The U.S. Department of Energy has asked for public comment about a proposed plan to reduce groundwater contamination in the main plant area of East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge.
Comments are for an interim record of decision. There will be a public meeting Tuesday evening in Oak Ridge.
“The proposed plan identifies enhanced in situ bioremediation (EISB) as DOE’s preferred alternative to remediate six specific areas of groundwater in the main plant area of the East Tennessee Technology Park,” DOE said in a public notice distributed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “EISB is a method that involves using microorganisms to reduce contamination levels in these specific areas of groundwater. For these six areas, workers have excavated, or will excavate, the primary sources of contamination, as specified in the Record of Decision for Soil, Buried Waste, and Subsurface Structure Actions in Zone 2, East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (DOE/OR/01-2161&D2).
“The Proposed Plan proposes to follow that soil excavation work with active treatment of the residual contamination that remains below the groundwater table. Land use controls described in the East Tennessee Technology Park Administrative Watershed Remedial Action Report Comprehensive Monitoring Plan, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (DOE/OR/01-2477&D4) will continue under the Interim Record of Decision for Groundwater in the Main Plant Area at the East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (DOE/OR/01-2949).”
K-25 was built as part of the top-secret Manhattan project to make the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II. The site continued to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and power plants through the Cold War, and it was shut down in the mid-1980s.
The four alternatives evaluated for the six groundwater plumes in the main plant area are:
- No action.
- In situ thermal treatment that heats the groundwater to vaporize the contaminants.
- EISB that uses microorganisms to reduce contamination levels.
- In situ soil mixing, along with EISB for deeper zones. This involves adding chemicals to reduce migration in shallow areas
- and using EISB in deeper areas.
- DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation encourage
A meeting notice said DOE, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and TDEC encourage the public to review the proposed plan and other relevant documents in the Administrative Record to gain an understanding of the proposed Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 groundwater cleanup action.
DOE is hosting a public meeting about the proposed plan from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott at 300 South Rutgers Avenue in Oak Ridge.
“At this meeting, DOE will provide information about the proposed plan and listen to your views about the plans for this groundwater cleanup action,” the notice said.
A copy of the Proposed Plan is available at https://doeic.science.energy.gov/uploads/E.0525.030.0079.pdf. Paper copies are also available at the DOE Information Center.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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