A method to estimate the concentration of elements in smoke from burning vegetation growing in contaminated soil

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The Savannah River Site has areas where soil is contaminated with metals and/or radionuclides. Many of these areas are surrounded by native vegetation which is growing adjacent to the area and where the roots have penetrated into the contaminated soil of the area. In some cases vegetation has actually invaded the contaminated area. Even though the volume of contaminated vegetation is small, there are problems associated with its disposal. Vegetation decomposes quickly after burial and the volume of buried vegetation can decrease. The voids left can lead to subsidence and possible failure of the clay cap constructed over hazardous and/or ... continued below

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Murphy, C.E. Jr. March 4, 1991.

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The Savannah River Site has areas where soil is contaminated with metals and/or radionuclides. Many of these areas are surrounded by native vegetation which is growing adjacent to the area and where the roots have penetrated into the contaminated soil of the area. In some cases vegetation has actually invaded the contaminated area. Even though the volume of contaminated vegetation is small, there are problems associated with its disposal. Vegetation decomposes quickly after burial and the volume of buried vegetation can decrease. The voids left can lead to subsidence and possible failure of the clay cap constructed over hazardous and/or radioactive waste burial grounds. An alternative to burying the wood is to burn it and bury the ash. However, burning will introduce the contamination in the vegetation into the air where there is potential for inhalation of the contaminants. A procedure is described to assess the hazard associated with inhalation of contamination from burning of vegetation growing in contaminated soil. The procedure is applied to evaluation of the consequence of burning vegetation grown adjacent to and in the SRL Seepage Basins. The results indicate that burning the vegetation during the day could introduce a level of contaminants to the atmosphere that could cause an exposure greater than the 1 mrem recommended as negligible by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements but lower than the US Department of Energy 100 mrem release guide. A scenario is also investigated where the largest volume of wood, associated with the least contaminated area, is burned. The air concentrations are significantly decreased by this strategy although the total dose commitment due to all radionuclides is still above the 1 mrem dose guide.

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  • Other: DE92013970
  • Report No.: WSRC-TR-91-109
  • Grant Number: AC09-89SR18035
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5179310
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1058037

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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Creation Date

  • March 4, 1991

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • Feb. 1, 2018, 7:13 p.m.

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Murphy, C.E. Jr. A method to estimate the concentration of elements in smoke from burning vegetation growing in contaminated soil, report, March 4, 1991; Aiken, South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1058037/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.