Paducah marks 25 years of ‘pump and treat’ groundwater operations

Paducah marks 25 years of ‘pump and treat’ groundwater operations
These maps show how much TCE has been removed from groundwater from 1998 to 2018 by using the pump-and-treat method. (Source: Department of Energy)

PADUCAH, Ky. (KFVS) - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Paducah Site announced their cleanup program of contaminated groundwater wells near their property has met with 25 years of success.

The DOE are using the pump-and-treat system to remove contaminates from groundwater and to prevent further contaminates from spreading.

This is equipment used at a DOE pump-and-and treat facility in Paducah which removes TCE contaminates from groundwater.
This is equipment used at a DOE pump-and-and treat facility in Paducah which removes TCE contaminates from groundwater. (Source: Department of Energy/Dylan Nichols)

They system is used to remove the primary contaminate called trichloroethene (TCE).

DOE states TCE is a common industrial degreaser that was used at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant to clean equipment. Over the years, TCE leaked into the groundwater, which was discovered in the late 1980s.

Since August of 1995, DOE reports the pump-and-treat method has treated approximately 4.4 billion gallons of water, which is enough water to fill 6,500 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Also in the past 25 years, more than 4,100 gallons of TCE has been removed from local groundwater.

“The continued operations of these systems for 25 years not only represents a milestone in the effectiveness and reliability of the systems and those that maintain them, it’s a demonstration of the commitment that we all have to the cleanup of this site,” said Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership Program Manager Myrna Redfield. “I remember when this system went online, and I am proud to see the effect it has had on the mission of the site and the impact it has had on site cleanup overall.”

DOE site workers Joe Tarantino and Denver Parman discuss the operation and maintenance of the pump-and- treat equipment at the facility in Paducah.
DOE site workers Joe Tarantino and Denver Parman discuss the operation and maintenance of the pump-and- treat equipment at the facility in Paducah. (Source: Department of Energy/Dylan Nichols)

Throughout the past 25 years, upgrades have been made to the system to further enhance the contaminant removal process.

“For 25 years, operation of the pump-and-treat systems have been essential to DOE’s mission at the Paducah Site,” said Jennifer Woodard, DOE’s Portsmouth/Paducah Site Office Paducah Site Lead. “DOE has been very successful at reducing groundwater contamination off DOE property.”

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