The chemical clean-up project in Lullwater is continuing, according to Director of Environmental Health and Safety Frank Lisella. Last week, contractors removed the contaminated soil from the chemical area, trucked it to a disposal facility, and then backfilled the trenches with clean dirt. The next step in that area, according to Lisella, is the installation of some ground water wells for monitoring purposes, which will occur immediately following commencement. As soon as that is completed, he said, the area will again be available for Emory community use.
Currently, a "confirmatory analysis is being done to make sure all of the contaminated soil has been removed from the area. The mass of chemicals that caused the contamination is gone," said Lisella. "This is `chasing' the contamination to make sure that it's been removed."
Lisella said this activity will cause an increase in truck traffic, through the temporary driveway that exits onto Williams Drive, in back of University Apartments. However, Emory Police will be on hand to assist project personnel and to assure the safe passage of pedestrians in the area.
In the radiation area, Lisella said that the contaminated area has been cleared of brush, and that contractors have begun removing the materials from each of the individual burial pits.
Betty Goetz, radiation safety officer, described the radiation area as containing "very low level radioactive waste which was buried between 1960 and 1975." She said that "much of the material has undergone complete radioactive decay and is no longer radioactive." The two materials in the area that remain radioactive are tritium and carbon-14. Goetz said that the amount of tritium in the waste "is less than the amount found in black-lighted liquid crystal display wrist watches, which are totally unregulated." Carbon-14, said Goetz, "is found naturally in the environment and is permissibly discharged to landfills in quantities greater than that remaining at Lullwater."
All of the background sampling has been done, and Lisella said that contractors are going to use a mini-type excavator to minimize damage to trees and the surrounding area.
"Hopefully," said Lisella, "they'll have all material removed in the next two weeks."
-- Nancy M. Spitler