OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – An Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) team recently hit two milestones in a construction project that’s pivotal to future cleanup at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12).
The Mercury Treatment Facility, now under construction, is the linchpin for OREM’s cleanup strategy at Y-12. It will prevent potential releases of mercury into a nearby creek, enabling large scale demolition to begin in mercury-contaminated areas at Y-12.
“These milestones are notable steps forward, and they pave the way for continued progress on this important project,” said Brian Henry, Y-12 portfolio federal project director.
The vital piece of infrastructure will be comprised of two major components at two locations — a headworks facility and a treatment plant — connected by a pipeline nearly a mile long. OREM contractor APTIM-Northwind (ANW) is leading the project, with support from cleanup contractor UCOR.
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. The treated water will then flow back into the creek on the east end of Y-12.
The Mercury Treatment 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.
Working on two fronts, teams safely installed the initial equipment to the project’s treatment plant site and placed micropiles to help lay the foundation for the headworks facility site. The micropiles are small-diameter pilings consisting of steel-threaded bars grouted into pre-drilled holes that provide foundation support for the headworks facility.
“We installed 79 micropiles, some going nearly 70 feet down, to ensure we had 10 to 15 feet of competent rock. Then we shored up that steel with concrete, grout and compression plates,” said Outfall 200 Mercury Treatment Facility Design Engineer Brian Shaw. “We’ve proof-tested these designs to ensure they are up to the task as we prepare for the headworks building structure.”
Crews also successfully hoisted and placed two massive incline plate clarifiers, each weighing 16,000 pounds. This marked the project’s first mechanical installation for the treatment facility. The clarifiers remove particles during the treatment process and make the water clearer.
“The clarifier is a key component of the treatment plant system, and that makes the setting of these clarifiers so significant,” says Outfall 200 Mercury Treatment Facility Project Manager Matt Putinas. “Our entire team knows how important this project is for our cleanup work at Y-12.”
ANW Construction Manager Mike Morneau says the installation of that equipment is notable because it allows crews to move forward on structural steel, underground utilities and foundation pours in the months ahead.
“At our project meetings and in our interactions in the field, we’re seeing improved coordination, project sequencing, and execution that is essential to our shared cleanup success,” said Kent Fortenberry, UCOR critical projects director.
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