One of most anticipated projects on the horizon is the new mercury treatment facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant. The big project, with a price tag approaching $150 million, is extended to help reduce discharges of mercury into East Fork Poplar Creek.
URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, the Department of Energy’s chief cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, is working on the design.
Asked for an update on the design effort, UCOR spokeswoman Anne Smith provided this response via email:
“Design is proceeding well and is nearing the end of the preliminary design phase. Final design activities have begun and will continue throughout the remainder of FY16.”
Mercury cleanup at Y-12 is considered a high priority by the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and local stakeholders in Oak Ridge. Tons and tons of mercury were lost to the environment during the 1950s and ’60s, when enormous quantities of the toxic metal were used to process lithium for hydrogen bombs.
The new treatment facility will be located near Outfall 200, a point where mercury collected in Y-12’s storm sewage system is discharged into the upper end of East Fork Poplar Creek.
The mercury-treatment facility is expected to come online around 2022.
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