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Public Safety and Resource Protection (PSRP), Mission Support Alliance (MSA) (Current)
The Mission Support Alliance is directing the PSRP programs at the Hanford Site, Washington, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). These programs provide an array of environmental and safety related services and recordkeeping that are critical to protecting the health and safety of Hanford workers, the public, and the environment. For MSA, EAS supports the Environmental Surveillance (ES), Ecological Monitoring and Compliance (EM&C), and Cultural and Historic Resource Program (C&HRP) components of the PSRP.
Sediment Sampling(click images to enlarge)
- Environmental Surveillance provides far-field multimedia environmental monitoring to measure the concentration of radionuclides and chemicals in environmental media and assess the integrated effects of these materials on the environment and the public. Samples collected by environmental surveillance are analyzed for very low environmental concentrations of radionuclides and chemicals, including metals, anions, and volatile organic compounds. This function focuses on routine releases from DOE facilities on the Hanford Site, but also responds to unplanned releases and releases from non-DOE operations on or near the Site. The information produced by this activity is published in an annual public report, and is also integrated with the environmental cleanup mission assessment activities. This information may also be used by DOE in fulfilling its Natural Resource Trustee responsibilities.
- Ecological Monitoring and Compliance services are provided to DOE to achieve compliance with ecological resource-related legal and regulatory requirements. Biota is monitored to assess the abundance, vigor or condition, and distribution on the Hanford Site. The associated data are used by DOE and Hanford Site contractors to support environmental cleanup and restoration activities, mitigation actions, and land use planning, and to maintain compliance with ecological resource laws. State and federally listed species are specifically monitored to assure that DOE operations are not adversely impacting those species.
- The Cultural and Historic Resource Program is designed to assure that DOE and Hanford Site contractors remain in compliance with associated laws, DOE directives, and legally binding agreements. The Hanford Site has numerous archaeological sites, historical/potentially historical sites, traditional cultural properties, and associated collections and artifacts.
DOE-HQ Recognizes PSRP work at Hanford: Mission Support Alliance (MSA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, Richland Operations Office (DOE-RL) were awarded an Honorable Mention Award by the U.S. Department of Energy-Headquarters (DOE-HQ) for outstanding work in migratory bird stewardship. This work involves avian monitoring and protection efforts carried out by MSA-PSRP (supported by EAS) in collaboration with DOE-RL. MSA submitted a nomination for the 2013 Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award, which recognizes projects and/or actions taken by federal agencies that meet the intent and spirit of Executive Order 13186 Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds by focusing on migratory bird conservation. Federal agencies were required to screen and select one nomination for consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the national competition. DOE-HQ received nominations from nine DOE sites and selected Pantex for the single agency nomination submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Only two of the other eight nominations received Honorable Mention, including the Hanford Site submission, which will be displayed at DOE-HQ during Earth Month.
Environmental Assessment Support, CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (2008-Current)
Our services to support CHPRC vary, and include the following work:
- Porewater Sampling in Support of the 100BC, 100N, and 100F Area Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Studies. EAS provides information for verifiable porewater data to be used in remedial action decision making. For example, aquifer tube and porewater data contribute additional information for estimating the releases of 100-N Area contamination on the Columbia River. [Porewater, the water between the riverbed substrates, can consist of a mixture of groundwater and surface water.] These data will provide insight regarding contaminant levels potentially entering the river through the hyporheic zone and groundwater/river mixing ratios within the biotic zone (upper approximately 30 cm [12 in.] of substrate). [The hyporheic zone is the region beneath and lateral to a stream bed, where there is mixing of shallow groundwater and surface water.] poster
- Boating Services. EAS provides fully equipped watercraft, as well as experienced boat operators, to safely transport equipment and field crews to and from work sites, where they conduct aquifer tube installations and routine surveillance. We also deploy and retrieve high-volume water pumps in the Columbia River. Our team includes U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Merchant Marine Boat Operators (25-ton and 50-ton vessels). Our outstanding record for safely performing on-water support services on the Hanford Site was key to EAS being awarded this task and, subsequently, Site-wide implementation of accessing riverine sampling stations using EAS boat operators and vessels. In the past 3 years, more than 1,000 safe boat days have been logged in support of Hanford Site field operations.
Adult Fish Counting Services, Columbia and Snake Rivers (2013-Current)
EAS is providing adult fish counting services required by the Portland District and Walla Walla District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE has eight mainstem Columbia and Snake River projects with fish ladders and associated facilities for passing adult salmon, steelhead, shad, lamprey and other migrating and resident species through the dams operated by the USACE on these two rivers. Data collected under this project are helping to evaluate the status of fish stocks, an integral part of fisheries resource management.
Midway-Benton #1 Transmission Line Rebuild Project, Bonneville Power Administration (2012)
EAS conducted biological resources surveys as part of an Environmental Assessment for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). BPA is proposing to replace the aging 115-kV Midway-Benton No. 1 transmission line, which is located on the Hanford Site. The existing transmission line, approximately 28.2 miles long, would be replaced with new wood poles, new conductor (electrical wires), and all associated structural components (cross arms, insulators, and dampers). BPA has a statutory obligation to ensure its transmission system has sufficient capability to serve its customers and, at the same time, is safe and reliable. Accordingly, environmental regulatory requirements must be addressed for any proposed actions. Our technical team is characterizing the natural resources within the proposed project area to identify potential impacts to the surrounding environment and help determine associated mitigation alternatives. Our team consists of specialists in rare plant identification and characterization, GIS mapping, wildlife monitoring and management, as well as project management. In addition to our involvement in the field planning and kick-off activities with BPA engineers, our work includes:
- reviewing historical records along with ongoing work
- acquiring relevant GIS data layers
- conducting site reconnaissance
- preparing data-survey forms, data dictionaries, schedules
- executing field surveys
- summarizing potential impacts, mitigation requirements, and feasibility to mitigate
- preparing Field Survey Summary Report
Hanford Natural Gas Pipeline Project, Cascade Natural Gas (2012)
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is considering natural gas as an alternative to diesel to support the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) and evaporator operations at the Hanford Site. Natural gas would be the primary fuel source for the WTP and would replace the 242-A Evaporator’s current use of diesel fuel to generate steam. EAS performed biological resources surveys within the proposed project area. The study will help Cascade Natural Gas assess the best possible route for a gas pipeline, prospective size of the pipeline, and pathway under the Columbia River. Our technical team is characterizing the natural resources to help determine potential impacts from the project and assess associated mitigation requirements. A biological assessment will be prepared to address listed species and the potential impacts during construction and operation of the pipeline. In addition to planning and kickoff activities, our work includes:
- reviewing historical records and ongoing work
- acquiring relevant GIS data layers
- conducting site reconnaissance
- preparing field survey plan/data-survey forms, project Health & Safety Plan, project Quality Assurance Plan
- executing field surveys
- providing preliminary assessment of potential impacts and mitigation
- preparing Field Survey Summary Report
Transmission Line Collision Protection Plan, Grant County Public Utility District (2012-Current)
EAS is conducting avian surveys for the Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, WA (Grant PUD) to further determine the effectiveness of bird flight diverters (BFDs) in reducing the chance of birds colliding with overhead transmission lines. In 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order modifying and approving the Transmission Line Avian Collision Protection Plan pursuant to Article 411 of the license for the Priest Rapids Project No. 2114. Per Article 411, Grant PUD is required to install BFDs on 10 transmission line spans within five transmission line corridors (from 2011–2015); conduct avian surveys (from 2011–2016 and every 15 years thereafter); and provide annual reports to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and FERC. For Grant PUD, EAS is conducting the avian surveys, performing data quality assurance, and providing data summaries to estimate the relative abundance of all bird species that fly near selected transmission lines throughout the mid-Columbia Basin. Our work includes monitoring bird responses (e.g., bird-strikes) to transmission lines in the study areas. By integrating the flight patterns of various bird species and the estimated number of bird-strikes, the data from these surveys will help quantify the efficacy of the BFDs.
Support for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (2010-2011)
EAS provided technical support to NOAA's Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) of damage to natural resources resulting from the 2010 MC252 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In this project EAS was recognized by NOAA for playing a key role in developing and performing the sampling operations both on land and onboard research vessels in the Gulf. EAS scientists and specialists led sampling campaigns; managed sample receiving, accessioning, and shipping activities; and performed field data reviews and uploads. EAS staff were instrumental in establishing satellite sample intake facilities, and developing rapid sample intake and sample accessioning protocols; and administering sample collection training to field teams Gulf-wide. EAS personnel were also involved in developing the formal training processes for NOAA/NRDA sampling activities. Several EAS staff members were formally trained to use the NOAA/NRDA data management system.
Environmental Sciences and Ecological Compliance, Washington Closure Hanford (2008-Current)
EAS conducts ecological resource reviews of project activities, reviews planning documents, conducts site walk-downs, conducts revegetation monitoring and reporting, and conducts ecological investigations. We also provide guidance for mitigation of project impacts to natural resources of concern, prepare correspondence, and provide consultation to the U.S. Department of Energy-Richland Operations Office, regulators, and natural resource agencies.
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Comprehensive Monitoring Program, Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (2008-Current); URS
EAS collects, processes, and ships soil and biota samples in support of the Comprehensive Monitoring Program (CMP) for the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF), Umatilla, Oregon. The CMP monitors for chemical agents and other analytes to document concentrations in soil, water, air, and biota (vegetation and small mammals) and ensure that levels remain at or below those found prior to the operation of the facility. EAS conducts the sampling and analyses.
Baseline and Post-Operational Sampling Plan, Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (2012); URS
EAS was awarded the contract to collect, process, and ship soil samples as part of the Umatilla Chemical Agent Depot’s Disposal Facility’s Baseline and Post-Operational Sampling Plan. Two areas (baseline and post-operational) within the UMCD boundary were systematically sampled for an extensive list of constituents of concern (COCs). Results from the baseline area are expected to reflect conditions after 50-plus years of operation of the UMCD. Post-operational area data are expected to reflect conditions due to UMCD operations plus any attributable to construction and operation of the UMCDF. Significant differences between these two data sets will be used to determine whether deposition of emissions from the UMCDF could pose a risk to Native Americans exercising treaty rights in the area.
Closure Verification Sampling, Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (2013 - 2014); URS
EAS is performing soil sampling and sample accessioning activities as part of the UMCDF’s Closure Verification Plan, in support of the RCRA closure of the Facility. Soil samples are collected during demolition of the buildings and analyzed for volatile organic compounds and total petroleum hydrocarbons as gasoline range organics. Soil samples are also analyzed for nonvolatile analytes. The work provides verification that clean-up activities on the UMCDF are satisfactory.
Remedial Investigation of Hanford Site Releases to the Columbia River, Washington Closure Hanford (2008-2010)
EAS participated in a study being conducted by Washington Closure Hanford (DOE's River Corridor Closure Contractor) to collect more than 1100 new samples to measure the concentrations of compounds in various types of material, or media. EAS led the work to collect and sample:
- Porewater (the water between the riverbed substrates, which can consist of a mixture of groundwater and surface water)
WCH Newsletter Vol. 5 #6
DOE studying how contaminants enter Columbia River
- Sediment (loose material in the river bottom that can move with the river flow)
- Fish (whitefish, sucker, walleye, carp, bass, sturgeon) Researchers look for signs of contamination in Hanford-area fish
For the porewater sampling portion of the study, the EAS team used an advanced groundwater mapping and sampling tool, the liquid-tip Trident probe, to locate and more precisely measure compounds in the upwellings in the riverbed. Designed for sustained use in complex, offshore riverine environments, the probe helped to determine groundwater discharge patterns in the Columbia River from shore to shore, rather than relying on nearshore measurements alone. Collaborating with the probe's developer (Coastal Monitoring Associates), EAS was instrumental in tailoring the probe specifically to the Columbia River and its complexities, and integrating river stage-specified field deployment techniques. Co-located sediment samples were collected concurrently with the porewater to estimate concentrations of contaminants in sediments near the areas of groundwater upwellings.
The objective of the fish sampling project was to collect tissue samples for analysis of contaminant uptake and biological condition of the fish.
Hanford Site Ecological Risk Assessments (2006-2008)
EAS reviewed, analyzed, and presented findings from ecological risk assessment data collected between 2005 and 2007. These efforts included attending regular meetings and giving presentations to the Hanford Site regulatory agencies and stakeholders; providing extensive review of the data quality following highest QA/QC standards set for government, industry and CERCLA/RCRA investigations; incorporating ecological and contaminant data into a public-domain database; and producing reports summarizing the risk assessment data using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ecological risk assessment guidance process.
Small Mammal Characterization for Hanford Site Tank Farm WMA C, Mission Support Alliance (2010-2011)
EAS led the field sampling events and prepared the samples for analyses on this project. Small mammals characterized included deer mice, western harvest mice, and Great Basin pocket mice. The purpose of the ecological risk assessment for WMA C was to ascertain risk to receptors from contaminants of potential ecological concern (COPECs) originating from tank farm operations. The presence of contaminants in biological tissue (in this case, in small mammal tissue) is indicative of exposure to contaminants that otherwise may go undetected in soil samples, and also serve as an exposure pathway to higher trophic predators, such as raptors and carnivorous mammals. Information gathered from small mammal tissue analyses can be used to substantiate current exposure and aid in the development and implementation of corrective measures to ensure long-term protection of human health and the environment.
Multi-Media Sampling and Biological Surveys, Washington Closure Hanford (2005-2007)
EAS directed and conducted multi-media sampling (water, soil, sediment, insects, mollusks, fish, mammals, birds, and plants) and field-based surveys of onsite ecological conditions for this risk assessment. EAS also directed, staffed, and conducted field surveys for special status species of plants, mollusks, and salmonid habitat in and around the investigation areas prescribed in the Sampling & Analyses Plan. Datasets were reported in electronic formats and frequently illustrated spatially using geographical information system (GIS) tools. Environmental media collected were prepared for analyses of hazardous chemicals and man-made radionuclides at EAS’s laboratory facility. This work was successfully and safely performed during extreme environmental conditions and in remote areas using multiple high-risk sampling techniques, including boating, SCUBA/snorkeling, electro-fishing, and work at night.
Multi-Media Sampling and Biological Surveys, Fluor Hanford (2005-2007)
EAS conducted multi-media sampling (soil vapors, water, soil, sediment, insects, mammals, and plants) and field-based assessments of onsite ecological conditions. Sampled media were prepared for analyses of hazardous chemicals (carbon-tetrachloride is a primary contaminant of ecological concern) and man-made radionuclides at EAS’s laboratory facility. Field-based surveys of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife utilizing the waste sites are an ongoing component of this project. Vegetation community characterizations were also conducted, and EAS provided GIS-based depictions of these communities.
Hanford Site River Corridor Atlas Project, Bechtel Hanford Inc. (2005)
The purpose of this subcontract was to develop a Hanford Site River Corridor Atlas that presents data from remedial action, waste sites, facilities and the interaction of these data. During the course of this project, we identified key sub-contractors to accomplish this task; interacted with the client to provide weekly status reports, discuss changes or concerns; and tracked progress of the sub-contractors to ensure the product was delivered within time and budget constraints. The specific tasks performed included: 1) the design and development of software (code) using Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ArcInfo scripting language Arc Macro Language (AML) for UNIX environment, 2) development of detailed module flow chart showing the placement of each software module, 3) preparation of initial symbol sets for color shades, lines, and markers, and 4) preparation of two hardcopies of the Atlas for review.
Ecological Risk Assessment Data Quality Objectives and Sampling and Analyses Plans, Bechtel Hanford Inc. (2005-2007)
EAS assisted in the development and preparation of the 100-BC Pilot Project and the River Corridor Baseline Risk Assessment (RCBRA) data quality objectives (DQOs), Sampling & Analyses Plans (SAPs), and Sampling & Instructions Plans (SAIs) to support regulatory reviews of the Central Plateau and River Corridor of the Hanford Site. This work included presenting relevant historical datasets and research that would help regulatory agencies and stakeholders assess ecological risk from the past and present releases of legacy materials attributable to Hanford Site operations. The work also included running and analyzing hydro-geo-morphological models to assess effects of hydrological conditions on and near the Hanford Site.
100-NR2 Groundwater Operable Unit Ecological Risk Assessment, Fluor Hanford (2003-2005)
As principal scientist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and later with EAS, Brett Tiller directed the development of the Data Quality Objectives in support of the 100-NR2 ecological risk assessment. This project specifically assessed strontium-90 concentrations in the aquatic environments. Brett wrote procedures and carried out field sampling of soil, water, periphyton, macro invertebrates, vegetation, and small mammals using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency QA/QC standards. A number of independent regulatory reviews of these field sampling procedures and activities were required to successfully complete the study. Brett frequently met with the client, regulators, and stakeholders to present past research efforts he had initiated to help develop the scope of the study.