Removal of Contaminated Water in BGRR Ducts

December 1997


In April 1997, BNL initiated a site-wide top-to-bottom Facilities Review of all buildings and grounds. As a result of investigations stemming from that review, on September 15 standing water was discovered in a vertical pipe connected to the below-ground air ducts used to cool the BGRR. On further inspection, an estimated 60,000 gallons of water contaminated with strontium-90, cesium-137, and tritium was found in the below-ground portion of the air duct. It was determined that the most likely sources of the water were past leakage from the cooling coils and rainwater intrusion. Existing contamination within the ducts leached into the standing water.

Description of Removal Action

In December 1997, the radiologically-contaminated water discovered in the BGRR's below-ground air ducts was pumped into tanker trucks which transported it to larger holding tanks located at the Waste Management Facility for processing and disposal off-site. During 1998, 20,000 gallons of water was shipped off-site in four shipments. In 1999, the remaining 35,700 gallons of contaminated water was shipped off-site in seven shipments. The water was sent to a waste processor for incineration. The cost of the project was $844,522.

Community Outreach

A press release was issued on October 6, 1997 and an article appeared in the cleanupdate newsletter which was mailed to more than 2,300 stakeholders.