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Workers prepare equipment removed from a recently demolished contaminated structure at the Savannah River Site to be permanently encapsulated within cement-like grout.
Workers prepare equipment removed from a recently demolished contaminated structure at the Savannah River Site to be permanently encapsulated within cement-like grout.

AIKEN, S.C.EM crews have demolished two small structures formerly used to measure the flow of hazardous wastewater and obtain sample data within a process sewer line at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

Not much larger than a walk-in closet, each unit was built over an eight- to 12-foot-deep concrete pit, providing a sample point to the sewer line.

The closure task team placed contaminated equipment and non-contaminated process sampling equipment, such as piping, tanks, and pumps, into each pit prior to permanently encapsulating them in cement-like grout. Workers used 40 cubic yards of grout to fill the two pits and placed 16 cubic yards of concrete as a permanent barrier atop the grouted structure, completing the closure process.

“Though the first phase of the closure project was not large in size, it was definitely important in that the two primary access points to the contaminated sewer line have now been safely and permanently closed,” said Andrew MacMillan, the project lead with EM contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions.

The remediation plan for this project was approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). The 4,050-foot sewer line, which runs under a high-traffic roadway at SRS, will be closed to comply with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

The sewer line once carried contaminated process waste from F Canyon operations to the F Area Seepage Basin, which is now closed. Sampling wastewater from the sewer line ensured optimal flow of effluent leaving the canyon and provided accurate measurement of the level of radioactivity and other hazardous materials. Sampling of the F Canyon wastewater began in the 1950s and ceased in 1988 when the sewer line was taken out of service.

“This SRS project represents the success that happens when different organizations work together as a team with the common goal of protecting human health and the environment, especially the employees and surrounding communities,” said Keehna Frasier, project manager, SCDHEC Division of Waste Management.

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