Oct. 30, 2012

Lab's annual environmental report finds no adverse impact to public health or environment

LIVERMORE - Environmental monitoring of operations at both the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) main site, as well as Site 300, the Laboratory's experimental test site near Tracy in 2011, indicates no adverse impact to public health or the environment from Laboratory operations. The findings are presented in LLNL's Site Annual Environmental Report 2011.

The report records the Laboratory's compliance with environmental standards and requirements, describes LLNL's environmental protection and remediation programs and presents the results of environmental monitoring.  Specifically, the report discusses LLNL's Environmental Management System; describes significant accomplishments in pollution prevention; presents the results of air, water, vegetation and foodstuff monitoring; reports radiological doses from LLNL operations; summarizes LLNL's activities involving special status wildlife, plants and habitats; and describes the progress LLNL has made in remediating groundwater contamination from historical operations.

In addition, the report documents the substantial actions the Laboratory has taken to comply with federal, state and local environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and National Environmental Policy Act, among others.

This report is prepared for the Department of Energy (DOE) by LLNL's Environmental Functional Area.  Submittal of the report satisfies requirements under DOE Order 231.1B, Environmental Safety and Health Reporting, and DOE Order 458.1, Radiation Protection of the Public and Environment.

The following is a summary of the Site Annual Environmental Report 2011. The complete report may be accessed on the Site Annual Environmental Report Website. It also is available in hard copy and on CD in the LLNL environmental document repositories at the Laboratory's Discovery Center and Livermore and Tracy public libraries.

  • LLNL's Environmental Management System has successfully maintained its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 registration since 2009, and is regularly audited by NSF International Strategic Registrations, an internationally recognized ISO auditor, for continued conformance and certification.
  • Pollution Prevention and Sustainability -- In 2011, LLNL received numerous honors including three National Nuclear Security Administration Environmental Stewardship awards, two DOE EStar awards, California Department of Resources recognition for recycling efforts and a Federal Electronics Challenge Bronze Award for management of electronics.
  • Air monitoring -- In 2011, radioactivity released to the atmosphere was monitored at six facilities on the Livermore site and one at Site 300 and data was used to model the dose to the hypothetical sitewide maximally exposed individual.  Additionally, LLNL performed ambient air monitoring at multiple locations on and off both sites for radionuclide particulate, tritium, and beryllium concentrations in air. Results of monitoring and analysis show that impacts were well below the levels that would cause concern for the environment or public health.
  • Water monitoring/groundwater remediation -- Data indicate LLNL has good control of discharges to the sanitary sewer, and discharges to the surface water and groundwater do not have any apparent environmental impact.  At both the Livermore site and at Site 300, remediation of soil and groundwater contamination resulting from past operations continued to make good progress in reducing contaminant concentrations.
  • Terrestrial radiological monitoring -- The impact of LLNL operations on surface soil in 2011 was insignificant.
  • Biota -- LLNL studies, preserves and attempts to improve the habitat of five species at Site 300 that are covered by the federal or California endangered species acts, as well as species that are rare and otherwise of special interest. The Laboratory meets the requirements of federal and state regulatory acts covering endangered or sensitive natural resources.
  • Radiological dose -- Annual radiological doses from emissions at the Livermore site and at Site 300 in 2011 were found to be well below the applicable standards for radiation protection of the public.