Office of Environmental Management

More Than 10,000 Samples Guide Cleanup at Oak Ridge's ETTP

September 3, 2019

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Workers extract soil samples from Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park at depths up to 30 feet in the ground.
Workers extract soil samples from Oak Ridge’s East Tennessee Technology Park at depths up to 30 feet in the ground.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Cleaning up Oak Ridge's East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) encompasses more than emptying and demolishing old, contaminated buildings. Another phase involves sampling, and lots of it, for EM teams to identify and remove contaminated slabs and soils.

Since 2015, workers have collected more than 10,000 samples at the former uranium enrichment complex to map all remaining remedial actions needed to complete ETTP’s cleanup and transfer to the community for development. Nearly half of those samples were collected in fiscal 2019 as the sampling initiative nears completion.

In addition to identifying areas requiring remediation, the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) uses the sampling results to determine how crews can safely excavate and manage the waste.

Soil samples are packaged and sent for testing in a laboratory.
Soil samples are packaged and sent for testing in a laboratory.
Crews use sampling data to determine areas requiring soil remediation, such as this location.
Crews use sampling data to determine areas requiring soil remediation, such as this location.

The samples include soil taken from depths up to 30 feet, concrete, which supports building slab removal, post-remediation confirmations, and others involving water, sediment, and sludge.

“Sampling is an essential element of our cleanup operations,” said James Daffron, ETTP portfolio federal project director. “It helps us understand where contamination exists, the type of contaminants, and how much remediation is needed to complete our mission at ETTP.”

So far, OREM and its contractors have removed more than 136,000 cubic yards, or approximately 11,000 truckloads, of soil and concrete slabs.

OREM is working to complete all building demolitions and major cleanup at ETTP in 2020 — a goal known as Vision 2020. Crews will then address remaining soil and groundwater remediation projects.

Soil remediation is essential to reducing risks and ensuring a safe environment as OREM transforms the site into a multi-use industrial park. Nearly 1,300 acres have already been cleaned and transferred to the community for new industrial development and economic growth.

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