Workers completed the last of four quarterly sampling activities in April to determine a baseline to protect the freshwater aquifer that flows underneath the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP).
“We pumped a total of 112 liters of water from the groundwater wells,” said Steve Downing, lab manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG). “To have accurate test results, the water needs to stay at a consistent temperature of 6 degrees Celsius and arrive at the testing facility within the specified timeframe.”
To achieve this, the samples were packed in 26 coolers with an estimated 700 pounds of ice, said Downing. This is an important step, as some contaminants may deteriorate over time or with change in temperature. The samples are then shipped overnight to one of several off-site laboratories for testing.
Specialists from Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, joined project laboratory employees as they drew samples of water from nine monitoring wells around the site.
“We analyze the water samples for a whole host of materials,” said Clara Galbis-Reig, principal research scientist, Battelle. “We test for levels of volatile organic compounds, alkalinity, herbicides, pesticides, hydrocarbons, explosives, chemical agents and other contaminants.”
The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection requires the testing of groundwater from around the site to ensure no contamination will seep into the aquifer from plant operations.
“The BGCAPP facility was constructed in accordance with very specific land, water and air protection regulations,” said John McArthur, environmental manager, BPBG. “Our goal is to have zero negative environmental impact upon the area.”