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Barry Lawson Associates
P.O. Box 26, 384 Old Cemetery Road                    PHONE: 802.592.3949
Peacham, Vermont 05862                                                   





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Idaho Cleanup Project

A landfill for radioactive waste was created in 1952 at the Idaho National Laboratory.  Although historically the waste containing radioactive and hazardous substances was managed in accordance with laws and disposal practices at the time, those practices included using unlined pits, trenches, soil vaults and above grade disposal areas and with few restrictions.  Over time restrictions have increased, yet the buried waste has become a threat to ground water, plants and animals; and the levels of risks posed in some cases greatly exceed government standards. 

SPRU Study Area
Detailed records show waste buried at the Subsurface Disposal Area landdfill's disposal pits, trenches and vaults.

Actions to mitigate this high level of risk are currently underway with some wastes being shipped to designated offsite disposal areas. The U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality are considering other a combination of measures for buried waste.  These agencies have collaborated on a Proposed Plan for this 97-acre landfill area and focusing on the most critically affected portion of what is called the Radioactive Waste Management Complex.  That Plan, developed under the Federal Superfund program, was the subject for a 2007 series of public meetings across Idaho to provide information and seek public comment on a preferred alternative for future action.

Barry Lawson served as meeting facilitator for these meetings that featured open houses, formal presentations with questions and answers, and opportunities for public testimony to a court reporter.  Public interest has continued on this project for many years, and the scientific investigations undertaken have generated considerable data that eventually led to a preferred alternative.  Yet disputes continue over the most cost effective manner to protect public health and the degree to which waste is actually removed or capped.  It is anticipated that a decision (Record of Decision) on the package of actions ultimately to be taken will be made in 2008.

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