Are people who live near the Oak Ridge Reservation exposed to contaminated off-site groundwater?
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Are people who live near the Oak Ridge Reservation exposed to contaminated off-site groundwater?

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      People who live near the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) want to know if they are being exposed to contaminated groundwater coming from the ORR (for example, from drinking well water). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) conducted a public health assessment to evaluate these potential exposures. ATSDR concluded that, based on sufficient evidence, no human exposures to contaminated groundwater outside of the ORR boundary have occurred in the past, no exposures are currently occurring, and exposures are not likely to occur in the future. Since nearly all of the groundwater beneath the ORR ends up as surface water before leaving the site, community exposure to contamination from groundwater off site is unlikely. The only confirmed contaminated groundwater area that extends outside of the ORR boundary originates from the Y-12 complex. However, there are no private wells pumping groundwater in this vicinity. Therefore, ATSDR concluded that there are no completed exposure pathways for drinking or contacting off-site groundwater. In addition, the nearest residential wells (located more than 2 miles from the Y-12 complex) have been sampled and are unaffected by groundwater contamination resulting from ORR activities. ATSDR also examined the possibility of vapors from the groundwater contaminants entering an office building that partially overlies the contaminated groundwater area outside of the ORR boundary. Conservative modeling estimated indoor vapor concentrations of the contaminants to be below levels of health concern. The 1997 Interim Record of Decision for Union Valley ensures that the public’s health is protected while final remedial actions are being developed and implemented. If necessary, it identifies and/or prohibits future activities that could increase the rate of movement of the contaminated groundwater, or increase the size of the contaminated area. ATSDR concluded that these plans are protective of public health to the extent that they limit or prevent cur- rent and future community exposure to contaminated groundwater in Union Valley. Treatment of the contaminated groundwater in this area began in June 2000.
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