Problems Arise in Additional Testing at Riverton Uranium-Contaminated Site

Aug 27, 2012

The Department of Energy is gearing up for new, one-time testing at the contaminated Uranium Mill Tailings site in Riverton.

A uranium mill in the 1960s left the groundwater there with high levels of uranium, and the DOE is still monitoring it. Additional testing is supposed to help the agency update their computer model, which predicts progress of clean-up at the site.

The Wind River Environmental Quality Commission, or WREQC, is happy about the additional testing, but Dave Haire, a one-time contractor with the commission says there are some issues with the plan. For one, Haire says sample sites are too densely packed to actually locate the pollution plume.

“They’re just covering where they think the plume is, instead of going out to the edges of it. We already know where the center is, so why do all the sampling there when we’re looking for the edges.”

Haire also says the DOE is not testing for enough constituents, is not looking at sediments, and did not wait for a still-pending report that is expected to analyze gaps in existing data.

WREQC’s Dean Goggles says the agency is still negotiating with the DOE regarding WREQC’s role in the work. Testing is set to start at the end of this month.