Mercury treatment facility enters final design

mercurysignOne 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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This entry was posted in lithium, mercury, nuclear, Oak Ridge EM, UCOR on by .

About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.