Contact: Kara Villamil, or Mona S. Rowe
Issued 12/18/97






UPTON, NY - The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory today officially opened a new $13 million facility that will allow the Laboratory to handle its waste with the utmost consideration for the environment.

Several local elected officials and environmental regulators attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new waste management facility, then toured several of the specially designed waste-handling buildings on the facility's 18-acre grounds.

"I cannot think of a more important act with which to conclude the year 1997 than the opening of this state-of-the-art facility," said Peter Bond, BNL Interim Director. "This has been a year focused on environmental issues, and this new facility is another clear sign that BNL is serious about its stewardship of the environment."

The new facility was built with advanced environmental protection systems and features. It will improve BNL's handling of the chemical and radioactive waste that is generated in the course of scientific research and other operations.

At BNL, all such wastes are catalogued, sorted, packaged and stored in accordance with strict local, state and federal guidelines before being shipped for off-site disposal. An inspection of these operations in mid-1997 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found full compliance with regulations.

The facility will also allow Brookhaven to continue to expand its pollution-prevention and waste minimization programs. In the past three years, such efforts have cut in half the amount of hazardous waste produced by the Laboratory.

The new facility replaces the Laboratory's 50-year-old waste management facility, which, due to past waste-handling practices, contains soil and groundwater contamination that will be addressed under the Superfund environmental cleanup program.

Such contamination will be avoided at the new facility through the use of paving, curbing, containment systems and underground lining in critical areas to protect soil and groundwater.

The new facility was built by J. Kokolakis Contracting, Inc., of Rocky Point based on a design by Merrick Engineers and Architects of Los Alamos, New Mexico. It is in full compliance with Suffolk County's groundwater protection statutes, some of the most stringent in the nation.

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Cutting the green ribbon at the opening of BNL's new Waste Management Facility on December 18 are (front, from left): Leland Willis, Associated Universities Inc.; Bill Gunther, BNL Interim Associate Director for Reactor, Safety & Security; Peter Bond, BNL Interim Director; George Proios, Suffolk County Executive's Office; Jeff Kassner, Brookhaven Town; Len Emma, BNL Safety & Environmental Protection Division; and Dean Helms, Executive Manager of the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven Group.