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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/R05-95/287
ROD Date:  12/07/1994
Operable Unit(s):  04
Media:  groundwater, air, surface water
Contaminant:  Radionuclides, metals, inorganic anions, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls
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 generated during production.

The 425-hectare (1,050-acre) FEMP site is located in southwestern Ohio, about 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 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.

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). Five operable units (OUs) were identified for response actions.

Following the issuance of the Record of Decision for the last of the five operable units, the Amended Consent Agreement provides for a Comprehensive Site-Wide Operable Unit (OU6). If needed, OU6 will be created to perform a final assessment from a site-wide perspective to ensure that ongoing or planned remedial actions identified in the Records of Decision for the five OUs will provide a comprehensive remedy for the FEMP site which is protective of human health and the environment.

This remedial action addresses OU4 at the FEMP. OU4 is five and eight-tenths acres and is located on the western side of the facility and is comprised of the following facilities and associated environmental media: Silos 1 and 2 and their contents; Silo 3 and its contents; an empty Silo 4; the decant sump; a radon treatment system; a portion of a concrete pipe trench and other concrete structures; an earthen berm surrounding Silos 1 and 2; soils beneath and immediately surrounding Silos 1, 2, 3, and 4; perched groundwater in the vicinity of the silos that are encountered during the implementation of remedial actions.

Originally constructed in 1951 and 1952, three of the four reinforced concrete storage silos within OU4 received by-product materials until 1960. Silos 1 and 2 received K-65 residues generated from the processing of high assay uranium ores at the FEMP and Mallinckrodt Chemical Works (MCW) in St. Louis, MO. The ores processed at MCW and the vast majority of ores processed at the FEMP came primarily from one mine located in Zaire. These ores contained relatively high concentrations of uranium oxides in the range of 40 to 50 percent as well as high concentrations of radium. For more than 30 years, the residue material from the processing remained in storage at the FEMP site awaiting transfer back to the original owners of the uranium in Zaire which was prearranged at the time of purchase. In 1984, ownership of the residues was transferred to the Department of Energy.

It became obvious that the silos holding these materials were deteriorating and steps were taken to improve the condition of the silos.

Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Studies (RI/FS) were conducted and from that, constituents of concern (COCs) were identified. COCs were detected in Silos 1, 2, and 3, the surrounding surface soil and subsurface soil, and the silo berm soils. Baseline risk assessment source term concentrations were determined for the COCs in these media. Fate and transport modeling was then conducted to estimate the exposure point concentrations of contaminants in environmental media. Contaminants with the potential of posing risk to human health include radionuclides, metals, inorganic anions, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and pesticides/polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Remedy:  The selected remedial action for OU4 is comprised of the following components: removal of the contents of Silos 1, 2, and 3 and the decant sump tank sludge; vitrification (glassification) to stabilize the residues and sludges removed from the silos and decant sump tank; off-site shipment for disposal at the NTS of the vitrified contents of the Silos and the decant sump tank; demolition of the silos and decontamination to the extent possible of the rubble, piping, and other generated construction debris; removal of the earthen verns and excavation of contaminated soils within the boundary of OU4 with placement of clean backfill to original grade; demolition of the vitrification treatment unit and associated facilities after use, decontamination or recycling of debris prior to disposition; on-property interim storage of excavated contaminated soils and contaminated debris; continued access controls and maintenance and monitoring of the stored wastes inventories; institutional controls of the OU4 area such as deed and land use restrictions; potential additional treatment of stored OU4 soil and debris using OU 3 and 5 waste treatment systems; pumping and treatment as required of any contaminated perched groundwater encountered during remedial activities; and disposal of OU4 contaminated debris and soils consistent with the ROD for OU 3 and 5, respectively.
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