BUFFALO, NY --
Operations at the Luckey Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program Site cleanup located in Luckey, Ohio, proceeded as normal on Tuesday, February 23, but this was no ordinary day. The cleanup of beryllium, lead, radium-226, thorium-230, uranium-234, and uranium-238 at the site hit three significant milestones that day.
“The successes we've achieved at the Luckey project were only made possible by the amazing project delivery team members who constantly strive to make the project better,” said Steven Vriesen, Luckey Site Project Manager.
“As a project manager, I couldn't ask for a more dedicated and motivated team and even though our incredible results speak for themselves, I'm very proud to tell our story."
To reach the first milestone, the trucking subcontractor completed safely travelling over 1 million miles disposing 116,667 tons of contaminated material at US Ecology in Belleville, Michigan. To put that into perspective, that is over two trips to the moon and back (it is 238,855 miles from the Earth to the Moon).
For the second February 23rd milestone, the remediation contractor finished loading contaminated soils excavated under their current contract into roll-off containers. Since the cleanup contract was awarded in 2015, the USACE contractor has worked over 435,000 hours without a lost time accident. Excavation of 93,777 cubic yards of contaminated soils from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas of the site is complete and the areas are backfilled. The site cleanup, which began on April 16, 2018, is 50% complete and a new contract to continue the soil cleanup is currently scheduled to be awarded this summer.
“These outstanding achievements represent years of teamwork focused on the best balance of worker safety, community protection, and production,” said David Frothingham, Chief, Environmental Branch, and FUSRAP Program Advocate. “I’m so proud of this team.”
For the third significant milestone of the day, the first roll-off container was filled with building debris from the deconstruction of the maintenance office building. USACE is removing some buildings at the Luckey Site to gain access to contaminated soils underneath.
“Demolition typically involves explosives and huge clouds of dust, which are the last thing we want at the Luckey Site!” Steven Vriesen emphasized. “Deconstruction is a slower, more methodical process of taking a building apart in smaller pieces. It produces much less dust that is controlled with water sprays.”
USACE is using this approach to remove the buildings because the protection of human health and the environment, and safety of our workers and the community is our top priority during our remediation of the site. Deconstruction of the maintenance office building at the site was completed in two days, on February 12, 2021. Deconstruction of the production building, where beryllium oxide, beryllium hydroxide, and beryllium pebbles were produced beginning in 1949 for the Atomic Energy Commission, began on February 18, 2021, and was since completed on March 15, 2021. All building deconstruction debris will also be disposed of at US Ecology in Belleville, Michigan.
USACE is also actively monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and is in regular communication with on-site personnel and contractors to emphasize the importance of taking appropriate actions -- such as social distancing, wearing appropriate protective equipment, temperature screening of individuals before entry into the site, and personal hygiene measures -- to safeguard employee health and welfare while working during the pandemic. Our contractor was very proactive in putting these safeguards in place and as a result there have been no impacts to the project since the start of the pandemic.
A thorough review of waste manifests through November 24, 2020, indicates that 133 tons of beryllium, and 12.4 tons of lead were included in the 103,449 tons of material that had been transported off-site for disposal as of that date. Soil excavation will resume in the Phase 4 area of the site once on-site building deconstruction is complete and the new remediation contractor has work plans in place.
Site progress is being recorded through the development of weekly infographics, which are available on the project website at: