Contact: Mona S. Rowe, or Kara Villamil
Issued March 5, 1998 after 4 p.m.

Brookhaven Lab Reports Increased Tritium In One On-Site Monitoring Well
Well Located Toward the Center of the Property


Upton, NY - The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reports that a recent sample from a groundwater monitoring well shows an increased level of tritium over what has been previously measured at that location.

Samples taken since 1994 from this well have consistently shown tritium at concentrations well below the state and federal drinking water standard. The latest sample, analyzed on March 3, showed a higher concentration, although still below the drinking water standard.

The well is located toward the center of the BNL property. Known by its grid number as 64-02, it is part of a site-wide network of monitoring wells installed by BNL to identify environmental concerns at the earliest possible time.

BNL is continuing an investigation of the immediate area todetermine the extent of the tritium presence. Groundwater samples collected 700 feet south of well 64-02 do not show the same elevated level of tritium.

Suffolk County Department of Health Services, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been notified. BNL will consult with these agencies on the scope of the ongoing investigation.

Well 64-02 was first installed in late 1993, along with two other wells, to monitor groundwater in the immediate vicinity of a new, small preaccelerator built in 1992. The wells are also located near a facility that produces compounds for medical research. Either could be possible sources for the increased tritium sampled in well 64-02.

BNL, under the new leadership of Brookhaven Science Associates, is committed to aggressively evaluating this situation and will keep both regulators and the public informed as the investigation proceeds.

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