A TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE CURRENT WATER POLICY BOUNDARY AT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, PADUCAH GASEOUS DIFFUSION PLANT, PADUCAH, KENTUCKY
Description: In 1988, groundwater contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE) and technetium-99 (Tc-99) was identified in samples collected from residential water wells withdrawing groundwater from the Regional Gravel Aquifer (RGA) north of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) facility. In response, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provided temporary drinking water supplies to approximately 100 potentially affected residents by initially supplying bottled water, water tanks, and water-treatment systems, and then by extending municipal water lines, all at no cost, to those persons whose wells could be affected by contaminated groundwater. The Water Policy boundary was established in 1993. In the Policy, DOE agreed to pay the reasonable monthly cost of water for homes and businesses and, in exchange, many of the land owners signed license agreements committing to cease using the groundwater via rural water wells. In 2012, DOE requested that Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), managing contractor of Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), provide an independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the existing groundwater monitoring data and determine if there is sufficient information to support a modification to the boundary of the current Water Policy. As a result of the assessment, ORAU concludes that sufficient groundwater monitoring data exists to determine that a shrinkage and/or shift of the plume(s) responsible for the initial development of this policy has occurred. Specifically, there is compelling evidence that the TCE plume is undergoing shrinkage due to natural attenuation and associated degradation. The plume shrinkage (and migration) has also been augmented in local areas where large volumes of groundwater were recovered by pump-and treat remedial systems along the eastern and western boundaries of the Northwest Plume, and in other areas where pump-and-treat systems have been deployed by DOE to remove source contaminants. The available evidence supports adjusting the western and northwestern ...
Date: December 13, 2012
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