The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Test of TCE cleanup resumes at plant site


Work has resumed in testing a procedure for removing trichlorethylene (TCE) from the ground beneath the C-400 building at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

"Work resumed on Monday in another hole," said Greg Cook, spokesman for Bechtel Jacobs, the firm overseeing cleanup for the U.S. Department of Energy. He said the new hole is being drilled near the hole where vaporized TCE caused a worker's personal alarm to sound on Aug. 20, indicating that it was at a level higher than allowed.

Work was stopped while safety procedures were reviewed.

TCE, once used in the C-400 building to clean equipment, is a potential cancer-causing chemical. A damaged drain that went undetected for years allowed thousands of gallons of TCE to leak into the ground. It is the leading source for groundwater contamination, one of the major pollution problems at the plant.

Cook said work procedures are under review to determine if additional worker safety precautions are needed. As the review continues, the work area is being monitored for levels of vaporized TCE.

CDM Federal Services is performing the work under a $3.2 million contract through cleanup funds administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The work involves installing electrodes into the ground that will heat and vaporize the pools of TCE in the ground. The gases will then be vacuumed and disposed of properly, Cook said.