says the contamination threat is lower than first believed.
By Bill Bartleman firstname.lastname@example.org
The cuts are in the work associated with the removal of 160 Department of Energy material storage areas, known as DMSAs, that contain equipment and materials that are considered hazardous.
The workers are employed by subcontractors for Bechtel Jacobs, which is overseeing cleanup operations for the U.S. Department of Energy, according to Greg Cook, Bechtel Jacobs spokesman.
Cook said fewer workers will be needed on the project because a review of the contents of the material storage areas indicates they do not pose an immediate health and safety risk to employees and the public. It will cut the work force from 100 to 70.
The DMSA project will cost about $116 million and is scheduled to be completed in 2007.
"We will redirect some of the funds to projects with a higher priority, such as the scrap metal yard," Cook said. "We won't know how many workers can be transferred to other projects until the end of the week."
The scrap yard contains 29,000 tons of old production equipment and materials that are believed to be a major source of groundwater contamination. Work to remove the scrap is in the early planning stages and isn't expected to be completed until 2009. The work will cost about $71 million.
About 30 workers are involved in that project, with more expected to be hired in the next few months.
Two other major cleanup projects are the north-south drainage ditch, which contains trichlorethylene and radioactive materials, and the soil under the C-400 building, which also contains trichlorethylene. They also are believed to be a major source of groundwater contamination.
Cook said that before the reduction in the storage area work, there were 738 people involved in the cleanup.