Office of Environmental Management

Crews Mobilize to Build Mercury Treatment Facility in Oak Ridge

July 30, 2019

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Oak Ridge Site workers remove asphalt and concrete on the east end of the Y-12 National Security Complex to prepare the site of the Mercury Treatment Facility’s treatment plant.
Oak Ridge Site workers remove asphalt and concrete on the east end of the Y-12 National Security Complex to prepare the site of the Mercury Treatment Facility’s treatment plant.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.Oak Ridge Site crews recently mobilized to begin constructing the Outfall 200 Mercury Treatment Facility, vital infrastructure to fulfill EM’s regulatory commitments to reduce mercury levels in the East Fork Poplar Creek and begin large-scale cleanup and demolition at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

EM awarded APTIM-North Wind Construction a $91.8 million firm-fixed-price contract in December 2018 to construct the facility. The contract has a four year performance period.

The Mercury Treatment Facility will be comprised of two components at two locations — a headworks facility and a treatment plant connected by a pipeline nearly a mile long. The headworks facility will capture creek flow on the west end of Y-12, store excess stormwater collected during large rainfalls, remove grit, and pump water through the pipeline to the treatment plant on the east side of Y-12. The treated water will then flow into the creek.

Employees installed fences and barriers to identify the boundaries of the Mercury Treatment Facility’s treatment plant and headworks facility, ensuring safety and security.
Employees installed fences and barriers to identify the boundaries of the Mercury Treatment Facility’s treatment plant and headworks facility, ensuring safety and security.
Crews will soon begin excavating at the headworks facility site to allow for construction of the facility’s foundations.
Crews will soon begin excavating at the headworks facility site to allow for construction of the facility’s foundations.
Workers remove asphalt on the east end of the Y-12 National Security Complex for the site of the Mercury Treatment Facility’s treatment plant.
Workers remove asphalt on the east end of the Y-12 National Security Complex for the site of the Mercury Treatment Facility’s treatment plant.

Since work began last month, employees have installed fences and barriers to identify the boundaries of both sites and ensure site safety and security. They also are removing asphalt where the treatment plant will be located.

At the headworks site, workers are preparing to excavate to construct the building’s foundations, and they are installing a dewatering system to support a deep excavation.

“It’s exciting to have crews mobilized onsite and moving forward on a facility that is a central component of our cleanup strategy at Y-12,” said Brian Henry, Y-12 portfolio federal project director for DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of EM. “After years of planning, designing, and site prep work, we are eager to advance this important project that will enable cleanup and modernization at an important national security site.”

When the Mercury Treatment Facility is operational, it will limit and control potential mercury releases as crews take down massive Cold War buildings and address the soils — activities that may disrupt the mercury-contaminated area on the west end of Y-12. The facility is designed to treat up to 3,000 gallons of water per minute and includes a 2-million-gallon storage tank to collect stormwater.

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