah Creek. It is also important that UCD not be given the excuse of not addressing this issue because it is planning to construct a new treatment works a number of years in the future. The design of the new treatment works will not, based on my experience, correct the toxicity problem. I urge that DSCSOC contact Susan Fields and request this issue be put on the January RPM meeting agenda.

Off-Site Chloroform Plume

At the last RPM meeting, some off-site hydropunch data were provided for the characteristics of the goundwaters to the east of the LEHR site. These are the data of the type that DSCSOC has been requesting for over a year. It is my understanding the RPMs had to put considerable pressure on UCD to get them to agree to conduct these studies in accord with DSCSOC's request. These data are valuable in potentially showing that the off-site chloroform plume does not extend to any significant extent beyond about 1500 feet downgradient from the last sampling points that have been previously sampled. The issue I raised at the RPM meeting, which those with a hydrogeology background (Susan Timm, Duncan Austin and others representing the RPMs) must address is whether this set of hydropunch data is representative of the chemical characteristics of HSU-2 underlying the properties to the east of the LEHR site. If these data are correct and representative, then it is possible that the extent of the off-site groundwater chloroform plume is less than one mile under adjacent property owners' lands. This finding is considerably less than was estimated last year by a DOE contractor, where it was projected that the chloroform plume might proceed for a mile or more beyond the current location where it has been defined.

As I indicated at the RPM meeting, it will be important that those responsible for conducting these studies do a proper modeling of chloroform plume behavior to be sure that the recent hydropunch data are in accord with what would be expected based on the current understanding of the movement of constituents in HSU-2. This modeling may require additional hydropunch and other sampling at various locations along the plume flow path to be sure that the predicted termination of the plume is in accord with what is actually found in field data.

A new issue arose out of the last RPM meeting with respect to off-site hydrogeology that could greatly complicate predicting chloroform plume behavior. If I correctly understood what was said at the meeting, it appears there is a substantial area just north of Putah Creek where HSU-2 does not exist. If my understanding of the situation is correct, then the geology/hydrogeology of the region is far more complex than has been previously presented to the RPMs and the public. As I understand the situation, HSU-2 is a high permeability sand and gravel layer that allows rapid transport of groundwater in the associated constituents to the east and northeast.

There were problems with the reporting of data by Dames & Moore for the groundwater IRA update. Any time anyone reports nitrate data, they must clearly indicate whether data are reported as nitrate or as nitrate nitrogen. Dames & Moore and UCD need to get somebody involved in their water quality studies who understands the elements of water quality data reporting. This has been a chronic problem with Dames & Moore's work for DOE and now UCD that cannot be allowed to continue.

Water Management Plan

With respect to the Water Management Plan for addressing the deficiencies in the stormwater runoff water quality monitoring from the LEHR site, because of the late date at which the Plan and the UCD - DOE comments were provided to DSCSOC, it was not possible to enter into a meaningful discussion of the comments I submitted in response to the deficiencies in the Plan and UCD's - DOE's comments which I received at noon on December 16, 1996, half a day before the December 17, 1996 meeting. While UCD and DOE proposed to reduce the number of parameters that are to be measured in stormwater runoff, etc., as indicated in my comments and at the RPM meeting, this approach is inappropriate. The fact that this site will be significantly disturbed as part of remediation should, if anything, increase the frequency of monitoring and the list of parameters monitored, rather than decrease them. This issue has been discussed in detail in my previous comments. D. Austin did indicate at the meeting that he was not in favor of reducing the number of parameters that are being monitored. If there are any questions about the appropriateness of my recommendations, this can be discussed at the RPM meeting in January.

With respect to monitoring locations on Putah Creek, I have discussed this issue in previous comments. Obviously, there is need for monitoring Putah Creek upstream of LEHR, at the LEHR site, and at several locations downstream from the LEHR site to be sure that the combination of LEHR site stormwater runoff either alone or in conjunction with other constituents in the Creek do not lead to toxic conditions that are not manifested until some distance downstream. It is my understanding there is little dilution of Putah Creek waters by runoff waters downstream of LEHR. Therefore, there could be a considerable distance where LEHR discharges could be adverse to aquatic life under elevated flow conditions.

One of the issues that needs to be addressed in connection with the monitoring of stormwater runoff and Putah Creek water quality is the detection limits that DOE and UCD are using for chromium VI. As a result of the work that I did in response to the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration's attempt to discredit my raising questions about the appropriateness of discharging up to 50 µg/L of total chromium in the form of chromium III to Putah Creek as part of a "west" landfill leachate-polluted groundwater remediation program, I found that both the US EPA and Environment Canada have concluded that chromium VI can be toxic to zooplankton at less than about 1 µg/L. Since the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board's Basin Plan requires that discharges of wastewaters and stormwater runoff not cause toxicity in the region's waters, under the conditions where UCD and DOE refuse to reliably monitor aquatic life toxicity in the stormwater runoff and Putah Creek waters, it is essential that chromium VI be measured with a detection limit of less than 1 µg/L. Failure to do so could readily result in stormwater runoff from the LEHR site potentially causing aquatic life toxicity in Putah Creek due to chromium VI that would not be detected due to the inadequate analytical methods being used.

The chromium VI situation that has emerged as the result of the inappropriate discharge limits established by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for UCD's "west" landfill leachate-polluted groundwaters will have a significant impact on remediation approaches for the LEHR site. No longer will 10 µg/L be considered an acceptable discharge limit for chromium VI. In order to comply with Basin Plan requirements, the chromium VI concentrations in the discharge should either be demonstrated to be non-toxic in the discharge as well as downstream in Putah Creek through appropriately conducted toxicity tests or be less than about 0.5 µg/L by properly conducted analyses.

I have prepared comprehensive reports on the chromium issue which were made available last fall to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and the State Water Resources Control Board. These materials have been made available to the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration. If any of the RPMs or others wish a copy of my reports on this topic which were submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board as part of the appeal of the Regional Board's technically deficient Order governing UCD's waste management, they should contact me.

As I have discussed in my previous correspondence, the issue of chromium III - VI toxicity still has not been reliably addressed by UCD. Chromium III, which is allowed to be discharged up to 50 µg/L, could readily convert to toxic forms of chromium (Cr VI) at concentrations of one µg/L or so downstream from LEHR. The only way to properly address this issue is through appropriate toxicity testing upstream at LEHR and several locations downstream of LEHR. This is an issue that must be incorporated into the water management plan in order to protect Putah Creek aquatic life from LEHR stormwater runoff.

One of the issues that should be addressed at the January RPM meeting is the reliability of the method by which UCD has determined that stormwater runoff events do not result in discharges to Putah Creek via the campus wastewater treatment plant. Based on past evaluation of stormwater runoff issues at LEHR, I frankly do not trust UCD staff to reliably make this evaluation. I want to see actual data that demonstrates there is no change in flow of sewage from the LEHR site to the campus wastewater treatment plant during major stormwater rainfall runoff events. Until such data have been generated and have been critically reviewed by the RPMs and DSCSOC, UCD should continue to monitor the wastewater discharges to Putah Creek by UCD's wastewater treatment plant. This is another issue that can be discussed at the January RPM meeting.

B. Oatman made the statement at the end of the December RPM meeting that UCD did not plan to incorporate into the revised Water Monitoring Plan the biological monitoring (bioaccumulation and toxicity testing). As I indicated, this would be a serious mistake and will result in my recommending that DSCSOC file a formal complaint on this issue with the appropriate authorities. UCD - DOE must, as part of developing the revised Plan, incorporate toxicity testing of the discharges and Putah Creek at several locations upstream and downstream of stormwater runoff from the LEHR site. They should come to the January RPM meeting with a proposal covering this monitoring. If they do not, then I suggest that DSCSOC start the complaint process. There is no justification not to make these measurements. The LEHR site has a complex mixture of wastes and has many unregulated chemicals whose potential impact on the environment and public health is only judged through either aquatic life toxicity and/or bioaccumulation. Toxicity testing is a readily usable tool that should be implemented on a routine basis as discussed in our previously submitted correspondence.

The public has made it clear that they will no longer allow the UCD L. Vanderhoef administration to use Putah Creek as the University's private sewer. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board now understands the importance that the public places on properly protecting Putah Creek's designated beneficial uses. They will no longer tolerate looking the other way, as Bill Crooks admitted at his termination hearing, as has been done by this Board and staff when it comes to enforcing regulations. If UCD will not voluntarily establish a credible monitoring program for stormwater runoff from the LEHR site, either directly and to the extent that it occurs through the campus sewerage system, or if the RPMs will not force UCD to do this, then DSCSOC has no alternative but to take this matter for full public review.

In my previous correspondence, I mentioned that UCD should be given to the end of December 1996 to formally begin to implement this program. Because of D. Austin's support at the December RPM meeting, I now recommend that January 31, 1997 be the deadline for action. If UCD/DOE do not by that date or shortly thereafter implement a full monitoring program, including toxicity and bioaccumulation, to protect Putah Creek from stormwater runoff-associated constituents, then DSCSOC should take action involving a full public review of the issues.

DTSC's Definition of Hazardous Waste

At a previous RPM meeting, I mentioned that the DOE - UCD investigations of the wastes at LEHR need to consider not only the current but also the proposed definitions of hazardous wastes that are used by DTSC. These are different from the US EPA's definition. Since the management of a waste as a hazardous vs. non-hazardous waste is significantly different, it is important that for any wastes at the LEHR site that could be considered by DOE or UCD as non-hazardous waste, they be tested in accord with DTSC requirements. Recently, DTSC has indicated that they are moving ahead with a new definition of hazardous waste. You may recall I have been serving on an advisory committee to DTSC on this matter. This new definition will make some wastes less hazardous than they were before but also will significantly expand the kinds of testing and evaluations that have to be made compared to what has been done in the past. Since the LEHR site will have to meet the state of California's regulations governing the management of wastes, it is essential a proper evaluation of what is a hazardous waste be made of all wastes that are proposed to be left at the LEHR site. If this is not done during the initial investigation, which has been the case thus far even though I previously suggested this be done, then it may be necessary to re-sample the wastes in order to do the proper testing of them to be certain they conform with state of California regulations governing waste management.

Inadequacies in Current Stormwater Monitoring

At the December RPM meeting, Brian Oatman and Christine Judal both reported that there was no runoff from the LEHR site to Putah Creek during the first major storm of the season. They indicated that this was based on their observations of the runoff situation at 11:00 am. However, at that meeting, you reported that at 4:00 pm that same day, there was appreciable runoff from the LEHR site to Putah Creek. Fortunately, you took several sets of pictures which demonstrated the fact that runoff did occur. Again, UCD has missed the most important time for sampling of runoff from the LEHR site, namely the first runoff event of the season. This is likely to be the worst-case situation which could be highly adverse to Putah Creek aquatic life. It only takes a short time of toxicity to be adverse to an aquatic life population. The adverse impacts of chemicals are dependent on a concentration of adverse constituents' duration of exposure relationship; high concentrations of toxic chemicals for short times can be as adverse as lower concentrations for longer periods of time.

I am involved in providing leadership for a major stormwater runoff demonstration project in Orange County, California. In accord with regulatory requirements and in accord with good science and engineering, I had those doing the sampling of stormwater runoff as it may impact Upper Newport Bay take a sample during the first couple of hours of the first runoff event for the season. We found high levels of aquatic life toxicity in that sample. The watershed for that sample represents urban and agricultural areas.

Miscellaneous Issues

Ten-year plan. I understand that DOE plans to hold a public meeting on the 10-year plan at the end of January 1997. However, thus far, DOE has made available proposed plans for LEHR site remediation that were obviously out of date at the time they were released. It is important that DOE finalize the revised proposed plan and give the public adequate time to review it before a public meeting is held to discuss it.

Manganese. During the discussions at the December RPM meeting, the manganese issues came up again. I still do not understand why there is any hesitation to routinely monitor manganese in surface and groundwaters. As I have discussed previously, it is a parameter that can be readily affected by waste management units of the type that UCD and DOE have at the LEHR site. Further, manganese in groundwaters can readily adversely impact the use of a groundwater for domestic water supply purposes. In addition, manganese is an important catalyst in the conversion of chromium III to chromium VI. Manganese should be monitored in all samples of surface and groundwaters taken at the LEHR site.

I suggest that you pass these comments on the RPMs, UCD and DOE. If you or any of them have any questions or comments on them, please contact me.

Sincerely yours,

G. Fred Lee, PhD, DEE
Technical Advisor, DSCSOC


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