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Title: Challenges of Air Monitoring Around a Legacy Waste Disposal Site in an Urban Location

 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
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Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Resource Relation:
Conference: Health Physics Society Annual Meeting ; 2017-07-09 - 2017-07-13 ; Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Protection; Rad-NESHAP, Air monitoring, MDA-B, Materials Disposal Area B, Airnet

Citation Formats

Fuehne, David Patrick, Green, Andrew Allan, Mcnaughton, Michael, Ruedig, Elizabeth, and Whicker, Jeffrey Jay. Challenges of Air Monitoring Around a Legacy Waste Disposal Site in an Urban Location. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Fuehne, David Patrick, Green, Andrew Allan, Mcnaughton, Michael, Ruedig, Elizabeth, & Whicker, Jeffrey Jay. Challenges of Air Monitoring Around a Legacy Waste Disposal Site in an Urban Location. United States.
Fuehne, David Patrick, Green, Andrew Allan, Mcnaughton, Michael, Ruedig, Elizabeth, and Whicker, Jeffrey Jay. Tue . "Challenges of Air Monitoring Around a Legacy Waste Disposal Site in an Urban Location". United States. doi:.
title = {Challenges of Air Monitoring Around a Legacy Waste Disposal Site in an Urban Location},
author = {Fuehne, David Patrick and Green, Andrew Allan and Mcnaughton, Michael and Ruedig, Elizabeth and Whicker, Jeffrey Jay},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Tue Aug 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}

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  • The air monitoring program described was performed as part of an overall remediation investigation at an inactive hazardous waste disposal site located in New York State. The program was conducted to determine if significant levels of certain chemical contaminants were volatilized from the site. Laboratory analysis of ambient air samples was performed for benzene, toluene, and xylene because these chemicals were known to have been deposited at the site. The analytical results are presented. The overall remediation alternative recommended for the hazardous waste site consists of in-place containment of the waste deposits utilizing a impermeable cap with vegetative cover, soil/bentonitemore » cutoff walls and a surface water drainage system. The final remediation program includes provisions for maintenance of the facilities and monitoring to measure the program's effectiveness. 5 references, 1 table.« less
  • Air monitoring at Area G, the low-level radioactive waste disposal area at Los Alamos National Laboratory, revealed increased air concentrations of {sup 239}Pu and {sup 241}Am at one location along the north boundary. This air monitoring location is a couple of meters north of a dirt road used to access the easternmost part of Area G. Air concentrations of {sup 238}Pu were essentially unaffected, which was puzzling because the {sup 238}Pu and {sup 239}Pu are present in the local, slightly contaminated soils. Air concentrations of these radionuclides increased about a factor of ten in early 1995 and remained at thosemore » levels until the first quarter of 1996. During the spring of 1996 air concentrations again increased by a factor of about ten. No other radionuclides were elevated and no other Area G stations showed elevations of these radionuclides. After several formal meetings didn't provide an adequate cause for the elevations, a gamma survey was performed and showed a small area of significant contamination just south of the monitor location. We found in February, 1995, a trench for a water line had been dug within a meter of so of the air stations. Then, during early 1996, the dirt road was rerouted such that its new path was directly over the unknown contamination. It appears that the trenching brought contaminated material to the surface and caused the first rise in air concentrations and then the rerouting of the road over the contamination caused the second rise, during 1996. We also found that during 1976 and 1977 contaminated soils from the clean-up of an old processing facility had been spread over the filled pits in the vicinity of the air monitors. These soils were very low in 238Pu which explains why we saw very little {sup 238}Pu in the increased air concentrations. A layer of gravel and sand was spread over the contaminated area. Although air concentrations of {sup 239}Pu and {sup 241}Am dropped considerably, the y have not returned to pre-1995 levels.« less
  • Chemical reprocessing of spent nuclear fuels at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Hanford Site has generated large volumes of low-level radioactive liquid effluents. The majority of these effluents have been used strictly for cooling or other support functions and have been discharged to ditches and ponds. The 216-U-10 (U) Pond and 216-Z-19 (Z-19) Ditch are two such disposal facilities and were selected as representative examples of an integrated system of ditches, ponds, and overflow facilities collectively referred to as the U Pond disposal system. The U Pond system has been used since 1943 and has received a large varietymore » of radioisotopes from several sources. The long-term use of U Pond and the Z-19 Ditch has resulted in the localized accumulation of transuranic and fission-product inventories due to sorption and filtration of particulates onto the uppermost sediments. The various radionuclides have different distributions due to their individual discharge sources and behaviors in this type of a disposal system. Cesium-137 is the most widely distributed radionuclide and was used as an index radionuclide to define the maximum extent of contamination. Its 400 pCi/g isopleth indicates surface contamination of approximately 19 hectares at U Pond and the 216-U-11 Overflow Basin. This contamination is localized in the top ten centimeters (cm) of soil and decreases rapidly with depth. The Z-19 Ditch and its backfilled predecessors, the 216-Z-11 (Z-11) and 216-A-11 (Z-1) Ditches, received Plutonium-238/239/240 and Americium-241 discharges from the 234-5Z and 231-Z facilities and retained more than 90% of the plutonium inventory discharged to the U Pond system. Based upon the results of this study, the U Pond system has been found to be an effective waste management facility for disposing of large volumes of low-level liquid wastes.« less
  • The Robbins Particulate Study (RPS) from October, 1995 through September, 1996 characterized PM2.5 and PM10 mass, chemical concentrations, and source contributions at four sites in neighborhoods surrounding the Robbins Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility, southwest of Chicago, IL. The design of the measurement program and methodology of analyses are described in a previous paper. PM2.5 data were obtained from the fine-particle filter of dichotomous samplers, rather than samplers intended to provide federal reference method (FRM) sampling. No exceedances of the 24-hour-average National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for PM10 of 150 {micro}g/m{sup 3} were found at any of the four sites; themore » maximum concentration was 61.7 {micro}g/m{sup 3}. Annual-average PM10 concentrations were similar at the four measurement locations, ranging from 24.7 to 27.4 {micro}g/m{sup 3}. These values are approximately half of the annual-average PM10 NAAQS of 50 {micro}g/m{sup 3}. The highest PM2.5 mass concentration of 32.2 {micro}g/m{sup 3} was less than PM2.5 standard of 65 {micro}g/m{sup 3}. The annual-average PM2.5 at one site was 15.2 {micro}g/m{sup 3}, slightly exceeding the three-year annual PM2.5 standard of 15 {micro}g/m{sup 3}, but the spatial average at the four sites was less than 15 {micro}g/m{sup 3}. Annual-average PM10 source contributions determined by a Chemical Mass Balance on half of the samples were: (1) geological (20% to 23%); (2) secondary sulfate (24% to 25%); (3) secondary nitrate (17% to 20%); (4) motor vehicle exhaust (18% to 20%); (5) steel production (4% to 6%); (6) road salt (3% to 7%); (7) residential wood combustion (3% to 5%); and (8) coal combustion ({approximately} 1.5%). Large contributors to trace metal concentrations (such as copper, zinc, lead, cadmium, and zirconium) were minor contributors to PM2.5 and PM10. Sources of the trace metals were not quantified by CMB owing to lack of industry-specific source profiles.« less
  • Pursuant to the National Response Plan, Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex [1], the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is assigned lead agency responsibility for decontamination and clean-up efforts following a domestic terrorist event involving a radiological dispersal device (RDD). An RDD incident in a modern city environment poses many of the same issues and problems traditionally faced at 'legacy' clean up projects being performed across our country. However there are also many aspects associated with an urban RDD clean-up that have never been faced in legacy site remediation. For example, the demolition and destructive technologies widely used in legacy remediation would be unacceptablemore » in the case of historically or architecturally significant properties or those with prohibitively high replacement cost; contaminated properties will likely belong to numerous small private entities whose business interests are at stake; reducing the time required to decontaminate and return a city to normal use cannot be overemphasized due to its tremendous economic and political impact. The mission of the EPA's National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) includes developing the best technology and tools needed for field personnel to achieve their goals should that event occur. To that end, NHSRC has been exploring how the vast experience within the legacy site remediation community could be tapped to help meet this need, and to identify gaps in decontamination technology. This paper articulates much of what has been learned over the past year as a result of efforts to identify these technology and procedural needs to address the urban RDD. This includes comparing and contrasting remediation techniques and methodologies currently used in nuclear facility and site cleanup with those that would be needed following an urban RDD event. Finally, this presentation includes an appeal to the radiological decontamination community to come forward with ideas and technologies for consideration to help meet this nationally significant need. (authors)« less