o#98-75 Issued 8/10/98

Contact: Diane Greenberg, or Mona S. Rowe




Upton, NY - John Meersman, a vice president of Bechtel Environmental, Inc., has been named manager of Brookhaven National Laboratory's Environmental Restoration Division (ERD). He succeeds James Kannard, who moved to Nevada, due to family illness.

Meersman oversees a staff of 30 who are responsible for planning and implementing the cleanup of soils and groundwater contaminated as a result of past use and disposal practices at Brookhaven Lab.

Since 1992, environmental restoration work has been performed at the Laboratory by private contractors, using U.S. Department of Energy funds, subject to oversight by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In performing the cleanup, Brookhaven has also worked closely with federal and state legislators, Suffolk County officials, civic associations, special interest groups, and the general public.

The projected completion date of the cleanup is 2006, and the final cost is expected to be $285 million.

"ERD staff has done a great job in characterizing contamination problems and identifying cost-effective cleanup strategies," Meersman said. "The challenge for the future is to build a consensus with our regulators as to how the cleanup should proceed, and then to implement the cleanup on schedule and within budget. We will continue to solicit input and guidance from our regulators and stakeholders every step of the way."

Before Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) became the Laboratory's new managers in March, Meersman was becoming familiar with Brookhaven as part of the transition team brought in by BSA. Working for Bechtel National, Inc., which is now overseeing the Lab's environmental restoration programs for BSA, Meersman was in charge of assessing these programs' operations. During the three-month transition, he also compiled improvement recommendations and management training materials.

John Meersman attended Stanford University, where he earned a B.S. in civil engineering in 1976, an M.S. in environmental engineering in 1977, and, in 1978, a one-year postgraduate degree in environmental planning.

As an employee of Bechtel since 1978, Meersman has worked for environmental-restoration programs at several U.S. Department of Energy sites, including Hanford, Savannah River, Nevada Test Site, and Oak Ridge, and at several U.S. Department of Defense sites.

Currently residing in temporary quarters at Baiting Hollow, Meersman hopes to soon find a permanent Long Island residence, so that his wife, Jean, and their two daughters, currently residing in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, can join him.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences, and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.