Senator Alexander says a greater commitment is required to cleanup the existing “dangerous mercury levels” that pose a health risk to Tennesseans.

TN_Flag_2At the announcement of a new facility to deal with mercury at Oak Ridge, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called mercury contamination “one of the biggest problems we have from the Cold War era” and said it must be a top priority as cleanup resources become available.

Alexander’s remarks came at a press conference announcing plans for a water treatment facility at the head of the East Fork Poplar Creek. The facility would head off future mercury contamination, which can cause brain and nervous system damage in people who eat contaminated fish. He joined officials with the State of Tennessee, Oak Ridge and U.S. Department of Energy, and pressed for more cleanup resources in the future to go toward existing mercury contamination, as problems like radioactive waste improve.

“This water treatment plant is a major step in addressing one of the biggest problems we have from the Cold War era – mercury once used to make nuclear weapons getting into our waterways,” Alexander said. “As we finish other cleanup priorities, like cleaning up radioactive waste at the East Tennessee Technology Park, we need to strengthen our commitment to dealing with the mercury that’s already gotten into waterways at Oak Ridge.”

The treatment building announced today will filter water to prevent further mercury contamination, and Alexander wants to also address existing contamination. The cleanup project at East Tennessee Technology Park has involved hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars to deal with radioactive material by tearing down the K-25 and K-27 buildings.

Click here to read the complete press release.

Source: Office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander | May 3, 2013