Uranium metal products for the nation's defense programs were produced at Fernald, including slightly enriched and depleted uranium. Smaller amounts of thorium metal also were produced. Uranium, radium and other radioactive materials contaminated the soil, debris, ground water and surface water.
An on-site disposal facility remains at the site containing approximately 3 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris. On-going aquifer remediation includes pumping uranium contaminated ground water and associated treatment to meet discharge criteria. Ohio EPA continues an active role in ensuring the cleanup remains protective through monitoring and inspection as well as community outreach.
Ground Water: The Fernald site is located over the Great Miami Aquifer, which is designated a sole source aquifer and considered a valued natural resource. The Southwest Ohio Water Company operates a production wellfield approximately one mile east of Fernald's former production area.
Waste Pits: The six waste pits used during past operations contained approximately 475,000 tons of waste, including uranium, thorium and other radioactive and chemical contaminants. The pits ranged in size from a football field to a baseball diamond, with varying depth from 13 to 30 feet. Two of the pits had a water cover, one had a synthetic cap and the others had a soil cover. The waste pits were in close proximity to, and sometimes in contact with, the Great Miami Aquifer and contributed to contamination of the ground water.
Past Releases: According to an independent dose reconstruction study*, an estimated 340 tons of uranium were released during production at Fernald. The study also estimates 170,000 curies of radon were released from the K-65 silos. A different study released in 1998 estimated the number of lung cancer deaths occurring between 1951 and 2088 may be increased by 1% to 12% from Fernald related radiation exposures. The study focused on lung cancer because exposure to radon contributed 70% to 90% of the lung dose to the Fernald community.
Ground water is contaminated with above background concentrations of uranium approximately one mile south of the site in what is referred to as the south plume. DOE provided bottled water for residents in the south plume area until 1996 when a public drinking water system became operational.
Silos: Four concrete silos were constructed at Fernald to store radioactive materials. Two of them, referred to as the K-65 silos, contained high radium-bearing residues, one contained lower-level dried uranium residues, and one was never used. To reinforce the K-65 silos, a soil berm was added in the 1960s and enlarged in the early 1980s. In 1991, bentonite clay was injected into the tops of the two K-65 silos to cap the high radium residues and reduce radon emissions from the silos.
* These estimates are reconstructions of past releases and are based on incomplete data. This review of historic data was conducted by Radiological Assessments Corporation (The Fernald Dosimetry Reconstruction Project, August 1996).
**Draft Risk Assessment, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, March 1998.
In 1997 the site work was reorganized around projects that incorporated operable units (OU) derived through the CERCLA process. The following explain the projects:
Waste Pits Remedial Action Project (includes OU1— Waste storage area, including six waste pits, clearwell and burn pit) The waste pit contents were excavated, thermally dried and shipped by rail to Energy Solutions (formerly Envirocare) disposal facility in Utah.
On-Site Disposal Facility (includes OU2, OU3, and OU5) Contaminated soil and debris was excavated and disposed in the on-site engineered disposal cell. Any waste exceeding the waste acceptance criteria was disposed off-site. No off-site waste was allowed in the disposal cell. The first of eight cells opened for waste placement in 1997. The final cap of cell 8 was installed in 2006.
Facilities Closure and Demolition Project (includes OU3 — Former production area, including all buildings, equipment, inventoried hazardous material and scrap metal piles, and remediation faciities) All on-site buildings were decontaminated and dismantled. Debris within the waste acceptance criteria went in the on-site disposal facility, with higher level materials going off-site.
Silos Project (includes OU4 — Silos 1-4, including the K-65 silos, their contents and associated piping and soils) Silo 1 & 2 waste was removed by slurry, solidified and placed in casks. The casks were shipped to a facility in Texas for disposal. Waste from Silo 3 was removed via vacuum, conditioned for shipment, packaged in bags and sea-land containers and shipped to a disposal facility in Utah.
Soils Characterization and Excavation Project (included OU2 and OU5) Contaminated soils were excavated and those meeting the waste acceptance criteria (WAC) disposed in the on-site disposal facility. Soil and debris exceeding the WAC were shipped off-site for disposal in Utah. A thorough certification process using real-time radiation detection equipment and standard physical sampling along with rigorous statistical analyses was used to determine cleanup had been completed.
Aquifer Restoration and Waste Water Project (included OU5) The Great Miami Aquifer will be remediated by a combination of treatment, extraction and injection of the ground water. An Advanced Waste Water Treatment Facility was completed in 1994 with additional capacity added in 1998. The South Plume extraction system removal action began pumping in August 1993. The South Field extraction system became operational in 1998.
Numerous federal and state laws guided environmental remediation at Fernald. The primary driver in Fernald’s cleanup is CERCLA. Also known as Superfund, CERCLA mandates the study and implementation of cleanup initiatives. Other important regulations that affect the cleanup process include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA—for hazardous waste), the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES—for wastewater discharges), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and numerous other state and federal laws that protect air, water and land resources.
Ohio EPA worked with DOE to improve efficiency in the regulations that affect Fernald. For example, Ohio EPA worked with DOE to integrate RCRA and CERCLA ground water monitoring programs. Additional streamlining occurred with the integration of RCRA closures and CERCLA cleanups.
Ohio EPA works closely with U.S. EPA under judicial consent decrees and enforceable inter-agency agreements to oversee the cleanup effort at Fernald. The 1991 Consent Agreement was signed by DOE and U.S. EPA which sets schedules for CERCLA documentation and implementation, and clarifies methods for assessing risk. Using state and federal legislation along with negotiated agreements, both EPAs were able to ensure an effective cleanup at Fernald.
In 1994, Ohio EPA created the Office of Federal Facilities Oversight to coordinate and manage regulatory activities at several federal facilities. OFFO was created to provide a consistent and comprehensive approach to oversight. As Fernald closure concluded at the end of 2006, many OFFO staff transitioned to other jobs, while some remained with Ohio EPA's Federal Facilities Section to monitor DOE's Legacy Management activities at Fernald. Ohio EPA’s activities at Fernald are funded through a DOE Cost Recovery Grant.
From 1995 To 2003 Ohio EPA produced annual reports to the public detailing oversight activities. Electronic copies of these can be obtained HERE.
Environmental monitoring was conducted on a regular basis to meet certain objectives at Fernald. The overall objective of sampling at Fernald is to ensure the protection of human and environmental health. Since June 1994, Ohio EPA has taken independent and split samples with the Fernald monitoring team. Ohio EPA has sampled ground water, surface water, sediment, soil, produce and air.
The State of Ohio was tasked to evaluate the adequacy of Fernald’s sampling program. In March 1995, Ohio EPA and the Ohio Department of Health completed the Initial Review of the Fernald Environmental Monitoring Program. In May 1998, OFFO completed the Field Sampling Plan and Standard Operating Procedures, a guidance document for sampling and reporting data at Fernald. In 1996, OFFO participated in the development of Fernald’s new program to integrate and streamline all aspects of environmental monitoring. Fernald’s Integrated Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) combined DOE’s project specific monitoring with compliance monitoring and ground water remedy performance monitoring. Fernald’s IEMP monitored for environmental releases and doses to the public as part of DOE Orders. It is governed by CERCLA, RCRA, FFCA, NPDES, ARARs, NESHAPs, and Ohio Fugitive Dust Regulations.
Public availability and working partnerships with all stakeholders helped Ohio EPA’s Fernald team to enhance their cleanup oversight at Fernald. The team encouraged early and active public participation in Fernald cleanup decisions. Through technical availability sessions, environmental monitoring fact sheets, web site, and frequent contact with the public, Ohio EPA’s Fernald team helped to enhance the remediation at Fernald.
In response to elevated concentrations of uranium in the ground water around Fernald, a public water supply system was installed in the area. DOE contributed approximately $5.4 million to this project. Residents living within a certain area were eligible to have the initial installation of the water service paid by DOE. The public water supply system became operational in 1996.
There is a very vocal and active community involved with the cleanup of Fernald. From local residents to elected officials, the public played an active role in Fernald’s remediation. In 1984, after a resident learned she had been drinking contaminated well water, she joined with several area residents to express outrage at the environmental threats to their community. From 1984 - 2006 FRESH, Inc. (Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health) played an active role in the cleanup process at Fernald by influencing key decision-makers, educating the larger community, and participating in the national debate on nuclear waste issues.
The Fernald Citizens Advisory Board, formerly the Fernald Citizens Task Force, a DOE Site Specific Advisory Board, first convened in the summer of 1993 with various representatives from the community. The Advisory Board issued reports and recommendations on future use, waste disposal, cleanup levels, and priorities. They have also influenced major budget and policy initiatives like the 10 Year Plan.
Other groups that have contributed to the Fernald community include the Fernald Citizens for Health and Environment Committee (FCHEC), Fernald Community Reuse Organization (FCRO) and Fernald Living History Project (FLHP).
During site closure in 2006 many of these groups disbanded as their missions were complete. With long-term stewardship issues on the horizon, the Fernald Community Alliance (FCA) emerged as a single voice for the Fernald community.
- 1951 Construction of Fernald facility by Atomic Energy Commission; National Lead of Ohio assumes responsibility as managing contractor.
- 1952 Production of uranium ore into uranium metal as the first step in making atomic weapons begins in the Metals Fabrication Plant.
- 1953 K-65 silos are built to store radioactive materials received from the Belgian Congo.
- 1962 Cuban missile crisis heightens fear of nuclear war and weapons production soars. Fernald employment peaks at more than 3000.
- 1964 Earthen embankment is built around K-65 silos to stabilize walls. Production is cutback.
- 1970 Thorium metal production begins; 92,000 pounds are produced in the next three years.
- 1970s Political support grows for disarmament treaties and demand for processed uranium falls. Fernald employment plummets to 650.
- 1971 Four air sampling stations installed at Fernald boundary.
- 1979 DOE discovers radon gas has been leaking for years from two K-65 silos.
- 1981 Contamination detected in off-site wells.
- 1984 March - Ohio EPA investigators performed a hazardous waste inspection (RCRA) and found many violations of Ohio’s hazardous waste laws.
- 1984 November - Accidental air release of uranium oxide from Plant 9.
- 1984 December - The Ohio Attorney General files notice of intent to file suit against DOE for hazardous waste (RCRA) and water pollution violations.
- 1984 Local citizens form Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health (FRESH).
- 1985 January - Ohio EPA staff samples 14 wells in the Fernald area following reports of uranium contamination. Ohio EPA issues a press release in April confirming that 3 off-site wells located south of the facility are contaminated with uranium. These property owners are advised not to drink water from these three wells until a complete health assessment is made.
- 1985 September - Ohio EPA begins a series of meetings with DOE to discuss the need for a site wide study to characterize the environmental problems at Fernald and assess the exposure risks of the people living around the site.
- 1985 Local residents sue DOE and National Lead of Ohio.
- 1985 FRESH (Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health), a group of local activists, forms and remains instrumental in the cleanup for more than two decades.
- 1986 March - The Ohio Attorney General files suit against the Department of Energy and NLO Incorporated (Operator of site until December, 1985) concerning violations of hazardous waste and water pollution laws.
- 1986 July - DOE and USEPA sign Federal Facility Compliance Agreement which includes Clean Air Act issues and site-wide RI/FS, RCRA issues.
- 1986 Environmental investigations begin. Westinghouse Material Co. of Ohio assumes responsibility for production and cleanup. Environmental remediation officially begins as production continues.
- 1987 February - Monthly technical meetings begin to discuss issues relating to site studies and cleanup. Groups represented include DOE, Westinghouse, Ohio EPA, USEPA, Ohio Department of Health and Southwest Ohio Air Pollution Control Agency.
- 1987 March - Ohio EPA Director Warren Tyler issues Findings and Orders to DOE regarding waste water treatment issues.
- 1987 August - Governor Celeste and Ohio EPA Director Shank visit the home of Ms. Lisa Crawford, spokesperson for FRESH, to discuss issues relating to the Fernald site.
- 1987 August - Fieldwork begins on the site wide study (RI/FS) to be conducted by DOE/Westinghouse with oversight from Ohio EPA and USEPA.
- 1987 October - Director Shank presents testimony to the House Subcommittee chaired by the Honorable Thomas Luken concerning the serious nature of the environmental problems at Fernald.
- 1988 October - On October 18, Governor Celeste sends a letter to President Reagan asking that production stop at the Fernald site.
- 1988 October - Ohio EPA staff samples all public water supplies within a ten-mile radius to determine if any public water supplies have been contaminated by Fernald activities. The sample results indicate all levels at or near background concentrations.
- 1988 November - Governor Celeste, Director Shank and an independent team of experts tour Fernald.
- 1988 December - Attorney General Celebrezze announces settlement of Ohio’s suit filed in 1986. Settlement includes the State’s jurisdiction over hazardous and mixed waste at Fernald as well as past and future cost recovery for oversight of the cleanup. In addition, DOE, NLO and Westinghouse paid approximately one million dollars in penalties and cost recovery. In April, 1993 the Supreme Court issued their decision on DOE’s appeal of the civil penalties and found that the state could not assess penalties for past violations but could issue orders to stop pollution or start a cleanup.
- 1989 April - Ohio EPA’s Director Shank presented testimony to the House Subcommittee supporting H.R. 1056, legislation that would ensure all federal facilities comply with environmental laws and are subject to civil penalties and administrative orders. A later version of this bill became the Federal Facility Compliance Act of 1992.
- 1989 November - December 1989 - USEPA and DOE begin negotiations for a new interagency 120 agreement to oversee the cleanup of FMPC. Ohio EPA participates in these negotiations. This agreement was finalized by USEPA on April 9, 1990 and was effective on June 1, 1990.
- 1989 Westinghouse suspends all production activities at Fernald to concentrate on cleanup and compliance. Fernald is added to National Priorities List for environmental restoration.
- 1989 A class action lawsuit for Fernald neighbors is settled for $78 million, including a medical monitoring program.
- 1990 DOE and USEPA enter into CERCLA Consent Agreement (in accordance with Superfund regulations) initiating a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) and setting forth specific legally-binding milestones by which cleanup progress is measured. Site workers sue DOE.
- 1990 February - Ohio EPA learns that hazardous waste drums on the Plant 1 pad have been leaking waste resulting in off-site releases of mixed waste.
- 1990 March - Ohio EPA files contempt of court charges in federal court against DOE and Westinghouse for violations of the December 1988 consent decree. The violations cited relate mainly to hazardous waste problems at Fernald.
- 1990 April - Ohio EPA, Ohio Attorney General, DOE and Westinghouse begin to negotiate settlement on contempt charges. Technical issues are resolved and new schedules established for characterizing waste materials. Legal issues keep the amended consent decree from being finalized until 1993, but all work was completed.
- 1990 September - Ohio EPA and USEPA conditionally approve the K-65 engineering evaluation/cost analysis (EE/CA) which will add one-foot of bentonite clay to the two K-65 silos as an interim action to reduce radon releases and provide protection in case of a structural failure in the silo domes.
- 1990 September to December - Severe problems develop in the remedial process. Access to off-site property, failure to collect K-65 samples, and scoping of the production area all lead to dispute resolutions and USEPA assessing stipulated penalties against DOE. It becomes clear that with existing problems, DOE will not be able to meet consent agreement schedules.
- 1991 March - USDOE, USEPA and Ohio EPA form a working group to ensure that the K-65 removal action proceeds on schedule.
- 1991 May - Dispute resolution settlement is reached with the USEPA Administrator. DOE pays a $100,000 penalty, $150,000 for other environmental projects, and agrees to a four month time period for the renegotiation of remedial schedules. Ohio EPA participates in these negotiations.
- 1991 May to September - Negotiations occur between USEPA, DOE and Ohio EPA on new remedial schedules. The revised agreement is signed on September 20.
- 1991 June - Fernald formally closes as a production facility and DOE announces the new mission as environmental cleanup. DOE officially changed the site name from the Feed Materials Production Center (FMPC) to the Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP).
- 1991 November – One foot of bentonite clay is successfully added to each K-65 silo. Radon levels and gamma radiation levels decrease by at least 90%.
- 1991 December – DOE publishes a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a contractor to manage the cleanup at Fernald. This new type of contract is called an Environmental Restoration Management Contract (ERMC).
- 1992 January – Westinghouse announces that they will not bid for the ERMC to continue to manage the Fernald site.
- 1992 February – Companies submitting proposals for Fernald’s ERMC include Lockheed, TRW, Waste Management, Ebasco, and Fluor Daniel.
- 1992 June – The first shipments of thorium left Fernald for transport to the Nevada Test Site. The first shipments include 1,600 out of a total of 15,000 drums.
- 1992 July – DOE and Hamilton County reach agreement on a plan to provide public water to the affected areas around the Fernald site. As proposed, DOE would provide $4.2 million and the project would be completed in 1994.
- 1992 October – President Bush signs the Federal Facility Compliance Act.
- 1992 December – Fernald Environmental Restoration Management Corporation (FERMCO) assumes responsibility for managing cleanup. Fluor Daniel is their parent company.
- 1992 December through March 1993 – Data gaps are discovered during the review of the OU2 Remedial Investigation Report. Negotiations follow in which a field program is planned to address the gaps and schedules and penalties are negotiated.
- 1993 January - The Amended Consent Decree negotiated between Ohio and DOE in 1990 is finalized in federal court.
- 1993 February - Ohio EPA Director Schregardus and Jim Burns (Governor Voinovich’s Executive Assistant) tour Fernald and meet with the FRESH core group. Later in February the FRESH core group met with Governor Voinovich in Columbus.
- 1993 March - DOE begins operating the alternate water system for Albright Wilson.
- 1993 August - DOE, Ohio EPA and USEPA coordinate efforts to form a site-specific advisory board. The Fernald Citizens Task Force was established to review information and provide recommendations concerning major cleanup activities.
- 1993 August - The extraction wells in the South Plume began operation. This removal action pumps uranium contaminated ground water back to the Fernald site for treatment and/or discharge to the Great Miami River.
- 1993 December – Ohio EPA issues a Notice of Violation to DOE and FERMCO for leaking hazardous UNH waste containers. Director Schregardus issues Director’s Findings and Orders on December 27, 1994 to remove and treat the mixture of uranium and nitric acid stored in the leaking tanks. The successful removal, neutralization and disposal of the material was completed in 1995.
- 1994 February - Construction of the Advanced Wastewater Treatment facility, which effectively reduces the uranium content in FEMP’s wastewater discharged to the Great Miami River, was completed.
- 1994 February - DOE and FERMCO initiate the Fernald Envoy Program, designed to facilitate two-way communication and improve the decision-making process at Fernald by building closer relationships with numerous stakeholders.
- 1994 Completed the removal of scrap metal pile, a project which had been initiated in 1993. Upon completion of the project, approximately 2,200 tons of scrap metal had been removed from Fernald for processing, decontamination, or recycling.
- 1994 Plant 1 Ore Silos, which once held production residues, were dismantled, packaged and shipped to the Nevada Test Site as part of the Fernald cleanup.
- 1994 September - Plant 7, one of the largest former production buildings at Fernald, was imploded using linear-shaped explosive charges.
- 1994 December - Record of Decision signed for Operable Unit (OU) 4, an area that includes K-65 Silos 1 and 2, both of which contain radium-bearing wastes, Silo 3, storing dried uranium-bearing wastes, and Silo 4, which is empty.
- 1994 Fernald workers= class-action suit is settled for $15 million, the first legal victory by any group of atomic workers.
- 1995 March - Record of Decision is signed for OU1 which includes excavation, thermal drying and disposal at Envirocare of Utah. Remediation includes Waste Pits 1-6, a burn pit, and a clear well.
- 1995 DOE and FERMCO announce accelerated cleanup plan to save taxpayers money—taking 15 years off the schedule and prioritizing and organizing projects in support of the plan.
- 1995 June - A government study concludes that Fernald workers suffered higher than average death rates from lung cancer and respiratory disease because of radiation exposure.
- 1995 June - Record of Decision is signed for OU2 which includes construction of the on-site disposal facility, and remediation of lime sludge ponds, an inactive flyash disposal area, an active flyash pile, and the South Field area.
- 1995 July - FCTF issues recommendations for long-term cleanup plans, including future land uses, cleanup levels and waste disposal options. DOE, USEPA and Ohio EPA have embraced all Task Force recommendations. Overall, the FCTF has experienced unprecedented success as a DOE site-specific advisory board.
- 1995 In advance of the final decision for OU3, the EPA approved a Record of Decision for Interim Remedial Action, allowing early dismantling of approximately 125 buildings in the former production area.
- 1996 February - The Cincinnati Enquirer runs the first of a yearlong series of “Danger & Deceit” articles by reporter Mike Gallagher. The articles are highly critical of Fernald and eventually spawn a GAO investigation. (Mr. Gallagher was fired from the Enquirer in 1998 and plead guilty to criminal charges for the Chiquita series.)
- 1996 February - Completed the Mixed Waste Stabilization Project. Fernald was the first site within the DOE complex to implement a Site Treatment Plan per the Federal Facilities Compliance Act by using a mobile treatment unit to successfully treat over 1,500 drums of mixed waste.
- 1996 February - Four million consecutive safe work hours logged with no lost workday accidents. This is the longest period of safe work since FERMCO arrived on site, and the second-longest period in the 40-year history of the Fernald site. The 4-million hour countdown began March 27, 1995.
- 1996 June - Initiated Phase I of the Vitrification Pilot Plant using non-rad surrogate material.
- 1996 June - First meeting of the Fernald Health Effects Subcommittee (FHES), a group of concerned citizens that will make recommendations on health issues at Fernald.
- 1996 DOE appoints a 19-member community group, the Fernald Community Reuse Organization, to serve as the local communities’ focal point for the DOE on socioeconomic issues resulting from the downsizing and eventual closure of the Fernald site once cleanup is complete.
- 1996 August - Plant 4, one of the largest former production buildings at Fernald, was imploded using linear-shaped explosive charges.
- 1996 August - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the results of their six-year, $4 million independently conducted dose reconstruction study. The study concluded that radon emissions were the primary source of dose for residents that lived near the site during production. The increased lifetime cancer risk identified for the scenario providing the largest dose is about 2.5%.
- 1996 August - The Fernald Community Reuse Organization held their first meeting.
- 1996 September – Treatment of mixed waste in the Stabilization Project was completed. Treatment of liquid mixed waste in the Waste Water Treatment System was completed. Last shipment of liquid mixed waste was sent to TSCA incinerator.
- 1996 September - Operable Unit 3 Record of Decision signed by DOE and USEPA with Ohio EPA concurrence. All Records of Decisions have now been signed.
- 1996 November – Completed shipments of depleted uranium metal derbies to Manufacturing Sciences Corp.
- 1996 December - The melter on the OU4 Vitrification Pilot Plant failed on the 26th during test runs with surrogate materials causing suspension of vitrification.
- 1996 To date, at least 3,843,901 pounds of nuclear materials has been transferred off-site.
- 1997 February - Plant 1 was successfully imploded.
- 1997 February – Ohio EPA Division of Hazardous Waste issued a RCRA Notice of Violation.
- 1997 March - The General Accounting Office released its report titled “Management and Oversight of Cleanup Activities a Fernald.” The report was critical of project management by Fluor Daniel Fernald, as well as contractor oversight by DOE. Local congressmen and senators issued a press release concerning the report, as did DOE. The report received extensive local print and TV media coverage.
- 1997 May - Thorium overpack operations were completed with 5,577 drums remotely overpacked into 967 thorium overpack containers. By August, all containers were shipped to the Nevada Test Site.
- 1997 May – Native American remains were reinterred in a sacred ceremony at Fernald.
- 1997 July - The Fernald Citizens Task Force is renamed the Fernald Citizens Advisory Board to better align itself with other site‑specific advisory boards in the DOE complex.
- 1997 October - The Fernald Living History Project met for the first time in an effort to preserve the various perspectives that are a part of the community’s environmental history.
- 1997 November – The Silo 3 Explanation of Significant Differences was finalized.
- 1997 December - OSDF cell one and leachate collection system construction have been completed and first waste placement occurred on December 23. The placement of contaminated material in the cell met a March 1998 milestone.
- 1997 December – Seven white metal boxes transporting depleted and slightly enriched uranium residues from Fernald to NTS were found to be leaking fluid near Kingman, AZ. The fluid did not pose a radiological threat to the area. The incident drew the attention of DOE Secretary Pena as well as several newspaper articles and refueled the DOE waste transportation debate for opponents in Nevada, Senator Bryan and Gov. Bob Miller.
- 1997 Over 130 local residences with wells impacted by Fernald operations receive service connections to the public water supply system.
- 1998 January - Paddys Run bank stabilization project is initiated.
- 1998 March - The CDC announces the results of a study of Fernald neighbors who might have developed cancer as a result of production activities. The study estimates that the number of lung cancer deaths occurring between 1951 and 2088 may be increased by 1% to 12% as a result of Fernald‑related radiation exposures.
- 1998 March - Ohio EPA announces that it’s federal facilities website now has real time radon readings updated hourly at http://offo2.epa.state.oh.us/frealtime.htm.
- 1998 March - U.S. EPA finalized the OU4 Silo 3 Explanation of Significant Difference.
- 1998 June - The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit lifted the injunction against DOE concerning commercial waste disposal. The contract for off‑site disposal of the Waste Pit material was awarded to Envirocare of Utah that same day.
- 1998 June - Ohio EPA’s Director Schregardus toured Fernald and met with representatives from FRESH.
- 1998 July - Stream stabilization using a combination of bioengineering and traditional controls was completed in Paddys Run near the Southern Waste Units.
- 1998 July - Boiler plant structure was successfully pulled down after months of D&D.
- 1998 July – Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water issued a Notice of Violation of the NPDES permit due to disturbances in the OSDF borrow area (A1PII)
- 1998 August - The South Plume Optimization ground water extraction system became operational. The Re‑injection Demonstration systems operability testing was completed.
- 1998 August – D&D of the Sewage Treatment Plant was complete.
- 1998 September - Fernald Natural Resources Trustees and DOE sponsor public meetings and comment periods on final land use of Fernald. DOE issues Environmental Assessment declaring natural resource restoration as final land use of the site.
- 1998 November - Construction activities were completed in the A8PI habitat viewing area, along Paddys Run Road.
- 1998 November - The Fernald Living History Project volunteer advisory committee was incorporated as a non‑profit organization.
- 1998 December – Ohio EPA’s hyporeic samplers were removed from Paddys Run and Dry Run. The four month study allowed scientists to sample macroinvertebrates in an intermittent stream.
- 1998 December – Rocky Mountain Remediation Services of Denver, Colorado was awarded a $16.7 million contract to stabilize and compress into bricks the contents of Silo 3.
- 1999 January – Three vendors complete Proof of Principle testing of technologies to treat waste from Silos1 and 2.
- 1999 January - The FCAB reorganized into a Remediation Committee (transportation, silos, waste pits, OSDF, D&D, nuclear materials disposition) and a Stewardship Committee (Fernald Living History Project, Native American issues, historic preservation, archiving of site records, museum/cultural center, ecological restoration issues, stewardship planning and funding, “Natural Resources Working Group”).
- 1999 January – The first of numerous leaks were detected in the OSDF leachate line. Waste placement activities were stopped until the leaks were repaired.
- 1999 March - Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson toured the site and attended a celebration of Safe Shutdown completion along with Ohio EPA Director Jones. Safe Shutdown (the removal of holdup material and de‑energizing of production facilities) was completed to make way for Decontamination and Dismantlement of the production buildings.
- 1999 March - Construction of more than six acres of mitigation wetlands was initiated in Area 1 Phase 1 (to be completed in June). The wetland mitigation project will be made up of eight basins surrounded by an additional six acres of upland vegetation. Ohio EPA and the University of Dayton are conducting a restoration research project within the mitigation area. Work also was started on two natural resource restoration research projects. An invasive plant control project is being conducted in the Northern Woodlot. A reforestation research project is being implemented in Area 8 Phase 1.
- 1999 March - The first annual restoration outreach event was held with sixth graders from Ross and Crosby schools. Ohio EPA staff educate kids in the classroom about native plant restoration. Later in the spring the kids toured Fernald and planted native wildflowers as part of the restoration effort.
- 1999 April - The first train shipment (of 154) of OU1 waste pit material leaves Fernald for Envirocare near Clive, Utah.
- 1999 April - The FCAB Remediation Committee sponsors the first of several Future of Fernald workshops. The community discusses scenarios in which a cleaned up Fernald can benefit the area for years to come.
- 1999 May - A polyurethane coating is applied to the top of the K‑65 silos to reduce increasing radon emissions from the silos.
- 1999 June - Begin transporting uranium product to DOE’s facility in Portsmouth, Ohio. (Project would be completed in May 2002.)
- 1999 September - initiated Waste Pit excavation.
- 1999 December - initiated Waste Pit dryer operations to achieve Envirocare moisture WAC.
- 1999 Fernald Living History Project completes more than 100 video taped interviews of current and former workers and community members were completed during this first phase with assistance from DOE and Fluor Daniel Fernald.
- 1999 Fluor Daniel Fernald changes name to Fluor Fernald.
- 2000 March - Ohio and US EPA approve the OU4 Feasibility Study/Proposed with stabilization as the preferred alternative for Silos 1 and 2.
- 2000 May – At the second Future of Fernald Workshop participants are able to join in person or on-line.
- 2000 June – Construction begins on the OU4 Advanced Waste Retrieval project.
- 2000 September – At the third Future of Fernald workshop participants approved a vision statement of Fernald’s future.
- 2000 September - DOE selects a new site director, Steve McCracken, formerly of Weldon Springs, MO.
- 2000 October - Waste placement in OSDF Cell 1 is completed earlier than expected.
- 2000 November - DOE awards Fluor Fernald site closure contract that runs through 2010.
- 2000 Fernald employees pass five million safe work hours milestone.
- 2001 Plant 5 is demolished.
- 2001 May 8 - “Fernald at 50: From Weapons to Wetlands” acknowledges the 50th anniversary of the site. A Cold War Garden was constructed with bricks recognizing important stakeholders over the years.
- 2001 June - Fluor Fernald negotiates a termination of Foster Wheeler's subcontract for the Silos 1 and 2 accelerated waste retrieval and storage project.
- 2001 June - The FCAB announces their new independent web site, www.fernaldcab.org.
- 2001 July – DOE initiates their Occupational Illness Compensation Program.
- 2001 August - The Fernald Natural Resource Trustees exchange signed copies of the final Memorandum Of Understanding. The MOU outlines the process the trustee representatives are working under and will use in the future.
- 2001 August - Fernald Health Effects Subcommittee holds its final meeting.
- 2001 August – To coincide with the recently finalized levels in USEPA's Safe Drinking Water Act, Fernald’s OU5 Record of Decision needed an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to change the final remediation level for uranium in drinking water and the discharge limit for uranium to the Great Miami River from 20 mg/L to 30 mg/L.
- 2001 September – Fluor Fernald management structure changes. John Bradburne becomes Chairman and CEO with the primary objective to work with elected officials and DOE‑HQ. Jamie Jameson is promoted to President of Fluor Fernald.
- 2001 September - As a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, DOE‑HQ halt all shipments from DOE facilities. The moratorium, which includes samples and all levels of wastes, is lifted after two weeks.
- 2001 October – DOE shipments are again halted for security reasons following the 10/7 air strikes on Afghanistan. Shipments are released based on weekly approval.
- 2001 November - The last of over 400,000 cubic yards of soil and debris are removed from the Southern Waste Units. Much of the contamination in this 26‑acre area was in direct contact with the Great Miami Aquifer.
- 2001 December - Seeding with native wildflowers and grasses completes the final stage in capping Cell 1 of the OSDF.
- 2002 January - Plant 6, the former Metals Fabrication Plant, where high purity metals were machined represents the sixth of 10 major structures demolished since the site’s mission changed to environmental remediation in the early 1990s. The project was completed more than two months ahead of schedule and within budget.
- 2002 January - U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham tours Fernald and announces new cleanup budget and site closure timeline, moving up cleanup to 2006.
- 2002 February – Woodrow “Jamie” Jameson replaces retiring head John Bradburne as Fluor Fernald president.
- 2002 March - A truck transporting laboratory standards from Fernald to Idaho National Engineering Laboratory overturns in Wyoming. I‑80 is shut down for sometime while officials determined no leakage occurred.
- 2002 Fernald Community Health Effects Committee (FCHEC) replaces the former CDC-funded Health Effects Subcommittee.
- 2002 FCAB hosts a design charet to discuss architectural ideas for a future on-site museum.
- 2002 May 15 - Final truckload of uranium product leaves Fernald to media hype.
- 2002 June - Through an Ohio EPA Environmental Education Fund grant, University of Cincinnati with the support of the FLHP hosted a two-day teacher enrichment workshop, “Linking Community with Environment”
- 2002 August - Fernald nears half‑way point (48%) for site demolition as the completion of the Safety and Health Building is the 107th site structure to be demolished since 1994.
- 2002 August – Fluor Fernald announces the involuntary separation of 75 salaried employees. This layoff follows two voluntary and one involuntary separation this fiscal year.
- 2002 August – DOE Assistant Secretary Jessie Roberson toured Fernald.
- 2002 September - Excavation of Southern Waste Units completed.
- 2002 October - Lime sludge pond excavation completed.
- 2002 November – The OU1 Final Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) was signed, detailing the ROD change for the processing of certain other waste streams through OU1.
- 2003 The infamous checkerboard water tower at Fernald was dismantled.
- 2003 September - ROD Amendment for Operable Unit 4 Silo 3 Remedial Action modified the treatment component of the Silo 3 remedy to treatment, to the degree reasonably implementable, to address material dispersability and metals mobility.
- 2003 November - Solid waste landfill excavation completed.
- 2004 April – Silos 1 and 2 (K-65) were demolished. For nearly 50 years the two concrete structures were home to 8,900 cubic yards of radioactive waste, the byproduct of uranium metal extraction.
- 2004 September - Bulk retrieval and transfer of material from Silo 1 and 2 and the decant sump tank to the advanced waste retrieval transfer tank area was initiated. Transfer completed March 2005.
- 2004 October - Waste Pits dryer operations completed.
- 2004 Last of the former production facilities dismantled.
- 2005 January - Explanation of Significant Differences for Operable Unit 4 allowed the option for temporary offsite storage of treated Silos 1, 2, and 3 materials prior to permanent offsite disposal.
- 2005 March - Waste pit excavation operations completed with loadout operations completed in May 2005. Approximately 628,000 yds of waste pit material were processed through the loadout building.
- 2005 May - Treatment and packaging of the Silo 1 and 2 material in the Remediation Facility was initiated.
- 2005 June - First shipment of treated Silos 1 and 2 material to Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews, Texas for temporary storage left the FCP.
- 2005 June - Last shipment of material from waste pits leaves Fernald for disposal facility in Utah. Beginning in April 1999, 154 trains of waste pits material, totaling 9,100 railcars and nearly 90 miles, were safely transported.
- 2006 March - Bulk processing in the Silos 1 and 2 Remediation Facility was completed. A total of 3,776 containers of treated Silo 1 and 2 material were packaged and shipped to WCS.
- 2006 April - Last shipment of Silo 3 waste leaves Fernald for disposal at Clive, Utah.
- 2006 May – Last shipment of Silos 1 and 2 (K-65) waste leaves Fernald. The radioactive materials had been moved to steel tanks, treated and sealed in 3,776 special transportation containers before traveling by truck to Texas.
- 2006 September - Final Remedial Action Report for Operable Unit 2 issued.
- 2006 September - Final Remedial Action Report for Operable Unit 4 issued.
- 2006 September – Final Fernald Citizens Advisory Board meeting. www.fernaldcab.org
- 2006 October 29 – Fluor Fernald announces declaration of physical closure.
- 2006 November 16 – FRESH holds its final public meeting at the Venice Presbyterian Church after 22 years of citizen activism (1985-2006).
- 2006 Following site closure in 2006 many Fernald community groups disbanded as their missions were complete. With long-term stewardship issues still on the horizon, the Fernald Community Alliance (FCA) emerged as a single voice for the Fernald community. www.fernaldcommunityalliance.org
- 2006 December – DOE Office of Legacy Management (LM) takes over management of the Fenald site and holds the first quarterly LM public meeting. www.lm.doe.gov/land/sites/oh/fernald/fernald.htm
- 2007 January 19 – DOE held its final closure ceremony in the future Visitors Center (former Silos Warehouse). Dignitaries include Senator Voinovich, DOE Secretary Bodman and many local officials. An oak tree was dedicated to Ohio EPA in the Weapons to Wetlands Grove along with 22 other Fernald stakeholders. www.lm.doe.gov/land/sites/oh/fernald_orig/index.htm
- 2007 June - DOE LM holds the first open house at the Fernald site now officially renamed the Fernald Preserve.
- 2008 July 7 - NRD trustees reach agreement after more than 22 years of litigation and filed a Partial Consent Decree with the U.S. District Court. DOE agreed to pay $13.75 million for contaminating ground water at Fernald. In addition to the subsequent public comment period and public hearing, trustees continue to update and engage the public in a dialogue as the settlement process evolves.
- 2008 October 16 - Ohio EPA joined state legislators and other dignitaries to open the Fernald Preserve Visitors Center (FPVC), a green building. The FPVC was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum building in Ohio and the first in the DOE complex.
- November 11, 2008; NRD Settlement Consent Decree Entered by Court
- November 19, 2008, NRT member attended Fernald Citizen Alliance Meeting
- November 24, 2008, DOE LM finalizes award per section 4.10 of the Consent Decree to make $50,000 available to OEPA for future oversight costs of the Funds Use Plan per section 1.5 of the Restoration Plan.
- December 10, 2008; NRD Trustees Meeting (OEPA, F&WS, DOE), Meeting to discuss Settlement implementation. OEPA submitted initial estimate of past NRDA assessment costs. DOE-LM also participated in the meeting.
- January 5, 2009, NRT member attended Fernald Citizen Alliance meeting
- January 14 and February 12, 2009; DOE recorded Conservation Easements for the Fernald Preserve in Butler and Hamilton County respectively.
- January 22, 2009; NRD Trustees Meeting, discuss funds use plan development and listened to presentation from Three Valley Conservation Trust.
- February 2, 2009 NRT member attended Fernald Citizen Alliance meeting.
- February 17, 2009; The Department of the Treasury on behalf of DOE deposited $13.75M into an escrow account of the US District Court. These funds are to be used to restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of injured Natural Resources at and in the vicinity of the Fernald Preserve and to reimburse Ohio’s Natural Resources Damages Assessment costs. By June 17, 2009 the Trustee’s are required to develop a plan related to expenditure of these funds.
- March 2, 2009, NRT member attended Fernald Citizen Alliance meeting
- March 9, 2009; DOE/LM submitted to the Trustees a draft FP Restored Area Maintenance Plan and a draft FP Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Plan
- March 12, 2009, NRT members attended special meeting called by FRESH relative to the LM program
- April 3, 2009, OEPA transmits comments on Draft FP Restored Area Maintenance Plan and a draft FP Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Plan
- March 5-31, 2009 Draft Restoration Account Funds Use Plan generated by NRT’s for internal review
- April 7, 2009 Conference call held with OEPA and LM relative to Draft FP Restored Area Maintenance Plan and a draft FP Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Plan
- April 29, 2009, NRT member attends Fernald Citizen Alliance Meeting and LM Community meeting
- May 15-16, 2009, NRT members attend/participate in Bio Blitz species inventory at the FP.
- May 21, 2009, NRT’s meet to discuss and further refine draft Restoration Account Funds Use Plan (FUP).
- June 1, 2009-August 1, 2009: NRT’s are required to conduct FP Field Evaluations of all the completed restoration projects. Based upon the results of these filed evaluations, the NRT’s will jointly determine if additional replanting, repair or restoration is required in the areas.
- June 17, 209, NRT’s transmit Draft Funds Use Plan (FUP) to interested Parties, opening of 30 day comment period on plan.
- July 6, 2009, NRT member attends Fernald Community Alliance meeting and discusses FUP.
- July 8, 2009, NRT’s conduct Public availability session to discuss FUP.
- July 13,15 and 16, 2009, OEPA and DOE NRT’s conduct restored area walk downs as required by section 5.1 of the NRRP
- July 15, 2009, OEPA and DOE NRT’s meet with representatives of the Land Conservancy of Hamilton County to discuss FUP
- July 27, 2009, OEPA and DOE NRT’s meet with representative of the “Engel” (drag strip) property to discuss easement/purchase of wetlands and adjacent areas.
- August 8, 2009, close of public comment period on FUP
- August 10, 2009, OEPA and DOE NRT’s meet with Hamilton county Park District to discuss FUP and potential partnering.
- August 24, 2009, NRT member attends Fernald Community Alliance meeting and updates group on the FUP comments; Field walk downs and meetings relative to conservation easements and the potential purchase of the Engel property.
- September 2, 2009, NRT members attended the Three Valley Conservation Trust Board meeting at their request to discuss the FUP.
- September 16, 2009, NRT’s hold NRT meeting at the Fernald Preserve to discuss various ongoing activities and plans.
- October 1, 2009, NRTs’ transmit letter to DOE LM at Fernald Preserve requesting development of cost estimate for “triangle area” in the NW corner of the property.
- October 6, 2009, NRT’s hold conference call to discuss status of actions from September 16, 2009 meeting.
- October 7, NRT representative attends LM quarterly community meeting and the Fernald Community Alliance meeting.
- October 14, 2009, NRT representatives conduct field walk down of archeological sites adjacent to Fernald Property and discuss with local archeological expert.
- October 20, 2009, NRT’s hold conference call.
- November 2, 2009, OEPA revised FUP and response to public comments sent to other Trustees.
- November 5, 2009, LM revises document and sends responses to comments pertaining to the draft FP Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Plan.
- November 10, 2009, OEPA sends comments on the Restored Area Maintenance Plan.
- November 17, 2009, NRT’s hold conference call.
- November 17, 2009, US Department of Justice representative sent Email to Ohio requesting additional information related to past Ohio NRDA assessment costs.
- December 4, 2009, NRT’s receive the draft cost estimate for the “triangle area” in the NW corner of the Fernald Preserve property from DOE LM as requested October 1, 2009.
- December 7, 2009, NRT representative attends the Fernald Community Alliance meeting.
- December 14, 2009 Ohio AG sends DOJ additional information relative to past Ohio NRDA assessment costs.
- December 16, 2009, NRT’s receive additional information relative to the draft cost estimate for the “triangle area” in the NW corner of the Fernald Preserve property from DOE LM
- December 16, 2009, NRT’s hold conference call.
- December 17, 2009, DOE sends letter to other NRT’s informing them of the change of Trustee from Office of Environmental Management to the Office of Legacy Management
- December 22-23, 2009 Ohio AG sends DOJ additional information relative to past Ohio NRDA assessment costs.
- December 29, 2009 OEPA NRT conducts conference call with Three Valley Conservation Trust.
- January 4, 2010, NRT’s receive additional information relative to the draft cost estimate for the “triangle area” in the NW corner of the Fernald Preserve property from DOE LM.
- January 4, 2010, NRT’s hold conference call.
- January 7, 2010, DOE NRT submits revised NRT Walk down action items with proposed target dates.
- January 12, 2010, NRT’s walk down of triangle area and Paddy’s Run tributary potential restoration projects.
- January 19, 2010 NRT conference call.
- January 28, 2010, NRTs finalize Resolution #2 revising the trustee designees and updating the MOU Appendix.
- February 1, 2010, NRT representative attends the Fernald Community Alliance meeting.
- February 2, 2010 NRT conference call.
- February 11, 2010 call regarding scheduling pasts costs call including Trustees, OAG and DOJ.
- February 17, 2010 NRT meeting at Fernald Preserve with Jeff Davis to discuss conceptual plan for habitat enhancements on-site in the area of the Paddys Run Road.
- February 17, 2010 draft resolution and contract regarding 3VCT shared with NRTs.
- February 18, 2010 call, including Trustees, OAG and DOJ regarding pasts costs.
- February 23, 2010 NRT conference call.
- February 23, 2010 NRTs finalize Resolution #3 regarding the field walkdowns.
- March 1, 2010 DOJ provides marked up past cost info to NRTs.
- March 4, 2010 NRTs walkdown potential habitat enhancement areas along Paddys Run Road and discuss with local herpetologists appropriate design parameters.
- March 4, 2010 call, including Trustees, OAG and DOJ regarding pasts costs.
- March 5, 2010 Draft Resolution #4 distributed to NRTs including the final FUP.
- March 8, 2010 Draft Resolution #5, Draft Resolution #6, and Draft 3VCT contract distributed to NRTs.
- March 15, 2010 NRT Resolution #4 finalized and distributed.
- March 16, 2010 NRT conference call.
- March 18, 2010 Final FUP sent out via email weblink to interested party email list from FUP comment period.
- March 22, 2010 NRT representative attends FCA meeting and provides copies of Final FUP/Resolution #4.
- March 30, 2010 NRT conference call.
- April 27, 2010 Ohio EPA tour 3VCT easement properties, meet land owners.
- April 6, 2010 NRT Resolution #5 finalized and distributed.
- May 4, 2010 Ohio EPA sends letter requesting dispute resolution to federal trustees concerning Ohio EPA NRD assessment costs.
- May 10, 2010 NRT conference call.
- May 14, 2010 a meeting and walk-down of the Paddys Run tributary project was conducted. Representatives from each of the NRTs attended.
- May 17, 2010 NRT conference call settling Ohio EPA NRD assessment costs.
- May 18, 2010 Ohio EPA discuss contract with 3VCT.
- May 18, 2010 NRT Resolution #6 finalized and distributed.
- July 15,2010 USDOJ and Ohio AG file joint motion to move restoration funds from federal district court account to state of Ohio natural resource damages account.
- August 19, 2010 Federal district court grants motion to transfer funds to State of Ohio account.
- August 23, 2010 Federal district court issues check for $13,781,225.19 to State of Ohio for natural resource damages account.
- October 13, 2010 Resolution #7 finalized, which authorizes Ohio to enter into a contract with Three Valley Trust for restoration project support.
- October 25, 2010 Ohio EPA gets approval from state controlling board to enter into contract with Three Valley Conservation Trust for support in implementing the Fernald NRD restoration fund activities.
- October 28, 2010 DOE requests change in trustee representative from Ray Plieness to Tom Pauling.
- October 29, 2010 Ohio EPA signs contract with Three Valley Conservation Trust to provide Fernald restoration project support.
- November 2, 2010 Ohio EPA met with the Three Valley Conservation Trust board members to kick off the partnership on the Fernald work.
- November 19, 2010 Ohio EPA produces brochure describing the trustees activities as part of the Paddys Run Conservation Project.
- November 22, 2010 NRT conference call.
- November 23, 2010 Ohio EPA issues press release announcing the Dec. 6 public information session regarding trustee activities.
- November 23, 2010 Ohio EPA and Three Valley hold separate meetings with The Land Conservancy of Hamilton County, Hamilton County Parks, and U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service.
- November 24, 2010 Resolution #8 finalized changing DOE trustee council representative.
- November 30, 2010 Ohio EPA mails letter co-signed with Three Valley Conservation Trust inviting local landowners within the focus area to attend the Dec. 6 meeting.
- December 2, 2010 Ohio EPA and Three Valley Conservation Trust have an introductory meeting with one of the Crosby Township trustees.
- December 6, 2010 NRT meeting at the Fernald Preserve.
- December 6, 2010 Public meeting at the Fernald Preserve introducing the Paddys Run Conservation Project and Three Valley Conservation Trust to the public.
Fernald Dose Reconstruction Study
by Vicky Dastillung, Vice President F.R.E.S.H., Inc. (Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health)
Since 1990, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has overseen a dose reconstruction study being done by Radiological Assessments Corporation. The Study went back and estimated the releases from the Fernald facility during its 38 years of operation - from 1951-1988. Then the study estimated what kind and size of dose the public (within 6.2 miles) may have been exposed to as a result of those releases.
The study results are expressed within ranges, with a high, low and median number. Between 300 and 400 tons of uranium were released to the environment with a median estimate of 340 tons (680,000 lbs.). However, it turns out that radon was the main contributor to the public's risk. This gas came primarily from the K-65 silos located along the western edge of the site. These releases were highest in the 1960s and 1970s. After 1979 the radon releases decreased significantly due to sealing up openings in the domes of the silos. Also of note is the fact that the radon emissions were further reduced in 1991 when the site installed a bentonite clay layer inside the silos. The total radon releases from 1952-1988 ranged from 110,000 curies to 230,00 curies with a median estimate of 170,000 curies. The study took into consideration all the ways that the public could be exposed to radiation, including the air, soil, water, vegetation, milk and food.
So what's the bottom line for the residents?
Your exposure depended on what years you lived in the area, how far away you lived and worked from Fernald, and what you ate and drank. The study could not tell an individual's exposure because everyone varies, but the study did calculate doses for nine hypothetical people that had varying exposures. By comparing your personal details to the one that comes closest to you, you can get a general idea of your exposure. You could also dig into the report to better understand what factors might pertain more to your personal situation. For instance, a person living 6 miles from the site had a median exposure about 1/10 that of someone living a mile from the site. In the case of the hypothetical person living on a farm for 38 years and receiving the highest doses, you could expect an increase of fatal cancer (mostly lung cancer) of beween 1 and 9% with a median of 3%. This means 3 out of 100 people who would theoretically receive the maximum dose that could cause a cancer death resulting from the emissions. That would be above and beyond the 20 or so out of the 100 that would get cancer due to other causes.
This study did not cover the workers at the plant who were exposed to much higher doses during the hours they were at work.
What can you do?
Well, you can't change your past exposures, but you can improve on your current and future exposures. If you smoke, try to stop. Because radon is also a natural substance that enters your home from the ground, you should consider testing your home to see what radon levels exist in your home. There are ways to reduce the levels in your home if your home should test high for this naturally-occurring radon and thus you would be reducing your future exposures. It should be noted that there have been homes in the area that have needed to take such measures. Also, discuss with your doctor whether you may be at increased risk for lung cancer so that your care will reflect that. Be aware of the signs of lung cancer - persistent cough, sputum streaked with blood, chest pain, and recurring pneumonia or bronchitis. While current doses from the Fernald site are much lower than during the production years and before improvements were make to the K-65 silos, you can check on the doses in the Site Environmental Monitoring Reports.
For more information about the Fernald Dosimetry Reconstruction Project, including fact sheets, summary booklets, and copies of the full reports, you can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Radiation Studies Branch, Atlanta, GA (Phone: 1-800-232-4636).
Ohio EPA, U.S. EPA, and the Department of Energy (DOE) contractors conduct quarterly inspections of the Fernald Preserve and the on-site disposal facility. More detail about these inspections can be found in the Comprehensive Legacy Management and Institutional Control Plan (LMICP). Reports on each of the post-closure quarterly inspections can be found at DOE's Fernald Preserve inspection page.
Community involvement at Fernald was an important aspect of the cleanup project and remains a key element of long-term stewardship at the Fernald Preserve. Fernald was recognized nationally for successes in public participation programs. The Fernald Preserve continues to educate visitors through indoor and outdoor learning opportunities. Information provided below is relevant to past and current public participation activities at Fernald.
From preschool through college, home school to the classroom, and everything in-between, Ohio EPA's Federal Facility Section has conducted numerous outreach events. From 1998 through 2004 Ohio EPA's Office of Federal Facilities Oversight conducted an annual outreach program with elementary and middle schools. Each spring OFFO staff planted native wildflower seeds with the students. The students were taught about the importance of native plant restoration at Fernald and the value of wetlands to the restoration effort. The students tended to the seedlings all spring. In May, the students were brought on a tour of Fernald and then planted their seedlings in a restoration area at the site.
In 2006, Ohio EPA began partnering with Harrison High School’s Senior Ecology & Literature class to conduct annual monitoring of three mitigation wetlands on the northern portion of Fernald. Prior to field monitoring, the students are taught about Fernald history, macroinvertabrates, and monitoring protocol. The Ohio Vernal Pool Partnership monitoring protocol is used to evaluate the wetlands and data are submitted to OVPP for inclusion in their database. In addition to monitoring data collection, the students write journals discussing their experiences and impressions of the Fernald wetlands.
Ohio EPA has assisted with numerous other school outreach programs at Fernald, including Miami University, Ross Middle School, Seton High School and many others. For more information on setting up a school or scout group at the Fernald Preserve, please contact Sue Walpole or Laura Hafer.
Other Resource Contacts
Aquifer Restoration and Waste Water Project (formerly OU5)
The Great Miami Aquifer will be remediated by a combination of treatment, extraction and injection of the ground water. The Advanced Waste Water Treatment Facility was completed in 1994 with additional capacity added in 1998. The South Field extraction system became operational in 1998. The Converted Waste Water Treatment Plant will carry the pump and treat operation to completion.
Facilities Closure and Demolition Project (formerly OU3 - Former production area, including all buildings, equipment, inventoried hazardous material and scrap metal piles)
All on-site buildings were decontaminated and dismantled. Debris within the waste acceptance criteria went in the on-site disposal facility, with higher level materials going off-site.
On-Site Disposal Facility (OSDF, formerly OU2, OU3, and OU5)
Contaminated soil and debris was excavated and disposed in the on-site engineered disposal cell. Any waste exceeding the waste acceptance criteria was disposed off-site. No off-site waste was allowed in the disposal cell.
Silos Project (formerly OU4 - Silos 1-4, including the K-65 silos, their contents and associated piping and soils)
Silo waste was removed, transported by truck, and disposed at off-site disposal facilities.
Soils Characterization and Excavation Project (formerly OU2 and OU5)
Contaminated soils were excavated and those meeting the waste acceptance criteria disposed in the on-site disposal facility.
Waste Pits Project (formerly OU1 - Waste storage area, including six waste pits, clearwell and burn pit)
The waste pit contents were excavated, thermally dried and shipped by rail to Envirocare of Utah.
Northern Pines Plantation
The monoculture of northern pines was enhanced by eliminating some pines and adding native deciduous trees and shrubs. This restoration was designed to enhance the diversity of vegetation and create new wetland and vernal pool areas. A remnant of Lady Bird Johnson's nationwide beautification campaign begun in 1965, the monoculture remained on the northern border of Fernald. In 2002 the stand was thinned to allow for future restoration and diversity efforts. Seven vernal pools and ponds were added to the area to attract aquatic habitat, like this one from November 2002.
Warm Season Grass Seeding Specification
A seeding specification (Specification 2900 - Seeding) was developed for soil stabilization following construction activities at Fernald. The specification focuses on the use of native warm-season (prairie) grasses for all areas that remained undisturbed for more than two years with interim seeding in other areas. The specification was revised based upon field experience, data from the restoration research projects and other sources.
Area 8 Phase 2 Restoration Project
In the northwestern corner of the site, the Area 8 Phase 2 restoration project includes the construction of an access road, material handling area, ponds, filter wetland and vernal pool. Riparian forest, mixed mesophytic forest, and savanna/grassland habitat supports both the federally endangered Indiana Bat and the state threatened Sloan's Crayfish. In this photo, Ohio EPA staff introduces donor soils and pond muck to a newly constructed wetland in May 2000 to expedite site vegetation and macroinvertebrate colonization. Fishing string and flags tied across the wetland help to prevent impact from geese.
An aesthetic barrier was installed along Willey Road, on the southeastern property boundary. The row of trees was planted in the fall of 1998 per a Fernald Citizens Advisory Board recommendation. The barrier was designed to obstruct the visual impact from construction activities in the clay borrow area (Area 1 Phase 2). The barrier includes conifers and deciduous trees.
Wetland Mitigation Areas
The first mitigation wetland was constructed on the northeast corner of the site in 1999. Lessons learned from developing this wetland were used in implementing wetland construction during site restoration. A research project was conducted by Ohio EPA and the University of Dayton in the Area 1 Phase 1 (A1P1) wetland. A second mitigation wetland (Area 6 Phase 1 or A6P1 or northern mitigated wetland) is located in the northwest corner of Fernald. Approximately eight acres of wetlands and diverse habitat was developed as part of DOE's mitigation requirements for destruction of on-site wetlands. The three basin system is fed by drainage flow from the 26 acre wetland to the north. The system drains into a ditch to the south of the last basin and into Paddy's Run. This photo from December 2003 shows construction of the three basin system looking west. In 2006, Ohio EPA began partnering with Harrison High School to conduct annual monitoring of these wetlands.
Stream Bank Stabilization Projects
Several stream bank stabilization projects were completed at Fernald along the Paddys Run corridor. These projects were aimed at reducing erosion, that in a number of cases was threatening to release additional contamination into the environment. The projects represent a range of approaches from the use of large volumes of rip rap to bioengineering. This photo from February 1998 shows the 30 foot erosion drop at Paddys Run prior to the installation of bendway weirs. The side-by side logs were installed along the toe of the slope and secured along the length of the log with rebar.
Controlled burns are the preferred method of restoration maintenance at Fernald. The process kills trees and invasive species and enhances the health of a prairie. Burning small areas at a time allows wildlife to escape without harm.
Public Access Habitat Area
The public access habitat area or Ecological Restoration Park developed as a result of a dispute resolution between USEPA and DOE. The project developed a publicly accessible area that represents a number of habitats that were eventually used at the site during restoration. Other parts of Area 8 Phase I were used to conduct restoration research projects by the University of Dayton and the University of Miami. In this photo, Ohio EPA plants native wildflowers and grasses with Ross Middle School in April 1999. The park opened to the public in January 1999.
A number of research projects were initiated at Fernald to develop more effective restoration tools and methods. Click here for a complete list of research publication citations.
Native Grass Revegetation in Disturbed Areas
The project was being conducted by professor Don Geiger, University of Dayton (UD). Methods for establishing native warm season grasses in areas previously disturbed by remediation/excavation were evaluated. The project evaluated various soil amendments (cow manure, compost, wood chips, topsoil), cover crop, and cover material (straw) effects on revegetation. The project was initiated in May 1998.
Study Area Design
Study Area Preparation
Study Area Planting
Impact of Innoculum Soils on Wetland Mitigation
The project was conducted by the University of Dayton and Ohio EPA. The project evaluated the impact of innoculum soils on subsurface microbial and above-grade vegetative communities within restoration projects involving disturbed or degraded soils. Many restoration projects at Fernald occurred in areas where contaminated topsoil was removed leaving a subsoil to be revegetated. Ohio EPA and UD looked at the impact of using donor soils in these areas to stimulate vegetative and microbial community responses. Ohio EPA staff gave a presentation on this topic at the October 2001 international conference for the Society for Ecological Restoration.
September Data Evaluation
Native Grass Revegetation in Undisturbed Areas
The project was conducted by Fluor Fernald. Methods for establishing native warm season grasses in areas previously used as cattle grazing pastures containing non-native grasses were evaluated. The test area is located in Area 8 Phase 1, north of the Public Access Habitat Area.
Study Area Pretreatment
Invasive Plant Control
The project was conducted by professor Brian McCarthy, Ohio University. Identification of existing invasive plant populations and evaluation of control mechanisms was the focus of this project. The project was initiated with a plant inventory in April 1998.
The project was conducted by professor Carolyn Keiffer, Miami University Middletown campus. This research investigated the most effective density of seedlings and saplings required for successful restoration of forest habitats at Fernald. The project was initiated in June, 1998 with evaluation of reference sites. Planting began in March, 1999 in an area located in Area 8 Phase 1, east of the Public Access Habitat Area.
American Chestnut Reintroduction
The project was conducted by professor Carolyn Keiffer, Miami University Middletown campus and focused on establishing a population of blight resistant American Chestnut trees in southwest Ohio. The project used 7/8 pure chestnuts received as seeds from the American Chestnut Foundation. The project was initiated February 1998. Seedlings were planted in Spring 1999. The chestnut planting area is located in Area 8 Phase 1, north of the Public Access Habitat Area.
Ohio EPA conducted butterfly monitoring upon the completion of the A1PI mitigated wetland at the end of 1999. For more than two years Ohio EPA made observations along a transect
Paddys Run Conservation Project
Our future flows through our land
By purchasing conservation easements in the Paddys Run watershed, near Fernald, we will protect water quality in streams and ground water. In addition to the $14 million DOE has already spent restoring the Fernald site, the natural resource damages settlement requires payment of $13,750,000 to Ohio by the United States for various habitat enhancements and land protection on or near Fernald in order to protect and improve water quality in Paddys Run and the Great Miami Aquifer. The Fernald trustees, including Ohio EPA, the Department of Energy and US Fish and Wildlife Service, are partnering with Three Valley Conservation Trust to enhance habitat and protect water quality near the Fernald Preserve.
A conservation easement is a customized legal agreement that permanently limits certain uses of the land, or a portion of the land, in order to protect its natural and/or agricultural values. The landowner retains all other rights and may sell or transfer the land to heirs, but all future owners are bound by the easement's terms. A conservation easement will protect land against future real estate development or industrial use, while allowing the landowner to continue current uses.
CERCLA defines a natural resource as land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies and other such resources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, or appertaining to, the trustees. Natural resources were injured during the production years at Fernald.
Ohio included a $206 million claim for natural resource injury in its 1986 lawsuit against DOE. In 1988, Ohio and DOE agreed to put this claim on hold until the signing of the site's record of decision. In 1993, DOE initiated discussions with the trustees to determine the feasibility of integrating the trustees' concerns with future remedial design activities. The trustees identified their desire to fulfill their obligations by integrating their concerns with remedial design and restoration activities. In 1998 DOE initiated restoration activities at the site based on the Draft Natural Resource Restoration Plan.
In 2008 the State of Ohio and United States Department of Energy (DOE) settled for natural resource damages at Fernald.
Fernald NRD Settlement
Additional details, including 2008 Consent Decree, Final Natural Resources Restoration Plan
Natural Resource Funds Utilization Plan
The Fernald FUP describes how natural resource damages funds will be spent. The February 2010 plan developed to provide a framework for using the $13.75M settlement funds.
Paddys Run Conservation Project
Habitat enhancements and land protection on or near Fernald in order to protect and improve water quality in Paddys Run and the Great Miami Aquifer
Resolutions from the Trustee Council:
NRT Annual Report to the Public - 2010
NRT Annual Report to the Public – 2011
NRT Annual Report to the Public - 2012