Office of Environmental Management

EM Completes Major Upgrade to Paducah Groundwater Treatment System

May 8, 2018

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Geologists Rob Flynn (left) and Ken Davis examine core samples used to determine the location of the wells to optimize pump-and-treat operations at the Paducah Site’s northeast plume.
Geologists Rob Flynn (left) and Ken Davis examine core samples used to determine the location of the wells to optimize pump-and-treat operations at the Paducah Site’s northeast plume.

PADUCAH, Ky. EM has installed an enhanced system to treat contaminated groundwater at its Paducah Site

   Commonly referred to as “the pump-and-treat facility,” the original system was installed in the mid-1990s to control migration of contaminated groundwater and to reduce concentrations of trichloroethene (TCE), an industrial degreaser historically used to clean parts at the former gaseous diffusion plant. To date, the pump-and-treat system has cleaned approximately 4 billion gallons of groundwater by pumping water out of the ground, treating it to remove the TCE, and returning the treated water to the environment. 

   The enhanced northeast pump-and-treat system includes two new groundwater extraction wells, in locations closer to the contaminant source, and an improved treatment system.  

Drill rig operators prepare to retrieve a sample to be used to determine the location of the wells to optimize pump-and-treat operations at the Paducah Site’s northeast plume.
Drill rig operators prepare to retrieve a sample to be used to determine the location of the wells to optimize pump-and-treat operations at the Paducah Site’s northeast plume.
Drill rig operators prepare to retrieve a sample to be used to determine the location of the wells to optimize pump-and-treat operations at the Paducah Site’s northeast plume.
Drill rig operators prepare to retrieve a sample to be used to determine the location of the wells to optimize pump-and-treat operations at the Paducah Site’s northeast plume.

   Optimization of the pump-and-treat system is intended to increase TCE removal and to control migration at the eastern edge of the Paducah Site, said Jennifer Woodard, Paducah Site lead for EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.

   Woodard added that the enhanced system includes the addition of 14 monitoring wells and eight water-level measurement wells. Those wells, combined with the existing monitoring wells, provide data to evaluate performance and effectiveness of the enhanced system.

   “The new extraction wells and treatment system will provide more effective removal of contaminants and more efficient treatment of the extracted groundwater,” Woodard said. “Laboratory sample analysis of all startup, testing, and preoperational activities has confirmed that the enhanced system is reducing TCE concentration in the groundwater successfully.”

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