Issued March 27, 1997

BNL Contact: Mona S. Rowe 516/344-2345
DOE Contact: Jayne Brady 202/586-5806
EPA Contact: Rich Cahill 212/637-3663





UPTON, NY -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) today released data that support previous findings about the location and extent of the tritium plume in groundwater on its site, south of its High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR).

Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services have stated that the contamination poses no public health threat.

Groundwater Monitoring

Results from 5 of 12 on-site groundwater monitoring wells about half a mile (2,865 feet) south of the HFBR show tritium concentrations of up to 2,020 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), one-tenth the EPA drinking water standard of 20,000 pCi/L.

Well depths at this location range from 40 to 200 feet below land surface. The peak concentration was found at 105 feet below land surface. Results from the remaining wells at this location are expected next week.

The 12 wells were drilled as part of an effort to more precisely characterize the contamination plume's southernmost, or leading, edge. Groundwater in the area flows south at a rate of about a foot a day; the wells are almost a mile north of BNL's south boundary.

More results are now available from 16 of 22 wells located two thirds of a mile (3,585 feet) south of the HFBR. The peak concentration of tritium in those wells remains 5,815 pCi/L at 150 feet below land surface, as previously reported.

Results from three additional wells 6,370 feet south of the HFBR and 188 feet north of BNL's south boundary show tritium at or below the minimum detectable level of 300 to 400 pCi/L. Previous results at that location were also far below the drinking water standard.

Public Information Sessions

Information sessions on the tritium contamination and the interim pump-and-recharge option will be held over the next few weeks. The next sessions are scheduled for: Tuesday, April 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Dayton Avenue School in Manorville; Tuesday, April 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Manorville Fire Department on Silas Carter Road; and Saturday, April 12 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Longwood Library on Route 25 in Middle Island.

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