Knoxville News Sentinel: Leo Sain: K-25 cleanup progressing with federal commitment

Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Clean Energy, SRW Clients in the News

As president and project manager of URS/CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR), I would like to give a six-month update on the progress that we have made since becoming the U.S. Department of Energy’s environmental management contractor for the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation.

Cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park is the largest active cleanup project for the DOE. Our largest project is demolition of the K-25 Building, a massive gaseous diffusion building that was closed down in 1964. Demolition of the building’s east wing is steadily progressing. Seven of 18 units have been demolished ahead of schedule. More than 20,000 cubic yards of waste resulting from demolition activities have been disposed of at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, a reservation waste disposal complex that UCOR is managing for DOE.

In our first six months at ETTP, we have identified cost savings of approximately $36 million that have been reinvested into our work. For example, these costs savings were used to fund work at two projects not originally in our scope: removal of Tank W-1A at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and cleanup of the K-1070-B landfill at ETTP. Tank W-1A, a 4,000-gallon underground tank used to collect waste, was the primary source of groundwater contamination at ORNL. It has been removed from the ground and cut into smaller pieces for shipment to Nevada for disposal. Contaminated soil is being excavated and shipped out. This work will make ORNL safer and the environment cleaner. Cleanup of K-1070-B, a 60-year-old landfill near the K-25 Building, similarly removes a source of potential groundwater and surface water contamination. All the waste has been removed and shipped via 263 truckloads for disposal. All but three truckloads were disposed of at EMWMF.

While we have experienced a record level of productivity, we also achieved a record level of safety. We worked injury-free for the first 1.5 million hours on the project, ending 2011 with zero accidents, and we continue having an excellent safety record.

Read the full op-ed here!

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