For Immediate Release November 30, 2006
Media Contact: James Giusti   (803) 952-7697

 

Assistant Secretary for 
Environmental Management
Marks SRS Achieving First Area Closure

 

AIKEN, S.C., With the completion of remediation work at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Site’s (SRS) T Area, SRS has achieved its first area closure, transforming a former industrial area into a grassy hill.

 

T Area is the first area at SRS closed under an “area closure” concept endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.  Under the area closure concept, entire areas are closed as one project rather than individual waste sites within the area being closed one at a time.  The new approach saves countless man hours and regulatory paperwork, both at SRS and at the agencies.  

 

“This is a significant accomplishment, both in cleanup and in working together as a team,” said Jim Rispoli, DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.  “From beginning to end, this has been a prime example of good teamwork between the Department, federal and state regulators and our Site contractor.  What was once an industrial area vital to the Cold War effort is now a small grassy hill.  This serves as a wonderful example of constructive engagement with the regulators that resulted in accelerated cleanup and risk reduction.”

 

T Area was chosen as the first area to close largely because of its location at the periphery of the Site and its position on the Savannah River .  By closing areas at the periphery first, the SRS footprint shrinks into an operational area at the center of the Site. “The Savannah River Site has long enjoyed positive working relationships with its neighboring communities.  T Area closure is another opportunity to show by example that the Department values that community support and is committed to efficient, effective cleanup at SRS in a manner that is protective of our workers, our neighbors, and the environment,” said Rispoli during a recent visit to SRS.

   

During SRS’s production years, T Area – also known as TNX – served as the gateway to SRS.  Equipment was brought via river to the Site and unloaded in T Area, where it was tested and evaluated before being used in the production facilities.  More recently, T Area was used to model and evaluate the vitrification process now used in the Defense Waste Processing Facility, where waste is safely immobilized in glass for final disposition at a national repository.

 

In 2001, DOE decided there was no further mission for T Area. The first step in the closure process was the demolition of the buildings in the area, which was initiated in 2002.  In the fall of 2004, that demolition work was completed, involving 28 buildings covering 128,000 square feet.  The area was then handed over to Washington Savannah River Company’s (WSRC) Soil and Groundwater Closure Projects for final remediation. 

 

Cleanup included removal and offsite disposal of 91 cubic yards of contaminated soil, the construction and installation of a 10-acre geosynthetic cover system, and the application of 435,600 square feet of sod and grass over the geosynthetic cover system.  Final remediation work was completed in August 2006, 48 months earlier than the original regulatory schedule. 

 

The area closure is not the final environmental cleanup step as groundwater remediation will continue for several years.

 

SRS is owned by DOE and operated by a team of contractors led by Washington Savannah River Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Washington Group International.

 

SR-06-08

 

DOE

 

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