Three Community School evening seminars on the topic of waste disposal management will be held at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church beginning Tuesday, September 15.
The second and third seminars are scheduled for the following Tuesdays, September 22 and September 29. All seminars will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and free child care will be provided. The church is located at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike.
The League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning have partnered to offer these seminars, a press release said. The Community School is made possible by a $20,000 Community Involvement Fund grant awarded to the Oak Ridge League by the New Mexico Community Foundation, and funded through the U.S. Department of Energy. A portion of the grant helped to fund an environmental program focusing on children at the ORUUC Rainbow Camp in June.
The Community School will educate the Oak Ridge community about the Department of Energy environmental management process, risks to public safety from legacy contaminants, and realistic expectations for remediation and reuse. The press release said it will cover the history of Oak Ridge, a discussion of the contaminants released into the environment, health risk assessment data, reports from the state environmental agency, guidance on the environmental management process, and how residents can have their voices heard on these important issues.
Another component of the Community School will be a tour the DOE Information Center and the Oak Ridge Room at the Oak Ridge Public Library on Wednesday, September 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenters at the seminars will include local historian D. Ray Smith; Community School director Natalie Landry; Sue Cange, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management; Ellen Smith, environmental scientist, member of the Oak Ridge City Council, and former chair of the city’s Environmental Quality Board; Chris Thompson, deputy director at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; David Adler, program manager, DOE Office of Environmental Management; a member of the Site Specific Advisory Board; and Donna Kridelbaugh of the Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board.
In notes from Landry regarding the school, she said that the goal of this project is to expand the knowledge and understanding of environmental management and remediation actions that have been taken due to the legacy contamination remaining from the Manhattan Project, which produced the atomic bomb, and post-World War II nuclear and high-tech research, the press release said.
“The City of Oak Ridge is experiencing an influx of newer residents who are not as familiar with the Oak Ridge Reservation and legacy contamination issues,” Landry said. “And many longer-term residents in the community would like to see immediate industrialization and struggle to understand the need for a measured approach to environmental management and remediation, while others become frustrated with the formal process required and fear for their safety as remediation efforts stretch into multiple decades,” she added. “It is these Issues that have prompted this outreach effort.”
Landry has more than 15 years of experience in environmental restoration and planning projects in New Hampshire and North Carolina, and has been an environmental consultant with the Timmons Group in Knoxville since 2014. Among other responsibilities, she has developed award-winning environmental education programs for children and adults. Her wide range of environmental experience makes her a perfect fit for developing the community outreach and awareness program organized for the Community School 2015, the press release said.
The Community School seminars are free to the public but require advance registration.
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