IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – A review EM recently conducted with oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state of Idaho found that cleanup decisions and actions at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site continue to protect people and the environment.
Conducted every five years, the review evaluates previous cleanup actions to ensure they are effective and protective of human health and the environment. It also identifies issues that may prevent the site from achieving remedial action objectives, and recommends improvements.
The review concluded that remedial actions are protective at INL sites where cleanup actions are complete. For sites where cleanup is ongoing, the review found that any potential exposures are being controlled and the remedial actions in place are on track to be protective when cleanup actions are completed.
At the Test Area North (TAN), crews implemented bioremediation and pump-and-treat technologies for over two decades to reduce concentrations of trichloroethylene (TCE), a common industrial solvent, from the groundwater beneath the former TAN facility. The source of the contamination was a former injection well used from the mid-1950s to 1972 to dispose of the facility’s wastewater.
To enhance current groundwater bioremediation efforts at TAN, EM will install a new well, a simple yet effective method to introduce sodium-lactate and fatty-acid solutions into the TCE plume to allow microorganisms to break down the solvent.
“The new well at TAN will target a residual TCE source zone in the aquifer that is inaccessible using current bioremediation treatment wells,” said Rich Abitz, environmental restoration program director at Fluor Idaho, EM’s INL Site cleanup contractor.
At the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center, remedial actions to redirect and control precipitation and other sources of water from infiltrating the contaminated soil are working to inhibit the transport of contaminants to the aquifer, the review found.
The review noted that remediation at the site’s Radioactive Waste Management Complex is ahead of schedule. Exhumation of buried waste from a Cold War-era waste disposal landfill is scheduled to be completed nearly two years ahead of a regulatory milestone. In addition, vapor vacuum extraction units have operated for over two decades to successfully lower concentrations of solvent vapors beneath the landfill.
To access the latest review for the INL site, click here.
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