Nuclear waste dump in Parks Township
The toxic waste dump along Route 66, known formally as the Shallow Land Disposal Area, received radioactive and chemical waste from the former Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) in Apollo and Parks. NUMEC was later owned by the Atlantic Richfield Co. and is currently owned by BWX Technologies (formerly Babcock & Wilcox) of Lynchburg, Va.
The companies produced nuclear fuel for submarines and a range of nuclear products for the federal government and private industry.
Article begins: Resuming the $412 million cleanup of the nuclear waste dump in Parks Township has been slow-going for the Army Corps of Engineers, which says it is months behind on the work.
The most recent snag for the Corps is responding to public comments on its new cleanup plan, and negotiating an agreement with the site owner for access.
More than 20 years in the making, cleanup plans for the site are under review again by the Corps, the federal agency tasked by Congress to dig up and remove the radioactive materials buried in 10 shallow trenches, primarily in the 1960s.
The cleanup has been stalled for four years since a Corps contractor dug up greater amounts of “complex” nuclear materials than expected, escalating costs and prompting the Corps to bring in armed Homeland Security guards.
As the cleanup has grown more complicated and expensive, so have the regulatory wheels of progress.
The Corps is running about three months behind schedule this year because it is responding to public comments about the cleanup and finalizing an access agreement to enter the property, which is owned by BWX Technologies of Lynchburg, Va.
Helbling confirmed, however, BWXT is negotiating with the government.
“Taxpayers will pay a portion of this cleanup,” he said. “The question is how much.”
Aimee Mills, public relations manager for BWXT, declined to comment.
Environmental activist Patty Ameno of Hyde Park said she is tired and suspicious of the delays.
“The company has continuously tried to leave this nuclear and chemical waste into perpetuity with us,” Ameno said.
In November, the Corps expects final approval of the cleanup by Gen. Richard G. Kaiser, commander of the Corps Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, according to Helbling.
Then the Corps will decide whether it will wait until January, after the holidays, to release its request for proposals to find a new contractor for the cleanup, Helbling said. The Corps expects to review the bids and award the contract in the first quarter of 2017.
“I’m still hoping to start excavation in 2017, but that will be dependent on the weather and the design of the project,” he said.