Tag Archives: cleanup

TN Meth Busts Declined With Loss of Federal Funding; Now Back Up

Clandestine meth lab busts recorded in Tennessee fell to 73 in March of this year, down from 219 for the same month in 2010, and the trend continued through June, reports The Commercial Appeal.
The numbers began rebounding in July with the new container system, reaching a total of 1,099 for the year through August, about 15 percent less than in 2010.
The state’s new anti-meth law was signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam in June. But the CA article indicates that had nothing to do with the end of the downward trend in the same month. Instead, the rebound in meth lab busts is credited to development of a new system for cleaning up the busted labs that was put into place after federal funding of meth lab cleanups was shut off.
With no new federal money to pay for private contractors, a do-it-yourself system in Tennessee now has police officers like those with the Memphis Organized Crime Unit dismantling and packing up potentially toxic meth labs themselves.
“It’s a much more effective and efficient method,” said Tommy Farmer, director of the state’s Chattanooga-based methamphetamine task force.
Last year in Tennessee alone, $4.5 million in federal funds funneled through the Drug Enforcement Administration was spent on cleaning up meth labs, Farmer said.
“We’re looking at reducing that in millions of dollars,” Farmer said.
With a “HAZMAT Container System” in place since July, Tennessee now is looking at average cleanup costs of about $500, down from $2,500 under the private contractor method, he said.

Cost of Cleaning Up K-25: $1.2 Billion

The cost of tearing down the K-25 uranium-enrichment facility and disposing of the waste could ultimately cost more than $1.2 billion, according to a federal audit that slammed the Department of Energy’s years-long management of the big cleanup project.
More from Frank Munger:
The report by DOE’s Office of Inspector General was released Monday. The new cost estimate for the K-25 decommissioning and demolition project, which began in 2004 and may not be completed until 2016, is multiple times higher than the original cost estimates and almost double the project’s baseline in 2008.
In a July 13 memo to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said the early cost estimates and schedule for demolishing the K-25 building were “significantly exceeded” because of serious technical issues.
Those issues included the concerns that enriched uranium in process equipment could go “critical” (involving an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction and release of radiation); the sheer size of the mile-long facility, which was the world’s largest building under one roof at the time of its construction during the World War II Manhattan Project; and hazards associated with the degraded condition of the 65-year-old structure.

Haslam Talks Money, Waste Cleanup with DOE Officials

OAK RIDGE – It was a briefing, not a negotiation, but there was plenty of give and take Wednesday when Gov. Bill Haslam and members of his administration met with federal officials in Oak Ridge to discuss budgets, cleanup and other issues that could become contentious in the months and years ahead.
More from Frank Munger’s report:
Following the meeting at Y-12’s New Hope Center, Haslam said he wants the state to have a good working relationship with the Department of Energy – one that doesn’t involve disputes and court battles. But, he emphasized, members of his administration don’t want that good will used against them.
He noted that Oak Ridge hasn’t fared as well as other DOE sites around the country when it comes to funding for cleanup projects, which are important for the environment and the economy.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has raised that issue for years; yet this year’s spending on Oak Ridge cleanup dropped precipitously to about $400 million – the lowest in years.
John Eschenberg, DOE’s cleanup chief in Oak Ridge, agreed that the Oak Ridge share of the total cleanup funding was not what it should be percentage wise. Oak Ridge currently is getting a little more than 6 percent of DOE’s cleanup budget of $5.6 billion, he said.