American Society of Civil Engineers

Use of Structured Public Involvement to Identify Community Preferences for a Superfund Site End State Vision

by Ted Grossardt, (Research Program Manager, University of Kentucky Transportation Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY), John Ripy, (GIS Specialist, University of Kentucky Transportation Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY), and Keiron Bailey, (Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona. Tucson, AZ)
Section: Emerging and Innovative Technologies, pp. 370-380, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2010: Challenges of Change
Abstract: The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is a uranium enrichment facility built in the mid-1950s in western Kentucky. Many thousands of people over several generations have been employed at, or in activities devoted to, the PGDP. Over the years, the plant has also generated significant nuclear and industrial contamination. This contamination is composed of various surface disposal activities, such as burial grounds, which have resulted in multiple potential sites across the plant grounds, and in surface and subsurface water contamination, the extent and full nature of which is still subject to ongoing research and monitoring. Because of this, the PGDP retains a joint legacy as a regional economic engine and a major source of environmental contamination and worker exposure. Because of advances in the technology of uranium enrichment, however, there are expectations that the plant eventually will be decommissioned. This will result in dramatic impacts on the region’s economy and encourage the pursuit of replacement activities for the site. This, in turn, will highlight the complications arising from various sorts of contamination, as well as the strategies for mitigating them. Thus, envisioning a future for the plant site is a complex decision making process involving a wide range of variables that interact with each other in intricate and not altogether-understood ways. Proactively involving the affected community in a productive way is the challenge.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Community development
Public participation
Waste management
Waste sites