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Oak Ridge completes first phase of new disposal facility project
May 17, 2024; 4:45 p.m.

oak ridge disposal facility project
Work is now underway for the second phase of construction for the Environmental Management Disposal Facility. Site development continues as part of a groundwater field demonstration. Image by United Cleanup Oak Ridge

OAK RIDGE, TN – The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and contractor UCOR have completed the first phase of construction for the Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF).

EMDF will provide the waste disposal capacity OREM needs to complete cleanup at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Field work for early site preparations began in August following a groundbreaking ceremony with congressional leaders and officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

Tasks in this subproject included tree felling, clearing 27 acres of land, rerouting of two roads and site preparation. That work, with a project cost of $27 million, was completed safely, under budget and ahead of schedule.

The kickoff for this work followed a decade of planning, regulatory decision-making and preparation, culminating in a record of decision signed by DOE, EPA and TDEC in September 2022.

“Early site prep completion is a big milestone for us,” EMDF Director Sean Dunagan said. “It paves the way for the next phase of work and keeps this critical project on schedule. All parties involved worked together to get to this point and I’m excited that the EMDF project is moving into the next phase.”

oak ridge disposal facility project
Early site preparation for the Environmental Management Disposal Facility included rerouting portions of Bear Creek Road and the private Haul Road, which is used to ship waste from cleanup sites to the disposal facility. Workers, seen here, hydroseed berms near the facility’s construction area. Image by United Cleanup Oak Ridge

The completion of early site preparation is a major milestone for EMDF and sets this critical project on a solid path to timely completion.

The current onsite disposal facility, the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, is nearing capacity after supporting cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park and ongoing demolition projects at Y-12 and ORNL.

While the first phase of field work for EMDF is complete, work continues.

The second phase, a groundwater field demonstration, is underway. It includes continued development of the site, earthwork and installation of groundwater monitoring wells. This phase will continue over the next two years, leading to the final phase of EMDF construction.

The facility is slated for completion in 2030.

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