After 10 years of operation, the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility has safely disposed of 1.45 million tons of waste from cleanup projects across the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation, a press release said.
The waste management facility, which is located near the Y-12 National Security Complex, began operating in May 2002. It accepts a variety of wastes, including soil, sludge, sediments, vegetation, personal protective equipment, and scrap equipment.
Much of the debris has come from building demolition at the East Tennessee Technology Park as that site is redeveloped as a private-sector industrial park. Some of the facilities demolished include the former gaseous diffusion buildings K-29, K-33, and the largest building in the DOE Complex—the K-25 Building.
Demolition continues on the U-shaped K-25 Building, which was once a mile long, and most of the debris will be shipped to EMWMF. The facility is linked to ETTP by an eight-mile haul road that was completed in 2006, keeping waste shipments off public roadways.
“Having the facility on the reservation has allowed DOE to clean up the environment at tremendous savings to taxpayers,” said Jeff Grindstaff, EMWMF Operations Manager for UCOR, which manages the facility. “Shipping this waste off site would be very expensive and time-consuming, and it would also have required the material to travel on public roadways.”
Disposal at EMWMF has helped DOE avoid approximately $1.35 billion in off-site disposal costs, Grindstaff pointed out.
Safety has been a priority of EMWMF during the past 10 years, the press release said. Personnel at the facility have experienced no lost workday injuries and no environmental notices of violation since operations began.
“The project’s safety and compliance records set high standards that are indicative of a dedicated, focused work force,” said Leo Sain, UCOR president and project manager. “Working 10 years without a lost workday injury is truly a remarkable achievement.”
While approximately 40 percent capacity still exists, DOE is looking for other alternatives for waste disposition when the facility reaches full capacity, such as building a new facility on the reservation. This state-of-the-art, engineered disposal facility has a capacity of 2.18 million cubic yards, according to the press release.
UCOR is DOE’s Environmental Management cleanup contractor at the Oak Ridge Reservation. The URS-led team is responsible for deactivation and demolition of the K-25 facility at ETTP, as well as other work at ETTP, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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