Employees conduct soil and water samples to determine which areas require cleanup.

On November 21, 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency placed the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge site on its National Prioritization List (NPL). The list names national priorities where there are known or threatened releases of hazardous substances.

Over the years, there has been confusion between the terms Oak Ridge Reservation and Oak Ridge site. Technically speaking, the Oak Ridge Reservation refers to all of the land the Department owns locally in Anderson and Roane counties. The majority of these 33,500-acres are clean and do not require any further investigation. However, the Oak Ridge site is a smaller area that refers to locations that require cleanup or further investigation. In 2013, EM completed a project that clearly defined the areas that require cleanup or further action throughout the Oak Ridge Reservation. Through numerous samples and surveys, 19,393 acres were deemed clean and require no action. 

Oak Ridge’s EM program works diligently to eliminate risks, and it is making great progress. We want residents and stakeholders to have access to information that provides meaningful data and clarity about our work locally. We have two tools that help accomplish these objectives and provide a clear picture of Oak Ridge’s current condition.

First, we have the EM Global Information System. The map displays all of the known contaminated areas in Oak Ridge, and it provides access to approved decision and final remediation documents and fact sheets about Oak Ridge site watersheds and publicly accessible areas. Secondly, our EM program has the Oak Ridge Environment Information System. This system is a database of all collected environmental monitoring data across Oak Ridge. Today, the system contains more than 14 million data samples, and it serves as a valuable tool to verify the status of remediation projects across the site.  We recently improved the system’s usability and searchability, and it offers more documents and sample location verifications.