After thirteen months of negotiations involving representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy, Uranium Disposition Services, the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, Kentucky Division of Water and KRC, an Agreed Order was signed by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet Secretary resolving challenges that had been filed by the permittees and USEC, as well as KRC.
The Agreed Order incorporates several changes into a new draft KPDES water discharge permit, which will be released for public comment. KRC had raised several issues relating to sampling, monitoring and permit limitations for discharges from contaminated areas. Among the issues resolved:
* A sampling plan was agreed to for characterizing wastewater discharges for 45 parameters that the Cabinet had asked to be tested but the permittees had challenged. If confirmation identifies any pollutant to be present it is to be included in the permit.
* Deferring litigation on the question of whether the Division of Water has the legal power to set limits on radionuclides in wastewater discharges, but requiring reporting of all detected radionuclides to the Division of Water in the interim, in accordance with DOE regulations.
* Modifying the Best Management Practices Plan for the Gasesous Diffusion Plant in order to provide for testing and recordkeeping for any contaminated groundwater received for management from TVA?s Shawnee Fossil Plant, as well as requiring sampling and reporting of results for all de minimis wastestreams such as intake screen backwash, hydrostatic testing water, and other periodically discharged wastewaters.
* Upholding the imposition of temperature, TSS, PCB, Zinc and trichloroethylene limits on various outfalls.
* Clarifying which party is legally responsible for discharge limit compliance for various outfalls.
* Identifying which analytical methods will be used for sampling pollutants.
KRCs involvement in the negotiation process was both to seek additional sampling and reporting of certain wastewaters and radionuclides, and to help defend those areas in which the permit had been strengthened from previous permits, against challenge. The Draft Permit to be issued as a result of the Agreed Order is an improvement over the permit as issued in 2006 and is another small step towards holding DOE accountable in the remediation of land areas and waters contaminated by decades of inadequate management of hazardous and mixed wastes at the facility.