This chapter describes the impacts of waste management activities on the environment (described in Chapter 3) at the Savannah River Site (SRS), including the construction and operation of new facilities (described in Chapter 2). As described in Chapter 2, 10 scenarios are evaluated. The no-action alternative (see Section 2.2) is evaluated first (Section 4.1). In Section 4.2, alternative A (limited treatment configuration; see Section 2.4) is evaluated for the expected, minimum, and maximum amounts of waste forecast for SRS. In Section 4.3, alternative C (extensive treatment configuration; see Section 2.5) is evaluated for the same three forecasts. Section 4.4 analyzes alternative B (moderate treatment configuration; see Section 2.6), which incorporates a mix of technologies being considered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the different waste types. The three alternatives place different degrees of emphasis on the objectives of the proposed action. DOE believes that these alternatives represent the full range of reasonable alternatives and has identified alternative B as the preferred alternative.
This chapter also discusses potential cumulative impacts from alternative B when it is added to impacts from past, present, and reasonably foreseeable actions and presents the unavoidable adverse impacts and irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources under alternative B. Cumulative impacts were assessed only for the moderate treatment configuration alternative B B expected waste forecast because the impacts for it generally fall between those for the other alternatives, and because impacts do not vary greatly between alternatives. Despite some variation in impacts, this approach allowed for an assessment of the likely magnitudes of the cumulative impacts of the other alternatives based on the cumulative impacts of alternative B. Appendix B.5 examines the impacts of processing low-level, hazardous, and mixed wastes in the Consolidated Incineration Facility under alternatives A, B, and C.
Impacts are assessed in terms of direct physical disturbance or consumption of affected resources and as the effects of effluents and emissions on the chemical and physical quality of the environment. When annual data (such as annual doses) are presented, they are based on the calendar year rather than the fiscal year. Assessments focus on impacts to such natural resources as air, water, and plants and animals, as well as on human resources, including the health of workers and the public, and socioeconomics.
To aid the reader, the same stacked-box symbol used in Chapter 2 is used in Chapter 4. For example, a section that begins with the symbol shown at left is discussing alternative A B minimum waste forecast.
This section discusses the effects of the no-action alternative described in Section 2.2.
Under the no-action alternative, which continues current practices to manage waste, DOE would:
- Continue waste minimization activities as described in Section 2.2.1.
- Continue receiving and storing liquid high-level waste in the F- and H-Area tank farms and begin removing it for treatment at the Defense Waste Processing Facility and associated facilities.
- Continue operating the existing liquid high-level waste evaporators and operate the Replacement High-Level Waste Evaporator presently under construction.
- Operate the Defense Waste Processing Facility and associated liquid high-level waste management facilities as described in Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Defense Waste Processing Facility (DOE/eis-0082S) and its Record of Decision (60 FR 18589).
- Continue to compact some low-level waste using the three existing compactors.
- Continue to dispose of low-level wastes in vaults and by shallow land disposal.
- Store certain low-level wastes in long-lived waste storage buildings.
- Continue to store naval hardware on pads in E-Area with possible shallow land disposal.
- Continue to store hazardous wastes until they are sent for offsite treatment and disposal.
- Continue to treat aqueous hazardous wastes collected from groundwater monitoring well operations (investigation-derived wastes) in the M-Area Air Stripper.
- Continue offsite treatment and disposal of PCB wastes.
- Continue to store mixed wastes and construct additional storage for them.
- Continue to treat mixed wastes by ion exchange in the tanks at the Savannah River Technology Center.
- Construct and operate the M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility and use it to vitrify mixed wastes from M-Area electroplating operations, as discussed in the Environmental Assessment, Treatment of M-Area Mixed Wastes at the Savannah River Site (DOE/ea-0918).
- Continue to treat aqueous mixed wastes collected from groundwater monitoring wells (investigation-derived waste) in the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility.
- Continue to store radioactive PCB wastes with planned offsite treatment of the PCB fraction and onsite shallow land disposal of the radioactive residuals.
- Construct and operate Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-permitted disposal vaults for disposal of residuals from the treatment of mixed waste, as evaluated in Final Environmental Impact Statement, Waste Management Activities for Groundwater Protection, Savannah River Plant (DOE/eis-0120).
- Continue to store transuranic and alpha wastes on transuranic waste storage pads, retrieve waste drums from mounded storage pads, and construct additional waste storage capacity.
- Perform facility upgrades and continue to operate the Experimental Transuranic Waste Assay Facility/Waste Certification Facility to characterize transuranic and alpha wastes.
- Dispose of newly-generated nonmixed alpha waste in low-activity waste vaults.
- Continue to construct the Consolidated Incineration Facility.
The locations of these waste management facilities are identified in Figure 4-1.
The no-action alternative requires additional storage facilities for transuranic and alpha waste and additional disposal areas for low-level radioactive waste and mixed waste in the vicinity of the existing vaults in E-Area. New mixed waste storage facilities would be constructed in the area between the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility and the M-Line railroad. A portion of this area has been cleared, graded, and stabilized with vegetation to prevent erosion. Additional undisturbed lands located (1) adjacent to and south of the M-Line railroad and (2) northwest of F-Area would be required for the remainder of the mixed waste storage facilities (Figure 4-2).
Construction for the no-action alternative would require 0.35 square kilometer (86 acres) of undeveloped land northwest of F-Area and 0.30 square kilometer (74 acres) of undeveloped land between the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility and M-Line railroad. Other construction would be on previously cleared and developed land in the eastern part of E-Area.
Under the no-action alternative, impacts to geologic resources can be evaluated by comparing the amounts of land needed to build the facilities for this alternative. The more land required for the facilities, the greater the impacts, namely soil erosion, on these resources.
Except for some small gravel deposits, there are no economically valuable minerals or unique geologic features located in the vicinity of the waste management areas considered in this alternative, or any of the other alternatives. Waste management activities in the no-action alternative would mainly impact soils in the uncleared parts of E-Area. Construction would have less impact on soils in those parts of E-Area where the land has been cleared of trees and already disturbed by the construction of existing buildings. In E-Area, approximately 0.33 square kilometer (81 acres) has been cleared and developed, and approximately 0.65 square kilometer (160 acres) would be cleared to build additional vaults, storage pads, tanks, and buildings (Figure 4-2).
The undisturbed soils in E-Area have a slight to moderate erosion hazard rating (USDA 1990). That is, erosion could occur if site preparation activities, such as grading, expose these soils and no precautions are taken to prevent erosion. Most of the soils in the cleared parts of E-Area consist of spoil from excavated areas, borrow pits, and previous grading activities; these soils also have a slight to moderate erosion hazard rating. The potential for erosion and sedimentation effects increases as the amount of land needed for construction increases, especially undeveloped land.
Potential adverse effects to geologic resources would be very small and could be mitigated by installing sediment and erosion control devices, properly grading slopes, and stabilizing the site. All new construction activities at SRS must comply with state regulations to prevent erosion. As a condition of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System general permit for stormwater discharges from construction activities at SRS, a stormwater pollution prevention plan (WSRC 1993a) must be developed for each construction site covered by the permit, and each plan must provide for erosion and sediment controls. E-Area erosion and sediment control activities are addressed in the Solid Waste Operations Erosion and Sedimentation Control Maintenance Program Plan - E-Area (WSRC 1992a). For those areas already cleared and ready for construction of new facilities and those areas already operating, proper construction and maintenance of sediment ponds, stormwater basins, and other erosion and sediment control devices would mitigate adverse effects to soils during operation of waste management facilities.
Construction and operation activities might produce accidental occasional spills (e.g., oil, fuel, and process chemicals) on the soil. SRS has formal spill prevention, control, and countermeasures plans to prevent, identify, and mitigate spills of petroleum products (WSRC 1991a, b). Both the Savannah River Site Best Management Practices Plan (WSRC 1991a) and the Savannah River Site Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures Plan (WSRC 1991b) are updated as conditions warrant or at least every 3 years. In addition, SRS is obligated under the Federal Facility Agreement (EPA 1993) to identify, evaluate, and, if necessary, remediate spills of hazardous substances, including radionuclides (e.g., high-level liquid radioactive waste leaks). This remediation could include removing, storing, or disposing of contaminated soil. Because SRS has controls to prevent spills, large spills of waste requiring remediation of extensive areas of soil are not expected; therefore, impacts to soils would be very small.
Facilities and activities that are part of the no-action alternative which could affect groundwater quantity or quality include the M-Area Air Stripper, additional mixed waste storage buildings, intermediate-level, low-activity, and RCRA-permitted waste disposal vaults, long-lived waste storage buildings, shallow land disposal units, transuranic and alpha waste storage pads, and the Defense Waste Processing Facility. Since these facilities do not withdraw groundwater in quantities that would materially affect the availability of this resource, the focus of these assessments was on their potential to impact groundwater quality.
The M-Area Air Stripper (see Appendix B.14 for description) removes volatile organic compounds from contaminated groundwater beneath A- and M-Areas. Based on current data, DOE anticipates that it would need to operate the M-Area Air Stripper for the remainder of its 30-year post-closure period (1987 to 2017) to meet the groundwater protection standard (40 CFR 264.92) for the contaminants trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. The air stripper would also treat investigation-derived hazardous wastes generated from groundwater monitoring wells. Effects of the continued operation of the M-Area Air Stripper on groundwater quality at SRS would be beneficial because of the continued removal of volatile organic compounds from groundwater beneath A- and M-Areas.
For the remaining storage and disposal facilities, the most important impact to the groundwater resources of SRS is the potential for the leaching of radioactive and hazardous constituents by rainfall infiltration. There is also a potential for groundwater contamination during construction as a consequence of leaks and spills of oil, fuel, or other chemicals from construction equipment. However, the potential impacts of such spills or leaks would be mitigated by using spill prevention plans and best management practices, as described in Section 4.1.2.
DOE would design and construct waste storage facilities and engineered disposal vaults to prevent releases, as described for the individual facility types in Appendix B, and would inspect and monitor them to ensure their continued integrity. Their operation, therefore, is very unlikely to adversely affect groundwater quality during the 30-year period considered in this eis. Releases to groundwater could occur, however, whenever active maintenance is discontinued. For shallow land disposal facilities (i.e., slit trenches), releases could occur sooner. For purposes of assessment, it is assumed that institutional controls, including active maintenance, would be continued for 100 years. The potential impacts of releases from both disposal vaults and slit trenches were evaluated by calculating the effects of infiltration and the leaching of radionuclides from wastes on the concentration of radionuclides in groundwater beneath these facilities at a compliance point defined as a hypothetical well 100 meters (328 feet) away (Toblin 1995). The predicted groundwater concentrations were derived from information provided in the Radiological Performance Assessment for the E-Area Vaults Disposal Facility (Martin Marietta, EG&G, and WSRC 1994). The Radiological Performance Assessment evaluated disposal of unstabilized waste forms in the intermediate-level waste vaults, low-activity waste vaults, as well as suspect soil in slit trenches. This evaluation calculated the groundwater concentrations for each nuclide per curie of that nuclide in each of the waste disposal facilities (intermediate-level waste vaults, low-activity waste vaults, and slit trenches). The groundwater concentrations predicted in this environmental impact statement (eis) were derived by applying these Radiological Performance Assessment-determined unit dilution factors to the anticipated inventories in each type of facility for each alternative and waste forecast.
After the draft eis was issued, DOE reevaluated the isotopic inventory of wastes and modified the inventories assumed in this eis to better reflect waste composition. Because curium-247 and -248 are not present at detectable concentrations in the current wastes and are not expected to occur at detectable concentrations in any future waste, these isotopes were removed from the inventories considered in analysis. Therefore, the curium-247 and -248 exceedances discussed in the draft eis do not occur under any alternative.
Thus, the groundwater concentrations were predicted for the alternatives in this eis by scaling from the Radiological Performance Assessment based on the number and type of facilities required, the radionuclide inventories, and the characteristics of the unstabilized waste forms. Factors such as retardation of radionuclide movement in groundwater by sorption processes, which differ between nuclides, were considered, as were the characteristics of the shallow aquifer (through which migration to surface water would occur). These concentrations were not added to existing groundwater contamination levels since, as noted below, they would not occur until a century or more in the future, after current groundwater concentrations would have been reduced by natural means (decay) or remediation activities. Potential contamination of the deep Middendorf aquifer (formerly known as the Tuscaloosa) was determined in an earlier eis (DOE 1987) not to be a concern because of the isolation of that aquifer from the shallow aquifer affected by these facilities.
The disposal of stabilized waste forms (ashcrete, glass) in slit trenches was not evaluated in the Radiological Performance Assessment and is subject to completion of performance assessments and demonstration of compliance with performance objectives required by DOE Order 5820.2A ("Radioactive Waste Management"). Therefore, DOE was unable to base an analysis of stabilized waste in slit trenches on the Radiological Performance Assessment. The analysis presented in the draft eis did not account for the reduced mobility of stabilized waste forms in slit trenches. The final eis assumes that releases from these wastes in slit trenches would not exceed the performance objectives specified by DOE Order 5820.2A. As a result of the modified assessment approach, exceedances for uranium and plutonium isotopes identified in the draft eis under some alternatives and waste forecasts are no longer predicted to occur. DOE would re-evaluate the performance assessment and, if necessary, adjust either the waste acceptance criteria or the inventory limit for the storage or disposal units to ensure compliance with these criteria, or standards which may become applicable in the future. The results of applying this assessment methodology to the different storage and disposal facilities are presented below.
The performance objectives required by DOE Order 5820.2A include ensuring that groundwater resources are protected as required by federal, state, and local requirements. Additionally, public drinking water standards promulgated in 40 CFR 141 which limit dose to 4 millirem per year were adopted by DOE in Order 5400.5 ("Radiation Protection of the Public and the Environment").
Compliance with the performance objectives required by DOE is determined by comparing the annual dose resulting from drinking 2 liters per day of the contaminated groundwater. This annual dose was compared with the 4 millirem per year effective dose equivalent criterion specified in DOE Order 5400.5. The factors used to convert from groundwater concentrations to dose are specified in DOE Order 5400.5. Assessment of compliance with this dose criterion was based on the potential additive effects of new units contaminating the same groundwater. The concentration values do not, however, include the groundwater contamination from prior waste disposal activities at SRS, as presented in Chapter 3. Groundwater contamination resulting from the waste disposal under this eis would be in addition to existing contamination from past waste disposal. By the time that concentrations resulting from waste disposal activities evaluated in this eis reached their peak (at least 97 to 130 years in the future), the concentrations of contaminants introduced by past disposal will have been substantially reduced below present concentrations as a result of natural decay processes and any environmental restoration programs.
Three types of vaults B RCRA-permitted disposal vaults, intermediate-level waste vaults, and low-activity waste vaults B would be used in E-Area. The existing vaults are subsurface structures designed to comply with the performance objectives of DOE Order 5820.2A. The performance assessment described above considered intact vaults operating as designed and a worst-case scenario of a fractured protective cap and fractured vaults (Martin Marietta, EG&G, and WSRC 1994). The groundwater analysis (Toblin 1995) determined that during the 30-year period of this eis (1995 through 2024), releases of radionuclides from intermediate-level waste vaults or low-activity waste vaults are not expected to reach the 100-meter (328-foot) compliance point, even conservatively assuming an infiltration rate of 40 centimeters per year. The analysis also assumes that failure and collapse of either type of vault would be expected to occur as a result of normal deterioration within a period ranging from 570 years for the development of cracks in a vault's roof to over 1,000 years for a roof's collapse.
Under normal conditions vaults are slightly permeable, so some easily-leachable constituents will move through them and into the groundwater. The modeling results from this groundwater analysis indicate that tritium would be the first radionuclide detected at the compliance point. Assuming infiltration at a rate of 40 centimeters per year, the peak concentration of tritium in groundwater at the compliance point would occur after 130 years for the intermediate-level waste vaults and after 97 years for the low-activity waste vaults. Peak concentrations of tritium in groundwater from these facilities would be 7.3'10-4 and 1.0'10-6 picocuries per liter, respectively, which are very small fractions of the 20,000 picocuries per liter limit specified in the EPA drinking water standard for this nuclide, and are not measurable by current instrumentation. In addition, during the 100-year institutional control period, periodic site inspections would discover any visible degradation of the cover and drainage system constructed over the vaults after the vaults are closed, and corrective actions would be taken.
The modeling results of the groundwater analysis for both types of low-level waste vaults beyond the institutional control period predicts that no dose of any constituent placed in these vaults under the no-action alternative would exceed the 4 millirem per year drinking water dose criterion at any time after disposal. The disposal of wastes in the RCRA-permitted vaults was not evaluated quantitatively. It would be subject to completion of performance assessments and demonstration of compliance with the performance objectives required by DOE Order 5820.2A. Therefore, DOE has conservatively assumed that groundwater concentrations as a result of radioactive releases from the RCRA-permitted vaults and all other low-level waste disposal facilities (vaults and slit trenches) would remain within the DOE performance objective of 4 millirem per year adopted by DOE in Order 5400.5.
Releases of nonradioactive constituents from the RCRA-permitted vaults were not evaluated in this eis. Hazardous constituent releases to groundwater could occur as a result of vault failure after loss of institutional control. The hazardous constituents in these vaults would consist primarily of metals, such as mercury and lead. These do not decay over time as do radioactive constituents such as tritium. Potential groundwater concentrations of hazardous constituents have not been evaluated, but some hazardous metals might enter groundwater following degradation of the vaults and waste forms.
Under the no-action alternative, shallow land disposal of radioactive waste would also continue. DOE Order 5820.2A as now implemented requires that performance assessments for radioactive waste management at DOE facilities be conducted prior to disposal of wastes. Recently issued guidance for management of low-level waste at SRS (WSRC 1994a) prohibited shallow land disposal of wastes without a radiological performance assessment after March 31, 1995 (see Appendix B.27). The performance assessment referred to above (Martin Marietta, EG&G, and WSRC 1994) evaluated the impact of shallow land disposal of suspect soils on groundwater quality near the center of SRS (west of the E-Area vaults). Modeling results for suspect soils under the no-action alternative (Toblin 1995) indicate that none of the radionuclides analyzed would exceed the 4 millirem per year drinking water dose criterion at any time. The projected impacts on groundwater resources at SRS from E-Area disposal facilities do not consider existing groundwater contamination beneath the Burial Ground Complex, because of the time displacements of the impacts, as discussed earlier.
Under the no-action alternative, DOE would store packaged mixed wastes on concrete pads within each of the mixed waste storage buildings; each pad would include a concrete sump to collect and contain leaks per RCRA requirements (see Appendix B.18). Therefore, it is not anticipated that operation of these mixed waste storage buildings through the year 2024 would affect the quality of groundwater in the area. Shallow groundwater in this area flows to Upper Three Runs and Crouch Branch to the north and northeast and to Fourmile Branch to the south. Mixed waste storage buildings would be located a short distance from two of these streams (see Figures 4-1 and 4-2). However, these buildings would be above-grade, zero-release facilities and, as discussed above, releases would not be expected to soils, streams, or groundwater. If, however, releases did occur, groundwater monitoring around such facilities would detect contaminants in groundwater and mitigation by containment, removal, and proper disposal of contaminated media would be implemented.
The no-action alternative also calls for construction of 24 long-lived radioactive waste storage buildings, 19 transuranic and alpha waste storage pads, 26 114-cubic-meter (30,000-gallon) organic waste storage tanks, and 43 114-cubic-meter (30,000-gallon) aqueous waste tanks in E-Area (see Figure 4-2). These storage facilities would be designed and constructed to meet regulatory requirements to protect human health and the environment, including maintenance of zero releases as noted above. The long-lived waste storage buildings and the transuranic and alpha waste storage pads would include sumps to collect and contain leaks. Below-grade organic waste tanks would be constructed with secondary containment and leak detection and leachate collection systems, as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Neither the low-level waste and transuranic and alpha waste storage facilities nor the above- and below-grade mixed waste tanks are expected to adversely affect the quality of groundwater at SRS under normal circumstances.
Because DOE would not intend to release the areas containing these storage facilities to unrestricted access, the facilities would not be designed to function for extended time intervals without institutional control and maintenance. Accordingly, no assessment of potential releases from long-term unattended operation of these facilities and their contents has been performed.
The Defense Waste Processing Facility and the Z-Area Saltstone Facility would operate under the no-action alternative for this eis. High-level waste stored in the F- and H-Area tank farms would be gradually removed for vitrification, storage and permanent disposal. As the high-level waste is removed from the tanks and vitrified, the potential for inadvertent releases to groundwater would decrease. Possible effects on groundwater would be minimized with the treatment and ultimate disposal of the high-level waste. In case of accidental spills of salt solution (e.g., from transfer pipes in the tank farms) during Defense Waste Processing Facility operations, the soil would be expected to slow the migration of contaminants in the subsurface, and remedial actions would be undertaken to recover as much of the spilled material as is feasible and to minimize the dispersal of the residual material. The effects on groundwater of the operation of the Defense Waste Processing Facility and the Saltstone Facility were presented in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Defense Waste Processing Facility
This section examines the no-action alternative activities (described in Section 2.2) that would produce wastewater discharges to surface waters and presents the potential effects on the environment from both radiological and nonradiological constituents contained in treated wastewater. The evaluation of these consequences is based on Section 4.1.3. Evaluation of these consequences assumed that existing regulatory limits would continue to apply for the various nonradiological constituents. The radiological criterion used as the basis for this evaluation comply with DOE Order 5400.5 and 40 CFR 141, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national primary drinking water regulations.
Spills or leaks could occur from various tanks and equipment. Sumps and secondary containment around tanks and vulnerable equipment would capture and collect spills or leaks if they were to occur. Material that accumulates in sumps and secondary containment would be sampled to determine if contaminants were present. If contaminated, the wastewater would be treated in the appropriate treatment facility, such as the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility or the M-Area Dilute Effluent Treatment Facility. Uncontaminated wastewater would be discharged via a permitted outfall to surface waters. SRS has and would maintain a best management practices plan, a spill prevention control and countermeasures plan, and administrative procedures for monitoring and cleaning up spills to prevent them from reaching a surface stream.
In construction of the various storage facilities needed under the no-action alternative in E-Area, DOE would prepare sedimentation and erosion control plans in compliance with state regulations on stormwater discharges, which became effective in 1992 as part of the Clean Water Act. SRS was issued a permit by SCDHEC (Permit SCR100000) that applies to stormwater runoff during construction activities. If a project requires disturbing more than 0.02 square kilometer (5 acres) of land, SCDHEC must approve the sediment and erosion control plan. Facilities or measures taken to control erosion during the construction phase would be regularly inspected by SCDHEC; the Management and Operating Contractor's Environmental Protection Department; the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service); and the U.S. Forest Service to monitor the effectiveness of the erosion control measures (particularly following a storm). Corrective measures, if needed, would be taken by DOE. After facilities begin operating, they would be included in the SRS Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, which details the required stormwater control measures and is one of the criteria of the stormwater general permit issued to SRS by SCDHEC (Permit SCR000000) for operating facilities. Also, as required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, the facilities would be included in the SRS Best Management Practices Plan.
Studies have been performed to determine the effect of stormwater that might infiltrate waste in the disposal facilities in E-Area and then enter the groundwater. As noted in Section 4.1.3, the incremental increase in groundwater concentrations of the radionuclides present in the waste would be small. Most of the radionuclides would not reach peak concentrations in the river until at least 10,000 years beyond the present. The tritium would peak in 70 to 237 years at a concentration below 10-5 picocuries per liter, which is one billion times below the regulatory limits; iodine-129, selenium-79 and technetium-99 would peak in 150 to 9,700 years at concentrations below 10-6, 10-6, and 10-4 picocuries per liter, respectively, which are also well below regulatory limits (Toblin 1995). Thus, the impact on the Savannah River from groundwater which reaches the surface and eventually enters the river would be very small.
The M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility (see Appendix B.15) would not discharge wastewater directly to a surface stream. However, the wastewater discharged from the scrubber system [an average flow of approximately 0.5 liter (0.13 gallon) per minute] would be directed to the M-Area Dilute Effluent Treatment Facility (DOE 1993a), which can adjust the wastewater pH, add alum as a coagulant, settle the resulting suspended solids, and dewater the solids. Since the wastewater from the scrubber system would be similar in composition to the wastewater already being treated, the surface water would receive little, if any, impact from the discharge of this additional treated water. The water resources section in Appendix E lists the minimum and maximum chemical concentrations found in the effluent from the M-Area Liquid Effluent Treatment Facility, which includes the Dilute Effluent Treatment Facility (outfall M-004). The treatment facility has been meeting the discharge criteria. The M-Area Liquid Effluent Treatment Facility has been processing approximately 53 liters (14 gallons) per minute for the last several years (Arnett 1994), but it is designed to treat 100 liters (26 gallons) per minute. Thus, the additional flow of 0.5 liter (0.13 gallon) per minute from the M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility would have a very small effect on the flow rate of the water being treated and the effectiveness of the treatment facility. The treated water would be discharged to Tims Branch via National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitted outfall M-004. A DOE environmental assessment (DOE 1993a) concluded that water quality and indigenous biota within the receiving stream (Tims Branch) would not be adversely impacted by this discharge of treated water.
Additional wastewater streams would be treated in existing SRS wastewater treatment facilities. The M-Area Air Stripper removes volatile organic compounds from the groundwater beneath A- and M-Areas. The air stripper is permitted by SCDHEC to treat 2,270 liters (600 gallons) per minute of contaminated groundwater and operates at approximately 1,900 liters (500 gallons) per minute. Purge water containing volatile organic compounds from the monitoring wells would be treated by the air stripper. An additional 2 liters (0.53 gallon) per minute average flow of purge water would be treated by the air stripper. The operation of the air stripper would not be compromised, and the quality of the effluent would not change.
Additional wastewater would be sent to the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility, either directly or after being treated in one of the high-level waste evaporator systems. The F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility has a design flow rate of 1,135 liters (300 gallons) per minute. The projected additional wastewater stream for the no-action alternative (based on the expected waste forecast) is estimated to be 1.8 liters (0.48 gallon) per minute. There would also be 26 liters (6.9 gallons) per minute of recycle water from the Defense Waste Processing Facility being sent to the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility. Thus, the additional flow of wastewater to be treated would be 27.8 liters (7.3 gallons) per minute. Since the facility processes approximately 114 liters (30 gallons) per minute, this additional flow would be within its design capability. The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Defense Waste Processing Facility discusses the effects of this wastewater on the treatment processes. This release, on an annual basis, represents approximately 15 percent of the total dose to the offsite maximally exposed individual from liquid releases from SRS in 1993. The water resources section in Appendix E lists the minimum and maximum chemical concentrations which were reported for the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility outfall (outfall H-016) for 1993. The effluent concentrations have been in compliance with the permit limits. Since the additional wastewater is of similar composition to the wastewater already being treated by this system, the quality of the effluent from the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility is not likely to change. The calculated dose of the various radionuclides is included in the tables in Appendix E. Two radionuclides account for more than 99 percent of the calculated dose: tritium and cesium-137 together account for 0.0206 millirem of the total dose of 0.0208 millirem to the offsite maximally exposed individual over the 30-year period (1995 through 2024). The impact on Upper Three Runs from radionuclides would be very small.
The Replacement High-Level Waste Evaporator would eventually replace existing evaporators and would produce distillate of the same quality as produced by the present evaporators and which would be treated in the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility. Concentrated waste from the evaporator would be sent to the Defense Waste Processing Facility (WSRC 1994b). Operation of the replacement evaporator would not change the quality of the wastewater discharges. The wastewater flow would be approximately the same because the older evaporators would be retired.
The no-action alternative would result in additional nonradiological and radiological emissions from SRS. In both cases, the resulting incremental increase in air concentrations at and beyond the SRS boundary would be very small compared to existing concentrations at and beyond the SRS boundary. Operations under the no-action alternative would not exceed state or Federal air quality standards.
Potential impacts to air quality from construction activities under the no-action alternative would include fugitive dust and emissions from construction equipment. Fugitive dust results from soil transportation activities, moving and maintenance of soil piles, and clearing and excavation of soil. Approximately 182,500 cubic meters (239,000 cubic yards) of soil would be displaced in E-Area for the construction of the treatment, storage, and disposal facilities listed in Section 2.2.7.
The amount of fugitive dust produced was assumed to be proportional to the land area disturbed. Amounts of fugitive dust for the no-action alternative were calculated from the estimated annual average amount of soil excavated during construction activities over the 30-year analysis period. Fugitive soil emissions are based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) AP-42 emission factors and the number of cubic meters of soil excavated (EPA 1985; Hess 1994a). Maximum downwind concentrations at the SRS boundary for total suspended particulates and particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter were calculated using EPA's TSCREEN model (EPA 1988).
Exhaust emissions from construction equipment were calculated from estimates of the types and number of earth-moving equipment required and from EPA AP-42 emission factors. Maximum downwind concentrations for criteria pollutants at the SRS boundary were calculated using EPA's TSCREEN model (EPA 1988).
The 30-year average annual concentrations due to construction activities are shown in Table 4-1. The increases in SRS-boundary concentrations due to construction activities would be less than state and Federal ambient air quality standards for all air contaminants.
Table 4-1. Average increase over baselinea of criteria pollutants at the SRS boundary from construction-related activities under the no-action alternative.
|Existing + increase as percent of|
|Nitrogen oxides||1 year||14||0.01||100||14|
|Sulfur dioxide||3 hours
|Carbon monoxide||1 hour
|Total suspended particulates||1 year||43||0.01||75||57|
|Particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter||24 hours
a. Baseline includes background concentrations and the contributions from
b. Micrograms per cubic meter.
c. Source: Stewart (1994).
d. Source: Hess (1994a).
e. Source SCDHEC (1976).
f. Percent of standard = 100 ' (existing sources + baseline + increase) divided by regulatory standard.
g. < is read as "less than."
The following facilities were included in the no-action alternative air dispersion modeling analysis: the Defense Waste Processing Facility, including In-Tank Precipitation; additional organic waste storage tanks; the M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility; additional mixed waste storage tanks (E-Area); and hazardous and mixed waste storage facilities.
Air emissions from disposal vaults in E-Area are very small because solvents and solvent-contaminated rags are not disposed of in the vaults. Solvents and solvent-contaminated rags are stored in drums, with pressure relief valves that release with pressures greater than 280 grams per square centimeter (4 pounds per square inch), located in the hazardous waste and mixed waste storage buildings. Emissions are very small under routine operating conditions because pressure changes greater than 280 grams per square centimeter (4 pounds per square inch) would occur only during emergency conditions, such as a fire.
To determine which facility source terms should be revised to accurately reflect the structure of operations of the no-action alternative, a thorough review of facilities was performed. The following summarizes facility source terms that were not changed and the rationale for not modifying them.
Changes in impacts to maximum boundary-line concentrations would not be expected to result from the continued operation of the F- and H-Area evaporators, the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility, the lead melter, solvent reclamation units, the silver recovery unit, the Organic Waste Storage Tank, Savannah River Technology Center ion exchange process, the low-level waste compactors, or the M-Area Air Stripper, because these facilities are currently operating. Additional organic emissions from the M-Area Air Stripper due to the treatment of investigation-derived waste from groundwater monitoring well operations would be less than 13 kilograms (29 pounds) per year; the incremental contribution to maximum boundary-line concentrations would be very small [less than 0.005 micrograms per cubic meter, based on TSCREEN modeling and Hess (1995a)]. Additional organic emissions from the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility would be 2.7 kilograms (6 pounds) per year; the incremental impact would be very small (Hess 1994b).
Table 4-2 shows maximum ground-level concentrations at the SRS boundary for nonradiological air pollutants emitted under the no-action alternative. Air dispersion modeling was performed with calculated emission rates for facilities not yet operating and actual 1990 emission levels for facilities currently operating (Stewart 1994). For proposed facilities for which permit limits have not yet been established, emissions were estimated based on operational processes (see Appendix B) and data obtained from similar activities at SRS and other waste management facilities. The dispersion calculations for criteria pollutants were performed with 1991 meteorological data from H-Area. DOE used periods ranging from 1 hour to 1 year to model criteria pollutant concentrations, which correspond to the averaging periods found in South Carolina's "Ambient Air Quality Standards" (SCDHEC 1976).
Maximum ground-level concentrations for nonradiological air pollutants were determined from the Industrial Source Complex Version 2 Dispersion Model using maximum potential emissions from all the facilities proposed in the no-action alternative (Stewart 1994). The calculations for the dispersion of carcinogenic toxic substances were performed with 1991 meteorological data from H-Area. Modeled air toxic concentrations for carcinogens were based on an annual averaging period and are presented in Section 22.214.171.124.2. To get a 30-year exposure period, annual averages were calculated by adding all emissions occurring in an annual period, and then proportioning the emissions on a unit-time basis (e.g., grams per second). Under the no-action alternative, emissions of noncarcinogenic air toxics are very small. Maximum boundary-line concentrations for all SCDHEC air toxics are very small and are below SCDHEC regulatory standards. They are presented in the SCDHEC Regulation No. 62.5 Standard No. 2 and Standard No. 8 Compliance Modeling Report Input/Output Data (WSRC 1993b) and in Section 3.5 of this eis.
Table 4-2. Changes in maximum ground-level concentrations of criteria pollutants at the SRS boundary from operation activities under the no-action alternative.
|Pollutant||Averaging time||Existing sources
|Existing + background + increase as percent of|
|Nitrogen oxides||1 year||6||100||8||0.11||14f|
|Sulfur dioxide||3 hour
|Carbon monoxide||1 hour
|Total suspended particulates||1 year||13||75||30||2.02||60|
|Particulate matter < 10 microns in diameter||24 hour
|Gaseous fluorides (as hydrogen fluoride)||12 hour
a. Micrograms per cubic meter.
b. Source: Stewart (1994).
c. Source: SCDHEC (1976).
d. Source: SCDHEC (1992).
e. Percent of standard = 100 ' (existing sources + background + increase in concentration) divided by regulatory standard.
f. For example, 6 + 8 + 0.11 divided by 100 would equal 14.11 percent, rounded to the nearest whole number, 14 percent.
g. NA = not applicable.
Offsite maximally exposed individual and population doses are presented for atmospheric releases resulting from routine operations under the no-action alternative. The largest sources of radionuclides would be from activities at the transuranic and alpha waste storage pads, the F- and H-Area tank farms, M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility, and the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility.
SRS-specific computer models MAXIGASP and POPGASP (Hamby 1992) were used to determine the maximum individual dose at the SRS boundary and the 80-kilometer (50-mile) population dose, respectively, resulting from routine atmospheric releases. See Appendix E for detailed facility-specific isotopic and dose data.
Table 4-3 shows the doses to the offsite maximally exposed individual and the population as a consequence of the normal radiological emissions from the no-action alternative activities. The calculated incremental committed effective annual dose equivalent to the hypothetical offsite maximally exposed individual would be 1.2'10-4 millirem [doses were calculated using dose factors provided by Simpkins (1994a)], which is well within the annual dose limit of 10 millirem for SRS atmospheric releases. In comparison, an individual living near SRS receives a dose of 0.25 millirem from all current releases of radioactivity at SRS (Arnett 1994).
The annual incremental dose to the population within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of SRS from the no-action alternative would be 2.9'10-4 person-rem. In comparison, the collective dose received from natural sources of radiation is approximately 1.95'105 person-rem (Arnett, Karapatakis, Mamatey 1994). Sections 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 describe the potential health effects of these releases on the workers and public, respectively.
Table 4-3. Annual radiological doses to individuals and the population within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of SRS from atmospheric releases under the no-action alternative.a
a. Source: Simpkins (1994a).
Under the no-action alternative, disturbed areas would be cleared and graded to build new waste storage and disposal facilities. (Areas are given in acres; to convert to square kilometers, multiply by 0.004047.) Approximately 160 acres of the following types of woodlands would be cleared and graded by 2024:
- 7 acres of slash pine planted in 1959
- 42 acres of loblolly pine planted in 1987
- 26 acres of white oak, red oak, and hickory regenerated in 1922
- 44 acres of longleaf pine planted in 1922, 1931, or 1936
- 3 acres of loblolly pine planted in 1946
- 20 acres of longleaf pine planted in 1988
- 18 acres from which mixed pine/hardwood was recently harvested
Larger, more mobile animal species inhabiting the undeveloped portions of the site, such as fox, raccoon, bobcat, gray squirrel, and white-tailed deer would be able to avoid the clearing and grading equipment and escape; smaller, less mobile species such as reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals could be killed or displaced by the logging and earth-moving equipment. Although the animals displaced by construction will likely survive for some time in newly established home ranges, these individuals or those whose home ranges they infringe on may die or experience decreased reproduction. The net result of the construction would be less habitat and therefore fewer individuals. If the clearing were done in the spring and summer, birds' nests, including nestlings and eggs, would be destroyed. Hardwood-dominated sites on steep slopes and in wetlands would be avoided whenever possible. Approximately 15 percent of the total acreage of mature hardwoods in or near E-Area would be cleared (Figure 3-9). The clearing of hardwoods would be restricted to some upland areas required for sediment ponds (Figures 3-9 and 4-2).
Construction and operation of storage and disposal facilities within the previously cleared and graded portions of E-Area would have little effect on terrestrial wildlife. Wildlife habitat in these areas is poor and characterized by mowed grassy areas with few animals. Birds and mammals that use these areas, mostly for feeding, would be displaced by construction activities, but it is unlikely that they would be physically harmed or killed.
The undeveloped land between the M-Line railroad and the E-Area expansion and extending northwest of F-Area is described in Section 3.6. Animal species common to these areas are typical of the mixed pine/hardwood forests of South Carolina and are described in Section 3.6.1.
Wetlands would not be affected by construction on the developed or undeveloped lands (Ebasco 1992). Potential adverse effects to the downstream wetlands, aquatic macroinvertebrate, and fish species of Crouch Branch and five small unnamed tributaries to Upper Three Runs would be minimized during construction by installing sediment and erosion control devices before clearing begins, maintaining the sediment and erosion control devices, properly grading the slopes, and stabilizing the site. By state law, construction activities on SRS must have an approved sediment and erosion control plan (see Section 4.1.2). Proper construction and maintenance of sediment ponds and stormwater basins would mitigate adverse effects to the wetlands during operation of waste storage and disposal facilities. Additional sediments are not likely to reach the wetlands adjacent to Upper Three Runs.
The effect of additional wastewater discharges to surface waters for the no-action alternative are presented in Section 4.1.4. Small changes would occur to discharge rates, but the wastewater discharges would remain within permit limits. The aquatic biota in the receiving streams would not be affected because the water quality would not change.
Suitable habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker exists in the area adjacent to E-Area. Red-cockaded woodpeckers prefer to nest in living pine trees over 70 years of age and forage in pine stands over 30 years of age (Wike et al. 1994). Trees suitable for nesting and foraging are found throughout SRS. In 1986, DOE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed on a red-cockaded woodpecker management plan at SRS, which is based on dividing SRS into two management areas (Henry 1986) (Figure 4-3).
One management area (112,000 acres; Management Area Two) forms a natural buffer just within the SRS boundary. This management area contains most of the suitable red-cockaded woodpecker habitat on SRS and all the active colonies. Timber in this area is managed to produce a viable population of red-cockaded woodpeckers. The red-cockaded woodpecker population has increased from 5 in 1985 to 77 in 1994 (LeMaster 1994a).
The other management area (69,000 acres; Management Area One; Figure 4-3) includes developed areas of SRS and adjacent woodland. E-Area and the area of proposed expansion are located within this management area. While potential red-cockaded woodpecker habitat occurs within this area, no active colonies or birds have been identified. By agreement between DOE and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Management Area Two, the outer ring of the SRS, has been dedicated to enhancement of SRS natural resource management areas, Savannah River Swamp, Lower Three Runs corridor, and research set-aside areas.red-cockaded woodpecker populations and habitat, and reserved for timber management activities compatible with this goal. In the same agreement, Management Area One, the central core of SRS that includes E-Area, has been dedicated to DOE mission requirements and intensive timber management. The area northwest of F-Area contains suitable nesting and foraging habitat. This area was surveyed for red-cockaded woodpeckers in 1993 and no colonies or foraging birds were located (LeMaster 1994a). Because of the intensive red-cockaded woodpecker management conducted on most of SRS, clearing of this land would not affect red-cockaded woodpeckers.
The smooth coneflower is another Federally protected species on SRS. It grows in open woods, in cedar barrens, along roadsides, in clearcuts, and in powerline rights-of-way B habitat which is available in the area. However, the species was not found in or near E-Area during 1992 or 1994 botanical surveys (LeMaster 1994b).
One Federally listed Category 2 species, the American sandburrowing mayfly, is known to occur in Upper Three Runs. Several Federally listed Category 2 animal species could occur on the site proposed for new construction. These species include the southern hognose snake, northern pine snake, loggerhead shrike, and Bachman's sparrow.
Botanical surveys performed during 1992 and 1994 by the Savannah River Forest Station located four populations of rare plants in or adjacent to E-Area (see Figure 4-4). One population of Nestronia umbellula (a shrub) and three populations of Oconee azalea (Rhododendron flammeum) were located on the steep slopes adjacent to the Upper Three Runs floodplain (LeMaster 1994b). The Oconee azalea is a South Carolina-listed rare species. Nestronia umbellula was a Federally listed Category 2 species that was found to be more abundant than previously believed; consequently, it is no longer listed (USFWS 1993). These species would not be adversely impacted by the no-action alternative.
DOE prepared a Protected Species Survey (April 1995) based on information presented in the draft eis and submitted it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service as part of the formal consultation process in compliance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The survey is included as Appendix J of this eis. Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concur with DOE's determination of no jeopardy (i.e., no impact to endangered species) for the proposed project in the no-jeopardy opinions contained in Appendix J. However, both agencies stated that additional consultation would be necessary as siting for new facilities proceeds. DOE has committed to conduct additional protected species surveys as needed, and to consult with these agencies should changes occur in the proposed project and as new waste management facilities are planned.
Land use impacts were evaluated on the basis of the amount of land that would be cleared to build facilities that otherwise would be available for non-industrial uses such as natural resource conservation or research, or future, but unidentified, land options.
DOE would use approximately 0.98 square kilometer (160 acres of undeveloped; 81 acres of developed) of land in E-Area for activities associated with the no-action alternative. SRS has about 181,000 acres of undeveloped land, which includes wetlands and other areas that cannot be developed, and 17,000 acres of developed land.
Activities associated with the no-action alternative would not affect current SRS land-use plans; E-Area was designed as an area for nuclear facilities in the Draft 1994 Land-Use Baseline Report (WSRC 1994c). Furthermore, no part of E-Area has been identified as a potential site for future new missions. According to the FY 1994 Draft Site Development Plan (DOE 1994a), proposed future land management plans specify that E-Area be characterized and remediated for environmental contamination in its entirety, if necessary. Decisions on future SRS land uses will be made by DOE through the site development, land-use, and future-use planning processes, including public input through avenues such as the Citizens Advisory Board as required by DOE Order 4320.1B.
This section describes the potential effects of the no-action alternative on the socioeconomic resources in the region of influence. This assessment is based on the estimated construction and operations personnel required to implement this alternative (Table 4-4). Impacts to socioeconomic resources can be evaluated by examining the potential effects from both the construction and operation of each waste management alternative on factors such as employment, income, population, and community resources in the region of influence.
|Year||Construction employment||Operations employment|
a. Source: Hess (1995a, b).
Construction employment associated with the no-action alternative is expected to peak in 1996 and 1997 with approximately 50 jobs (Table 4-4). Given the normal fluctuation of employment in the construction industry, DOE does not expect a net change in regional construction employment from implementation of the no-action alternative. Therefore, DOE does not expect socioeconomic resources in the region to be affected.
Operations employment associated with implementation of the no-action alternative would peak during 2003 through 2024 with an estimated 2,450 jobs (Table 4-4), which represents approximately 12 percent of the 1992 SRS employment. DOE expects that these jobs would be filled through the reassignment of existing workers. Thus, DOE anticipates that socioeconomic resources would not be affected by changes in operations employment.
Potential impacts on cultural resources can be evaluated by identifying the known or expected important resources in the areas of potential impact and activities that could directly or indirectly affect those significant resources. Potential impacts would vary by alternative relative to the amount of land disturbed for construction, modification, and/or operation of waste management facilities. No areas of religious importance to Native American tribes have been identified within areas to be disturbed by construction and operation of facilities associated with the no-action alternative. While several tribes have indicated general concerns about SRS (see Section 3.9.2), no tribe has specifically identified SRS or specific portions of SRS as possessing religious importance.
A Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement between the DOE Savannah River Operations Office, the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (SRARP 1989), which was ratified on August 24, 1990, is the instrument for the management of cultural resources at SRS. DOE uses this memorandum to identify cultural resources, assess them in terms of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, and develop mitigation plans for affected resources in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer. DOE will comply with the terms of the memorandum for activities required to support waste management activities.
Construction within the developed and fenced portion of E-Area would not affect archaeological resources because this area has been disturbed. Most of the construction activities that would take place to the north of the currently developed portion of E-Area would be within an area that was surveyed in 1986 as a potential site for waste disposal facilities (Figure 4-5) (Brooks, Hanson, and Brooks 1986). No important cultural resources were discovered during that survey, and further archaeological work would not be required prior to construction in this area.
As shown in Figure 4-5, there are two small areas of unsurveyed land to the east and northeast of the currently developed portion of E-Area that would be used to support the no-action alternative. In compliance with the Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement (SRARP 1989), DOE would survey these areas before beginning construction. If important resources were discovered, DOE would avoid them or remove them.
The Savannah River Archaeological Research Program has recently completed an archaeological survey of a 4-square-kilometer (1,000-acre) parcel of undeveloped land within E-Area to the north and northwest of F-Area (Figure 4-5). During this survey, 33 archaeological sites were identified, 12 of which may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. However, recommendations on eligibility made by the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program are not binding until the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Officer concurs with the recommendations. DOE expects to receive concurrence in 1995. One of the 12 sites that may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places would be disturbed by construction of a sediment pond. Some potential exists that other important archaeological sites in the vicinity of new waste management facilities could be indirectly affected if the introduction of contamination were to make the area unsuitable for additional research activities or if operation of the new facilities were to bring a larger permanent workforce closer to the sites. Before beginning construction in this area, the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program and DOE would complete the consultation process with the State Historic Preservation Officer and develop mitigation action plans to ensure that important archaeological resources would be protected and preserved (Sassaman 1994).
Impacts were evaluated on the basis of visibility of new facilities from offsite. Under the no-action alternative, the facilities DOE plans to construct in E-Area would not adversely affect scenic resources or aesthetics. E-Area is already dedicated to industrial use. New construction would not be visible off SRS or from public access roads on SRS. The new facilities would not produce emissions to the atmosphere that would be visible or that would indirectly reduce visibility.
DOE analyzed impacts under each alternative that would result from changes in daily commuter and truck traffic. Traffic impacts are expressed as increases in vehicles per hour and in the number of hazardous and radioactive waste shipments by truck. As a road's carrying capacity is approached, the likelihood of traffic accidents increases. Similarly, the more truck shipments on a given road, the greater the probability of a traffic accident involving a truck. Increases in either condition could cause an increase in traffic fatalities.
DOE also evaluated the impacts that transportation of low-level, mixed, transuranic, and hazardous wastes would have on individuals located onsite and offsite. These impacts were determined by the calculation of dose and expressed as health effects (i.e., the number of excess fatal cancers resulting from exposure to radioactive waste shipments). High-level waste was excluded from the analyses because it is not transported by vehicle.
Impacts from incident-free (normal) transport and postulated transportation accidents involving onsite shipment of radioactive waste over 30 years were calculated for the no-action alternative. Offsite transportation impacts were also calculated. The only traffic increases considered were from construction workers traveling to and from the site.
Vehicle counts were estimated from current and projected levels of SRS employment (Turner 1994) and waste shipments. The baseline number of vehicles per hour was estimated from values in Smith (1989) and Swygert (1994). Table 4-5 shows estimated peak vehicles per hour for representative onsite and offsite roads. The table also shows the design carrying capacity for the roads (vehicles per hour) and the percentage of this design carrying capacity that the expected traffic represents. Vehicles per hour on offsite roads represent daily maximum values, while vehicles per hour onsite represent peak morning traffic. For the no-action alternative, the year when the most people would be employed was used to determine the change from the baseline. These traffic analyses conservatively assume that each worker drives a vehicle and arrives at E-Area during the peak commuter traffic hour.
For the no-action alternative, the roads' carrying capacities would not be exceeded by the workforce increase of 47 vehicles per hour. DOE would not expect adverse impacts from traffic associated with the no-action alternative.
Impacts of daily truck traffic associated with onsite shipments of hazardous and radioactive waste were analyzed for the no-action alternative. These shipments, presented in Table 4-6, are assumed to occur during normal working hours (versus commuter hours), and therefore, would have very little effect on the roadway carrying capacity. Hazardous waste shipments include shipments from accumulation areas to the RCRA-permitted storage buildings and from the storage buildings to offsite treatment and disposal facilities. Shipments of radioactive waste include those from the generators to the treatment, storage, or disposal facilities.
Under the no-action alternative, daily truck shipments would be the same as for the baseline. This assumption was based on transportation data (Hess 1994c) developed from historical shipping configurations for each waste. Baseline waste volumes were estimated from the 30-year expected waste forecast. DOE expects that impacts from waste shipments under the no-action alternative would be the same as for baseline waste management activities. Numbers of shipments assumed under the no-action alternative are given in Tables E.3-1 through E.3-3.
In 1992, South Carolina had a highway fatality rate of 2.3 per 100 million miles driven (SCDOT 1992). At this rate, an estimated 5.5 fatalities would be expected to occur annually within the commuter population for the baseline case based on a 40-mile round-trip commute 250 times a year (see Section 184.108.40.206). For the no-action alternative, an additional 47 workers would be expected to drive an additional one-half million miles per year, which is predicted to result in less than one additional traffic fatality.
The occurrence of highway injuries and prompt fatalities for truck accidentsaccidentsAccidents can be estimated from data reported by the National Highway Safety Council (DOT 1982). Injuries occur in 24 percent of all single truck accidents. The estimated injury- and fatality-causing accident rates are 3.2×10-7 and 1.2×10-7 per mile traveled, respectively.
Trucks carrying hazardous wastehazardous wasteHazardous waste have an accident rate of 1.4×10-6 accidentsaccidentsAccidents per mile traveled for all road types. An estimated 20 percent of these truck accidents will result in a release of hazardous materials (EPA 1984).
Based on these statistics, an analysis (Rollins 1995) was performed to determine impacts from shipments of hazardous and radioactive materials for the 30-year period of interest for this eis. For the no-action alternative, 7,200 annual (onsite and offsite) hazardous and radioactive waste shipments would travel approximately 600,000 miles and would result in slightly less than 1 accident with 0.074 prompt fatality. AccidentsAccidents involving the release of hazardous material would be expected to occur, on average, once in 6 years.
The analysis determined that the largest impacts would occur for alternative B maximum waste forecast. For this case, 22,000 annual (onsite and offsite) hazardous and radioactive waste shipments would travel approximately 1.9 million miles, leading to an expectation of less than 3 accidentsaccidents with 0.23 prompt fatality. Accidents involving the release of hazardous material would be expected to occur, on average, once in 4 years. Impacts for all other alternatives and waste forecasts would be lower. These impacts are considered very small and are not discussed further in this eis.
|Road||Design capacity (vehicles per hour)||1994 baseline traffica (percentage of design capacity)b||No-action alternative change (percentage of design capacity)c|
|Road E at E-Area||2,300e||741f,g(32)||47h(34)|
a. Vehicles per hour baseline traffic for 1994 was estimated from actual
counts measured in 1989 (offsite) and 1992/1993 (onsite) (Smith 1989) by
adjusting vehicle counts by the change in SRS employment between measured years
b. Numbers in parentheses indicate percentage of carrying capacity.
c. Percentage of design capacity changed between the draft and final eis because the manpower numbers are based on construction costs which were modified after the draft was issued to better reflect actual costs.
d. Adapted from Smith (1989).
e. Adapted from TRB (1985).
f. Source: Swygert (1994).
g. Morning traffic traveling to E-Area.
h. Maximum number of construction workers (Hess 1995a, b).
|Waste Type||Destination||Total Shipments||No-action alternative
(1994 baseline traffic)b
|Total Shipments per day|
a. To arrive at shipments per day, the total number of waste shipments
estimated for the 30 years considered in this eis was divided by 30 to determine
estimated shipments per year. These numbers were divided by 250, which
represents working days in a calendar year, to determine shipments per day.
b. Shipments per day. 1994 baseline traffic is assumed to equal the no-action alternative using expected waste volumes.
c. Includes mixed and nonmixed transuranic waste shipments.
DOE used the Radtran (Neuhauser and Kanipe 1992) computer codes to model the transportation of radioactive materials. These computer codes were configured with applicable SRS demographics and transportation accident rates (HNUS 1995a). The parameters for the Radtran analysis include the package dose rate, the number of packages per shipment, the number of shipments, the distance traveled, the fraction of travel in rural, suburban, and (for offsite transportation) urban population zones, traffic counts, travel speed, and type of highway traveled. Transport of radioactive material within a particular facility was excluded from this assessment because it involves operational transfers that are not defined as transportation and that would be included in facility accidents (e.g., Section 4.1.13). A more detailed breakdown of the transportation analysis by waste type is provided in Appendix E. Other model assumptions and input parameters are described in HNUS (1995a).
DOE analyzed the impacts that transportation of low-level, mixed, transuranic, and hazardous wastes would have on individuals located onsite and offsite. Doses from incident-free (normal) transport of waste over 30 years and from postulated transportation accidents involving radioactive waste were calculated for each alternative. Finally, health effects, expressed as the number of excess latent cancer fatalities associated with the estimated doses, were calculated by multiplying the resultant occupational and general public doses by the risk factors of 0.0004 (for occupational health) and 0.0005 (for the general public) excess latent cancer fatalities per person-rem (ICRP 1991). For individuals, the calculated value represents the additional probability of developing a latent fatal cancer.
The Axair89Q (Hess 1995c) computer code uses SRS-specific meteorological data to model releases offsite from postulated onsite accidents. Axair89Q conservatively calculates the offsite individual and population doses because it uses very conservative air quality parameters (99.5 percent of the time the actual meteorology at SRS is less severe than that used by the model). For the transportation analyses, seven hypothetical human receptor groups were identified:
- Uninvolved worker: The SRS employee who is not assigned to the transportation activity but is located along the normal transportation route at an assumed distance of 30 meters (98 feet) and would be exposed to radiation from the normal transport shipment. Doses are reported in units of rem.
- Uninvolved workers: The collective SRS employee population not assigned to the transportation activity that would receive external or internal radiation exposureradiation exposureRadiation exposure from normal onsite shipments and accidents. About 7,000 SRS employees would be exposed to routine shipments and as many as 6,000 could be exposed to radiation in the event of an accident. Doses are reported in units of person-rem.
- Involved workers: The collective SRS employee population assigned to the transportation activity (i.e., two transport crew and six package handlers per shipment) that would receive external radiation exposure from normal transport of shipments. These workers are allowed to receive a greater radiation dose than the general public. Doses are reported in units of person-rem.
- Offsite maximally exposed individual: The member of the public located at the point along the SRS boundary that receives the highest ground-level radioactive material concentration and who would receive external or internal radiation exposure from an onsite transportation accident. Doses are reported in units of rem.
- Offsite population: The members of the public in the compass sector most likely to experience the maximum collective dose due to radioactive material released from an onsite transportation accident. Approximately 182,000 people are considered part of the offsite population. Doses are reported in units of person-rem.
- Remote maximally exposed individual: The member of the public located along the offsite transportation route who would receive radiation exposure from normal transport. Doses are reported in units of rem.
- Remote population: Members of the public (as many as 1,837 people per square kilometer) along the offsite transportation route who would receive external or internal radiation exposureradiation exposureRadiation exposure from normal shipments and accidents. Members of the remote population who would be exposed to incident-free shipments by rail number about 200,000, and about 130,000 for truck shipments. As many as 3 million people have the potential to be exposed to offsite accidents involving the transport of radioactive wastes.
The magnitude of incident-free impacts depends on the dose rate at the surface of the transport vehicle, the exposure time, and the number of people exposed. Radiological consequences of incident-free transport would result from external exposure to radiation by the vehicle crew and package handlers and by the uninvolved workers along the transportation route (including those in vehicles sharing the route at the time of transport). For each waste and package type, external dose rates at 1 meter (3.3 feet) from the transport vehicle were calculated and used to calculate incident-free consequences to onsite receptors (HNUS 1995a). Duration of exposure depends on the speed of the transport vehicle and the distance it travels. Additionally, occupational exposure time depends on the number of shipments and how long it takes to load each transport vehicle.
Annual incident-free doses for the no-action alternative are shown in Table 4-7. The uninvolved worker dose represents the maximum annual exposure from each waste type (shown in Appendix E). Using conservative assumptions, involved workers would experience the highest doses because they would be closest to the waste. Of the waste types handled by these workers, low-level waste would deliver the highest dose due to the types of radionuclides present.
Table 4-7. Annual dose and associated excess latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities from incident-free onsite transport of radioactive material under the no-action alternative.
The concepts of fractions of fatalities may be applied to estimate the effects of exposing a population to radiation. For example, in a population of 100,000 people exposed only to background radiation (0.3 rem per year), 15 latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities per year would be inferred to be caused by the radiation (100,000 persons × 0.3 rem per year × 0.0005 latent cancer fatalities per person-rem = 15 latent cancer fatalities per year).
Sometimes calculations of the number of latent cancer fatalities associated with radiation exposureradiation exposureRadiation exposure do not yield whole numbers, and, especially in environmental applications, may yield numbers less than 1.0. For example, if a population of 100,000 were exposed as above, but to a total dose of only 0.001 rem, the collective dose would be 100 person-rem, and the corresponding estimated number of latent cancer fatalities would be 0.05 (100,000 persons × 0.001 rem × 0.0005 latent cancer fatalities per person-rem = 0.05 latent fatal cancers).
In this instance, 0.05 is the average number of deaths that would result if the same exposure situation were applied to many different groups of 100,000 people. In most groups, no one (0 people) would incur a latent cancer fatality from the 0.001 rem dose each member would have received. In a small fraction of the groups, 1 latent fatal cancer would result; in exceptionally few groups, 2 or more latent fatal cancers would occur. The average number of deaths over all of the groups would be 0.05 latent fatal cancers (just as the average of 0, 0, 0, and 1 is 1/4, or 0.25). The most likely outcome is 0 latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities.
How great the consequences of an accident are depends on the amount of radioactive contamination to which the individual(s) are exposed, how long they are exposed, and the number of people exposed. DOE considered both the consequence and probability of vehicle accidents in the transportation impacts model. The joint probability of a given severity of accident occurring for each type of waste shipped was calculated based on the probability of a range of impact forces that a package could receive in a hypothetical accident (NRC 1977), vehicle accident rates, and number of miles traveled. The severity of an accident is determined by the amount of damage to the package and subsequent release of material. Joint probabilities of a given accident severity greater than approximately 1×10-7 were selected for further analysis to determine the magnitude of accident consequences. Dispersion of radioactive material from the damaged package, combined with assumed release fractions, the fraction of released material that becomes airborne, and the fraction of airborne material that is of a size capable of being breathed in, is modeled to calculate the amount of radioactive contamination to which the individuals(s) are exposed. Generally, the requirements for package integrity and transport vehicles for onsite waste shipments are not as stringent as for transportation on public highways where package and vehicle requirements are regulated by the Department of Transportation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Consequently, impacts from onsite accidents would be much greater than those for offsite accidents, because it is assumed that larger fractions of material would be released in an onsite accident.
Accident probabilities are best understood by assuming that many trips occur for a given type of transportation event (i.e., shipping low-level waste to an offsite facility). The number of trips when an accident occurs for a given number of trips is the accident probability. For example, if on a single trip, there was an accident, the probability of having an accident would be 1. If there was a second trip without an accident, the number of trips with accidents which occurred overall (1 out of 2 possible) would be one-half (0.5). However, since the number of accidents can only be whole numbers (i.e., it is impossible to have half an accident), the probability of having an accident is now 1 out of 2 trips, or 0.5, or 50 percent probability. Note that the probability is a unitless number.
Over the 30-year analysis period, for all accidents resulting in any consequence, the total probability of an accident involving low-level waste would be 0.49; from mixed waste, it would be 0.52; and from transuranic waste, it would be 0.038. The most probable accidents would not result in a dose because radioactive material would not be released. Table 4-8 presents the consequences to both onsite and offsite receptors from high consequence (low probability) postulated accidents. The results indicate that the highest consequences would result from accidents involving the release of transuranic waste and occur through inhalation of high-energy alpha particles associated with transuranic nuclides.
Table 4-8. Annual accident probabilities, doses associated with those accidents, and associated excess latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities from high consequence (low probability) accidents involving the transport of radioactive materials under the no-action alternative.
The greatest consequence from postulated transportation accidents involving radioactive materials would be to the uninvolved workers (with an estimated 120 latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities; Table 4-8) as the result of an accident in which it is assumed that all of the conservatively estimated transuranic nuclides in a transuranic waste container would be released over an area of about 3 square kilometers (1.1 square miles) in a single transportation accident. The number of cancers would be highest for the uninvolved workers due to the larger number of people that would be exposed and the greater amount of radioactive material to which they would potentially be exposed. Over the 30-year analysis period, the probability that an accident of this consequence would occur is 1.44×10-6.
Since the actions evaluated in this eis do not introduce new dispersible, nonradioactive, hazardous materials to the SRS transportation system, DOE reviewed the results of prior transportation accident analyses (WSRC 1991c, 1992b) for applicability to the waste management alternatives. These analyses were based on the facilities, equipment, and operations representative of SRS conditions between 1982 and mid-1985, when SRS's chemical inventory and the movement of chemicals were at their peak. Because the actions evaluated in this eis involve the shipment of hazardous wastehazardous wasteHazardous waste (rather than hazardous materials whose concentrations are generally much larger) and current and future site chemical inventories would be less than those previously analyzed (WSRC 1992b), this prior conclusion that there would be very small onsite and offsite impacts from onsite shipments of hazardous waste remains valid. This conclusion is further supported by recent analysis (see Section 220.127.116.11) which determined that accidents resulting in the release of hazardous material would occur, on average, only once in 6 years for the no-action alternative. This analysis also predicted that for the scenario with the largest impacts (alternative B maximum waste forecast), accidents resulting in the release of hazardous material would occur, on average, only once in 4 years. Based on the waste forecasts (Appendix A) over the next 30 years, most hazardous waste shipments (91 percent) are expected to be soil and debris. These wastes do not contain high concentrations of toxic materials, and accidental release of these solid materials would not lead to an explosion hazard or atmospheric release of dangerous chemicals. Accident consequences are therefore expected to be localized and result in minimal impacts to human health or the environment. These impacts are considered very small and are not discussed further in this document.
As discussed in Section 3.11.3, studies have concluded that, because of the remote locations of the SRS operational areas, no known conditions are associated with existing onsite noise sources that adversely affect offsite individuals (NUS 1991; DOE 1990, 1991, 1993b). Since the vast majority of waste management activities occur onsite, adverse impacts due to noise are not expected for any of the alternatives or waste forecasts. Thus, noise impacts are not discussed further in this eis.
This section discusses the radiological and nonradiological exposures due to normal operations under the no-action alternative and subsequent impacts to the public and workers. This analysis, further discussed in Section 18.104.22.168.1, shows that the health effects (specifically latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities) associated with the no-action alternative are themselves small and are small relative to those normally expected in the worker and regional area population groups from other causes.
The principal potential human health effect from exposure to low levels of radiation is cancer. Human health effects from exposure to chemicals may be toxic effects (e.g., nervous system disorders) or cancer. For the purpose of this analysis, radiological carcinogenic effects are expressed as the number of fatal cancers for populations and the maximum probability of death of a maximally exposed individual. Nonradiological carcinogenic effects are expressed as the total number of fatal and non-fatal cancers.
In addition to latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities, other health effects could result from environmental and occupational exposures to radiation. These effects include nonfatal cancers among the exposed population and genetic effects in subsequent generations. To enable comparisons with fatal cancer riskcancer riskriskCancer riskRisk, the International Commission of Radiological Protection (ICRP 1991) suggested use of detriment weighting factors which take into consideration the curability rate of non-fatal cancers and the reduced quality of life associated with non-fatal cancer and heredity effect. The commission recommended probability coefficients (risk factors) for the general public of 0.0001 per person-rem for non-fatal cancers and 0.00013 per person-rem for hereditary effects. Both of these values are approximately a factor of four lower than the risk factors for fatal cancer. Therefore, this eis presents estimated effects of radiation only in terms of latent cancer fatalities, because that is the major health effect from exposure to radiation.
For nonradiological health effects, risks are estimated as the incremental probability of an individual developing cancer (either fatal or nonfatal) over a lifetime as a result of exposure to the potential carcinogen. The overall potential for cancer posed by exposure to multiple chemicals is calculated by summing the chemical-specific cancer risks to give a total individual lifetime cancer risk.
For radiological emissions from facilities considered under the no-action alternative, the largest occupational and public healthoccupational and public healthpublic healthPublic health effects were projected from the following facilities: (1) for involved workers, the transuranic and alpha wastealpha wasteAlpha waste storage pads and the F- and H-Area (high-level waste) tank farms; (2) for the public and uninvolved workers, the M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility; and (3) for the public only, the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility. To simplify the calculation, 30-year process volumes were used to estimate occupational and public health effects.
Nonradiological air emissions are expected to produce very small health impacts for involved and uninvolved workers. Although overall public healthpublic healthPublic health impacts would be very small, the greatest contribution to these impacts would occur due to emissions from benzene waste generated from the Defense Waste Processing Facility, including In-Tank Precipitation.
Doses to involved workers were estimated based on a review of exposures resulting from waste management activities for the no-action alternative. Direct radiation and inhalation would be the largest exposure pathways. Doses to uninvolved workers were calculated using the MAXIGASP computer code (see Section 22.214.171.124). An uninvolved worker was conservatively assumed to be located 100 meters (328 feet) from the release point (of the affected facility) for 80 hours per week; another was conservatively assumed to be located 640 meters (2,100 feet) from the release point for 80 hours per week. The weekly exposure period was conservatively estimated to ensure that doses to overtime workers were not underestimated. Doses were estimated for the inhalation, ground contamination, and plume immersion exposure pathways. Data required to calculate doses to the uninvolved worker population are not currently available; however, dose to an individual uninvolved worker at 100 meters (328 feet) and 640 meters (2,100 feet) would bound the impact to the individual members of the population.
The incremental worker doses (the increase in dose due to activities under the no-action alternative) are given in Table 4-9. DOE regulations (10 CFR 835) require that annual doses to individual workers not exceed 5 rem per year. DOE assumes that exposure to the maximally exposed involved worker at SRS would not exceed 0.8 rem per year due to administrative controls (WSRC 1994d).
From these radiological doses, estimates of latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities were calculated using the conversion factor for workers of 0.0004 latent cancer fatality per rem (ICRP 1991). Based on this factor, the probability that the average involved worker would develop a fatal cancer sometime during his lifetime as the result of a single year's exposure to waste management-generated radiation would be 1.0×10-5, or approximately 1 in 100,000. For the worker exposed to the administrative limit (0.8 rem), the probability of developing a fatal cancer sometime in his lifetime as a result of a single year's exposure would be 3.2×10-4, or approximately 3 in 10,000. For the total involved workforce, the collective radiation doseradiation doseRadiation dose could produce up to 0.022 additional fatal cancer as the result of a single year's exposure; over the 30-year period the involved workers could have 0.65 additional fatal cancer as a result of exposure. The probability of any individual uninvolved worker developing a fatal cancer as a result of the estimated exposure would be very small (Table 4-9).
The calculated numbers of fatal cancers due to worker exposure to radiation can be compared with the number of fatal cancers that would normally be expected among the workers during their lifetimes. PopulationPopulation statistics indicate that, of the U.S. populationpopulation which died in 1990, 23.5 percent died of cancer (CDC 1993). If this percentage of deaths from cancer remains constant, 23.5 percent of the U.S. population will develop a fatal cancer during their lifetime. Therefore, in the group of 2,088 involved workers, about 491 would normally be expected to die of cancer.
The probability of developing a radiation-induced fatal cancer associated with the no-action alternative is much less than the probability of developing a fatal cancer from other causes.
Potential nonradiological impacts to SRS workers were considered for air emissionsair emissionsAir emissions emanating from the following facilities: Defense Waste Processing Facility, including In-Tank Precipitation; M-Area Vendor Treatment Facility; M-Area Air Stripper; hazardous and mixed waste storage buildingmixed waste storage buildingMixed waste storage buildings; and the E-Area organic wasteorganic waste storage tanksorganic waste storage tanks. Occupational health impacts to employees in the Defense Waste Processing Facility and In-Tank Precipitation are presented in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Defense Waste Processing Facility.
Table 4-10 presents a comparison between Occupational Safety and Health Administration-permissible exposure limit values and potential exposures to employees at both 100 meters (328 feet) and 640 meters (2,100 feet) from each facility considered. Downwind concentrations were calculated using EPA's TSCREEN model. In all cases, employee exposure would be below Occupational Safety and Health Administration-permissible exposure limits, and health impacts would be expected to be very small.
Occupational exposures to noise are controlled through the contractor hearing conservation program activities in Industrial Hygiene Manual 4Q, Procedure 501. This program implements the contractor requirements for identifying, evaluating, and controlling noise exposures to meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.95, Occupational Noise Exposure. All personnel with 8-hour time weighted average exposures greater than 85 dBA are enrolled in the program. Significant aspects of the hearing conservation program include: routine noise exposure monitoring, audiometric testing, hearing protection, employee information and training, and recordkeeping.
L004-06To estimate the health effects associated with the no-action alternative on the public, it was necessary to calculate radiological doses to individuals and population groups. Estimates of latent cancer fatalitieslatent cancer fatalitiesLatent cancer fatalities were then calculated using the conversion factor of 0.0005 latent cancer fatality per rem for the general population (ICRP 1991). This factor is slightly higher than that for workers (Section 126.96.36.199), because infants and children are part of the general population.
Effects are estimated for two separate population groups: (1) the 620,100 people living within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of SRS and the 871,000 people living within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the offsite facility who would be exposed to atmospheric releases; and (2) the 65,000 people using the Savannah River who would be exposed to releases to the river (Arnett, Karapatakis, and Mamatey 1994). Impacts are estimated for the maximally exposed individual in each of these population groups.
To facilitate the prediction of the radiological doses associated with the no-action alternative, current and future waste management practices at SRS were assessed. Wastes were aggregated into treatability groups to estimate the radionuclide releases to air and water.
Airborne radiological releases were converted to doses using the MAXIGASP and POPGASP computer codes (Hamby 1992). Doses were calculated using dose factors provided in Simpkins (1994a). These codes calculate the dose to a hypothetical maximally exposed individual at the SRS boundary and the collective dose to the population within an 80-kilometer (50-mile) radius, respectively. The inhalation, food ingestion, ground contamination, and plume exposure pathways were evaluated. Both codes utilize the GASPAR (Eckerman et al. 1980) and XOQDOQ (Sagendorf, Croll, and Sandusky 1982) modules. GASPAR and XOQDOQ have been adapted for use at SRS (Hamby 1992 and Bauer 1991, respectively).
For the assessments, DOE assumed that the population would remain constant over the 30-year period of analysis. This assumption is justified because (1) current estimates indicate that the population will increase by less than 15 percent during this period (HNUS 1995b), (2) there are uncertainties in the determination of year-to-year population distributions, and (3) although the absolute impacts would increase proportionately with population growth, the relative impact comparison between alternatives would not be affected.
Calculated atmospheric doses are given in Table 4-11 (releases from operation of the Defense Waste Processing Facility are not included). The annual doses (0.00012 millirem to the offsite maximally exposed individual and 0.00029 person-rem to the offsite population) would be small fractions of the dose from total SRS airborne releases in 1993 [0.11 millirem to the offsite maximally exposed individual and 7.6 person-rem to the population within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of SRS (Arnett, Karapatakis, and Mamatey 1994)]. Doses from 1993 operations were well within the EPA requirements given in 40 CFR 161 and adopted by DOE in Order 5400.5, which allow an annual dose limit to the offsite maximally exposed individual of 10 millirem from all airborne releases.
Waterborne releases were converted to doses using the LADTAP XL computer code (Hamby 1991). This code calculates the dose to a hypothetical maximally exposed individual along the Savannah River just downstream of SRS, and to the population using the Savannah River from SRS to the Atlantic Ocean. Fish ingestion, water ingestion, and recreational exposure pathways were evaluated. The aqueous dose-producing-releases were discharges from the F/H-Area Effluent Treatment Facility; seeps from groundwatergroundwaterGroundwater discharges were too small to affect the totals.Table 4.11.
As was done for the atmospheric assessments, the population was assumed to remain constant over the 30-year period of analysis.
Calculated doses from releases to water are given in Table 4-11. The annual doses (0.00069 millirem to the offsite maximally exposed individual and 0.0068 person-rem to the offsite population) would be small fractions of the doses from total SRS releases to water in 1993 [0.14 millirem to the maximally exposed member of the public and 1.5 person-rem to the population using the Savannah River from SRS to the Atlantic Ocean (Arnett, Karapatakis, and Mamatey 1994)]. Doses from 1993 operations were well within the regulatory requirements specified in DOE Order 5400.5 and by EPA in 40 CFR 141, which allow an annual dose limit to the offsite maximally exposed individual of 4 millirem from drinking water.
Using the fatal-cancer-per-rem dose factor given above, the probability of the maximally exposed individual developing a fatal cancer and the numbers of fatal cancers that could occur in the regional population under the no-action alternative were calculated (Table 4-11). The probability of the maximally exposed individual dying of cancer as a result of 30 years of exposure to radiation from activities under the no-action alternative is slightly more than 1 in 100 million; the number of additional Table 4-11. Radiological doses and resulting health effects to the public associated with the no-action alternative.fatal cancers that might occur in the regional population for this same exposure period would be 1.1×10-4.
About 23.5 percent of the U.S. population die from cancer from all causes (Section 188.8.131.52); accordingly, the probability of an individual dying of cancer is 0.235, or approximately 1 in 4. In a population of 620,100 people (the number of people living within 80 kilometers [50 miles] of SRS), the number of people expected to die of cancer is 145,700. In a population of 65,000 (the number of people using the Savannah River as a source of drinking water), the number of people expected to die of cancer is 15,275. Thus, the incidence of radiation-induced fatal cancers associated with the no-action alternative (see Table 4-11) would be much smaller than the incidence of cancers from all causes.
Potential nonradiological impacts to individuals residing offsite were considered for both criteria and carcinogenic pollutants. Maximum SRS boundary-line concentrations for criteria pollutants are discussed in Section 4.1.5.
For routine releases from operating facilities under the no-action alternative, criteria pollutant concentrations would be within both state and federal ambient air quality standards and are discussed in Section 4.1.5. During periods of construction under normal operating conditions, the criteria pollutant concentrations at the SRS boundary would not exceed air quality standards, and very small health impacts would be expected from criteria pollutant emissions.
Offsite risks due to carcinogens were calculated using the Industrial Source Complex 2 model for the same facilities discussed in Section 184.108.40.206.2. The assumptions in the model are conservative. Emissions of carcinogenic compounds were estimated using permitted values for facilities not currently operating (e.g., the Defense Waste Processing Facility) and emission factors for facilities currently operating (e.g., aqueous and organic wasteorganic waste storage tanksorganic waste storage tanks) (EPA 1985). Table 4-12 shows estimated latent cancers based on EPA's Integrated RiskRisk Information System database (EPA 1994).
The unit risk (cancer risk per unit of air concentration) for a chemical is the highest lifetime risk (over 70 years) of developing cancer (either fatal or nonfatal) when continuously exposed to the chemical at an air concentration of 1 microgram per cubic meter. As shown in Table 4-12, the estimated lifetime risk associated with routine emissions from facilities included in the no-action alternative is approximately 2 in 1.0×107. Health impacts to the public would be very small.
Environmental justice has assumed an increasingly prominent role in the environmental movement over the past decade. In general, the term "environmental justice" refers to fair treatment of all races, cultures, and incomeincome levels with respect to laws, policies, and government actions. In February 1994, Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations," was released. This order directs federal agencies to identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations. Executive Order 12898 also directs the Administrator of EPA to convene an interagency federal working group on environmental justice (referred to below as the Working Group). The Working Group will provide guidance to federal agencies for identifying disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority and low-income populations. The Working Group has not yet issued this guidance. It has developed working draft definitions. Although the definitions are in draft form, DOE used them in the analysis for this eis. In coordination with the Working Group, DOE is developing internal guidance on implementation of the executive order. DOE's internal guidance was used in preparing this eis.
This eis addresses environmental justice concerns in three areas: (1) potential air emissions, (2) potential impacts from transportation of wastes offsite, and (3) potential impacts from consuming fish and game. Based on these analyses, DOE concluded that none of the alternatives would have disproportionate adverse effects on minority populations or low-income communities.
Although adverse health effects are not expected under the no-action alternative, in the spirit of Executive Order 12898 an analysis was performed to determine whether any impacts would have been disproportionately distributed. Figures 3-12 and 3-13 identify census tracts with significant proportions of people of color or low income. This section presents the predicted average radiation doses that would be received under the no-action alternative by individuals in these census tracts and compares them to the predicted per capita doses received in the remaining tracts within the 80-kilometer (50-mile) radius of SRS. This section also discusses impacts of doses received in the downstream communities from liquid effluents from all alternatives and cases.
Figure 4-6 shows a wheel with 22.5-degree sectors and concentric rings from 16 to 80 kilometers (10 to 50 miles) radiating at 16-kilometer (10-mile) intervals from the center of SRS. A fraction of the total dose (see Appendix E) was calculated for each sector based on meteorological data (Simpkins 1994b), the sector wheel was laid over the census tract map, and each tract was assigned to a sector. For purposes of this analysis, if a tract fell in more than one sector, the tract was assigned to the sector with the highest dose.
DOE analyzed the effects by comparing the per capita dose received by each type of community to the other types of communities within a defined region. To eliminate the possibility that effects to a small community close to SRS would be diluted and masked by including it with a larger community located farther from SRS, comparisons were made within increasingly larger concentric circles, the radii of which increase in 16-kilometer (10-mile) increments.
Figure 4-6. Identification of annular sectors around SRS. (See Appendix E for dose fractions by sector.)
To determine the per capita radiation dose in each census tract for the no-action alternative, the number of people in each tract was multiplied by that tract's dose value to obtain a total population dose for each tract. These population doses were summed over each concentric circle and divided by the total community population to obtain a mean per capita dose for each circular area. The dose determined for each tract was compared to this mean dose. Figure 4-7 illustrates these results for the no-action alternative. Appendix E provides the supporting data.
As shown, the per capita dose is extremely small for each community type. This analysis indicates that communities of people of color (in which the minority population is equal to or greater than 35 percent of the total population) or low income (in which the number of low income persons is equal to or greater than 25 percent of the total population) would not be disproportionately affected by atmospheric releases.
Table 4-11 lists predicted doses to the offsite maximally exposed individual and to the downstream population from exposure to water resources. The doses reflect people using the Savannah River for drinking water, sports, and food (fish). Because the communities of people of color or low income living in the areas downstream from SRS are well distributed and because persons in the downstream region would not be affected (the 30-year dose to the offsite maximally exposed individual for all alternatives and forecasts would be 0.021 millirem), there are no disparate adverse impacts on low-income or minority communities in the downstream areas for any of the alternatives.
The distribution of carcinogen and criteria pollutant emissions due to routine operations, and of criteria pollutants from construction activities, would be essentially identical to those presented for airborne radiological emissions, so people of color and the poor would not be disproportionately affected by non-radiological emissions under any of the alternatives. Because non-radiological pollutant emissions have only very small impacts in any of the alternatives, and are not disproportionately distributed among types of communities, there are no Environmental Justice concerns related to these pollutants for any of the alternatives.
Environmental justice concerns were also considered for the impacts associated with the offsite transportation of hazardous and radioactive waste that would occur under the alternatives. A recent impact analysis (see Section 220.127.116.11) determined that for the no-action alternative, accidents resulting in the release of hazardous material would be expected to occur, on average, only once in 6 years (i.e., five accidents resulting in hazardous material release over the 30-year period of this eis). The impact analysis determined that for the scenario with largest impacts (alternative B maximum waste forecast), accidents involving the release of hazardous material would be expected to occur, on average, only once in 4 years. In addition to the expected frequency of such accidents, their impacts can be mitigated by Figure 4-7. Dose to individuals in communities within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of the SRS. The dose is calculated based on radiological emissions under the no-action alternative.existing training and technology for controlling spills from vehicles. Because these rare events are expected to occur randomly in time with equal distribution throughout various types of communities, there are no disproportionate adverse impacts on poor or minority communities from transportation of hazardous and radioactive waste for any of the alternatives evaluated in this eis.
DOE also considered impacts associated with consumption of wildlife from SRS and fish from the Savannah River from the perspective of Environmental Justice. Doses to the maximally exposed hunter and fisherman (see Section 18.104.22.168) have been determined to be 57 and 1.3 millirem, respectively. These analyses assumed that the hunter consumed 153 kilograms (337 pounds) of meat from deer and hogs taken from SRS and 19 kilograms (42 pounds) of fish from the Savannah River at the mouth of Steel Creek each year. If the rate of fish consumption, for conservatism, was doubled to 39 kilograms (84 pounds) per year, the total annual dose to an individual consuming both game and fish would be 59.6 millirem or 59.6 percent of the DOE annual limit (DOE 1993c). A dose of this magnitude would result in an annual probability of contracting a latent fatal cancer of 3.0×10-5 (approximately 3 in 100,000). It is highly unlikely that communities of people of color or low income consume game and fish at a rate greater than that calculated for the maximally exposed individual who both hunts and fishes, as that person is assumed to eat 421 pounds of fish and game each year. Because the doses received by this maximally exposed individual from fish and game are not significant, there would be no disproportionate adverse impacts from consumption of wildlife by people of color or low income.
This section summarizes the risks to workers and members of the public from potential accidents at facilities associated with the various waste types under the no-action alternative. An accident is a series of unexpected or undesirable events leading to a release of radioactive or hazardous material within a facility or to the environment. Appendix F provides further detail and discussion regarding the accident analysis.
Accident assessment is based on potential accidentsaccidents identified and described in safety documentation for SRS facilities and on material inventories at SRS facilities that support the no-action alternative. AccidentsAccidents include events resulting from external initiators (e.g., vehicle crashes, nearby explosions), internal initiators (e.g., equipment failures, human error), and natural phenomena initiators (e.g., earthquakes, tornadoes). Radioactive and hazardous material releases resulting from accidents are considered in this analysis.
The accident scenarios selected for this evaluation were chosen to represent the full spectrum of events which could occur (i.e., both high- and low-frequency events and large- and small-consequence events). The frequency ranges, as presented in Table 4-13, are as follows: anticipated accidents, unlikely accidents, extremely unlikely accidents, and beyond-extremely-unlikely accidents. A more complete discussion on accident frequencies is given in Section F.2 of Appendix F. However, it should be noted that all frequency ranges may not have representative accident scenarios identified for them. Accident scenarios in the beyond-extremely-unlikely frequency range are so unlikely that they often are not analyzed in safety documentation.
Radiological consequences are defined in terms of (1) the dose to an individual and collective dose to a population; and (2) latent fatal cancers from a postulated accident. The human health effect of concern is the development of latent fatal cancers. The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has made specific recommendations for quantifying these health effects (ICRP 1991). The results of these health effects are presented in terms of increased latent fatal cancers (i.e., number of additional fatal cancers expected in the population) calculated using ICRP-60 conversion factors of 0.0005 for the public and 0.0004 for onsite workers if the effective dose equivalent is less than 20 rem. For individual doses of 20 rem or more, the ICRP-60 conversion factors are doubled. For hazardous materials, consequences are defined in terms of airborne chemical concentrations.
Radiological doses for the postulated accident scenarios were extracted from information provided in the following technical reports: Bounding Accident Determination for the Accident Input Analysis of the SRS Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement (WSRC 1994e), Solid Waste Accident Analysis in Support of the Savannah River Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement (WSRC 1994f), and the Liquid Waste Accident Analysis in Support of the Savannah River Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement (WSRC 1994g). These technical reports compiled pre-existing safety documentation addressing the risks of operating waste management facilities. Figure 4-8 is a flowchart for the preparation of radiological accident analysis information. No new analyses were performed because existing documentation adequately supported a quantitative or qualitative estimation of potential impacts, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As indicated by the last step of the flowchart (Figure 4-8), impacts resulting from the expected, minimum, and maximum forecast are evaluated and discussed for the representative bounding accidents. However, the no-action alternative only considers the expected waste forecast.
The figures presented in Section 22.214.171.124 reflect the increase in cancers estimated using the above conversion factors. The AXAIR89QAXAIR89Q computer code (WSRC 1994h) predicted impacts in terms of dose for onsite and offsite receptor groups. The code then calculated the collective dose to the affected population living within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of SRS. This population exposure is given as person-rem dose equivalent, as if the accident occurred. Increases in latent fatal cancers as the result of an accident would be in addition to the number of cancers expected from all other causes.
The point estimate of increased risk is provided to allow consideration of accidents that may not have the highest consequence, but due to a higher estimated frequency, may pose a greater risk. An example of this concept for the no-action alternative can be seen in the representative bounding accidents selected for liquid high-level radioactive waste. An accidental release of radioactive material due to a pressurization and breach at the Replacement High-Level Waste Evaporator would result in the greatest consequence, which would be 6.8×10-1 latent fatal cancer per occurrence for the offsite population within 80 kilometers (50 miles). Because this accident is estimated to occur once every 20,000 years, a time-weighted average of these consequences over the accident frequency time span (i.e., consequences times frequency) results in an annualized point estimate of increased risk of 3.4×10-5 latent fatal cancer per year. A release due to a feed line break at the Replacement High-Level Waste Evaporator produces lower consequences than the pressurization and breach scenario: 9.1×10-3 latent fatal cancer per occurrence. However, this accident is estimated to occur every 14 years, resulting in a point estimate of increased risk of 6.3×10-4 latent fatal cancer per year. Thus, by factoring in the accident probability, a more accurate comparison of the resulting risks can be made.
To fully understand the hazards associated with SRS facilities under the alternatives considered in this eis, it is necessary to evaluate potential accidents involving both hazardous and radiological materials. For chemically toxic materials, several government agencies recommend quantifying chemical concentrations that cause short-term effects as threshold values of concentrations in air.Figure 4-8. Radiological accident analysis process flowchart.Because the long-term health consequences of human exposure to hazardous materials are not as well understood as those related to radiation exposure, a determination of potential health effects from exposures to hazardous materials is more subjective than a determination of health effects from exposure to radiation. Therefore, the consequences from accidents involving hazardous materials are in terms of airborne concentrations at various distances from the accident location. Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPG) values are the only well-documented parameters developed specifically for use in evaluating the health consequences of exposure of the general public to accidental releases of hazardous materials (WSRC 1992c). ERPG-3 values represent the threshold concentration for lethal effects, while ERPG-2 values represent the threshold concentration for severe or irreversible health effects in exposed populations (see Appendix F, Table F-3). The quantities and airborne concentrations of toxic chemicals at the various receptor locations were extracted from information provided in the technical reports (WSRC 1994g, h) supporting this eis. The analysis presented in Appendix F presents facility-specific chemical hazards.
|Frequency category||Frequency range|
(accidents per year)b
|Extremely unlikely accidents||10-4>p>10-6|
a The frequencies for accidents are from DOE Standard 3009-94 (DOE 1994b).
b x>y. The number "x" is greater than or equal to the number "y." Conversely, the number "y" is less than or equal to the number "x" (e.g., 5>4>3).
Figures 4-9 through 4-12 summarize the projected impacts of radiological accidents to the population, the offsite maximally exposed individual, and uninvolved workers at 100 and 640 meters (328 and 2,100 feet), respectively. Data required to calculate uninvolved worker population doses are not currently available; however, doses to uninvolved workers at 100 and 640 meters (328 and 2,100 feet) would bound impacts to the individual member of the population. For example, Figure 4-9 shows the estimated increase in latent fatal cancers resulting from the estimated population dose for the representative bounding accidents selected for each waste type. Representative bounding accidents are identified by each frequency range for each applicable waste type. An anticipated accident (i.e., one occurring between once every 10 years and once every 100 years) involving low-level and mixed waste is the accident scenario under the no-action alternative that would present the greatest risk to the population within 80 kilometers (50 miles) of SRS (see Figure 4-9). This accident scenario would increase the risk to the population within 80 kilometers (50 miles) by 1.7×10-2 latent fatal cancer per year.
Figures 4-10, 4-11, and 4-12 present similar information for the offsite maximally exposed individual, uninvolved workers at 640 meters (2,100 feet), and uninvolved workers at 100 meters (328 feet), respectively. An anticipated accident involving either mixed waste or low-level waste would pose the greatest risk to the offsite maximally exposed individual (Figure 4-10) and the uninvolved worker at 640 meters (2,100 feet) (Figure 4-11). The anticipated accident increases the risk to the offsite Figure 4-9.Figure 4-10.Figure 4-11.Figure 4-12.maximally exposed individual by 3.3×10-7 latent fatal cancer per year and to the uninvolved worker at 640 meters (2,100 feet) by 1.8×10-5 latent fatal cancer per year.
An accident involving either mixed waste or low-level waste would also pose the greatest risk to the uninvolved worker at 100 meters (328 feet) (Figure 4-12). This accident scenario would increase the risk to the uninvolved worker at 100 meters (328 feet) by 1.0×10-3 latent fatal cancer per year.
Except for an accident in the transuranic waste characterization/certification facility (discussed under alternatives A, B, and C), radiological accidents considered in this eis would not result in doses that would result in substantial acute or latent health effects.
A complete summary of all representative bounding accidents considered for the no-action alternative is presented in Table 4-14. This table provides accident descriptions, annual frequency of occurrence, accident scenario. Details regarding the individual postulated accident scenarios associated with the various waste types are provided in Appendix F.
For all the waste types considered, a summary of the chemical hazards associated with the no-action alternative estimated to exceed ERPG-2 values is presented in Table 4-15. For the uninvolved worker at 100 meters (328 feet), nine chemical-release scenarios are estimated to exceed ERPG-3 values. Moreover, another five chemical-release scenarios estimate airborne concentrations that exceed ERPG-2 values where equivalent ERPG-3 values were not identified. For the offsite maximally exposed individual, no chemical-release scenario identified airborne concentrations that exceeded ERPG-3 values. Only the lead-release scenario estimates airborne concentrations that exceed the ERPG-2 guidelines (Table F-25 in Appendix F).
Furthermore, the benzene-release scenarios (see Table F-19) result from an explosion and tornado at the Organic Waste Storage Tank, respectively. Under the no-action alternative, the Consolidated Incineration Facility is unavailable as a benzene treatment option. As a result, an additional four organic wasteorganic waste storage tanksorganic waste storage tanks would be required for the management of benzene mixed waste. Therefore, DOE assumes an increase in the likelihood that a catastrophic benzene release could occur (i.e., more organic waste storage tanks that could explode or be hit by a tornado).
In addition to the risk to human health, secondary impacts from postulated accidents on plant and animal resources, water resources, the economy, national defense, environmental contamination, threatened and endangered species, land use, and Native American treaty rights are considered. DOE believes secondary impacts from postulated accidents as assessed in Appendix F, Section F.7 to be minor.Table 4-14. Summary of representative bounding accidents for the no-action alternative.aTable 4-15. Summary of chemical hazards associated with the no-action alternative estimated to exceed ERPG-2a values.
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