Search

Luckey Site

Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program

Buffalo District
Published Dec. 11, 2023
Updated: Dec. 11, 2023

In 1942, a magnesium processing facility was built at the Luckey Site on U.S. government land. National Lead operated the facility for the U.S. government during World War II until 1945. In 1949, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) built a beryllium production facility at the site where Brush Beryllium Company (later Brush Wellman) produced beryllium oxide, beryllium hydroxide, and beryllium pebbles. Beryl ore is a natural product of the earth and may be excavated with rocks containing varying concentrations of radium-226, thorium-230 and uranium. The chemical processes to extract beryllium also separates other elements, including radium, thorium and uranium. This resulted in products with more concentrated beryllium, and incidentally generated waste streams with enhanced concentrations of radium, thorium and uranium. The products were then shipped to other facilities for further processing.

In late 1951 and early 1952, the AEC sent approximately 1,000 tons of radioactively contaminated scrap metal to the site in anticipation of resuming magnesium processing at the facility. The scrap metal, which contained radioactivity within guidelines at the time, was stored at the site and never used for its intended purpose. Records indicate that beryllium scrap from other AEC operations was also sent to the Luckey Site. Indications are that some of the scrap was contaminated with radioactivity. Site investigations have determined that the scrap metal did not cause the radioactive contamination at the site.

Brush Beryllium Company operated the facility until 1958 when beryllium production ceased. However, sintering and powder blending operations, established at the Luckey facility in 1957, continued until 1960. Several areas were previously used to store byproducts from magnesium and beryllium processing.

In 1959, the AEC contracted with Brush Beryllium Company to close the facility. Closing operations included constructing a two-acre, dike-enclosed landfill on the northeast corner of the property. Sludge material from three lagoons adjacent to the production building was reportedly moved to the landfill, capped, graded, and seeded. The General Services Administration sold the facility in 1961. The facility has had various owners since then.

The Luckey Site was designated a Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) site in 1992 due to extensive surface contamination from beryllium.

The Corps of Engineers’ priority during the Luckey Site cleanup is the protection of human health and the environment and the safety of our workers and the community.  Most recently, the Corps of Engineers contractor completed excavating 93,777 cubic yards of soil contaminated with beryllium, lead, radium-226, thorium-230, uranium-234, and uranium-238 from the Luckey Site from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas of the site.  The production building and several other buildings at the site have been deconstructed.  Excavated soils and building deconstruction debris are being shipped off-site for disposal at a licensed/permitted disposal facility. The latest progress for the Luckey Site soil cleanup is provided in the infographic at the link below. The infographic contains information regarding the total volume of soils excavated, tons of waste disposed, number of waste shipments, volume of collected site water treated, and the percentage of completion for the site and each phase of the project.  A contract will be awarded during summer 2021 to complete the soil remediation. 

The Corps of Engineers is performing a five-year review of the selected remedies for the soil and groundwater operable units of the Luckey Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program Site soils as required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended, and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP).  The five-year review process includes a community involvement component.  If you would like to be interviewed as part of the five-year review process or to receive email updates regarding the site, please email fusrap@usace.army.mil.

Corps of Engineers Activities

The Corps of Engineers released a remedial investigation report in 2000 and a feasibility study report and proposed plan for the Luckey FUSRAP Site in 2003.

In 2006, the Corps of Engineers signed a record of decision (ROD) that addressed beryllium, lead, and radionuclide (radium-226, thorium-230, uranium-234, and uranium-238) contamination in soils. This soil contamination extends to the north of the site to Toussaint Creek, although it was determined that residual contamination in the creek did not pose an ecological concern that warranted cleanup. The selected remedy for the soils operable unit is excavation and off-site disposal of FUSRAP-contaminated soils to achieve cleanup goals for unrestricted use of the site. Excavated soils will be shipped off-site for disposal at a licensed/permitted disposal facility.

In 2008, the Corps of Engineers signed a ROD addressing uranium, lead, and beryllium contamination that currently exists in groundwater below the site. The selected remedy for groundwater is monitored natural attenuation. Once the contaminated soil is removed from the site, concentrations of these contaminants in groundwater will decrease naturally in the subsurface. Groundwater wells will be sampled for beryllium, lead, and uranium until results indicate that safe drinking water standards have been met. Land use controls during the monitoring period will ensure there are no changes in groundwater use.

The Corps of Engineers completed additional soil sampling and radiological, geophysical, and topographic surveys on the Luckey Site in March 2010. The results provided the Corps of Engineers with information necessary to update estimated costs associated with the Luckey Site cleanup.

In 2015, the Corps of Engineers awarded a contract for cleanup of FUSRAP-contaminated soils at the Luckey Site. The contractor completed developing work plans for the project in 2016. The work plans, which are available on the project website, guide the cleanup and ensure it is performed in a manner that protects the health and safety of site workers, the local community, and the environment. 

Beginning in September 2016, the contractor began mobilizing equipment and personnel to the site to set up the site infrastructure and equipment needed to perform the remediation. The contractor also conducted necessary background soil and air sampling and monitoring.

During March 2017, the Corps of Engineers released an Explanation of Significant Differences for the Record of Decision for the Soils Operable Unit, Luckey Site, Luckey, Ohio.  Increases in costs for implementing the remedy, the volume of material to be remediated, and removal of some of the site buildings to access contamination underneath was included in this document.

In April 2018, the contractor completed the installation of site infrastructure and began excavation and off-site disposal of FUSRAP-contaminated soils.  Links to the reports mentioned in this section are available in the Reports section below.

Community Involvement

The US Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District welcomes your input at any time. Our goal is to offer timely and meaningful opportunities for public input to our projects and to promote the dissemination of project information to the community. Public involvement activities complement the Corps' mission to address environmental contamination at the Luckey Site from past Manhattan Engineer District and Atomic Energy Commission activities.

You are welcome to contact us. If you have questions, comments, or concerns regarding the Luckey Site, please send an e-mail to fusrap@usace.army.mil.


Contact
FUSRAP Office
1-800-833-6390 *4
fusrap@usace.army.mil
478 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202
or
Luckey Public Library
228 Main Street, Luckey, OH 43443