Savannah River Remediation will begin the grouting process of liquid waste Tanks 5 and 6 on Friday at the Savannah River Site.

The process is critical due to the large amounts of liquid waste the Site currently houses. Tanks 5 and 6, specifically, are estimated to hold up to 750,000 gallons of liquid waste.

According to Catherine Templeton, director of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the waste represents the biggest environmental risk in the state.

“What you do at SRS, in ridding the state of some of its most hazardous material, is vital to the safety of our citizens and environment,” Templeton said in a recent press release. “By closing these waste storage tanks, you are helping reduce the single highest environmental risk in the state of South Carolina.”

The closing of the tanks comes as part of an agreement between the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the health department. The agreement requires the operational closure of four high-level waste tanks. Tanks 5 and 6 are the first two tanks to be closed in the agreement.

“Grouting these two tanks says a great deal about the partnership involved in closing SRS waste tanks,” said David Moody, Department of Energy's Savannah River manager. “The work has been long, but we are celebrating the continuation of collaborative efforts that have made this possible.”

Before the upcoming closing of Tanks 5 and 6, Savannah River Remediation also closed Tanks 18 and 19 after being hired by SRS in 2009. After the closing of Tanks 5 and 6, the contractor will be looking to close two more tanks in 2015.

Savannah River Remediation is comprised of a team of companies led by URS Corp. with partners Bechtel National, CH2M HILL and Babcock & Wilcox. Important subcontractors for the contract include AREVA, Energy Solutions and URS Professional Solutions.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.