Note: ThisÂ story was last updated at 3:30 p.m.
Construction on a mercury treatment plant at the Y-12 National Security Complex could start in 2018 and cost $146 million, a federal official said Wednesday.
The plant would treat mercury contamination that originates in the West End Mercury Area at Y-12, flows through storm drains, and enters Upper East Fork Poplar Creek at a point known as Outfall 200. East Fork Poplar Creek flows through Oak Ridge.
The U.S. Department of Energy has evaluated several alternatives for treating the mercury, including doing nothing. But DOE prefers an option that would treat 3,000 gallons of contaminated water per minute and store two million gallons of stormwater. It could reduce the flow of mercury, a toxic metal, by an estimated 84 percent. [Read more…]