Environment, Safety, and Health:

Information on Three Ohio Defense Facilities

RCED-86-51FS: Published: Nov 29, 1985. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 1985.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) effectiveness in protecting its workers, the community, and the environment at three defense production facilities in Ohio.

GAO found that: (1) the three plants must meet and comply with numerous regulations, procedures, and standards to minimize environmental degradation from their operations and promote worker safety and health; (2) for the last 5 years, contractor records indicated that the plants have complied with DOE radioactive air emission and water release standards; (3) DOE is in the process of correcting or taking actions to address environmental problems at each plant; and (4) over the 30 years the three plants have operated, numerous employees have been exposed to radioactive and nonradioactive substances, but most exposures have been within prescribed DOE standards. At the first plant, GAO found that: (1) radioactivity was predominantly released into the air; (2) inadequate control of surface water runoff may have resulted in the uranium contamination of three off-site and two on-site wells; (3) there has been soil contamination both on and off site; and (4) there are deficiencies in the radiation protection program. At the second plant, GAO found that the plant has not: (1) identified all sources of hazardous emissions; (2) obtained required permits; and (3) properly recorded some polychlorinated biphenyl wastes generated since 1982. GAO found that the third plant's program to monitor primary pathways of potential contamination and actions to control air releases from the plant exceeded requirements, and its safety statistics have been among the best in the past 5 years.

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