Nelson-Jean Highlights Recent EM Achievements at Conference; EM Officials Detail Progress in Tank Waste Efforts; and much more!

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EM Update | Vol. 13, Issue 44 | Nov. 9, 2021


Hanford Effluent Treatment Facility Readies for Operations After Major Upgrades

Yearlong renovations are nearly complete in Hanford’s Effluent Treatment Facility, one of several facilities and projects critical to tank waste treatment through the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Site’s critical Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF) is nearly ready to once again treat wastewater generated by numerous remediation activities.

EM Office of River Protection (ORP) tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) just completed a yearlong upgrade of the ETF, which will play a major role when 24/7 operations to treat tank waste begin by the end of 2023.

“ETF is essential to the success of Hanford’s waste treatment mission,” said Bibek Tamang, EM program manager for the facility. “The upgrades boost efficiency and dependability to ensure the facility can handle the increased capacity.”

Upon startup of the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, tank waste treatment and disposal operations will add up to 6.2 million gallons of hazardous and radioactive wastewater to ETF processing. Annual treatment totals in the past have varied as cleanup work has progressed, including large treatment campaigns to support the evaporation of water used to transfer tank waste.


Workers for tank operations contractor Washington River Protection Solutions adjust the initial flow of water through the Effluent Treatment Facility’s new ultraviolet oxidation unit during operation acceptance testing. The new system is part of upgrades to support Hanford’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program.

The upgrades on the nearly 30-year-old ETF included replacing an aging monitoring and control system with one that will communicate more efficiently with other site facility systems. This communication is crucial to the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program, which links together highly interdependent and integrated projects in the tank waste treatment process.

Old ultraviolet oxidation units, which remove organic compounds from ETF waste, were obsolete and replacement parts were hard to come by. They were replaced with a new system vital to treating the wastewater.

“I am proud of our entire team for its tireless effort to complete these projects,” said Jim Foster, WRPS area manager for ETF. “Managing the integration of both construction and plant operations personnel in our current operations posture was challenging, and I am excited to see the team ready to begin treating wastewater again.”

ETF will begin its next wastewater processing campaign this month. One million gallons will be run through the facility over the next few months.

In the year ahead, workers will expand the ETF load-in facility, almost doubling its operating capacity by allowing for an additional tanker to be prepped for unloading while another tanker is pumped. Workers are also upgrading the motor control center, replacing outdated freeze protection systems, and installing a new wastewater filtration system that will allow continuous operation during filter backwashing.

-Contributor: Joan Lucas

Savannah River Contractor Surpasses 23 Years Without Missed Day Due to Injury


Savannah River Remediation construction workers have exceeded 23 years, or 34 million hours, of work without a missed day of work due to an injury.

AIKEN, S.C. – The construction workforce for EM Savannah River Site liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation (SRR) has logged more than 23 years, or 34 million hours, of work without a missed day due to injury, an achievement dating back to operations performed under SRR’s heritage company, Washington Savannah River Company.
SRR Manager of Construction Randy Denelsbeck said the construction workforce relies on the company’s core values of safety, integrity, ownership, teamwork, and continuous improvement, as well as DOE’s Integrated Safety Management Policy, to promote positive behaviors and improve performance.
“The heart of SRR’s workforce is skilled labor led by qualified supervisors. Maintaining a great safety record instills pride in being part of an organization that protects its employees and keeps them safe at work,” Denelsbeck said. “I am always concerned when injuries occur, but I am more concerned about the injury we have not yet had, as prevention is the key to achieving zero incidents.”
SRR’s construction workforce conducts a range of tasks requiring teamwork. Many jobs are located on top of waste tanks or in processing rooms with operating equipment that has industrial and radioactive hazards. Employees focus on situational awareness and hazard identification because their work areas and associated hazards often change from day to day.
SRR has applied advanced technology and made safety improvements over the years, including updating personal protective equipment to include cut-resistant gloves, foam-lined safety glasses, and retractable fall protection.
The contractor’s Self-Awareness For Employees Team program, which includes participants from every craft, uses thousands of peer-to-peer engagements performed every month to produce trending data, allowing for quick responses to potential safety issues.
-Contributor: Ashley Dernberger

Cleanup Contractor Earns 85 Percent of Final Fee at Hanford Site


Crews with Mission Support Alliance (MSA), a former sitewide services contractor for EM Richland Operations Office, inspected and readied three new mobile hydraulic cranes for service at the Hanford Site last year. EM has awarded the last fee to MSA for work performed in the final eight months of MSA’s contract with DOE.

RICHLAND, Wash. – EM’s Richland Operations Office (RL) awarded former cleanup contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) approximately $13.9 million, or about 85 percent of the available fee for work performed at the Hanford Site in the final eight months of MSA’s contract with DOE.

EM releases information relating to contractor fee payments — earned by completing the work called for in their contracts — to further transparency in its cleanup program.

MSA’s contract ended Jan. 24, 2021, when transition to a new Hanford Mission Essential Services Contract and contractor was completed.

MSA exceeded many significant award-fee criteria and met overall cost, schedule, and technical performance requirements of the contract, according to the award fee determination scorecard. MSA met or exceeded expectations while accomplishing several performance goals, including:

  • Protecting the health and safety of its workforce while performing well during the COVID-19 pandemic; and providing leadership in anticipating, identifying, and resolving issues across the site in a timely manner.
  • Lowering long-term maintenance costs by reducing the site’s infrastructure.
  • Providing services to other Hanford contractors, while effectively managing service costs and maintaining good communications with EM and contractors.
  • Consistently performing excellent oversight of large geographic areas where cleanup actions have been completed, including coordinating with other Hanford contractors to ensure continued protection of human health and the environment.
  • Maintaining a fully staffed help desk to assist thousands of teleworking site employees, handling a larger-than-average volume of calls and a record 1,500 calls in a day.

The contractor went beyond expectations to anticipate EM’s future needs and demonstrated forward-thinking, proactive problem solving, according to the scorecard.

Although there were no broad areas of significant deficiency, some notable opportunities for improvement in MSA’s performance included testing fire systems, supporting the business management portion of the transition to the new contract, and subcontracting.

View the MSA fee determination scorecard here.

-Contributor: Ed Dawson

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