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Meeting Minutes And Agendas

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Wednesday, April 15 2020



WEDNESDAY • APRIL 15, 2020 • 3:30 PM


In Attendance:

Authority Board

W. William Whiteside, III, Chair      

Joanna M. Furia Esq., Vice Chair      

Dr. Curtis Griffin

Mark McCouch                                  

Joseph Wade



HLRA Staff

Michael J. McGee

Tom Ames

Larry Burns

William Gildea-Walker

Mary Eberle, Esquire


Due to restrictions on gatherings issued by Governor Wolf due to COVID-19, the meeting was held via video teleconference.  The format of the meeting was advertised and the public was provided an opportunity to participate.  

Chairman Whiteside called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. and led the participants in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. 

Mr. Whiteside stated that members of the public should email any questions or comments to tames@horsham.org during the meeting and they would be responded to.

Mr. Whiteside asked for the will of the Board regarding minutes of the HLRA meeting on January 15, 2020. It was moved by Mr. McCouch, second by Ms. Furia to approve the minutes for the January 15, 2020 HLRA meeting. All voted in favor, motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Whiteside asked Mr. McGee for the Executive Director’s Report. Mr. McGee noted that he had just emailed the HLRA Financial Report to the Board Members.  He also noted that a new grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) had been applied for and that we had received notice that the grant has been approved.  The new grant will cover operational expenses for the HLRA from May 2020 through April 2021.

Mr. McGee stated that the monthly call with Catellus had been cancelled this month.  He reminded the Board that the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Catellus has been extended for an additional thirty days; as has been the case for the past several months.

Mr. McGee then introduced Greg Preston, head of the BRAC Program Management Office East and asked him to provide an update. Mr. Preston thanked the Board for the opportunity to provide information which would have been given at the Navy’s March 2020 Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting which was cancelled due to meeting restrictions related to COVID-19.

With the assistance of HLRA staff, Mr. Preston showed a series of slides to update the Board on the status of the environmental remediation efforts by the Navy at the former NAS-JRB Willow Grove base.  A short summary is provided herein:

Site 3 and 12 Landfills:  The Navy is addressing EPA comments on the Proposed Remedial Actions Plans for these two former landfill sites. The public comment period and meetings have been postponed due to meeting restrictions related to COVID-19.

Drinking Water Actions:  Mr. Preston noted that three additional private wells had tested above the 70 parts per trillion Lifetime Health Advisory Level and will be connected to the public water supply system.  However, this work is on hold as the Navy has made the decision not to enter into private homes due to COVID-19 concerns.  He noted also that there are several locations where the homeowner has not agreed to be connected to public water (despite being above the LHAL).

Private Drinking Water Well Sampling Area:  The slide shows the areas around the base where the levels are above the LHAL.  The green dots indicate locations below the 70 ppt LHAL.

Phase II PFAS Investigation: Mr. Preston announced that the Navy’s pilot groundwater extraction system when into full operation on March 2, 2020 and has new treated over 1 Million gallons of groundwater.  The influent groundwater was tested at 17,000 ppt combined PFOS and PFOA; the treated effluent tests at essentially ‘non-detect’ levels. The six month pilot will be basis for the full treatment system which may treat 200-250 gpm.  Ten more extraction/monitoring wells are being installed.  The treatment scheme includes both granular activated carbon (GAC) and resin. Mr. Preston’s slides included photos of Hangar 680 and the pilot treatment system.

A question from Mark McCouch regarding impact of this pumping on the aquifer resulted in a discussion regarding the underlying geology of the site, where the effluent discharges to and if the retention basins are being overloaded.  Dave Barclift, one of Mr. Preston’s staff, clarified that the treated effluent was being discharged to basins on the former Navy property (not the basin on the adjoining Horsham Air Guard Station (HAGS) property).  Mr. Preston later noted that the basins on the Navy property did not appear to be impacted (he had received a text from one of his staff who is on-site).  Mr. Preston also noted that the full treatment system was being designed cautiously with assistance from the USGS and the regulators.  The extraction wells will be sited to withdraw groundwater at ‘hot spots’ and at different levels.

Mr. Preston continued by noting that a second pilot treatment system is being planned for the Site 5 area on the Horsham Road side of the base.  This system will have to be designed not to impact an existing in-situ remedy related to previous VOC contamination from the former firefighting training area.

Stormwater System Evaluation:  Mr. Preston noted that the repairs to the stormwater system at the base may be delayed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Action Summary:  Mr. Preston noted that the Navy was investigating a ‘Permeable Reactive Barrier’, an innovative technology, to control the flow of contaminated groundwater off-site.

Next Scheduled RAB Meetings:  The next scheduled RAB meeting is set for May 20, 2002 but Mr. Preston stated that the date may be impacted by COVID-19 concerns.

Mr. McGee thanked Mr. Preston for the information and asked if there were any questions or comments from the public.  Mr. Ames stated that he had received no emails with questions or comments.  Mr. McGee also noted that the RAB slides also included slides related to the Air National Guard/HAGS update, including an update on improvements to the treatment system at the HAGS retention basin.

Mr. McGee continued by advising the Board that in early March 2020, the ANG had issued a draft Quality Assurance Project Plan relating to the PFAS investigation at HAGS.  In the QAPP, there was a diagram showing a plume map on the HAGS site.  The red area shows the monitoring well that has tested at levels above 300,000 parts per trillion (combined PFOS and PFOA).  The plume map was displayed via the video teleconference to participants.  The data in the map comes from 2017.  Mr. McGee noted that the data depicts that the contaminant plume is moving off the HAGS property.  He also noted that EPA has been trying to get ANG to take action (such as what the Navy is doing) but no action has been taken by ANG (other than the treatment system at the retention basin).  EPA has had meetings with ANG specifically on this issue. 

Mr. McGee suggested that, if the ANG has taken no action by the next HLRA Board meeting, that the Board approve getting local elected officials involved on this matter.  Mr. McCouch asked Greg Preston, if he could help with this issue.  Mr. Preston stated that issues involving the Air Force and Air National Guard were beyond his control.

Mr. Whiteside asked Ms. Eberle for her report.  Ms. Eberle noted that concerning the Aldie lawsuit, since the courts have been closed due to the COVID-19 issues, our request to have the HLRA dismissed have not been acted upon.

Mr. Whiteside asked for the will of the Board regarding the list of checks. It was moved by Mr. McCouch, seconded by Dr. Griffin, to approve the list of checks in the amount of $73,240.87 covering the period from January 16, 2020 to April 15, 2020. All voted in favor, motion passed unanimously.

Under new business, Mr. Whiteside asked for an update on the Military Installations Remediation and Infrastructure Authority (MIRIA).  Larry Burns provided the update.  MIRIA is a new authority authorized by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania legislation signed by Governor Wolf in November 2019.  The new authority has been busy; their submission to the PA Department of Revenue was delivered on March 12, 2020 and guidelines for revenue disbursements approved on April 3, 2020. The MIRIA staff has met twice with local water providers and is reviewing grant application procedures.  Mr. Burns detailed the number of parcels proposed for the “MIRIA Zone’ which includes 40 local businesses.  MIRIA staff has been in contact with personnel connected to the Lancaster (PA) CRIZ to get lessons learned from their experience in dealing with local firms.  Mr. Whiteside asked if the MIRIA was on track to meet the deadlines set by the Commonwealth; Mr. Burns stated that they were.

Mr. Whiteside announced that the next Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority meeting would be on July 15, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. scheduled to be at the Horsham Township building (but there may be changes if the COVID-19 restrictions are still in place). There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:34 pm.


William T. Gildea-Walker

HLRA Secretary


HLRA – Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority

1025 Horsham Road, Horsham PA 19044 | Telephone: (215) 643-3131 | Fax: (215) 643-0448 | mail@hlra.org

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