March 15, 2013

Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant's Waste Diversion Efforts

Executive Order 13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, mandates that each Federal facility maintain a cost-effective waste prevention and recycling program.  Further, Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, requires that Federal agencies achieve a 50 percent diversion rate for construction and demolition materials and debris and a 50 percent rate for non hazardous solid waste by the end of Fiscal Year 2015.  The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (Paducah) operations are carried out by three prime contractors and each plays a contributing role in the Department of Energy's overall waste diversion effort.  Because of record keeping weaknesses, we could not determine whether Paducah was effectively diverting materials from the waste stream.  While Paducah reported that it had exceeded the 50 percent diversion goals, we found that the data supporting that calculation was unreliable.  In particular, we noted that Paducah lacked an accurate method of measurement of waste generation and disposal.  Further, we found that the contractors had not always assessed or acted on all opportunities to divert waste from landfill disposal and were inconsistent in their diversion efforts.  The problems we identified occurred, in part, because Paducah did not place sufficient emphasis on waste diversion.  Management generally concurred with the report's recommendations and identified actions it has taken or planned to achieve synergies and improve waste diversion efforts.

Topic: Environmental Cleanup