SRS DOE reaches milestone in phase two of ash basin cleanup project

SAVANNAH RIVER SITE, SC (WFXG) - The Savannah River Site continues their efforts of protecting the environment and removing waste.

Karen Adams, Federal Project Director over the D Area Ash Project, says they have been able to clear the D Ash Basin of over 400,000 cubic yards of ash and their innovative technology is saving the Savannah River Site a lot of money in the process. The Department of Energy's D Area Ash Project, managed by SRNS, is the closure of four earthen basins that supported the operation of the coal-fired powerhouse that was shut down in 2012.

After negotiation with regulators, they were able to begin the process of closing the basins in 2014. Those basin began filled with hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of ash. "We consolidated the ash from this basin. And we put the ash in the landfill. And once we got all the ash in the landfill, we closed the landfill with geosynthetic material. And that geosynthetic material keeps the rain from percolating through the ash and leaking down to the ground water," says Adams.

Thus, preventing any waste filtering into nearby lakes or rivers. The process to successfully complete a mound goes through several tests, compressing of ash, and checking for moisture. Their sub-contractor discovered this different geosynthetic material that has been more effective and cost-friendly. "With the geosynthetic liner that we're using in phase two, we don't have to place a 6-inch soil cover over the ash before we start installing the geosynthetic. So, that's where our savings came in," says Adams.
Both the basin and sloped area will be grassed, maintained, and remain empty to act as storm water runoff collectors. This huge project has all hands on deck with a large budget. "The four earthen facilities in total is about a 100-acres. And the total project cost for all four facilities is 64.2 million dollars. And we've bene working on it, like I said, we've been working on it since 2015. But we're within budget, we're on budget, and we're on time," says Adams.

Continuing their efforts to be environmentally friendly, their bio mass facilities used on the SRS site today burn wood chips and rubber tires to create far less waste. They're hoping to complete the D Ash basin project by 2019, but Adams says that they're moving at such a great speed, they're hoping to finish even earlier.

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