An employee standing on a raised ledge while installing piping
Oak Ridge crews installed approximately 5,500 feet of new piping as part of a project at the Liquid and Gaseous Waste Operations system. The work required 5,000 hours of welding to complete the nearly two miles of welded lines.

EM crews completed project three months ahead of schedule and $900,000 under budget

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management and contractor UCOR recently completed an extensive piping replacement project to extend the life of the Liquid and Gaseous Waste Operations (LGWO) system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Replacing the piping and completing other upgrades alleviates the recurring need for maintenance and repair of aging infrastructure built many decades ago and ensures the system's reliability. Portions of the piping had corrosion that needed to be addressed.

LGWO contains three waste treatment systems that collect, treat and reduce the volume of liquid and gaseous waste across the laboratory. LGWO encompasses more than 60 facilities and 27 miles of piping that process waste generated from cleanup operations, research and development laboratories, and active and deactivated nuclear reactors.

Employees use tools and machinery on site while treating waste

Oak Ridge’s Liquid and Gaseous Waste Operations system contains three waste treatment systems that collect, treat and reduce the volume of liquid and gaseous waste across the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The system encompasses more than 60 facilities and 27 miles of piping.

The two-year, $18 million project replaced nearly two miles of above-ground piping and valves at the 3608 Process Waste Treatment Complex, making the system more efficient and reliable and helping avoid the possibility of disrupting ongoing ORNL operations.

The LGWO system is critical to ORNL’s ongoing missions, and an outage would result in immediate impacts at the site.

Over the span of the project, employees safely executed 132 critical lifts — a much larger number compared to typical lifts done in Oak Ridge cleanup projects. The lifts for the piping replacement project were crucial due to increased risk from lifting large, heavy fabricated piping loads over the system's critical infrastructure.

During the project, crews disposed of 115,000 pounds of waste, installed approximately 5,500 feet of new piping, conducted heat tracing to maintain the proper temperature of the piping, and installed insulation. The work required 5,000 hours of welding to complete the nearly two miles of welded lines.

UCOR completed the project three months ahead of schedule and $900,000 under budget. The work is the latest of several modernization efforts of LGWO facilities.

Most recently, workers completed replacement of the Distributed Control System, which controls LGWO’s instrumentation.

Other efforts included installing a new pretreatment facility that treats low-level liquid waste and allows it to be diverted from storage tanks directly to the Process Waste Treatment System, and replacing a diesel generator that powers critical pumping stations and valve boxes if power is interrupted.

-Contributor: Shannon Potter