Aerial view of two long roads with trucks and cars on them surrounded by lots of trees

Early site preparation activities for Oak Ridge’s Environmental Management Disposal Facility are scheduled to be complete this spring. One of the major tasks involved moving Bear Creek Road and Haul Road.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and contractor UCOR have initiated the second phase of construction for the Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF).

OREM’s current onsite disposal facility is nearing full capacity after 20 years of safe operations. However, hundreds of buildings are slated for demolition in the future at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The EMDF project is essential because it provides the waste disposal capacity necessary to complete cleanup at those sites.

The initial phase of construction, early site preparation, started in August, and those activities are slated for completion this spring. The work involves moving Bear Creek Road and Haul Road.

Dirt open work field area with working machines

EM crews are moving dirt for a groundwater field demonstration study. The study takes place on a portion of the footprint for the future Environmental Management Disposal Facility. Oak Ridge will gather data for two wet seasons to inform the final design for the facility’s construction.

The second construction phase focuses on a groundwater field demonstration study subproject. It involves tree felling, which began in recent weeks, earthwork and groundwater monitoring for two wet seasons.

The purpose of the subproject is to allow OREM to confirm its modeling by providing real-world data of how groundwater levels will adjust when EMDF’s construction begins. OREM and UCOR will use data captured from the study to inform and make any adjustments needed on the facility’s final design.

“The groundwater field demonstration gives us additional confidence and will inform final design choices for EMDF, and it is critical to maintaining our schedule and bringing this facility online to support cleanup in Oak Ridge,” said Mary Magleby, UCOR project manager for the EMDF project.

The concluding phase of this project will include completing the final design and constructing the facility’s first two disposal cells. There will be four disposal cells in total.

With oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, OREM will incorporate numerous engineering features into EMDF’s design to ensure the waste remains isolated from the environment. Additionally, OREM will continue sending all highly contaminated waste out of state for disposal.

UCOR awarded the $20 million subcontract for the groundwater field demonstration study to minority-owned small business CTI and Associates.

-Contributor: David Barton