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MAY 2019    |   SRNS TODAY   |   3

           Stepping toward the future

             SRNS accepts turnover of former MOX facilities

          SRNS employees Terry Killeen (left) and Jimmie Lee take baseline groundwater samples prior to the start of a cleanup project that will inject 36,000 gallons of emulsified oil
          mixed with water, a pH buffer, vitamin B-12 and vitamin C into the earth at a precise depth within the aquifer below.
        Low cost, high impact

        Cleanup method safely removes chemicals from Castor Creek

        During the Cold War, chemicals like trichloroethylene (TCE) were often   “Whenever possible, we believe it is best to harness and use nature
        used to remove grease from nuclear components manufactured   for our environmental cleanup projects,” said Killeen. “Through
        throughout the Department of Energy (DOE)  complex. Disposal of   extensive study and testing it has been proven that a certain type
        these chemicals often resulted in groundwater contamination in areas   of microbe, native to this area, actively eats TCE. We provide the
        such as the now-closed C Reactor facility at SRS.      oil and microbes, and mother nature does the rest. The oil and
                                                               microbes thoroughly mix with the groundwater and coat particles
        Ninety-nine percent of the degreasing chemicals found in the
        groundwater were removed during an earlier cleanup action that   of sand and clay in the subsurface. The TCE flowing through the
        used high-voltage electricity to heat the subsurface, vaporizing the   area sticks to the oil, where both are eaten and ingested by the
        TCE, which was then extracted. However, TCE in the groundwater   microbes, resulting in harmless compounds.”
        from C Reactor to Castor Creek still exists in a narrow plume about   Killeen noted that another advantage of this type of treatment is
        one mile long.                                         that it involves a one-time injection of a relatively small amount of
        A low-cost, low-energy cleanup method using nature’s   oil, which will treat a large amount of water over three to five years.
        microorganisms is being implemented by SRNS to safely remove   Conservative estimates indicate more than one million gallons of
        any remaining chemicals.                               groundwater per year will be treated. Remediating the groundwater
                                                               using microbes and oil costs 30-60 percent less than many
        Terry Killeen, SRNS Environmental Engineer, explained that 36,000   traditional types of TCE remediation at SRS.
        gallons of vegetable oil mixed with water, a pH buffer, vitamin B-12
        and vitamin C will be injected through 15 pipes driven into the   “Finishing this last phase will aid in the cleanup of the C Area
        earth to a precise depth within the aquifer below. The groundwater   Ground Operable Unit, another important environmental restoration
        must move through this area as it slowly travels past the two lines   project towards returning SRS to its natural state,” said Karen
        of injection points toward the creek.                  Adams, DOE-Savannah River Federal Project Director.
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