West Valley Restores Land After Removing Soil, Structure

WEST VALLEY, N.Y.EM and its cleanup contractor at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) recently finished restoring an area where they removed soil and a structure associated with a project to build a unique groundwater treatment system.

With the help of a recently upgraded rail line, workers with CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) safely shipped 300 containers of soil and 131 containers of debris generated from the project to construct the system, known as a permeable treatment wall.

“This project demonstrated the benefits of using the rail line for waste operations, as well as for increased safety, efficiency and cost savings,” said Steve Bousquet, EM-WVDP deputy federal project director for the Main Plant Process Building demolition. “Our dedicated employees continue to find ways to further improve our cleanup efforts as we look for ways to safely accelerate decommissioning and remediation efforts for the future.”

Workers shipped the soil and debris containers from West Valley to a disposal facility in Clive, Utah. The shipments add to a safe transportation record of more than 25,000 rail miles from January through May 2022.

Upon completing demolition of the structure and shipping the waste from the project, crews used heavy equipment to regrade the area and add topsoil for restoration. They also hydroseeded the land — a technique that spreads a slurry of seeds and liquid on the ground to grow grass and prevent soil erosion.

“Our employees and subcontractors did an excellent job in safely moving this project from paper to completion,” said Linda Michalczak, CHBWV projects manager. “This accomplishment speaks volumes on the importance of solid communication, following procedures, using lessons learned and teamwork.”

The groundwater treatment system was installed to mitigate a plume that originated from historical releases at the Main Plant Process Building. The wall, which will remain in place, is an approximately 785-foot-long trench that contains nearly 2,000 metric tons of zeolite, a naturally occurring mineral formed from volcanic ash. The zeolite strips the contaminant strontium-90 from the groundwater passing through the wall.

The rail line will also be used during the knockdown of the Main Plant Process Building, an EM 2022 priority.