The Savannah River Site’s liquid waste contractor recently acknowledged the impact that federal funding reductions will have on meeting environmental milestones, including a 10-year delay in waste tank removal.
Savannah River Remediation, or SRR, displayed a graph in its Liquid Waste System Plan that showed the projected completion of tank removal from service.
Several of the milestones were set in place by a Federal Facility Agreement, or FFA. The updated completion year for waste tank removal is 2032 – 10 years later than the original FFA report, which had a completion date of 2022.
The contractor wrote that modifications required due to funding limitations include “delays in tank removal from service that are beyond FFA commitments for BWRE (Bulk Waste Removal Efforts) and operational closure commitments.”
Another area of concern is work at the Salt Waste Processing Facility, or SWPF. The facility is currently under construction and will be designed to provide treatment capacity for longer-term salt processing at SRS.
SRR wrote that funding has impacted work at the SWPF as well, which has had a trickle-down effect related to work.
“Unavoidable funding reductions and delays in SWPF construction and operation have significantly impacted completion of the near term scope of this Plan,” wrote SRR. “These impacts are expected to result in: Failure to meet four FFA Bulk Waste Removal Effort commitments associated with 12 tanks and five FFA Operational Closure commitments associated with 18 tanks; missing the Site Treatment Plan waste disposition milestone by 7 years; and the inability to support planned H-Canyon processing.”
Liquid waste treatment and waste tank closures have been regarded by many – including the Department of Health and Environmental Control and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – as the single largest environmental threat in the state.
Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June 2013.