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Hydrology of the Melton Valley radioactive-waste burial grounds at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee

January 1, 1988

Burial grounds 4, 5, and 6 of the Melton Valley Radioactive-waste Burial Grounds, Oak Ridge, TN, were used sequentially from 1951 to the present for the disposal of solid, low level radioactive waste by burial in shallow trenches and auger holes. Abundant rainfall, a generally thin unsaturated zone, geologic media of inherently low permeability, and the operational practices employed have contributed to partial saturation of the buried waste, leaching of radionuclides, and transport of dissolved matter from the burial areas. Two primary methods of movement of wastes from these sites are transport in groundwater, and the overflow of fluid in trenches and subsequent flow across land surface. Whiteoak Creek and its tributaries receive all overland flow from trench spillage, surface runoff from each site, and discharge of groundwater from the regolith of each site. Potentiometric data, locally, indicate that this drainage system also receives groundwater discharges from the bedrock of burial ground 5. By projection of the bedrock flow patterns characteristic of this site to other areas of Melton Valley, it is inferred that discharges from the bedrock underlying burial grounds 4 and 6 also is to the Whiteoak Creek drainage system. The differences in potentiometric heads and a comparatively thin saturated zone in bedrock do not favor the development of deep flow through bedrock from one river system to another. (USGS)

Publication Year 1988
Title Hydrology of the Melton Valley radioactive-waste burial grounds at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee
DOI 10.3133/ofr87686
Authors D.A. Webster, Mike Bradley
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 87-686
Index ID ofr87686
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse