Alexander: Treatment Plant Helps Address Mercury Problem At Oak Ridge

Friday, May 3, 2013

At the announcement of a new facility to deal with mercury at Oak Ridge, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Friday called mercury contamination “one of the biggest problems we have from the Cold War era” and said it must be a top priority as cleanup resources become available.

Senator Alexander’s remarks came at a press conference announcing plans for a water treatment facility at the head of the East Fork Poplar Creek. The facility would head off future mercury contamination, which can cause brain and nervous system damage in people who eat contaminated fish. He joined officials with the State of Tennessee, Oak Ridge and U.S. Department of Energy, and pressed for more cleanup resources in the future to go toward existing mercury contamination, as problems like radioactive waste improve.

“This water treatment plant is a major step in addressing one of the biggest problems we have from the Cold War era – mercury once used to make nuclear weapons getting into our waterways,” Senator Alexander said. “As we finish other cleanup priorities, like cleaning up radioactive waste at the East Tennessee Technology Park, we need to strengthen our commitment to dealing with the mercury that’s already gotten into waterways at Oak Ridge.”

The treatment building announced today will filter water to prevent further mercury contamination, and Senator Alexander wants to also address existing contamination. The cleanup project at East Tennessee Technology Park has involved hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars to deal with radioactive material by tearing down the K-25 and K-27 buildings. 

K-25 is now almost completely demolished, and preparation is underway to do the same with K-27. Alexander, the lead Republican or Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, said that as more progress is made on the radioactive waste problem, more of the $394 million the president has budgeted for cleanup efforts should go toward mercury.

The mercury arrived at the facilities at Oak Ridge during the 1950s and 1960s as the United States built up its nuclear arms. About 200,000 gallons, enough to fill about 24 gasoline tank trucks, eventually arrived. About 18,000 gallons, enough to fill two gasoline tankers, have been lost to the environment or are otherwise unaccounted for at this point. Doctors have shown that mercury contamination – often passed to humans through the consumption of contaminated fish – can cause severe brain and nervous system damage, especially in unborn children.

Senator Alexander said, “We have children who want to pick crawdads out of Poplar Creek and Tennesseans of all ages who want to eat the fish, but they’re warned off by signs because of dangerous mercury levels. We need to make cleanup of existing mercury contamination at the facilities at Oak Ridge a top priority in the future.”


Chickamauga To Host Bassmaster Kayak Series National Championship

National Park Partners Receives Open OutDoors For Kids Grant

TDEC Commissioner, Staff Join Conservation Kid To Help Kick-Off River Rescue With Cleanup At Harrison Bay State Park


The country’s best kayak anglers are heading back to Tennessee, this time competing for a National Championship. The Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series Championship powered by TourneyX ... (click for more)

National Park Partners and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park have been awarded an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation. “Innovative Immersive Adventures ... (click for more)

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner David Salyers and department staff from across the state joined forces with Cash Daniels, the “Conservation Kid” his younger ... (click for more)



Outdoors

Chickamauga To Host Bassmaster Kayak Series National Championship

The country’s best kayak anglers are heading back to Tennessee, this time competing for a National Championship. The Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series Championship powered by TourneyX will be held at legendary Chickamauga Lake in Dayton as part of festivities surrounding the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville. The championship at Chickamauga ... (click for more)

National Park Partners Receives Open OutDoors For Kids Grant

National Park Partners and the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park have been awarded an Open OutDoors for Kids grant from the National Park Foundation. “Innovative Immersive Adventures at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park” will engage students, families, and the community throughout the region in national social studies standards through the lens ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Man, 38, In Critical Condition After He Is Shot Multiple Times On E. 40th Street Off Wilson Road

A 38-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot multiple times on Tuesday night. The incident happened around 8 p.m. at 700 E. 48th St. just off Wilson Road. Police were advised that the victim was suffering from a life-threatening injury. Police were told this was a potential dispute between two people that turned violent. The victim was taken to a ... (click for more)

Coty Wamp Names Top Leadership Posts In DA's Office

District Attorney Coty Wamp on Tuesday announced five new leadership positions in the office of the District Attorney. The new positions include executive assistant district attorney, deputy district attorney, gang and violent crime prosecutor, chief homicide prosecutor and child sex abuse prosecutor. “These prosecutors reflect my priorities,” said DA Wamp, who took office ... (click for more)

Opinion

Soddy Daisy Needs A Real Emergency Room - And Response (2)

I am a longtime resident of north Hamilton County, living in what is now Soddy Daisy. A few years ago, I cut my leg using a chainsaw. My wife drove me to an emergency room in Red Bank. After waiting for what seemed like a long time, I was told I would need to go to their downtown location to be sewn up. They told me, “There’s nobody here who can sew you up!” Frustrated, my wife ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: As Others See Us

The picture shows a young blonde girl, her arm around her dad’s neck, as “she watches a man wearing a dog mask and (draped) in a flag that indicates he likes to pretend to be a dog at the Chattanooga Pride parade in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Oct. 2.” No, I wasn’t there but The Epoch Times was, and on Tuesday there appeared on its website a story with the headline: ‘Corporate-Sponsored ... (click for more)