For Immediate Release
Contact: Chris Caldwell, UCOR
DOE recognizes UCOR sustainability efforts
Oak Ridge, Tenn., November 8, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Energy has presented United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR) with two 2023 Sustainability Awards. The awards are in two categories: having an innovative approach to sustainability and creating strategic partnerships in sustainability.
In the innovative approach category, UCOR was honored for its unique and innovative water management practices at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF)—an onsite waste disposal complex—through its integrated and comprehensive water management strategy. The award specifically recognizes UCOR’s use of an enhanced operational cover (EOC) at the 28-acre, above grade landfill.
The EOC is a long-term, temporary cover that sheds clean stormwater runoff from the landfill. It consists of a minimum one-foot layer of compacted clay with a protective layer placed over the clay. As landfill areas reach final grade, the EOC is placed over waste until it can be replaced by the final closure cap. During Fiscal Year 2022, which spans Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022, the EOC covered 55% of the total landfill area. Total precipitation for that period was 54.16 inches, during which the EOC returned 22.6 million gallons of clean water back to the local ecosystem.
“We are very proud of the positive impact results of this innovative design to protect our environment,” said UCOR’s Regulatory Strategy and Integration Manager Emily Day. “Over the past decade, the EOC has returned nearly 175 million gallons of clean water back to the local ecosystem, which means we don’t have to actively manage this water or transport it to a treatment facility.”
In the category of strategic partnerships, DOE recognized UCOR’s work with the predominantly minority Scarboro Community in Oak Ridge. The Scarboro Community was established in 1950 at the end of the Manhattan Project to provide housing for a vital component of nuclear weapons development project labor force. The Scarboro Community today continues to be home to an underserved minority population where lasting economic benefits have generally not occurred.
To help address the economic needs of the community, UCOR hosted a meeting with community leaders and residents in September 2021 to improve relationships, remove communication barriers, and identify employment opportunities. As a result, UCOR developed the Scarboro Workforce Workshop pilot program to spotlight employment opportunities on the Oak Ridge Reservation for Scarboro Community residents.
At a follow-up workshop in the community in August 2022, UCOR shared a variety of career information, including local apprenticeship programs like the East Tennessee Apprenticeship Readiness Program (ETARP). The meeting generated enough registrations to fill the entire next ETARP class in September 2022. Subsequently, all Scarboro community residents who completed the class were hired as full-time UCOR employees.
“We were so pleased with the success of the pilot program that we have developed our ‘UCOR in a Suitcase’ initiative,” said Darris Upton, UCOR workforce development and DEI manager. “The goal is to build on the success of the Scarboro Workforce Workshop in other underserved communities in East Tennessee.”
UCOR, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs and Honeywell, is the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s lead environmental cleanup contractor. The company’s 2,200+ workers are dedicated to safely reducing environmental risk on the Oak Ridge Reservation while helping DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration continue their important missions. Learn more about the company at UCOR.com.
UCOR NR 2023-20
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PHOTO CAPTION: Sustainable Workforce Award team. left to right, Patrick Mullen, Darris Upton, Sierra Generette
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PHOTO CAPTION: UCOR EMWMF Water Management Team. Left to right, Josh Pemberton, Patrick Mullen, Gary Buttry, Matt Hagenow, Tim Brown, Jeff Grindstaff, Wes White, Brandon Justice. Not pictured: Annette Primrose, Russell Hunsaker