Archive

Army Corps of Engineers: $500 million Parks Township nuclear waste removal project is a ‘go’ | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Army Corps of Engineers: $500 million Parks Township nuclear waste removal project is a ‘go’

Mary Ann Thomas
443499vndnukeDump111518
Mary Ann Thomas | Tribune-Review
Capt. Brian Molloy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers addresses the crowd at Parks Township on Nov. 14, 2018.

The Army Corps of Engineers released test results and announced to residents Wednesday it is ready to resume the $500 million cleanup of the nuclear waste dump in Parks Township.

The 44-acre dump, officially known as the Shallow Land Disposal Area, is off Route 66 near Kiskimere Street. It was owned in the 1960s by the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) which had plants in Apollo and Parks Township that produced nuclear fuels for Navy submarines, power plants and other government programs.

About 80 people attended the public meeting Wednesday at the Parks Township volunteer fire hall.

It featured a review of the project, which stalled seven years ago amid environmental test results.

The recent slowdown was an almost 18-month delay over a contract bid protest from the four bidders that didn’t win the $350 million contract to excavate the nuclear waste dump.

But the Army Corps reviewed the bids and recently lifted a stop-order on the federal contract that had been awarded to Jacobs Field Services to clean up the nuclear waste dump.

“We own this project,” said Col. Andrew “Coby” Short, commander of the Corps’ Pittsburgh District. “We have a contract. We have the money.

”We’re ready to go.”

Jacobs will develop a work plan through 2019, build cleanup facilities at the dump in 2020, then start excavating in 2021, said Brian Molloy, Corps project manager.

Digging, separating and shipping the contaminants from 10 trenches could take 10 years.

Environmental activist Patty Ameno of Hyde Park asked if the Corps would consider installing a temporary containment shelter around the dig site to “minimize fugitive dust and keep up security.”

Molloy said that’s an issue the contractor would address in the work plans.

Resident Bob Szitas, formerly of Parks Township but now an Allegheny Township resident, asked Corps officials how they could guarantee continuity of staff expertise given the project’s 10-year duration.

“I’m new,” Molloy said. “It’s a challenge and it’s a complex project, but we have a process.”

Szitas said he was satisfied with the Corps’ formal procedures to pass down information, but was concerned if that will be the case with contractors.

The Corps continues to monitor the groundwater annually at the site. Officials said it found once again that the levels of radioactive contaminants in the groundwater are below the federal and state drinking water quality standards. Resident who live near the dump have access to public water.

The Corps’ recent sampling found that the radiological contamination is not migrating offsite.

However, the recent groundwater tests show that beryllium, a metal used by the nuclear plants and buried on site found its way into the underground coal mines, which lie beneath the site.

The catacomb of mines has been a longtime concern as a pathway for the dump site’s contamination.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.