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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Lehr Old Campus Landfill (USDOE)

EPA #: CA2890190000

State: California(CA)

County: Solano

City: Davis

Congressional District: 03

Other Names: Laboratory for Energy-related Health Research (USDOE and UC Davis)

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Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Final

Proposed Date: 01/18/94

Final Date: 05/31/94

Deleted Date:

Description and Background

From the 1950s until the mid 1980s, the 15-acre LEHR (Laboratory for Energy Related Health Research) was the site of studies on the long-term health effects of low-level radiation on laboratory animals. The research projects at LEHR were primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Investigation of the site has found soils and groundwater contamination from chemical and radioactive wastes resulting from the disposal of laboratory and campus waste on-site. Also on the site are three inactive landfill areas that were used for disposal of UC Davis campus wastes.

The LEHR/Old Campus Landfill site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in May 1994 as a result of several environmental issues including groundwater contamination and numerous landfills.

History

The Atomic Energy Commission (now DOE) began conducting radiological studies on laboratory animals in the early 1950s. Initial studies were carried out on the main UC Davis campus and involved the irradiation of beagles. LEHR began operating in its present location (south campus) in 1958 when full-scale experimental use of radioactive materials began. Research at LEHR through the mid-1980s focused on the health effects from chronic exposure to radionuclides, primarily strontium-90 (Sr-90) and radium-226 (Ra-226). In the early 1970s, a cobalt-60 irradiator facility was constructed at LEHR to study the effects of chronic exposure to gamma rays on bone marrow cells of beagles.

From the 1940s through the mid-1960s, portions of the site were used as the UC Davis campus landfill. Burial holes and trenches around the landfills were used to dispose low-level radioactive and mixed waste from UC Davis and LEHR research activities. Part of UC Davis' inactive Landfill Disposal Unit 2, operated from 1956 through 1967, underlies the Eastern Dog Pens.

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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater
  • Soil and Sludges

Soil has been contaminated with solvents, chemical wastes and radioactive wastes. The primary health threats are exposure to landfill waste and exposure to contaminated groundwater.

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Who is Involved

This site is being addressed as both a Federal Facility, with DOE as the lead agency, and as a non-federal site under the responsibility of the University of California, Davis.

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

The site is being addressed in stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on groundwater cleanup.

Initial Actions

Initial Action: As part of the decontamination and decommissioning of the facility, DOE has removed and shipped offsite over 100 drums of radioactive bioparts; removed, solidified, and shipped offsite about 40,000 gallons of radioactive waste sludge; removed and shipped offsite several radioactive sources; removed and shipped offsite a radioactivity-contaminated tanker trailer; demolished a former waste treatment facility; and decontaminated and surveyed four on-site buildings with radioactive contamination.


DOE has also performed several removal actions: 3,000 cubic feet of low-level radioactive waste was removed from the site as a time-critical removal. Contaminated waste and soil has also been removed from the southwest trenches, the radium and strontium treatment areas, and the waste burial holes along the southern perimeter of the site.

Cleanup Ongoing

Entire Site: DOE and UC Davis identified a chloroform-contaminated groundwater plume migrating northeast from the site. Beginning in 1998, UC Davis started active groundwater extraction and cleanup is ongoing.

Site Studies

Both DOE and UC Davis have performed additional investigations and have submitted Remedial Investigations. UC Davis was assigned the task of performing a comprehensive Site-Wide Risk Assessment (RA), including an estimate of risk for human health and ecological receptors. The Site-Wide RA was finalized in August 2006. DOE has completed a Feasibility Study and released a Proposed Plan for the DOE areas in October 2008. A DOE Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in December 2009. The UC Davis Feasibility Study Data Gaps Technical Report was completed in February 2010. The Soil Feasibility Study is final. The Groundwater Extraction Treatment Study was completed in June 2014 and the extraction will be operated for two years to collect groundwater for the Feasibility Study. Concurrently, UC Davis is conducting a Groundwater Background Concentration Study for extra striate, chromium and nitrate. Operation of a Density Driven Convection (DDC) treatment for chloroform will continue as water levels allowed.

The LEHR facility is classified under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as a large quantity generator.

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Cleanup Results to Date

The EPA has determined that the Laboratory for Energy-Related Health Research/Old Campus Landfill (USDOE) site does not pose an immediate risk to people or the environment while site studies are being planned.

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Potentially Responsible Parties

Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.


This site is being addressed as both a Federal Facility, with DOE as the lead agency conducting work pursuant to a 1999 Federal Facility Agreement (FFA), and as a non-federal site under the responsibility of the University of California, Davis, pursuant to a 1999 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC).

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Community Involvement

Public Meetings:

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Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

Yolo County Public Library,
Davis Branch, Reference Desk,
315 East 14th Street,
Davis, CA

Shields Library, Reserve Desk,
UC Davis, 95616
DOE maintains records at: www.lm.doe.gov/lehr/Sites.aspx

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

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Contacts

EPA Site Manager
David Stensby
415-972-3246
Stensby.David@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Viola Cooper
415-972-3243
1-800-231-3075
Cooper.Viola@epamail.epa.gov
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD-6-3
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
415-947-8701
r9.info@epa.gov
State Contact
John Bystra


Durin Linderholm
916-255-3669


916-464-4657
jbystra@dtsc.ca.gov


DLinderholm@waterboards.ca.gov
8800 Cal Center Drive
Sacramento, CA 95826

11020 Sun Center Drive, #200
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
PRP Contact
Cliff Carpenter DOE


Sue Fields, UCD
304-413-0807


530-752-3044
Cliff.Carpenter@lm.doe.gov


smfields@ucdavis.edu
99 Research Park Road
Morgantown, WV 26505

UC Davis EH&S
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Community Contact
Other Contacts
After Hours (Emergency Response)
US EPA
(800) 424-8802

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