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In this issue:
Environmental Success: Accelerating Clean Up
Safety Today: Legacy, Abandoned or Hazardous Materials
Flavor of Particle Physics
SLUO's Annual Washington D.C. Trip

SLAC Today

Tuesday - April 15, 2008

Environmental Success: Accelerating Clean Up

Dwight Harbaugh, a member of the Environmental Restoration group, collects operating data.

SLAC's Environmental Restoration Group, a part of the Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) Division, recently completed the installation and startup of an upgrade to the existing groundwater treatment and hydraulic containment system near the SLAC Paint Shop. This work, which was funded by Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management, was previously announced in a January 2007 SLAC Today article.

The upgrade included the installation of a dual-phase extraction system that simultaneously extracts chemicals via both soil vapor and groundwater. The residual chemicals in the soil and groundwater near the Paint Shop originate from past leaks from a since-removed underground tank that held spent solvents (an accepted storage method at the time).

In addition, three new extraction wells were installed and the existing extraction wells and treatment system were retrofitted to accommodate vacuum application as part of the upgrade work. The application of a vacuum at the wellhead allows for the extraction of chemical-containing vapors residing within available soil pore spaces. It also increases the rate at which groundwater can be extracted and treated.  Read more...

(Column - Safety Today)

Legacy, Abandoned or Hazardous Materials


Examples of orphaned chemicals recently discovered in a closed laboratory. Additional photos of orphaned items discovered by ES&H can be found here.

During a recent building cleanup and inspection several hazardous and low-level radioactive items were discovered. Some of these were abandoned with no known "owner." The Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) Division was notified and took custody and has now properly packed and stored these materials. While these items did not pose an immediate health hazard, they were not needed for ongoing operations and were not stored, marked or managed in accordance with SLAC ES&H policy and procedure.

If you have any items or objects in your offices or labs that you think might be hazardous or radioactive, we in ES&H want you to tell us about them so we can conduct an evaluation and ensure they are properly managed or disposed of.

Routine workplace walkthroughs should include opening cabinets and drawers to ensure legacy, abandoned, hazardous or radioactive materials are not present. If you think you may have some undeclared hazardous or radioactive materials, please contact your Area or Building Manager, or ES&H at x4538. ES&H will promptly send a specialist to conduct a review of your workspace(s) to find and identify any such items.

Lastly, please refrain from bringing items from offsite that may be hazardous or radioactive into your work area. If you need help determining what is okay to bring in and what is not, please contact ES&H beforehand.

Your cooperation helps us keep SLAC a safe place to work.

Flavor of Particle Physics

If you missed the American Physical Society meeting in St. Louis this weekend, you can still find out what happened. David Harris, the editor-in-chief of symmetry magazine, blogged about topics of interest to the particle physics community and provided a flavor of the annual event. The symmetrybreaking blog generated hundreds of hits and was linked to from Slashdot.org.

Blog topics include:
- Collaborators from DAMA, an Italian dark-matter experiment, may announce they have detected dark matter.
- A synopsis of discoveries we can expect from the LHC.
- What the shortage of physics undergraduates means for technical, teaching and other fields.

Read all posts...

SLUO's Annual Washington D.C. Trip


Members of the Fermilab, SLAC and LHC Users Organizations visited Washington, D.C., last month.

Each year, the SLAC Users Organization (SLUO) Executive Committee organizes a trip to Washington D.C. with Fermilab and, recently, U.S. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) users. The trip is a valuable opportunity to meet with members of Congress and their staff, share the importance of the science and its benefits to the nation, and listen to what they have to say about science and their expectations for the coming year. The sudden change in direction for basic research funding in last year's Congressional budget process made a visit to Washington even more important.

The messages this year were loud and clear: Congress regrets what happened to the federal science budget last year, but this year the process is made even more complicated by the election and it's very unlikely that normal Congressional appropriations will happen until after the Presidential election. In addition, we learned there was the possibility of Congress seeking a supplemental appropriation for science and efforts were beginning in both the House and Senate to make this happen in a bi-partisan way. The message to our High Energy Physics (HEP) community was also clear: the science is compelling, but we also need to communicate the tangible benefits of HEP to American education, industry, and innovation. In our continuing dialog with Congress and the nation about HEP, we must clearly explain the science case and the impact of the science on the education pipeline as well as technological innovation, industry, and medicine.

This year's trip, in conjunction with the Fermilab Users' Executive Committee (UEC) and the U.S. LHC Users' Organization (USLUO), brought together about 30 users from all over the U.S. and the world, including many students, post-docs and faculty. We spent three days in Washington D.C. from March 12th to 14th meeting with about 150 members of Congress, including two-thirds of the membership of relevant appropriations subcommittees. We also met with representatives from the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as well as Undersecretary for Science Raymond Orbach, Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Director for Science Programs Pat Dehmer, Head of the DOE Office of High Energy Physics Dennis Kovar, Head of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Division Joseph Dehmer and NSF Program Directors for Elementary Particle Physics Marvin Goldberg and James Reidy.  Read more...

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