The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, or OREM, has cut costs by $5.4 million, federal officials said.
OREM is one of several U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management, or EM, sites that reduced costs by more than $100 million in fiscal year 2016, which ended September 30.
The costs were reduced in response to a challenge from EM leaders to free more funding for cleanup, DOE said in a December 29 EM Update electronic newsletter.
The Savannah River Operations Office realized more than $34.1 million in cost reductions, officials said. It was followed by the Richland Operations Office with more than $31.6 million; Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office with more than $16.8 million; Office of River Protection with more than $12.7 million; Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management with $5.4 million; and Idaho Site with more than $4 million.
“Reducing our costs by more than $100 million is a tremendous accomplishment, and we are going to continue to look for ways to work smarter and identify further savings in fiscal year 2017,” EM Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Sue Cange said.
The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management reduced its operating costs during the last five years by instituting incentives for accomplishing cleanup work ahead of schedule, the EM Update newsletter said. The operating costs for fiscal year 2016 reflect a 13 percent reduction from the costs incurred in the first full year of the contract “through rightsizing of resources, consolidating business functions, competitively bidding subcontracts, streamlining work control processes, and improving efficiency and productivity of operations,” the newsletter said.
More broadly, EM sites achieved cost reductions through a variety of strategies, including contract consolidation, changes in contract vehicles, use of new technology, infrastructure and utility upgrades, new regulatory strategies, and increased capacity of disposal facilities.
Here is more information about the other sites from the newsletter:
The Savannah River Site implemented multiple approaches to meet its savings goal, including consolidating training courses, reducing unnecessary paperwork, automating data collection, e-sourcing and negotiated savings on several acquisitions, and optimizing scheduling on several projects.
Richland Operations Office reduced its staff and corporate management with the end of the River Corridor Closure Contract, resulting in about $3.65 million in savings. The site attained cost savings by increasing disposal capacity at the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility. Richland also worked with state regulators on a new strategy for a waste site intended to protect human health and the environment without requiring removal, treatment and disposal.
The Idaho Site reduced overhead costs and staff by successfully consolidating the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project and Idaho Cleanup Project contracts, involving about 1,600 staff and management, into one contract managed by Fluor Idaho.
Office of River Protection cut the hours required to manage tank farm access by adding wireless technology to allow remote access from the control trailers. The office optimized double-shell tank transfers by using dedicated transfer routes and lines for six different transfers rather than performing waste characterization analysis for each transfer.
The Portsmouth and Paducah sites achieved cost savings by optimizing utilities and infrastructure. Paducah changed its power distribution, shutting down six main transformers, saving $642,000 annually. Paducah replaced roofs on five buildings to reduce surveillance and maintenance costs by $500,000. The site’s steam supply system also realized $500,000 in maintenance and other savings by having its large, coal-fired boilers replaced with smaller, modular gas boilers. Portsmouth upgraded its electric power distribution and sanitary water systems, and initiated a new contract for natural gas supply.
“A key part of our mission is being efficient in our execution and I am proud of our sites for identifying savings that can be reinvested in our cleanup programs,” Cange said.
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