Site deemed safe again

Shawntelle Madison

The Ames Chemical Disposal Site at Ames Laboratory’s Scholl Road area, has been deemed safe after the removal of contaminated material by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE has issued the final environmental document, called the Record of Decision (ROD), which documents the completion of its voluntary removal action at the site.

The ROD indicates that no further action is required to clean the site.

Brian Quirke, of the DOE news media division, said there are several reasons why the site is deemed safe and clean.

First, the site will be restricted from usage as a residential, commercial or educational area.

“Our decision is based on the fact that it is owned by the university. The use of the area will continued to be restricted,” Quirke said.

According to a press release, the Chemical Disposal Site is listed under the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Registry of Confirmed Abandoned or Uncontrolled Disposal Areas and thus associated with land-use restrictions.

The second reason pertains to the contaminated soil that was in the area. The removal of the contaminated soil has been completed, DOE officials said.

Quirke said the third reason why no further action is required pertains to the ground water in the area.

“The third reason is that in that area there is hardly any water. The easiest way for pollutants to come in contact with people is through ground water. That gives a fairly high confidence level that people will not come in contact with it,” Quirke said.

Quirke added the soil rate in the ground is impermeable clay. Clay essentials slows the motion of ground water.

Also, there is underground piping in the area making it unnecessary to create a well to retrieve water.

Officials also say a risk assessment shows the only way to be at risk of contamination by any chemicals at the site is by drinking large amounts of the water over long periods of time.

Quirke said the site will be monitored from time to time. The ROD report states if any level of contamination becomes unacceptable, the DOE will take appropriate actions to remedy the problem.

The ROD report is available at the Ames Laboratory Public Information Repository in the Ames Public Library.