(Initial distribution: February 1999)
The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking public comment on a report on soil contamination at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
What does this report examine?
What are the findings of this report?
What are the next steps?
The Cleanup Process
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is conducting an environmental cleanup under the requirements of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law. The Operable Unit II/VII remedial investigation is the first step in the CERCLA cleanup process for contaminated areas in the central part of BNL.
The results of this investigation are presented in the Operable Unit II/VII Remedial Investigation Report, which is available for review in local libraries. A human health and ecological risk assessment is included in this report to focus future actions on the areas that pose the greatest potential risk.
Several locations, or areas of concern (AOCs), are examined in this remedial investigation. No areas had chemical contamination above acceptable risk levels as defined under CERCLA.
Waste Concentration Facility (AOC 10)
BNL's waste concentration facility was used to temporarily store and process liquid radioactive waste. Soil sampling detected the radioactive element cesium-137. Levels of cesium-137 were greater than the cleanup goal established for residential areas. This goal is 23 pCi/g at a time 50 years in the future. (PicoCuries per gram is a measure of radioactivity per unit weight of soil.) Access to this area is currently restricted.
Cleanup has already taken place. Three 100,000-gallon aboveground storage tanks were removed in 1994 and 1995. Six underground storage tanks will also be removed. Further cleanup action may be required in this area.
Lawns and Landscaping Soils (AOC 16)
In 1980 and 1983, aerial radiation surveys identified twenty-three areas for further investigation. Radioactive contaminants, primarily cesium-137, were found above cleanup goals for residential areas in several locations. Some of these locations may require further cleanup action.
Deer graze on BNL lawns, including those containing cesium-137. Low levels of cesium-137 have been detected in deer sampled on the BNL site. The potential health risk to humans who consume deer is very low. Additionally, hunting on the BNL site is prohibited.
Tritium was detected in subsurface soils at a facility that produces medical isotopes (the Brookhaven LINAC Isotope Producer, or BLIP). Routine monitoring has also found tritium in groundwater near the BLIP. This facility may require further cleanup action. A report on the BLIP will be released later this year. The BLIP Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis will give more details about the contamination that has been found at the BLIP and examine the cleanup alternatives.
Because the lawns and landscaping soils are located in developed areas of the BNL site, no ecologically sensitive areas are affected.
Former Low Mass Criticality Facility (AOC 17)
Historical photographs show that, after decommisioning, this facility was used for storage of chemical drums. A ground-based survey found no radioactive contaminants at levels greater than residential cleanup goals.
AGS Storage Yards (AOC 18)
These three storage yards (see map) hold steel from the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron. It was suggested that radioactive particles of steel might have contaminated the soil. Sampling found no radioactive contaminants at levels greater than residential cleanup goals.
The evaluation of cleanup options of Operable Unit II/VII soils has been combined with those for Operable Unit I soils.
The next step in the CERCLA process is the release of theOperable Unit I Feasibility Study and the Operable Unit I Proposed Plan. These documents will examine cleanup alternatives and give the preferred remedy. Public comments on these documents will be reviewed and considered before a final cleanup decision is made.
Two information sessions will be held in Berkner Hall at Brookhaven National Laboratory. These sessions are open to the public.
Dates and Times
Thursday, February 25, 1999
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Please come and participate!
The DOE wants your comments on this report. The comment period is from February 19 - March 20, 1999.
Please send your comments by mail to:
Brookhaven Group Manager
U.S. Department of Energy
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973
Or, send comments by e-mail to:
How can I learn more?
1. Copies of the entire report are available for review at the following locations:
Longwood Public Library
800 Middle Country Rd.
Middle Island, NY
Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library
301 William Floyd Parkway
BNL Research Library
U.S. EPA, Region II Library
2. The Executive Summary of the remedial investigation report is available on the world wide web at this location.
3. For additional information, contact:
Brookhaven National Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency