Office of Environmental Management

Cleanup, Restoration Alter Oak Ridge Landscape

October 22, 2019

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Oak Ridge crews remediate the K-1203 complex site after demolishing structures there.
Oak Ridge crews remediate the K-1203 complex site after demolishing structures there.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – It once housed a sanitary sewage treatment facility, but now the K-1203 complex site at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) is an open field sown with grass seed. Its remediation and aesthetic transformation moves the site closer to EM’s ultimate vision. Watch a video about the project here.

The K-1203 complex, which was located in the Poplar Creek area of ETTP, consisted of an aeration biological treatment facility, lift stations, and sedimentation basins. It also contained facilities that filtered sludge and treated water.

While the above-ground K-1203 complex facilities were demolished in 2017, crews recently finished excavating and backfilling the underground portions of these structures. Workers placed more than 11,000 cubic yards of backfill, regraded the site, and seeded the area — removing any indications of its former use.

This remediation work is the latest transformation to an area once dotted with some of the site’s most radioactively contaminated buildings. ETTP’s Poplar Creek area housed 11 large buildings and other structures built in the 1940s and 1950s to support the site’s nuclear program and operations.

The K-1203 complex, pictured at top before demolition, was located in the Poplar Creek area of Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park. Immediately above, the K-1203 site’s transformation is complete after workers placed more than 11,000 cubic yards of
The K-1203 complex, pictured at top before demolition, was located in the Poplar Creek area of Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park.
The K-1203 complex, pictured at top before demolition, was located in the Poplar Creek area of Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park.
The K-1203 site’s transformation is complete after workers placed more than 11,000 cubic yards of backfill, and regraded and seeded the area.

Oak Ridge’s EM program and its cleanup contractor UCOR achieved a significant milestone last month when crews completed all of the Poplar Creek facility demolitions. Now, there are no longer any buildings at ETTP that conducted or supported gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment operations for the first time since 1943.

“With the completion of major cleanup at ETTP quickly approaching, it’s imperative that we complete projects like this to transfer the remaining parcels of land to the community and enable the site’s next chapter,” said James Daffron, acting ETTP portfolio federal project director.

When remediation is complete in that section of ETTP, the Poplar Creek area and the adjacent footprint of the demolished K-29 gaseous diffusion plant will undergo a regulatory approval process to begin the transfer process.

Oak Ridge’s EM program and its contractors have been cleaning ETTP for years while working to transfer cleaned areas and facilities to the private sector under the site's Reindustrialization Program.

To date, Oak Ridge’s EM program has taken down facilities spanning 12 million square feet, transferred more than 1,200 acres of land for economic development, and placed more than 3,000 acres in a conservation easement for recreational use by the community.

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