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Title: Independent University Study to Assess the Performance of a Humate Amendment for Copper Detoxification at the H-12 Outfall at Savannah River Site

Abstract

The overarching objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the copper detoxification process that is in place at the Savannah River Site H-12 Outfall. The testing was performed in two phases; Phase 1 assessed the safety and potential for intrinsic toxicity of the humate amendment being used at the H-12 Outfall, Borregro HA-1, as well as an alternative amendment sodium humic acid. The second phase assessed the effectiveness of Borregro HA-1 in mitigating and reducing toxic effects of copper.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1330949
Report Number(s):
SRNL-STI-2016-00586
TRN: US1700474
DOE Contract Number:
AC09-08SR22470
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; COPPER; SAVANNAH RIVER PLANT; SODIUM COMPOUNDS; HUMIC ACIDS; DETOXIFICATION; TOXICITY; PERFORMANCE TESTING; MITIGATION; SAFETY

Citation Formats

Looney, B., Harmon, S., and King, J.. Independent University Study to Assess the Performance of a Humate Amendment for Copper Detoxification at the H-12 Outfall at Savannah River Site. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1330949.
Looney, B., Harmon, S., & King, J.. Independent University Study to Assess the Performance of a Humate Amendment for Copper Detoxification at the H-12 Outfall at Savannah River Site. United States. doi:10.2172/1330949.
Looney, B., Harmon, S., and King, J.. 2016. "Independent University Study to Assess the Performance of a Humate Amendment for Copper Detoxification at the H-12 Outfall at Savannah River Site". United States. doi:10.2172/1330949. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1330949.
@article{osti_1330949,
title = {Independent University Study to Assess the Performance of a Humate Amendment for Copper Detoxification at the H-12 Outfall at Savannah River Site},
author = {Looney, B. and Harmon, S. and King, J.},
abstractNote = {The overarching objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the copper detoxification process that is in place at the Savannah River Site H-12 Outfall. The testing was performed in two phases; Phase 1 assessed the safety and potential for intrinsic toxicity of the humate amendment being used at the H-12 Outfall, Borregro HA-1, as well as an alternative amendment sodium humic acid. The second phase assessed the effectiveness of Borregro HA-1 in mitigating and reducing toxic effects of copper.},
doi = {10.2172/1330949},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • A field test of a humate technology for uranium and I-129 remediation was conducted at the F-Area Field Research Site as part of the Attenuation-Based Remedies for the Subsurface Applied Field Research Initiative (ABRS AFRI) funded by the DOE Office of Soil and Groundwater Remediation. Previous studies have shown that humic acid sorbed to sediments strongly binds uranium at mildly acidic pH and potentially binds iodine-129 (I-129). Use of humate could be applicable for contaminant stabilization at a wide variety of DOE sites however pilot field-scale tests and optimization of this technology are required to move this technical approach frommore » basic science to actual field deployment and regulatory acceptance. The groundwater plume at the F-Area Field Research Site contains a large number of contaminants, the most important from a risk perspective being strontium-90 (Sr-90), uranium isotopes, I-129, tritium, and nitrate. Groundwater remains acidic, with pH as low as 3.2 near the basins and increasing to the background pH of approximately 5at the plume fringes. The field test was conducted in monitoring well FOB 16D, which historically has shown low pH and elevated concentrations of Sr-90, uranium, I-129 and tritium. The field test included three months of baseline monitoring followed by injection of a potassium humate solution and approximately four and half months of post monitoring. Samples were collected and analyzed for numerous constituents but the focus was on attenuation of uranium, Sr-90, and I-129. This report provides background information, methodology, and preliminary field results for a humate field test. Results from the field monitoring show that most of the excess humate (i.e., humate that did not sorb to the sediments) has flushed through the surrounding formation. Furthermore, the data indicate that the test was successful in loading a band of sediment surrounding the injection point to a point where pH could return to near normal during the study timeframe. Future work will involve a final report, which will include data trends, correlations and interpretations of laboratory data.« less
  • The DWPF is part of an integrated waste treatment system at the SRS to treat wastes containing radioactive contaminants. In the early 1980s the DOE recognized that there would be significant safety and cost advantages associated with immobilizing the radioactive waste in a stable solid form. The Defense Waste Processing Facility was designed and constructed to accomplish this task.
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) prepared this environmental assessment (EA) to analyze the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed A-01 outfall constructed wetlands project at the Savannah River site (SRS), located near aiken, South Carolina. The proposed action would include the construction and operation of an artificial wetland to treat effluent from the A-01 outfall located in A Area at SRS. The proposed action would reduce the outfall effluent concentrations in order to meet future outfall limits before these go into effect on October 1, 1999. This document was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)more » of 1969, as amended; the requirements of the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for Implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500--1508); and the DOE Regulations for Implementing NEPA (10 CFR Part 1021).« less
  • In response to proposed Zn limits for the NPDES outfall H-12, a Zn screening Water Effects Ratio (WER) study was conducted to determine if a full site-specific WER is warranted. Using standard assumptions for relating the lab results to the stream, the screening WER data were consistent with the proposed Zn limit and suggest that a full WER would result in a similar limit. Addition of a humate amendment to the outfall water reduced Zn toxicity, but the toxicity reduction was relatively small and unlikely to impact proposed Zn limits. The screening WER data indicated that the time and expensemore » required to perform a full WER for Zn is not warranted.« less
  • Recent scientific research and changes in regulatory policies have led to reductions in the allowable discharges of several contaminant metals, including copper, into surface water. Low target concentrations and variable outfall conditions challenge the efficacy of traditional treatment technologies such as ion exchange. In reviewing various treatment options, scientists and engineers at the Savannah River Site (SRS) developed a treatment strategy focusing on toxicity reduction (rather than the removal of the copper) and demonstrated that the method is viable and promising for mitigating copper toxicity. The resulting outfall chemistry protects the ecosystem in the receiving stream in a manner thatmore » is equal to, or better than, technologies that remove copper to the emerging regulatory levels. Further, the proposed toxicity reduction strategy results in collateral beneficial changes in outfall water chemistry such that the outfall more closely matches the chemistry of natural streams for key parameters such as the dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The detoxification process is based on the EPA BLM. Specifically, modeling indicates that copper toxicity can be mitigated by modest additions of natural organic carbon and that the amount of amendment needed can be determined based on pH and stream flow. The organic carbon amendments proposed for the treatment/detoxification process are extracts of natural materials that are produced for use in organic agriculture. These extracts are known by several common names such as potassium humate, soluble humic acid, and a variety of brand trademarks. When used to reduce ecosystem toxicity in surface water, these amendments bind copper and compete with the biological receptor sites, resulting in a reduction of impacts to key food chain organisms such as the Daphnia ('water flea'). Design and implementation of the process is straightforward. The core equipment consists of storage tank(s), pH sensor(s), outfall flow monitor(s), variable speed pump(s), and a programmable logic controller (PLC). The PLC collects information on pH and outfall flow, and modulates the pump flow rate to meter the correct amount of amendment into the outfall. A mathematical relationship, or control equation, is programmed into the PLC and serves as the basis of the operation. A summary of the development of, and key documentation for, the process control equation is provided.« less