OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Members of the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) expressed pride as DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) transformed the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) for new uses they helped chart beginning 25 years ago.
Established in 1995, the board provides input on final use and long-term stewardship of the local DOE site.
“DOE has shown a deep commitment to the community with the time spent attending board meetings, listening to our concerns, and taking our recommendations into account,” said Michelle Lohmann, the board’s 2020 chairperson.
ORSSAB has provided more than 200 recommendations to OREM since the board’s formation, and many of those recommendations have addressed cleanup and historic preservation at ETTP.
“Every major record of decision developed by OREM has had heavy SSAB involvement and none of the final records of decisions have been at odds with SSAB majority opinions,” said Dave Adler, director of OREM’s quality and mission support division and the board’s deputy designated federal officer.
The board’s work over the years has included:
- Sponsorship of a public information meeting on the reindustrialization of ETTP in April 1998;
- Recommendations for the end use at ETTP in July 1998 as part of the Final Report of the End Use Working Group and the Stakeholder Report on Stewardship;
- Inclusion in the K-25 memorandum of agreement beginning in 2005;
- Hosting a public meeting on changes to the cleanup of buildings K-25 and K-27 in July 2006;
- Launching an oral history program in October 2007;
- Sponsorship of a public meeting on Building K-25 historic preservation; and
- Commentary on the request for proposal for ETTP cleanup, ETTP site interpretation efforts, and land transfers in 2010.
Belinda Price, a former board member and officer, said DOE was diligent in bringing subject-matter experts to ORSSAB meetings to answer questions from the board, whose members come from diverse backgrounds.
“These experts always spent the time necessary to make sure that the SSAB members fully understood the material that was presented so the board could provide informed recommendations,” Price said.
As OREM celebrates the completion of a major milestone at ETTP, the board shifts focus to EM’s cleanup at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
“We have all witnessed the dramatic transformation of the site after decades of collaboration among DOE, federal and state agencies, and groups like ORSSAB,” Lohmann said. “And the current membership is excited to be the group that will support a similar effort for Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex cleanup.”
In the years ahead, ORSSAB will need volunteers to fill its advisory roles. Interested residents of the counties surrounding Oak Ridge are encouraged to apply for ORSSAB membership here.