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Record of Decision System (RODS)



Address:  2 MI W OF JUNCTION RT 128 & RT 126 
City & State:  FERNALD  OH  45030
EPA ID:  OH6890008976
EPA Region:  05
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/ROD/R05-95/286
ROD Date:  03/01/1995
Operable Unit(s):  01
Media:  soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, air
Contaminant:  Radionuclides, uranium, thorium, silver, arsenic, lead, copper, cyanide, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), dioxins, furans, organic solvents
Abstract:  Please note that the text in this document summarizes the Record of Decision for the purposes of facilitating searching and retrieving key text on the ROD. It is not the officially approved abstract drafted by the EPA Regional offices. Once EPA Headquarters receives the official abstract, this text will be replaced.

The Feed Materials Production Center (FMPC), now known as the Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP) site is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and was operated from 1952 to 1989. While in operation, the uranium ore processing facility provided high-purity uranium metal products in support of the nation's defense program. Operable Unit 1 is located within the Waste Storage Area, where wastes were generated during production.

The 425-hectare (1,050-acre) FEMP site is located in southwestern Ohio, approximately 18 miles northwest of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is situated on the boundary between Hamilton and Butler counties. Former uranium processing operations at the FEMP were limited to a fenced 136-acre tract, closed to public access, known as the former Production Area. The remaining FEMP site areas consist of forest and pasture lands, a portion of which is leased for grazing livestock.

The western portion of the FEMP property lies within the north-south corridor of the 100- and 500- year Paddys Run floodplain. On-site surface waters are confined to Paddys Run and its unnamed tributaries, and total almost nine acres. Results from a site-wide wetlands delineation indicate a total of 35.9-acres of freshwater wetlands on site. The Great Miami Aquifer is the principal aquifer within the FEMP study area and has been designated a sole-source aquifer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The land adjacent to FEMP is primarily devoted to agriculture and recreation. There is some commercial activity in close proximity to the site, such as a panel truss company and several plant nursery supplies. However, the majority of commercial activity is generally restricted to the Village of Ross, approximately two miles northeast of the facility, and along State Route 128 south of Ross. Industrial usage is concentrated in the areas south of the FEMP, along Paddys Run, in Fernald, and in a small industrial park on State Route 128 between Willey Road and New Haven Road. Open acreage on the FEMP is currently being leased for livestock grazing, but there are no areas within the FEMP boundaries considered to be prime farmland under the Farmland Policy Protection Act of 1981.

Concentrations of residential units are situated northeast of the FEMP in Ross and directly east in a trailer park adjacent to the intersection of Willey Road and State Route 128. Other residences are scattered around the area, generally in association with farmsteads. An estimated 23,000 residents live within a five-mile radius of the FEMP.

Operable Unit 1 is a well-defined 37.7-acre area located in the northwest quadrant of the FEMP site. Large quantities of liquid and solid wastes were generated by various chemical and metallurgical processing operations and these wastes were stored or disposed in six waste pits and the Clearwell, or burned in the Burn Pit. These pits are located in a portion of the FEMP Waste Storage Area and are contained within the boundaries of Operable Unit 1.

In May 1951, the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to the DOE, initiated construction operations at the FMPC. Full-scale production was initiated after pilot operations began in 1952 and continued until July 1989. Production peaked in 1960 at approximately 13,288 tons of uranium a year. A decline in product demand began in 1964 and reached a low in 1975. In the early 1980s, production increased significantly, resulting in a major facilities restoration program. Production ceased in the summer of 1989 and plant resources were directed toward environmental remediation activities. The facility was formally closed by congressional authorization in June 1991. To identify the environmental nature of the site's new mission, the name of the facility was changed to the Fernald Environmental Management Project(FEMP).

When production operations were halted in 1989, due to a declining defense demand for uranium, available resources were redirected to focus on environmental restoration of the facility. Potential impacts from past releases and continued releases resulting from the accumulation of a large inventory of uranium process materials and mixed wastes at the FEMP prompted concern relative to potential impacts on human health and the environment.

In November 1989, the EPA placed the FEMP on the National Priorities List (NPL). Inclusion on the NPL reflects the relative importance placed by the federal government on ensuring the expedient completion of the remedial investigations and resulting cleanup actions. Five operable units (OUs) were identified for response actions.

Environmental monitoring and sampling of the waste pits, soil, surface and groundwater, sediment, and air associated with OU1 occurred on several occasions beginning in 1984. These investigations include the Characterization Investigation Study in 1986 - 1988, the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) in 1991 and 1992, the ongoing FEMP Environmental Monitoring Program, the site's RCRA Groundwater Study that began in 1985, and other special site programs undertaken to characterize the physical, chemical, and radiological properties of the site.
Remedy:  Remedial action for OU1 consists of removal, treatment, and off-site disposal at a permitted commercial disposal facility consisting of the following key components: construction of waste processing and loading facilities and equipment; removal of water from open waste pits for treatment and the site's wastewater treatment facility; removal of waste pit contents, caps and liners, and excavation of surrounding contaminated soil; confirmation sampling of waste pit excavations to verify achievement of remediation levels; pretreatment of waste; treatment of waste by thermal drying as required; waste sampling and analysis prior to shipment to ensure that the waste acceptance criteria of the disposal facility are met; off-site shipment of waste for disposal at a permitted commercial waste disposal facility; shipment of any waste that fails to meet waste acceptance criteria of the permitted commercial waste disposal facility for disposal at the Nevada Test Site; decommissioning and removal of the drying treatment unit and associated facilities, as well as miscellaneous structures and facilities within the operable unit; disposition of remaining OU1 residual contaminated soils; and placement of backfill into excavations and construction of cover system.
Text:  View full-text ROD [ 357K ]
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