Published: February 2000
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability of a document relating to the environmental restoration activities at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The Operable Unit V Proposed Plan is available for review at the libraries listed below. This plan is also available electronically on the world wide web at http://www.oer.dir.bnl.gov/ou5doc.html.
The public comment period is from February 15 to March 15, 2000. Written comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
George Malosh, Brookhaven Group Manager
U.S. Department of Energy-Brookhaven Group
Attn: OU V
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000
Two roundtable meetings will be held at the following times and locations:
A public meeting will be held on March 2 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in Berkner Hall at BNL.
The Proposed Plan primarily addresses the cleanup of contaminated Peconic River sediments and soils at BNL's sewage treatment plant.
The OU V investigation has found elevated levels of heavy metals (such as mercury, copper and silver), organic chemicals (such as PCBs and DDD) and radionuclides (radioactive materials) such as cesium-137 in Peconic River sediment. In all areas investigated, levels of radionuclides are well below those that pose a risk to the public's health or to aquatic life.
Levels of heavy metals in Peconic River sediments will define the areas requiring cleanup. The PCBs, DDD and low-level radionuclides are largely co-located with the heavy metals and will be cleaned up along with the heavy metals.
The Lab's sewage treatment plant contains eight sand filter beds surrounded by berms containing sand scraped from the beds in the past. Soils within the sand filter beds and berms contain elevated levels of mercury, silver, chromium and lead. Elevated levels of cesium-137 are found in a few isolated areas, primarily in the sewage treatment plant berms.
Low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily trichloroethene (TCE), have been detected in the groundwater of Operable Unit V. These VOCs are found at the site boundary east of the Lab's sewage treatment plant and beyond the Lab's eastern boundary. The highest concentration of TCE found on site during the OU V Remedial Investigation was 32 ppb. Maximum off-site levels were 8.5 ppb, slightly greater than the drinking water standard of 5 ppb. Concentrations of VOCs are decreasing in magnitude. A more recent sampling in 1999 found a maximum TCE concentration on site of 17 ppb and a maximum off-site concentration of 8.2 ppb. The elevated levels of TCE in groundwater off site were found at depths (200 feet) below the depths at which residential wells are typically screened, and public exposure to TCE in groundwater is unlikely.
Current groundwater sampling results indicate that levels of tritium in the groundwater are well below the drinking water standard.
The Operable Unit V Feasibility Study evaluated five cleanup alternatives for river sediments with contamination above cleanup goals. The Proposed Plan identifies the preferred cleanup alternative. It also describes cleanup actions already taken in Operable Unit V.
For Peconic River sediment containing levels of contaminants above cleanup goals, DOE and BNL propose excavating the sediment, drying and disposing of it at a licensed waste disposal site. The Lab would reconstruct wetlands that are disrupted during remediation.
DOE and BNL propose that soils at the Lab's sewage treatment plant containing levels of contaminants above cleanup goals be excavated and shipped to a licensed waste disposal site. Excavated areas would be backfilled with clean soil and regraded.
To be sure that the health of the residents located downgradient of OU V is protected, homes and businesses in the OU V area were offered public water hookups in 1997 to protect against possible exposure to groundwater contaminants. Investigations of soil and groundwater at the sewage treatment plant indicate that there are no continuing sources of VOC contamination, and VOC concentrations in groundwater are decreasing. Outpost monitoring wells have been placed along the predicted path of the groundwater and additional groundwater monitoring data will be collected. If future monitoring data suggest a need for a groundwater remedy, the OU V remedy will be modified.
A removal action has addressed the Imhoff Tanks, two structures at the Lab's sewage treatment plant that were used for separation of solids from wastewater. In 1995 - 96, sludge from the Imhoff tanks was removed, packaged, and shipped off site for disposal. The tanks were then demolished and disposed of off site. For that area, the completed removal action is proposed as the final cleanup action.
Following the public comment period, all comments will be reviewed and considered. A final remediation decision will be made by DOE, with the concurrence of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This decision will be documented in the Operable Unit V Record of Decision. Following the signing of the Record of Decision, the selected remedy will be designed and implemented.
Located in Upton, N.Y., BNL is classified as an Inactive Hazardous Waste Site by the DEC. BNL is on the EPA's National Priorities List.
For more information, contact:
Brookhaven National Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
N.Y. State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Copies of the Operable Unit V Proposed Plan are available for review at:
Longwood Public Library
800 Middle Country Rd
Middle Island, NY
Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Public Library
301 William Floyd Parkway
BNL Research Library
U.S. EPA, Region II Library
New York, NY