OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and contractor UCOR are in the final stages of cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).
With all buildings down, crews are focused on soil remediation and other projects to enable the transfer of ETTP land back to the community.
The latest effort is happening on the banks of Poplar Creek, which winds through the 2,200-acre ETTP site. Workers have removed 200,000 pounds of transite material from the creek bank — another major step forward for the cleanup.
Transite is a type of manufactured material used in the construction of facilities during the early days of operations at the site during the Manhattan Project and Cold War.
“This material was disposed of on the creek bank many years ago,” UCOR Project Manager Don Gagel said. “Our goal was to remove all visible transite as part of a remedial action in that section of ETTP.”
Workers began by clearing vegetation around the site to allow access. Next, they removed transite from a 400-foot section of the bank area. Crews then covered the bank with riprap to prevent erosion until the vegetation is reestablished.
UCOR also recently completed a project on another section of the creek bank, where crews reached the area to perform cleanup from a floating platform.
Additional cleanup of other sections of the creek will take place in coming months as OREM and UCOR work to complete all soil remediation at ETTP next year.
Together these projects are moving the site closer to EM’s ultimate vision as a multi-use industrial center, historical park and conservation area.
ETTP is currently home to 25 businesses, with more expected to locate at the site in the near future. The K-25 History Center, adjacent to a Manhattan Project National Historical Park area, has attracted nearly 15,000 visitors from across the nation so far this year.
Also, OREM and UCOR have partnered with the state of Tennessee to enhance conservation and recreation opportunities at the site. One proposed idea is the creation of a blueway to allow visitors to canoe and kayak through the area’s waterways. Blueways are marked routes on navigable waterways such as creeks, rivers, lakes and canals for recreational use.
To receive the latest news and updates about the Office of Environmental Management, submit your e-mail address.