Environment News Service


LIVERMORE, California, February 16, 2000 (ENS) - Sandia National Laboratories in California has become the first Department of Energy (DOE) national lab to complete environmental clean up. Officials proclaimed cleanup complete last week after the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board approved ending a pilot project that had hastened natural degradation of an underground fuel oil spill. Sandia's environmental remediation team said recent studies showed the spill posed no risk, but the site will be monitored for two years. Sandia/California had 23 sites to clean up. The three sizeable sites were the fuel oil spill, a Navy landfill and the Trudell Auto Repair Service Station. Sandia acquired the service station property and cleaned up oil contaminated soil there in 1988.

The Navy landfill consisted of construction debris dumped on a hillside when Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory expanded before Sandia acquired the site in 1960. Debris was removed and native seeds were planted. The underground leak occurred in 1975 when a worker installing a grounding rod nicked a buried line from a fuel oil tank. Some 59,000 gallons of oil formed a plume that extended down 100 feet from the surface. Following a wet season, the water table rose and reached the bottom of the plume that was adsorbed onto clay particles in the soil. Breakdown of contaminants in the fuel oil spill was hastened in the 1990s with a bioremediation project that injected nutrients, salt and oxygen underground to encourage soil microbes to decompose the oil.

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