One of Savannah River Site’s largest cleanup projects was completed two years ahead of schedule due in part to extra funding and workers provided under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.
The site’s M Area, which operated from 1952 to 1988 as a testing and fabrication facility for reactor fuel and targets, included 23 buildings that have been demolished as part of an eight-year cleanup effort.
The work also included remediation of a network of underground industrial piping and sewer lines, soil areas, and groundwater plumes that were contaminated from past spills and operations. The final steps, which included the treatment of contaminated soils using passive soil vapor extraction technology, were completed in August.
As part of a program held at the site today to acknowledge the accomplishment, Assistant Energy Secretary for Environmental Management Ines Triay praised the project’s timely completion.
“M Area cleanup marks a significant step toward meeting our environmental commitments at SRS, and toward reducing the operating footprint associated with the site’s past mission,” she said. “At the same time, we were able to create or retain more than 3,600 jobs at SRS and train those workers, which are exactly the type of return we anticipated from our investment in the Recovery Act program.”
Although the entire site will remain under federal ownership, completion of the M Area cleanup means 40 square mile area near the northwest boundary of the site could be available for possible industrial reuse. Savannah River National Laboratory will also use a portion of M Area for a port security project for the Department of Homeland Security.