Jump to main content.

Feed Materials Production Center

Feed Material Production Center photo



The U.S. DOE Feed Materials Production Center is located, twenty miles northwest of Cincinnati, Ohio in the town of Fernald, Ohio. The 1050 acre facility operated from 1951 to 1989, producing high-purity uranium metals products for the U.S. defense program. In 1991 U.S. DOE and U.S. EPA entered into a Consent Agreement requiring cleanup of the site under CERCLA. The site has been divided into five Operable Units of which the Records of Decision have been signed for all. There have been 30 removal actions implemented of which 27 are completed. This cleanup is a model of cooperation between U.S. DOE, U.S. EPA, Ohio EPA, Exit EPA disclaimer the Fernald Citizen's Task Force, and other local stakeholders to reach consensus on cleanup and a future for the site.

(See also DOE's home page on the FEMP project, Exit EPA disclaimer on their Environmental Restoration work Exit EPA disclaimer, a notice on EPA's efforts in nearby wetlands Exit EPA disclaimer(recommended).)

The site has been divided into five Operable Units (OU). They include:

  • Waste Pits (6 disposal lagoons)
  • Other Waste Areas (Flyash Piles and disposal areas)
  • Production Area (over 200 buildings and structures)
  • K-65 Silos (4 silos - 3 contain waste)
  • Environmental Media (affected soil, groundwater, etc.)

Contact: James Saric (312) 886-0992

Back to top

Current Status of Remedial Activities

The Records of Decision (ROD) signed to date include:

  • (3/1/95) Excavation of waste pit contents, thermal drying, and disposal at Envirocare facility in Utah. ($389M)

  • (6/8/95) Excavation of waste and disposal of materials meeting Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) in an on-site disposal cell. Off-site shipment of material not meeting WAC. ($106M)

  • (7/22/94) Interim ROD signed to commit U.S. DOE to decontaminate and decommission buildings. ($1.5B), (9/ /96) Final ROD signed addressing disposal of OU 3 materials in an on-site disposal cell. ($70M)
  • (12/7/94) Excavation of waste, vitrification of materials and disposal at Nevada Test Site. ($92M) ROD amendment to chemically stabilize TNE silo materials and dispose off site

  • (1/31/96) Excavation of contaminated soils, disposal of contaminated soils meeting WAC in an on-site disposal cell. Extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater from the Great Miami aquifer. ($580M)

Back to top

Cleanup Progress

All five Records of Decision (RODs) were signed between 1994 and 1996 addressing all of the operable units at the site. Further, 27 of the 30 Removal Actions were completed between 1991 and 1999. However, failure of a pilot-scale vitrification plant to treat waste stored in three silos (Operable Unit 4) resulted in the need to amend the ROD for this operable unit (12/29/00). Currently, plans are being developed and facilities are being constructed to remove the materials from the silos prior to treatment to accelerate the process, which will ship the materials to an offsite disposal facility by 2006. To date the Silos project is 20% complete.

A railroad line and a waste/soil drying and loading facility to treat and ship waste materials from six waste pits to Envirocare of Utah has been completed with the first rail shipment occurring April 26, 1999. Waste from the pits is excavated, thermally dried, packaged in rail cars, and sent via rail for offsite disposal at Envirocare. To date, the project is 60% complete with 90 unit trains having shipped over 500,000 tons of the projected 790,000 tons of waste in the pits. The project is projected to be completed in 2005.

Five of the planned seven cells of the Onsite Disposal Facility (OSDF) have been completed. Cell one is full and has been capped; Cell 2 is 95% filled; Cell 4 is 51% filled; and Cells 4 and 5 have the lower liner constructed and are receiving waste materials. Approximately 1,000,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris has been placed in the five cells. The OSDF is projected to be completed in 2006 and to hold approximately 2.5 million cubic yards of material.

The process of safe shutdown to remove contaminated materials from pipelines and other equipment from 130 buildings at the site was completed in March 1999. Also, 112 of the 223 total structures have been demolished, and the demolition materials are being placed in the OSDF. This project is 50% complete. Also, all nuclear materials previously stored onsite have been dispositioned offsite as of May 2002.

Offsite groundwater contamination is being contained via an extraction system installed in 1991. An extensive network of extraction and injection wells were installed and began operation in August 1998 to expedite the time required to remove and treat contaminated groundwater from 25 to 10 years. Since that time 7.5 million gallons of groundwater have been pumped from the aquifer removing 3,600 pounds of uranium. The groundwater is being treated to return the aquifer to drinking water standards. Also, the Southern Waste Units, the largest source of groundwater contamination from the Fernald site has been removed. Over 50% of the site area has been demonstrated to have attained final soil cleanup levels.

An accelerated cleanup program is underway to complete the cleanup of the entire facility, except for groundwater remediation, within ten years. Groundwater remediation is anticipated to take up to 25 years to complete. This accelerated schedule will save $3 billion in cleanup costs. The future vision of the site includes an on-site disposal facility in the northeast portion of the site capable of holding 1.8 million cubic yards of low-level contaminated soil and debris, and the off-site disposal of the higher level contaminated materials such as the Silos and waste pit materials. The disposal cell will occupy approximately 350 acres of the site, the remainder of which will be available for recreational use, excluding the protection of some wetland areas.

1996 image

1999 image

2005 image

2010 image

Also see:

Feed Materials Production Center NPL FacFacts Sheet

Ohio EPA Office of Federal Facilities Oversight Exit EPA disclaimer

OSWER's page for this site


Back to top | Select another NPL site

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.