May 4, 2017
Aiken, S.C. - A project that reduced well water usage, executed safe regulatory actions, and saved money, earned Savannah River Remediation (SRR) a 2017 Sustainability Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.
SRR, the liquid waste contractor at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), received the award for “Saving Our Water,” after adding a Rhombo cover to a water basin at SRS, which resulted in an annual decrease of 55 million gallons of well water and a savings of about $24,000 in related costs. The Rhombo cover ensured safe regulatory water discharges and avoided an expensive treatment system.
DOE-Savannah River Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition Jim Folk said the rhombos project is a win for SRS.
“I congratulate SRR on executing this environmentally sustainable solution,” Folk said.
Algae growth was causing an increase in pH levels in a water basin located in H Tank Farm. This basin collects stormwater in H Area at SRS. In order to ensure National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System pH limits in the basin, SRR evaluated a number of methods to eliminate algae growth, including ultrasonic devices, chemical/biological treatments, and other sun-blocking options. All these options fell short of the cost-effectiveness and operational success of the rhombos that had been used in other water basins throughout the U.S.
In September 2015, approximately 700,000 small, rhombus-shaped objects were poured on top of the water basin, serving as a floating solar cover. The black color of the rhombos prevents sunlight from reaching the water below the cover, cutting off the primary source for algae growth in the basin. With improved pH levels, well water additions were no longer needed during discharges of the water basin. In terms of sustainability, the rhombo’s 12-sided, interlocking design makes them less likely to become airborne and more wind resistant, withstanding winds up to 70 mph over the basin. SRR was one of three teams and one individual representing DOE sites and national laboratories recognized by the U.S. DOE Sustainability Performance Office. The award winners were recognized for their outstanding sustainability contributions, including accomplishments in waste reduction, recycling, and energy efficiency.
SRR President and Project Manager Tom Foster said the award aligns with SRR’s mission for DOE, which is to operate safely, timely, and in a cost-effective manner while exceeding stakeholder expectations.
“SRR is committed to meeting regulatory requirements in a safe and cost-effective manner, all while protecting the environment and being good stewards of taxpayer money,” Foster said. “I am proud of the way the SRR project team drove home a solution that is sustainable, reduced use of environmental resources, and saved costs.”
SRR is the first federal contractor to deploy the use of rhombos in the DOE complex to improve water quality.
SRS is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. The SRS liquid waste contract is managed by SRR, which is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National, CH2M, and BWX Technologies. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Atkins, and AECOM Technical Services. For more information, visit www.srremediation.com.
Additional information on the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and SRS can be found at www.em.doe.gov or www.srs.gov.