Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Site Environmental Report for 2016
- Author(s): Pauer, Ron
- et al.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL, Berkeley Lab) is a multi-program scientific facility operated by the University of California (UC) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Berkeley Lab’s research is focused on the physical, biological, environmental, and computational sciences with the objective of delivering scientific knowledge and discoveries pertinent to DOE’s mission. This annual report describes environmental protection activities and potential impacts resulting from LBNL operations conducted in 2016. The format and content of this report satisfy the requirements of both DOE Order 231.1B Admin Chg 1, Environment, Safety, and Health Reporting, and the operating contract between UC and DOE (DOE Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231, also known as Contract 31). Activities are planned and conducted with full regard to protecting employees, the public, and the environment, as well as complying with all applicable environmental, safety, and health laws and regulations. Berkeley Lab implements an Environmental Management System (EMS) to oversee these compliance activities and improve overall environmental performance while maintaining operational capability and sustaining its overall mission. The effectiveness of the EMS and environmental programs is reviewed annually as part of the operating contract’s performance evaluation process. For fiscal year (FY) 2016, which began October 1, 2015, and ended September 30, 2016, the EMS was given a performance rating of A minus for its management of environmental activities (on a scale from A plus as the highest grade to F as the lowest). The measurement and rating system was developed jointly by Berkeley Lab, UC, and DOE. The FY 2016 rating was based on how Berkeley Lab met the objective in DOE’s FY 2017 Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (Appendix B in Contract 31, Section J) of providing an efficient and effective EMS. To support this rating, Berkeley Lab prepared a list of projects completed during the performance period that achieved reduced environmental impacts. The EMS was also graded through the federal Office of Management and Budget’s EMS Annual Report Data, in which elements of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 standard are rated and the degree of integration between the EMS and Berkeley Lab’s sustainable practices is measured. Overall scores fall into one of three categories: green (highest), yellow (middle), or red (lowest). For FY 2016, Berkeley Lab received a score of green, as described in more detail in Chapter 2. An overview of environmental protection and restoration programs is provided (Chapter 3), including information about compliance activities, operating permits, and regulatory agency inspections that occurred during 2016. Six minor violations issued during these inspections are discussed, one of which was rescinded in 2017. This report also includes information on environmental monitoring performed in 2016 (Chapter 4). The results of these monitoring activities confirmed that groundwater cleanup actions continue to show improving conditions, and all emissions and discharges from LBNL operations were within environmental compliance release limits with the exception of some stormwater discharges. While most stormwater discharges measured throughout the LBNL site fall within acceptable levels established by the state's stormwater permit, iron and aluminum exceeded permitted levels. Berkeley Lab is aggressively implementing controls to reduce iron and aluminum discharge levels. The controls include construction of asphaltic berms to restrain and filter runoff to storm drains, and installation of filtration units in storm drain basins to absorb metal contaminants. The radiological dose assessments (Chapter 5) performed in 2016 concluded that the maximum dose to a hypothetical resident from Berkeley Lab’s airborne radionuclide releases was approximately 0.12% of the DOE and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency annual limit of 10 millirem per year (mrem/year); the dose from all radiation sources at Berkeley Lab was approximately 0.1% of the average natural background radiation dose of 310 mrem/yr in the United States, and about 0.4% of the DOE annual limit of 100 mrem/yr from all sources.