Across Appalachia

Oak Ridge Pond Clean-Up Underway

Date: October 15, 2015

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge reservation is making strides toward creating a healthier ecosystem in one of its ponds, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The pond is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, a toxic and indirect chemical byproduct of the nuclear weapons once produced on the site. In 2009, all of the fish living in the pond were killed so that a new species could be introduced that would not disrupt the sediments on the pond floor. This allowed the PCBs to settle and become buried.

Vegetation is returning to the pond and the levels of PCB contamination in the fish are falling.

“While it’s too early to say that [this] pond is a success at this time,” Eric Ward, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, told the Knoxville News Sentinel, “there are marked improvements.“
— Elizabeth E. Payne

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