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EPA Issues $175K Penalty to Energy Dept. for INEEL Waste Violations

Release Date: 12/20/2002
Contact Information: Wayne Pierre
(206) 553-7261

December 19, 2002

The northwest office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued Notices of Violation to the Department of Energy (DOE) for DOE’s failure to install controls to reduce the amount of radioactive materials leaching into a perched aquifer and the Snake River Plain Aquifer.

The EPA’s Notice letter suggests that DOE failed to live up to its obligations in an October 1999 Record of Decision (ROD) which stated “The Tank Farm Soils represent principle threat wastes due to direct radiation exposure to workers or the public; and due to potential leaching and transport of contaminants to the perched water or the SRPA, a sole source aquifer.”.

Today’s EPA letter notes that DOE committed, but apparently failed to “ . . .prevent the mobilization of contaminants from the pipes and valves into the soil and eventually into the underlying aquifer since the soil continues to be exposed to precipitation.”

The EPA letter also states that “There are two other potential violations for which DOE could be assessed penalties . . .Failure to prevent these incidents from recurring in the future could result in penalty assessment.”

DOE has fifteen (15) days to invoke dispute resolution on the question of whether the violation did, in fact, occur.

Contact: Wayne Pierre

Ann Williamson