The two well fields near the Scioto River in southern Ohio provide all of the water for EM’s Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) and Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride (DUF6) Conversion projects, and site tenants at the former gaseous diffusion plant.
“The performance of these wells had reduced over time because of aging equipment, incrustation from mineral and biological buildup on well screens, and plugging of the aquifer,” said Matt Vick, who oversees the site’s maintenance programs for EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. “This effort included new equipment and well cleaning to restore raw water yields from the wells. We are also installing variable speed pumps to improve operability of the well fields, reduce water usage, and also reduce wastewater from the lime softening process.”
The two well fields contain wells up to 90 feet in depth located three to five miles from the site. Water is pumped to the site’s water treatment plant through 30-inch and 48-inch water lines.
Video inspections allowed D&D contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth to identify components that needed to be tested, cleaned, and replaced. Crews removed scale and deposits from the well screens and casings.
“During these upgrades, we had heavy rainfall and flooding conditions because the wells are located in the Scioto River flood plain, which complicated the project,” EM Facility Representative Jeremy Davis said. “However, the maintenance was performed with no interruption to site operations.”
The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant was constructed from 1952 to 1956. Uranium enrichment operations began in 1954 and ceased in 2001. Enriched uranium from the Portsmouth Site was used for national security applications and to fuel the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants.
The D&D Project began in 2011 and is scheduled to last more than 20 years.