Utah cleanup hits milestone

The mill tailings cleanup in Moab, Utah, has logged 2 million hours without an injury that resulted in lost time.

That amounts to 1,584 days on the job that will move 16 million tons of mill tailings from Moab to Crescent Junction, some 30 miles north and well away from the Colorado River.

The cleanup is being coordinated from a Grand Junction Department of Energy office and the milestone was marked on Thursday.

“Reaching this milestone demonstrates that safety is our highest priority in completing our mission,” federal project director Donald Metzler said.

During that time, the workforce of more than 130 employees has removed 41 percent of the Cold War-era tailings pile.

The pile is being transported by railroad to the repository that lies north of Interstate 70 and below the Book Cliffs of eastern Utah.

Employees of the technical assistance contractor, S&K Aerospace LLC, have had no lost-time injuries since the contract was awarded in June 2007.

Portage Inc, the remedial-action contractor, is required under the contract to move 650,000 tons per year from the Moab site.

The pile sits on the north bank of the Colorado River and was the subject of concern that it could contaminate the water supply for millions of people in Arizona, California and Nevada.


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