Corps and community partnership continues after RAB adjournment

Published Aug. 25, 2010

Community involvement is an essential part of the environmental work performed at formerly used defense sites. Throughout the duration of these projects, the community and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) work together to not only ensure the community is safe, but also satisfied with the end-results of the project.

During the past 12 years, the USACE Louisville District conducted an environmental investigation and clean up of Marion Engineer Depot (MED) and Scioto Ordnance Plant (SOP) in Marion, Ohio. As clean-up projects at both formerly used defense sites finish up, so has their Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) which was officially adjourned Aug. 5, 2010.

"Environmental investigations tooled by state-of-art science can, at times, be very complicated," said Dr. Dave Brancato, Louisville District Subject Matter Expert Risk Assessor and technical manager of the MED and SOP projects. "The RAB allowed the investigations at former Marion Engineer Depot and former Scioto Ordnance Plant to be transparent in fulfilling CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Compensation and Liability Act) criteria and addressing community concerns."

RABs are comprised of volunteer community members and local, state and federal agency representatives. They ensure that all stakeholders have a voice and can actively participate in the review of restoration documents in a timely manner. A RAB can be adjourned when no longer needed or when community interest in the RAB declines sufficiently.

Community members in attendance at the Nov. 19, 2009, MED/SOP Restoration Advisory Board meeting voted to disband the board, which was established in 1998, and continue communications through other means, such as a quarterly newsletter, follow-up e-mails, periodic news releases and updates to the Corps’ web pages (http://bit.ly/Marion_OH and http://bit.ly/Scioto_OH).

Two quarterly newsletters have been disseminated since the final RAB meeting and the next one will be sent out in October.

"Thanks for the change," said former RAB member Ted Graham in a thank you letter he sent to the Louisville District. "Excellent newsletter and a much better way to communicate with the public."