NMED Direct Response to Comments
Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification
December 7, 2000
Comment Number Commentor/ Affiliation Topic Area Commentor Number Comment Summary Response Include in Permit? y/n Reviewer (initials)
1 Lawrence Souza/ Citizen Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request A The Commentor believes that to avoid unnecessary radiation exposures and achieve ALARA, perhaps the permit mod should include options for: 1) sampling the headspace of the drum containing the pipe overpack containers (POC), and 2) a much shorter DAC that corresponds to the much simpler POC configuration used by LANL and other TRU waste generators.  To address the Commentor's concerns, the proposed permit modifications would require additional technical information and justification not included in the Class 2 Permit Modification Request. Further, the Permittees state " If additional packaging configurations are identified, an appropriate Permit Modification will be submitted to incorporate DAC using the methodology in BWXT (2000)." NMED assumes that this could include modifications addressing the Commentor's concerns. no SOZ
2 Jay Shelton/ Citizen Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request B The Commentor states that the changes sound sensible. The comment is extremely general in its support of the proposed modification. See Response to Comment 3.  no SOZ
3 Penelope McMullen/Sisters of Loretto Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request C The Sisters of Loretto oppose the permit modification request because the DOE will not be able to adequately determine the number of bags and thickness of bags, and the permit [modification] does not adequately specify how they [DOE] will do this [characterization]. Several inner bags could be closed with a single horsetail, so identification of the number of inner bags by counting the number of horsetails could induce error. Also, the records of content cannot be used to determine the waiting period, as it is known that the records are frequently wrong. NMED agrees that the proposed permit modification does not include permit changes that address how sites shall obtain the necessary information required to determine DACs, including but not limited to modifications to visual examination, radiography, and acceptable knowledge permit requirements. Thorough and comprehensive modification of all applicable permit areas must be included in the permit modification request to ensure consistent and correct application of the modification.  no SOZ
4 Maria Santelli, CARD Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request D CARD strongly opposes the DAC Class 2 permit modification and urges NMED to deny it. See Response to Comment 8.2.  no SOZ
5.1A Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E The Commentor states that the permit modification request is incomplete and should be denied because it does not make necessary changes to all relevant areas of the permit, including those areas dealing with determination of drum liner presence, type of liner, number of bags, etc.  NMED concurs with the Commentors concerns regarding completeness of the permit modification request. See Response to Comments 3 and 8.2. no SOZ
5.1B Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E The Commentor believes that the modification does not meet the operational standards regulations. For example, if inaccurate / underestimated amounts of VOCs are reported, the waste analysis requirements [that mandate adequate and accurate information about the hazardous waste at any facility] will not be met.  NMED agrees that accurate headspace gas information must be obtained, and this information must be collected at the appropriate time to ensure the drum meets the 90% steady state concentration criteria. NMED does not oppose the implementation of drum configuration-specific DAC, but also believes that additional information should have been included in the permit modification request to ensure that DAC determination is correctly and consistently implemented, and to ensure that the methodology used to calculate the DAC is well supported. no SOZ
5.1C Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E The Commentor believes that the modification does not protect public health and the environment. Because of the likelihood of inaccurate sampling, larger amounts of VOCs could be brought to WIPP than estimated. That increased amount of VOCs could endanger public health and the environment.  NMED agrees that if the DAC is underestimated, the actual VOC concentration realized in the subsurface and measured at air monitoring locations would be greater than anticipated. However, the permit modification request does not alter permit requirements with respect to on-site monitoring or the potential consequences that exceedence of permit-required subsurface concentrations would trigger. no SOZ
5.2 Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E The Commentor states that the proposed revision of Drum Age Criteria would put more reliance on DOE Acceptable Knowledge (AK), which the commentor believes to be frequently inaccurate. Relying on AK to determine Drum Age Criteria information is inconsistent with basic principles and requirements of the permit. NMED agrees that reliance on AK to determine detailed and specific information required for DAC determination will not suffice for the majority of containers present at generator/storage sites. AK requirements of the current permit do not mandate collection of the detailed and specific information necessary to determine DACs, and the permit modification request does not include modification of the permit's AK requirements to require this. Additionally, NMED has observed that for the majority of generator/storage sites audited to date, AK records alone typically do not contain all of the required drum-specific information needed to determine DACs. no SOZ
5.3 Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E The Commentor believes that DOE has not explained why (if current calculations are correct) information presented in the past concerning DAC was so wrong. Contrarily, DOE has not demonstrated that the new DAC include all types of debris waste. Criteria are clearly addressed to design a problem at INEEL, but use of the alternative proposed criteria have not shown to give accurate HSG results at INEEL, nevertheless the other sites. Thus, the Commentor asserts there has been no showing that all the sites have been surveyed or that all types of debris waste drums are covered by the three scenarios included in the modification request. The debris waste DAC calculation upon which the Permit DAC was based assumed, among other elements, that 55 gallon containers were used, debris containers had 5 layers of inner confinement, the rigid drum liner had a .375 inch diameter hole, and the drum filter has a hydrogen diffusivity of 4.2 E-06 moles/second/mole fraction. The DAC for Scenario 1 is significantly different than the current DAC in the permit. This difference is attributable to the lack of a drum filter and/or rigid liner vent in the Scenario 1 drum. However, Scenario 3 more closely mimics Permit DAC conditions, and includes drum packaging configurations and tables that, while not inclusive of all Permit DAC assumptions, are very similar in drum liner configuration, liner hole diameter, etc. Upon comparison of the DAC in the permit with those included in the modification for similar conditions, the DACs are very comparable. no SOZ
5.3 (continued) Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E (continued from above) However, NMED agrees that every waste configuration possible was not included in the permit modification request, but more important, the permit modification request did not address how configurations different from those in the request would be handled. That is, it is quite possible that deviations from the specific criteria (e.g., hole diameter, etc.) will be observed, but the permit modification request did not offer generator/storage site direction as to how these differences should be addressed, short of implying that these wastes are not eligible for shipment to WIPP. NMED agrees that support documentation does not include survey information obtained from generator/storage sites to support the DAC determinations.  no SOZ
5.4 Don Hancock, Southwest Research and Information Center Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request E The Commentor questions how sites will know whether drums fit into the different sampling scenarios described in the permit modification, and states that it is not demonstrated that the three scenarios adequately bound all waste. Additionally, the generator/storage site "survey" discussed in the modification is not referenced or documented. The Commentor believes that without the survey, it cannot be determined whether the survey was comprehensive with respect to all sites or adequately thorough. Also, the Commentor points out that Attachment B of the modification requires has not been provided to the Commentor.  NMED agrees that without permit modifications stating that DAC-required data must be obtained through visual examination, radiography, etc., it is unclear how sites shall acquire the specific information necessary to make the DAC determination. NMED also agrees that while the configurations assumed are representative of site waste, outliers certainly may occur that are not accounted for in the assumed configurations. no SOZ
6.1A Joni Arends/ CCNS Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request F The Commentor believes that the permit modification request is incomplete and should be denied because it does not make necessary changes to all relevant areas of the permit. For example, the existing permit does not include procedures to determine whether a drum has a liner or not, type of liners present, etc. In order to change the waiting period, the permit should also be modified to include identification requirements for these and other elements, which it does not include.  Refer to Response to Comments 3 and 8.2. no SOZ
6.1B Joni Arends/ CCNS Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request F The Commentor believes that the modification does not meet the operational standards regulations. For example, if inaccurate / underestimated amounts of VOCs are reported, the waste analysis requirements [that mandate adequate and accurate information about the hazardous waste at any facility] will not be met. Refer to Response to Comment 5.1B. no SOZ
6.1C Joni Arends/ CCNS Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request F The Commentor believes that the modification does not protect public health and the environment. Because of the likelihood of inaccurate sampling, larger amounts of VOCs could be brought to WIPP than estimated. That increased amount of VOCs could endanger public health and the environment.  Refer to Response to Comment 5.1C. no SOZ
6.2 Joni Arends/ CCNS Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request F The Commentor believes that modification of the Drum Age Criteria would put more reliance on DOE Acceptable Knowledge for determining whether each drum has met the waiting period based on the number of liners, etc. The Commentor believes that these records are frequently wrong, and should not be relied upon.  Refer to Response to Comment 5.2. no SOZ
6.3 Joni Arends/ CCNS Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request F The Commentor believes that DOE has not explained why (if current calculations are correct) information presented in the past concerning DAC was so wrong. Contrarily, DOE has not demonstrated that the new DAC include all types of debris waste. Criteria are clearly addressed to design a problem at INEEL, but use of the alternative proposed criteria have not shown to give accurate HSG results at INEEL, nevertheless the other sites. Thus, the Commentor asserts there has been no showing that all the sites have been surveyed or that all types of debris waste drums are covered by the three scenarios included in the modification request. Refer to Response to Comment 5.3. no SOZ
7.1 Matthew Silva/ EEG Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request G The Commentor believes that the conceptual approach is reasonable and has no objection to appropriate credit for different packaging configurations. NMED also has no philosophical disagreement to appropriate credit for different packaging configurations. no SOZ
7.2 Matthew Silva/ EEG Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request G The Commentor did not check the DAC calculations, deferring to NMED for this activity. NMED has spot checked DAC calculations, and believes that while the mathematical implementation may be correct, additional questions pertaining to the proposed approach, assumptions, etc., should be addressed to better support DOE's calculations. no SOZ
7.3 Matthew Silva/ EEG Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request G The Commentor stated that while there are a variety of diffusivity values in filter values allowed for WIPP containers and the diffusivities fall within the ranges evaluated by DOE, but the proposed DAC values must be used carefully to be conservative for individual containers with different filters [i.e. the WAC allows 23 different filters that fall within the modification range, and the DAC value that is closer, but lower than a given value of the 23 should be assigned]. Also, implementation of the modification submission would seem to indicate that more specific requirements concerning the acceptable hydrogen diffusivity values for each type of waste container should be specified in the HWFP, as should a requirement to record the type of filter on each container.  NMED agrees that conservative application of filter diffusivity values would impart appropriate conservativism to DAC calculations, and that the permit modification request should also have addressed specific requirements concerning hydrogen diffusivity values, as well as filter record keeping requirements. However, the DOE did not consider these or numerous other "what ifs" when developing the permit modifications request and which should have been included to ensure consistent application of permit requirements at the generator/storage sites.  no SOZ
7.4 Matthew Silva/ EEG Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request G The Commentor stated that the diameter of the rigid liner opening on a waste container is a critical value, and there needs to be assurance that the size of these opening is accurately known in order for the specific DAC value used to be conservative. The Commentor suggested that NMED determine the amount of uncertainty with respect to liner lid hole size and tolerance data, and add the appropriate language to the HWFP; the Commentor also suggested that NMED may wish to require that these be verified either by statistical sampling or 100% review, so as to ensure that the consequent DAC and resulting headspace gas measurements would also be sufficiently accurate.  NMED agrees that the diameter of the rigid liner opening on a waste container is a critical value, and must be accurately known to ensure application of the appropriately conservative DAC value. NMED also agrees that uncertainty with respect to the liner lid hole size, tolerance data, and appropriate verification should have been included in the permit modification request to more adequately address DAC determination. However, NMED is constrained by the requirements of Class 2 permit modifications to not include such major and important elements as simple changes to the Class 2 permit modification. Inclusion of all required elements could constitute significant alternations to the permit modification request and bring to question the completeness of the permit modification request itself. no SOZ
7.5 Matthew Silva/ EEG Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request G The Commentor stated that the number of inner bags and liners in a waste container is a critical value, and there needs to be assurance that these values are accurately known in order for the DAC value chosen for a waste container is to be conservative. The Commentor went on to suggest that since the number of liner bags and inner bags is very important when determining the DAC, NMED should evaluate whether these parameters are being determined adequately under the current HWFP and, if not, appropriate modifications should be made to the permit. Additionally, the Commentor provided numerous comments in specific permit modification requests in terms of language, etc. Refer to Response to Comment 3.  no SOZ
8.1 Bryce/Lovejoy, Attorney General of New Mexico Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request H NMED should deny the proposed modification because the modification is incomplete as it does not address required modifications to the WAP, QAOs and Data Validation techniques, Acceptable Knowledge required data to include the data required to establish the appropriate DAC for each drum or container. Refer to Response to Comment 8.2.  no SOZ
8.2 Bryce/Lovejoy, Attorney General of New Mexico Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request H Alternatively, the Commentor states that NMED should direct that the proposed modification be considered under the rules for Class 3 modifications because the proposed changes are clearly outside the propose scope of Class 2 modifications. The proposed modifications, for the most part, reduce the level of conservativism of the original permit, add to the complexity of headspace determinations, and introduce several changes in waste management. Moreover, adoption of the proposed DAC would call for changes to numerous other sections of the permit, and the question of DOE's capability to comply with revised permit terms should be explored.  NMED has determined that the permit modification request is technically incomplete because it did not address all portions of the permit that must be modified to adequately implement the request, and because questions remain regarding the technical elements of DAC implementation. Although NMED is allowed by regulation to modify the request, the required changes would be very extensive and would bring to question the completeness of the original submission. As such, NMED is compelled to deny the request at this time. Furthermore, NMED cannot reclassify the modification request to a Class 3 if it is not approvable as submitted. However, NMED recommended that the Permittees consider submitting a revised modification request as a Class 3 modification due to the complex technical nature of the request. no SOZ
9.1 Deborah Reade/ CARD Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request I The Commentor believes that the proposed modification is not protective of human health and the environment because DOE cannot show the ability to determine the number of layers of confinement in the containers. The commentor questioned the viability of AK data to determine critical DAC parameters, citing several concerns voiced by EEG regarding Acceptable Knowledge at Lawrence Livermore and Nevada Test Site. Further, the Commentor believes that RTR is not a reliable method for determining inner layers of confinement.  See Response to Comments 3 and 5.2. no SOZ
9.2 Deborah Reade/ CARD Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request I The Commentor believes that the proposed modification is incomplete because it does not include additions to the existing permit to create procedures to determine whether a container is lined, the type of liner, the number of plastic bags, etc. in a container, as well as Quality Control and confirmation procedures. DOE must show a consistent history of excellent characterization and the QA/QC procedures at all sites before NMED should consider allowing them to lessen the requirements for Drum Age Criteria. See Response to Comment 3.  no SOZ
9.3 Deborah Reade/ CARD Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request J The Commentor believes that to be truly protective of human health and the environment, the DAC should be increased, not decreased. The Commentor believes that the modification was posed to solve a particular problem at INEEL, and questioned whether the DAC should be revised upward for debris waste for containers with greater than 5 layers of confinement.  NMED agrees that conservative application of filter diffusivity values and other elements would impart appropriate conservativism to DAC calculations (i.e. could revise DACs upward, depending upon the situation). However, the DOE did not consider this or numerous other "what ifs" when developing the permit modifications request, thus rendering the request technically incomplete. no SOZ
10.1 Margret Carde/ Nuclear Watch of New Mexico Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request K The Commentor strongly opposes the modification and requests that NMED deny DOE's application because DOE fails to articulate a cause for the modification under 40 CFR 270.42(b). Specifically, the Commentor believes: 1) that no alteration has occurred to justify this permit modification and DOE has not new/contradictory information on DAC today that was not available at the original hearings; 2) DOE has not shown that cause exists to grant the modification based on the need to meet compliance schedules; and 3) DOE has failed to demonstrate good cause for this permit modification. Permittees are not required to justify Class 2 permit modifications based on the criteria cited by the commentor. NMED also points out that the Temporary Authorization approval granted for DAC use was withdrawn by NMED. Also see Response to Comment 8.2. no SOZ
10.2 Margret Carde/ Nuclear Watch of New Mexico Drum Age Criteria Permit Modification Request K The Commentor believes that the DOE's application requires the more extensive procedures of a Class 3 permit modification. Specifically, the Commentor believes: 1) the permit modification application is incomplete; 2) DOE's modification application fails to give sufficient information to explain or justify the complex nature of this proposed modification; 3) the modification request fails to show that it is protective of human health and the environment; and 4) Federal regulations state that Class 2 modification applications should be considered under Class 3 procedures when there is significant public concern about the change. See response to Comments 8.2 and 8.3. no SOZ