Description: This Environmental Assessment addresses the environmental effects of a proposed action and the no action alternative to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ground water standards at the Naturita, Colorado, Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project site. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) completed surface cleanup at the site and encapsulated the tailings in a disposal cell 15 miles northwest near the former town of Uravan, Colorado. Ground water contaminants of potential concern at the Naturita site are uranium and vanadium. Uranium concentrations exceed the maximum concentration limit (MCL) of 0.044 milligram per liter (mg/L). Vanadium has no MCL; however, vanadium concentrations exceed the EPA Region III residential risk-based concentration of 0.33 mg/L (EPA 2002). The proposed compliance strategy for uranium and vanadium at the Naturita site is no further remediation in conjunction with the application of alternate concentration limits. Institutional controls with ground water and surface water monitoring will be implemented for these constituents as part of the compliance strategy. This compliance strategy will be protective of human health and the environment. The proposed monitoring program will begin upon regulatory concurrence with the Ground Water Compliance Action Plan (DOE 2002a). Monitoring will consist of verifying that institutional controls remain in place, collecting ground water samples to verify that concentrations of uranium and vanadium are decreasing, and collecting surface water samples to verify that contaminant concentrations do not exceed a regulatory limit or risk-based concentration. If these criteria are not met, DOE would reevaluate the proposed action and determine the need for further National Environmental Policy Act documentation. No comments were received from the public during the public comment period. Two public meetings were held during this period. Minutes of these meetings are included as Attachment 1.
Date: April 23, 2003
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