OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge Environmental Management (EM) program recently completed upgrades and soil remediation work at the Bethel Valley Burial Grounds, using approximately $17.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.
Oak Ridge’s EM program was able to use Recovery Act funds to address five areas needing improvement, including Solid Waste Storage Areas 1 and 3. This included removing contaminated soil (“hot spots”), diverting clean groundwater sources from buried legacy waste, and adding multiple layers of protection from the buried waste. The Bethel Valley Burial Grounds lie near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) central campus and extend into adjacent parcels of land.
“The successful completion of this project marks a significant step in reducing future risks in Oak Ridge,” said DOE’s Assistant Manager for EM John Eschenberg. “Our employees were able to remove contaminated soil and further isolate legacy waste at the site, translating into a safer workplace and surrounding community.”
The burial grounds were a disposal area for solid, low-level radioactive waste from research and defense operations between 1943 and 1951. These areas have been an environmental concern, but the recent enhancements will increase safety at ORNL and better protect the underlying watershed.
“We worked very closely with DOE to develop and implement practical, innovative solutions to accomplish this important work,” said LATA-Sharp Project Manager Mike Kennicott. “The end result was a successful project that was completed safely, timely, and in a technically-sound manner.”
The project, which began in October 2009, was funded from the $755 million in Recovery Act funding provided to the Oak Ridge Office for environmental cleanup, and was performed by LATA-Sharp Remediation Services, LLC of Westerville, Ohio.