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Stewardship

Environmental Protection

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From the outset, WCS has been committed to the safe and secure handling of the state and nation’s Low-level Radioactive Waste (LLRW). Disposal operations at WCS were never conceived, designed or expected to be a short-term solution for LLRW. Instead, WCS has always aimed to provide a safe, secure, long-term solution for waste disposal while fully protecting the environment. WCS’ greatest ally in this effort is the geology and geography at the disposal site.

The WCS site in Andrews County, Texas was selected due to its location atop a ridge of 600 ft. thick red bed clay in a relatively remote, semi-arid, sparely inhabited area of far west Texas, with the nearest residence approximately 3.5 miles to the west in New Mexico and annual rainfall less than 16 inches. Significant population growth in the immediate vicinity of the WCS site is unlikely because of the nature of land ownership and the lack of any surface water and readily potable groundwater.

The Facts on WCS’ Impact on the Environment:

  • During the construction and licensing process over 500 wells and core samples were reviewed by the state; the state has established that at no point does this site affect the Ogallala Aquifer.
  • The state has determined the aquifer to be six miles north of the site. Water would have to travel uphill to get to the site.
  • The facility is not over an aquifer or adjacent to any underground drinking water supply.
  • Climate change will not cause groundwater to enter the waste disposal units.
  • The Texas Compact Disposal Facility and Federal Waste Facility feature the most environmentally protective design in the industry with below-grade disposal in concrete-lined cells that are constructed inside a natural 600-foot formation of almost impermeable Dockum red-bed clay.
  • No significant erosion has taken place at the site for the past 60,000 years and there is no reason to expect significant erosion at the site during the next 60,000 years.
  • The waste is placed in steel reinforced concrete containers which sit atop more than seven feet of a state-of-the-art comprehensive liner system

The Facts on WCS’ Impact on Local Drinking Water

Over the last 20 years, WCS, local water well drillers and oil and gas producers have drilled thousands of wells and spent tens of millions of dollars to verify the subsurface properties of western Andrews County and, as a result, have delineated the boundaries of the Ogallala Aquifer.

As a result of this data, the Texas Water Development Board re-mapped the Ogallala Aquifer in late 2006 to definitively show that the aquifer’s boundary does not extend to WCS’ property and to provide a more accurate depiction of the proper location of the aquifer. Lastly, no groundwater has ever been found in the red bed clays within the boundaries of the proposed disposal units as shown by the installation of more than 390 monitoring wells.

Video

Waste Control Specialists and the State of Texas spent years sampling, testing and investigating the unique geological characteristics of Andrews County.

The result? Andrews County provides an environmentally safe and secure site for long-term disposal of Low-level Radioactive waste. In this video, hydro-geologist, Dr. Robert Holt, discusses how and why this is true.

Waste Control Specialists ofrece una solución para Texas.

United States Congressman Conaway discusses the importance of Waste Control Specialists disposal operations from a national perspective.