OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - After more than 18 years of operation and more than 35 million pounds of waste safely incinerated, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Incinerator at the East Tennessee Technology Park (former K-25 site) in Oak Ridge shut down operations on December 2.
During its operating lifetime, the one-of-a-kind thermal treatment facility burned materials regulated under TSCA and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), most notably radiologically-contaminated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The TSCA Incinerator met or exceeded environmental regulations and DOE requirements for the treatment of these types of wastes. The Incinerator was constructed in the mid-1980s and underwent a series of test burns and readiness reviews to obtain the necessary environmental permits and operating approvals from state and federal regulatory agencies. With these in place, the Incinerator began routine operations in 1991.
The facility has played a key role in the treatment of radioactive PCB and hazardous wastes (mixed wastes) from the Oak Ridge Reservation, as well as from other facilities across the DOE complex. Through its support to over twenty sites in the DOE complex, environmental waste from past and ongoing operations has been safely and permanently treated.
“We have a safe operation that made an important contribution to our environmental cleanup efforts both in Oak Ridge and at other DOE sites,” said Gerald Boyd, Manager of the DOE Oak Ridge Office. “We will now turn our attention to safe closure and ultimate decontamination and decommissioning of the facility.”
The facility will now undergo formal closure as required by RCRA that will place the facility in surveillance and maintenance mode until it is demolished, anticipated for Fiscal Year 2014. Immediate closure activities include the installation of scaffolding and platforms inside the Incinerator for removal of brick liners, sampling and analysis of various components, removal of sludge and packing material, and off-site disposal of the waste generated during this process. These activities are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.
“The TSCA Incinerator has been a national resource for DOE sites from coast to coast,” said Bechtel Jacobs Co. President and General Manager Joe Nemec. “Over the years, a dynamic team of hard working and talented people has operated and maintained the facility under the most stringent environmental permits and site requirements,” Nemec said. “We thank our loyal and dedicated workforce for a job well done.”
The TSCA Incinerator was safely operated by Bechtel Jacobs Co. LLC, under contract to the Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office Environmental Management Program.