Plant to keep mercury from entering creek at Y-12

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) -- A $120 million water treatment plant that will keep toxic mercury out of a creek at the Y-12 National Security Complex is currently under design.

Mercury was used at the complex during the Cold War in the production of thermonuclear weapons. That project ended in 1963 at Y-12, but mercury has continued to seep into the spring that forms the head of East Fork Poplar Creek.

At present, the amount of mercury going into the creek is about eight times more than allowed by state water quality standards.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the plant is scheduled to be operating by 2020. After that, there are plans to take down the three large buildings where mercury was used. Contaminated soil will also be removed.

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