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Ventron

The Ventron site is located on Congress Street in Beverly, Massachusetts, at the confluence of the Bass and Danvers Rivers, which border the site on the west and south, respectively, approximately 25 kilometers (15 miles) northeast of Boston. The site adjoins a residential area to the north and the Boston and Maine Railroad to the east and comprises approximately 1.2 hectares (3 acres). Buildings and other man made structures cover about two-thirds of the site.

FACILITY MISSION

From 1942 to 1948, the Metal Hydrides Corporation, then located at the Ventron site, was under contract to the Manhattan Engineer District and the Atomic Energy Commission to convert uranium oxide to uranium metal powder. This procedure, as well as later operations to recover uranium from scrap and turnings from a fuel fabrication plant at Hanford, Washington, was conducted at a foundry at the site.

SITE MAP

During contract operations, three buildings were used for uranium work. Two wooden buildings that housed the foundry facilities were demolished between 1948 and 1950, and two other buildings have since been erected in their places. The remaining original building contained furnace and leaching facilities, a mixing room, a drying room, and an analytical laboratory.

In 1948, the Atomic Energy Commission conducted a radiological survey of the facility. The survey detected contamination in two foundry buildings and various pieces of equipment and the Commission recommended cleanup. The Metal Hydrides Corporation became the Ventron Corporation in 1965. In late 1976, Morton Thiokol, Inc. acquired control of the company.

Morton International (formerly Morton Thiokol) now owns the plant. The site is an operating research and development facility.

FUTURE USE

Morton International is currently undergoing closure actions for the Ventron facility. Since future use of this property could remain Industrial/Commercial or become Residential, the assumption for the cost estimate defaults to the more conservative post-remedial action Residential use scenario.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION

Environmental restoration activities at the site focus on identifying and evaluating contaminated areas, devising cleanup strategies, and conducting remediation as needed. Key regulators include Environmental Protection Agency Region I, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the local health department.

The Department will coordinate removal activities with Morton International. The site owner wants the property decontaminated for use with no radiological restrictions. The Department estimates that 1,150 cubic meters (1,500 cubic yards) of contaminated soil and approximately 380 cubic meters (500 cubic yards) of material from building demolition will need to be removed from the site to meet guidelines for release. Cleanup will involve decontamination of structural surfaces in buildings, followed by building demolition and excavation of soils using standard construction/excavation equipment. This report assumes that all of the collected waste will be transported via truck or rail to an out­of­state commercial disposal facility.

Site characterization data will be used to support an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis for planned site response actions. After review of the document, the Department of Energy will issue an Action Description Memorandum in accordance with Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act documentation requirements. Also, a Memorandum to Files or a "Finding of no Significant Impact" will be issued to satisfy National Environmental Policy Act documentation requirements. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis will incorporate National Environmental Policy Act values to satisfy National Environmental Policy Act documentation requirements.

ASSESSMENT

The Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducted a screening survey of the site in 1977. Based on exploratory measurements, the Department determined that a radiological survey of the entire site was required.

In 1980 and 1982, Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducted radiological surveys of the site grounds, buildings, and other structures. Based on results of these surveys, Oak Ridge presented a preliminary report recommending consideration of remedial action to the Department of Energy in 1986, when the site was designated for inclusion in FUSRAP.

The survey results verified the presence of residual radioactive contamination, largely uranium, with lesser amounts of thorium and radium, in outdoor soil and in fill material beneath four buildings. Some surface contamination exceeding current guidelines was found in two buildings on roofs, floors, walls, and overhead surfaces and in crawl spaces. Radionuclide analysis of sediment samples collected from storm sewer manholes indicated concentrations of thorium­232 exceeding naturally occurring background levels, which can be attributed to Morton's commercial activities involving radioactive materials; these activities are unrelated to Manhattan Engineer District/Atomic Energy Commission contract work.

In 1986, FUSRAP provided radiological support to Ventron during renovation activities at the site. Support included removing an underground storage tank and general maintenance activities. FUSRAP performed a radiological characterization of the site in 1992 that employed the Streamlined Approach for Environmental Restoration as a pilot project. Implementation of this method based on earlier characterization by Oak Ridge National Laboratory allowed the Department to realize substantial cost savings. FUSRAP provided additional radiological support in 1993 during Morton's investigations of mercury contamination in the harbor adjacent to the site. Support included providing health physics technicians to survey sediment samples that Morton had collected for elevated levels of radioactivity.

An environmental compliance assessment of the site included a review of applicable portions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. The assessment included review of records, reports, and files and consultation with FUSRAP personnel. Based on review of the site history, it is unlikely that listed hazardous waste has been mixed with radiological residues. Currently, the Department of Energy does not generate any hazardous waste at the site.

REMEDIAL ACTION

Cleanup of the site will proceed in accordance with a preferred remedy outlined in the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis. The owner will demolish five buildings, including two buildings that will be decontaminated before dismantlement. In addition to remedial actions to decontaminate and dismantle buildings and other structures and to excavate onsite soils for transportation and disposal, excavation of sediments in the adjacent waterways will be necessary.

The scenario used for the Baseline Environmental Management Report cost estimate assumes complete excavation of contaminated soil and sediments, demolition and removal of buildings, and disposal at an existing commercial disposal facility. The waste volume assumed for the cost estimate is 1,530 cubic meters (2,000 cubic yards) including 1,150 cubic meters (1,500 cubic yards) of contaminated soil, and approximately 380 cubic meters (500 cubic yards) of building rubble.

 

 

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