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Sample records for biointrusion

  1. UMTRA project disposal cell cover biointrusion sensitivity assessment, Revision 1

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1995-10-01

    This study provides an analysis of potential changes that may take place in a Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project disposal cell cover system as a result of plant biointrusion. Potential changes are evaluated by performing a sensitivity analysis of the relative impact of root penetrations on radon flux out of the cell cover and/or water infiltration into the cell cover. Data used in this analysis consist of existing information on vegetation growth on selected cell cover systems and information available from published studies and/or other available project research. Consistent with the scope of this paper, no new site-specific data were collected from UMTRA Project sites. Further, this paper does not focus on the issue of plant transport of radon gas or other contaminants out of the disposal cell cover though it is acknowledged that such transport has the potential to be a significant pathway for contaminants to reach the environment during portions of the design life of a disposal cell where plant growth occurs. Rather, this study was performed to evaluate the effects of physical penetration and soil drying caused by plant roots that have and are expected to continue to grow in UMTRA Project disposal cell covers. An understanding of the biological and related physical processes that take place within the cover systems of the UMTRA Project disposal cells helps the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) determine if the presence of a plant community on these cells is detrimental, beneficial, or of mixed value in terms of the cover system`s designed function. Results of this investigation provide information relevant to the formulation of a vegetation control policy.

  2. An assessment of plant biointrusion at the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project rock-covered disposal cells

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    1990-10-01

    This study is one of a number of special studies that have been conducted regarding various aspects of the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project. This special study was proposed following routine surveillance and maintenance surveys and observations reported in a special study of vegetative covers (DOE, 1988), in which plants were observed growing up through the rock erosion layer at recently completed disposal cells. Some of the plants observed were deep-rooted woody species, and questions concerning root intrusion into disposal cells and the need to control plant growth were raised. The special study discussed in this report was designed to address some of the ramifications of plant growth on disposal cells that have rock covers. The NRC has chosen rock covers over vegetative covers in the arid western United States because licenses cannot substantiate that the vegetative covers will be significantly greater than 30 percent and preferably 70 percent,'' which is the amount of vegetation required to reduce flow to a point of stability.'' The potential impacts of vegetation growing in rock covers are not addressed by the NRC (1990). The objectives, then, of this study were to determine the species of plants growing on two rock-covered disposal cells, study the rooting pattern of plants on these cells, and identify possible impacts of plant root penetration on these and other UMTRA Project rock-covered cells.

  3. Permanent isolation surface barrier: Functional performance

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wing, N.R.

    1993-10-01

    This document presents the functional performance parameters for permanent isolation surface barriers. Permanent isolation surface barriers have been proposed for use at the Hanford Site (and elsewhere) to isolate and dispose of certain types of waste in place. Much of the waste that would be disposed of using in-place isolation techniques is located in subsurface structures, such as solid waste burial grounds, tanks, vaults, and cribs. Unless protected in some way, the wastes could be transported to the accessible environment via transport pathways, such as water infiltration, biointrusion, wind and water erosion, human interference, and/or gaseous release.

  4. Status of corrective measures technology for shallow land burial at arid sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abeele, W. V.; Nyhan, J. W.; Drennon, B. J.; Lopez, E. A.; Herrera, W. J.; Langhorst, G. J.

    The field research program involving corrective measure technologies for arid shallow land burial sites is described. Soil erosion and infiltration of water into a simulated trench cap with various surface treatments was measured and compared with similar data from agricultural systems across the United States. Report of field testing of biointrusion barriers continues at a closed-out waste disposal site at Los Alamos. Final results of an experiment designed to determine the effects of subsidence on the performance of a cobble-gravel biobarrier system are reported, as well as the results of hydrologic modeling activities involving biobarrier systems.

  5. The role of plants on isolation barrier systems

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Link, S.O.; Downs, J.L. [Pacific Northwest Lab., Richland, WA (United States); Waugh, W.J. [UNC Chem-Nuclear Geotech, Grand Junction, CO (United States)

    1994-11-01

    Surface barriers are used to isolate buried wastes from the environment. Most have been built for short-term isolation. The need to isolate radioactive wastes from the environment requires that the functional integrity of a barrier be maintained for thousands of years. Barrier function strongly depends on vegetation. Plants reduce wind and water erosion and minimize drainage, but may transport contaminants if roots extend into buried wastes. Our review of the function of plants on surface barriers focuses on the role of plants across mesic to arid environments and gives special consideration to studies done at Hanford. The Hanford Barrier Development Program was created to design and test an earthen cover system to inhibit water infiltration, plant and animal intrusion, and wind and water erosion, while isolating buried wastes for at least 1000 years. Studies at the Hanford have shown that plants will significantly interact with the barrier. Plants transpire soil water back into the atmosphere. Deep-rooted perennials best recycle water; soil water may drain through the root zone of shallow-rooted annuals. Lysimeter studies indicate that a surface layer of fine soil with deep-rooted plants precludes drainage even with three times normal precipitation. The presence of vegetation greatly reduces water and wind erosion, but deep-rooted plants pose a threat of biointrusion and contaminant transport. The Hanford barrier includes a buried rock layer and asphalt layer to prevent biointrusion.

  6. Role of trench caps in the shallow land burial of low level wastes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mezga, L. J.

    1984-05-01

    Experience dating back to the early 1940s clearly documents the importance of isolating waste disposed of by shallow land burial from the biosphere. While no significant threat to the health and safety of the public has occurred to data, poor facility siting and/or design has resulted in a number of sites failing to perform as predicted or in an acceptable manner. The trench cap may be the single most important component of the LLW disposal system. It must effectively isolate the waste from the biosphere by controlling infiltration, gaseous emissions, and biointrusions. At the same time, a number of other forces (i.e., erosion and subsidence) are acting to destroy its integrity. Results of experiments and operational experience to date indicate that while one design feature may be effective at controlling one problem (e.g., cobble gravel effectively controls biointrusion), that same design feature may be ineffective or actually exacerbate another problem (e.g., cobble gravel may allow increased infiltration rates). Therefore, trench cap design must evaluate the systems effects of the various options either using intuitive methods as is currently the case or by using mathematical models which are currently being developed and validated.

  7. Development of technology for the design of shallow land burial facilities at arid sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nyhan, J. W.; Abeele, W. V.; Drennon, B. J.; Herrera, W. J.; Lopez, E. A.; Langhorst, G. J.; Stallings, E. A.; Walker, R. D.; Martinez, J. L.

    The Los Alamos field research program involving technology development for arid shallow land burial (SLB) sites is described. Field data are presented for an integrated field experiment, which was designed to test individual SLB component experiments related to erosion control, biobarriers, and subsurface capillary and migration barriers. Field tests of biointrusion barriers at waste disposal sites and in experimental plots are reported. The results of a joint DOE/NRC experiment to evaluate leaching and transport of sorbing (Cs, Sr, Li) and nonsorbing (I, Br) solutes in sandy silt backfill are presented for steady-state and unsteady-state flow conditions. A capillary barrier experiment performed in a large caisson (3-m diameter, 6.1 m deep) is described and a year's worth of field data is presented.

  8. Development of technology for the design of shallow land burial facilities at arid sites

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nyhan, J.W.; Abeele, W.V.; Drennon, B.J.; Herrera, W.J.; Lopez, E.A.; Langhorst, G.J.; Stallings, E.A.; Walker, R.D.; Martinez, J.L.

    1985-01-01

    The Los Alamos field research program involving technology development for arid shallow land burial (SLB) sites is described. Field data are presented for an integrated field experiment, which was designed to test individual SLB component experiments related to erosion control, biobarriers, and subsurface capillary and migration barriers. Field tests of biointrusion barriers at waste disposal sites and in experimental plots are reported. The results of a joint DOE/NRC experiment to evaluate leaching and transport of sorbing (Cs, Sr, Li) and nonsorbing (I, Br) solutes in sandy silt backfill are presented for steady-state and unsteady-state flow conditions. A capillary barrier experiment performed in a large caisson (3-m diameter, 6.1 m deep) is described and a year's worth of field data is presented.

  9. Paleoclimatic data applications: Long-term performance of uranium mill tailings repositories

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waugh, W.J. [Environmental Sciences Lab., Grand Junction, CO (United States); Petersen, K.L. [Washington State Univ., Richland, WA (United States)

    1995-09-01

    Abandoned uranium mill tailings sites in the Four Corners region are a lasting legacy of the Cold War. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is designing landfill repositories that will isolate hazardous constituents of tailings from biological intrusion, erosion, and the underlying aquifer for up to 1,000 years. With evidence of relatively rapid past climate change, and model predictions of global climatic variation exceeding the historical record, DOE recognizes a need to incorporate possible ranges of future climatic and ecological change in the repository design process. In the Four Corners region, the center of uranium mining and milling activities in the United States, proxy paleoclimatic records may be useful not only as a window on the past, but also as analogs of possible local responses to future global change. We reconstructed past climate change using available proxy data from tree rings, packrat middens, lake sediment pollen, and archaeological records. Interpretation of proxy paleoclimatic records was based on present-day relationships between plant distribution, precipitation, and temperature along a generalized elevational gradient for the region. For the Monticello, Utah, uranium mill tailings site, this first approximation yielded mean annual temperature and precipitation ranges of 2 to 10{degrees} C, and 38 to 80 cm, respectively, corresponding to late glacial and Altithermal periods. These data are considered to be reasonable ranges of future climatic conditions that can be input to evaluations of groundwater recharge, radon-gas escape, erosion, frost penetration, and biointrusion in engineered earthen barriers designed to isolate tailings.

  10. Enhanced Cover Assessment Project:Soil Manipulation and Revegetation Tests

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Waugh, W. Joseph [Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc.; Albright, Dr. Bill [Desert Research Inst. (DRI), Reno, NV (United States); Benson, Dr. Craig [University of Wisconsin-Madison

    2014-02-01

    The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management is evaluating methods to enhance natural changes that are essentially converting conventional disposal cell covers for uranium mill tailings into water balance covers. Conventional covers rely on a layer of compacted clayey soil to limit exhalation of radon gas and percolation of rainwater. Water balance covers rely on a less compacted soil “sponge” to store rainwater, and on soil evaporation and plant transpiration (evapotranspiration) to remove stored water and thereby limit percolation. Over time, natural soil-forming and ecological processes are changing conventional covers by increasing hydraulic conductivity, loosening compaction, and increasing evapotranspiration. The rock armor on conventional covers creates a favorable habitat for vegetation by slowing soil evaporation, increasing soil water storage, and trapping dust and organic matter, thereby providing the water and nutrients needed for plant germination, survival, and sustainable transpiration. Goals and Objectives Our overall goal is to determine if allowing or enhancing these natural changes could improve cover performance and reduce maintenance costs over the long term. This test pad study focuses on cover soil hydrology and ecology. Companion studies are evaluating effects of natural and enhanced changes in covers on radon attenuation, erosion, and biointrusion. We constructed a test cover at the Grand Junction disposal site to evaluate soil manipulation and revegetation methods. The engineering design, construction, and properties of the test cover match the upper three layers of the nearby disposal cell cover: a 1-foot armoring of rock riprap, a 6-inch bedding layer of coarse sand and gravel, and a 2-foot protection layer of compacted fine soil. The test cover does not have a radon barrier—cover enhancement tests leave the radon barrier intact. We tested furrowing and ripping as means for creating depressions parallel to the slope