Recovery Act workers are on track to remove more than 30,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory by September 2011. The Recovery Act invested $14.3 million in legacy cleanup activities at SLAC. In addition to removing contaminated soil and debris that is shipped to local disposal facilities, Recovery Act workers installed three new groundwater treatment systems.
Workers remove the 4,000-gallon Tank W-1A, which was ORNL’s greatest source of groundwater contamination.
Workers drilled 171 wells along the shoreline of the Columbia River, which runs through the Site. The new wells will help extend a chemical groundwater barrier in the soil by half a mile along the river to contain radioactive contamination in the groundwater (strontium-90).
Developing Systems Based Technology for Environmental Remediation—This graphic depicts some of the sources of contamination that require investment of innovative solutions to ensure protection of the health of humans and the environment. The Office of Soil and Groundwater Remediation provides integration, planning, analysis, and guidance for ensuring safe and effective management and remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater with the goal of reducing risk and the life cycle cost of remediation. The office identifies, integrates, and advances new and best technical practices related to groundwater and soil characterization, modeling, and remediation that improve the performance of EM projects over their entire lifecycle by transforming science and innovation into practical solutions for environmental cleanup.
Soil and Groundwater Overview
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) manages the largest groundwater and soil remediation effort in the world. The inventory at the DOE sites includes 6.5 trillion liters of contaminated groundwater, an amount equal to about four times the daily U.S. water consumption, and 40 million cubic meters of soil and debris contaminated with radionuclides, metals, and organics.
Where are we working?
The Office of Groundwater and Soil Remediation is working with DOE site managers around the country regarding specific technical issues. At the large sites such as Hanford, Savannah River, and Oak Ridge, the Office of Groundwater and Soil Remediation has conducted research and demonstration projects to test new technologies and remediation approaches. The office currently focuses on applied field research Initiatives.
How are we working?
The complexity of the groundwater and soil remediation effort requires a multi-faceted Applied Research & Technology Development program. The program consists of multiple initiatives and field sites for applied research; each research initiative engages with others to provide holistic solutions based on scientific understanding of the subsurface environment. Soil and groundwater remediation work is being completed through four applied programmatic areas: the Deep Vadose Zone Applied Field Research Initiative (DVZ-AFRI), Attenuation Based Remedies Applied Field Research Initiative (ABRS-AFRI), Remediation of Mercury and Industrial Contaminants Applied Field Research Initiative (RoMIC-AFRI), and Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM). The technical assistance program within the Office of Soil and Groundwater Remediation consistently and successfully provides technical resources to solve urgent, challenging environmental problems.
Groundwater and Soil Program Areas
In the area of soil and groundwater remediation, there are two initiatives designed to take a comprehensive view of the critical problems and address these problems under a single vision. They include the Closure End States for Facilities, Waste Sites, and Subsurface Contamination and the Remediation, Treatment, and Closure of Mercury Contaminated Waste Sites, Water, and Facility Debris to Enable Future Department Missions. The Office of Soil and Groundwater Remediation also focuses on the Advanced Modelling of Fate & Transport program