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National Driller August 2005 e-Newsletter

The environmental cleanup of hazardous waste at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) continues with an agreement for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to install a system to remove a degreasing solvent causing ground water pollution at the plant.

The state of Kentucky, DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the Interim Record of Decision (ROD) today. While DOE is responsible for the cleanup of the site, Kentucky and EPA have oversight of the remediation of the plant.

The ROD requires DOE to install a full-scale electrical resistance heating system near the C-400 building, used for decades as the plant's primary parts cleaning facility. Large volumes of Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreasing solvent, leaked underground and were concentrated near the southeast and southwest corners of the C-400 building.

"With the three parties reaching agreement on the C-400 Interim ROD, cleanup of one of the most contaminated areas of the plant can begin in earnest," says Lloyd Cress, commissioner of the state Department for Environmental Protection. "The approval process has taken time, but it is critical that the proposed cleanup action adequately address not only the present situation, but also provide protective measures for future uses of the property. We believe this Interim ROD lays the groundwork for that. "

Design of the system will take 15 months. The system is expected to become operational in the fall of 2006 and will be active for several years. An excavation near the C-400 building in 1986 identified TCE as having leaked from a storm sewer line into shallow subsurface soils.