WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today praised an agreement between the Ohio EPA and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) aimed at addressing the future decontamination and cleanup at the former DOE Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. The agreement will enable the utilization of more than $118 million in federal funds Brown fought for through the Recovery Act.
"These funds will accelerate work that is long overdue while driving critical economic development in the Scioto Valley," said Brown. "Piketon and the surrounding region have been neglected too long. These funds will go a long way toward ensuring clean water, clean air, and clean land while also creating jobs."
Cleanup activities include demolishing structures, dismantling building contents and foundations and deactivating equipment. The former DOE Portsmouth GDP ended production of enriched uranium in 2001. The cleanup agreement addresses this and other hazardous and industrial wastes, substances and pollutants as a subset of the entire facility, namely the plant-related structures and equipment located on DOE's property. The agreement provides for Ohio EPA's oversight of the cleanup and will govern DOE's performance of the decontamination and disposal activities at the site under the terms of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, also known as Superfund.
"This cleanup at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion complex is setting the stage for long-term site redevelopment and economic enhancement for the region," said Governor Ted Strickland. "What's more, in the immediate future, this multi-billion dollar cleanup will benefit the region; as that money is funneled into the area, it is expected to bring with it many jobs over the coming 10-15 years."
Ohio EPA will have input and oversight of how the D&D work will be accomplished at the former Portsmouth GDP, how waste and demolition debris will be managed, and how potential environmental releases will be prevented. Ohio EPA will also maintain its authority under the existing permits, authorizations and orders to which the facility is already subject, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) consent decree and permit. The existing consent decree, signed in 1989 by Ohio EPA and DOE, governs the continuing cleanup of ground water, soils, sediments, surface water, air and waste management units at the facility.
"Ohio EPA is dedicated to cleaning up contaminated sites in Ohio, making them safe again, and returning them to productive use," said Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski. "Our Agency has been eagerly anticipating this cleanup at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant for many years and actively negotiating with DOE to define a mutually agreeable order so we can move the cleanup process forward. The agreement we've reached is a positive step forward for the site and the state."
The director's orders require DOE to:
• develop a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) and remedial design/remedial action (RD/RA) for process buildings and complex structures at the former GDP;
• develop an engineering evaluation/cost analysis (EE/CA) and removal actions for support structures and other buildings no longer in use at the former GDP;
• evaluate site-wide waste and demolition debris disposition alternatives, including secure on- and off-site options for managing demolition waste using the RI/FS and RD/RA process;
• establish and implement a community relations plan to address how DOE will coordinate its activities under the director's orders with the existing community advisory board and other local stakeholders and the public; and
• conduct public meetings on any proposed plan and allow the public the opportunity to review and comment on proposed plans and EE/CAs, including waste disposition.
Brown has been fighting for federal funds to promote economic development in Piketon. He has been working closely with USEC and DOE to ensure facilitated coordination efforts for the American Centrifuge Plant. Brown also led the fight in Congress to accelerate the Piketon cleanup and create new jobs. He successfully secured an expedited timeframe for the cleanup, moving the completion date up by more than 20 years. As a result of Sen. Brown's efforts, Piketon received $118 million in cleanup funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. President Obama's FY 2011 budget request also includes nearly $500 million for the project. Federal funds for Piketon will have helped to create more than 275 jobs in the region.
In November, Brown visited the Piketon plant with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management Dr. Inés Triay to discuss cleanup, new jobs and ways to ensure the successful economic future of the entire DOE site. More information can be found HERE.