Jun 18, 2007

Bombs Away From Penobscot Bay - Seal Island cleanup priority rises

The Seal Island parties of interest met last Monday. It was a small party, though: US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife, Maine DEP. While invited to attend as observer, I was unable to make it to Portland.

Word from Ted Wolfe in Maine DEP's Division of Remediation is that his agency
"...shares your concern regarding any potentially unexploded ordinance in the waters surrounding the island. " Wolfe is confident however, that "as the site moves through the established investigative process, these issues will be discussed."

Also noted was the success that Maine DEP and US Fish and Wildlife (specifically the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife refuge, of which Seal Island is part) had in convincing the Corps of Engineers to uptick Seal Island's priorities score in the review process, virtually ensuring that a cleanup of some sort will indeed be carried out.

Next up: developing a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study An RI/FS is a geophysical survey performed to characterize a suspected UXO area, develop a sampling strategy to characterize areas suspected of containing UXO, and use the info garnered to come up with a site-specific response action. The decision as to whether or not the seafloor around Seal Island will be cleaned up will take place during this process. RI/FS's are also used for organizing cleanups at nuclear wastes sites.

The draft Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study will then made available for public comment to get input on the potential response and on reasonably anticipated future uses. After the Corps of Engineers has responded to the public comments, the response action is finalized in a Record of Decision (ROD) or Decision Document (DD), and, presuming funds available, gets carried out.

Citizens need to be involved in this process. The agencies welcome such participation.


CW said...

So, Ron, is there anywhere we can go for documentation on Seal Island UXO, such as it is? I got no results at the DoD sites linked to the Maine Div of Renediation.

Ron Huber said...

The two people below are the go-to people on this. Either one would get you details. the fed would probably get back to you faster. Use email. Sheila would know

Have you read the various documentation info posted on other bay blog entries about Seal Island? Try July 21, 2007 and Jan 12, 2008.

Sheila Holt
Geographical District Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New England District 696 Virginia Road Concord , MA 01742-2751
Phone: 978-318-8174
Email: shiela.d.holt@usace.army.mil

MDEP Program Manager: Ted Wolfe
Phone: 207-287-2651 or 287-8552
E-mail: Theodore.E.Wolfe@maine.gov
Contact for Military Munitions Response

Colin Woodard said...

Thanks, Ron. I did ultimately find those entries.

While not fully on topic, your readers may find my Down East cover story on the Maine Coastal Islands NWR of interest. The full story is now available online via http://colinwoodard.blogspot.com/2009/03/future-of-maines-seabird-nesting.html