REMOP to begin sampling in Burke County

True Citizen

2018-10-10 / News

The University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory’s (SREL) Radionuclide Education, Monitoring and Outreach Project, known as REMOP, is starting the sampling phase of the project in Burke County.

Megan Winzeler, the program’s coordinator, said the project is seeking individuals to donate meat that was farm raised or harvested from animals in the county. They also need vegetables that were grown in the county.

She said the group will collect a limited number of samples to educate residents about monitoring programs in the area.

“Monitoring programs involve large-scale sampling efforts on an annual basis to continually estimate the health of the environmental pathways contaminants can move. This means thousands of samples for each media being tested and many hundreds of man-hours to collect, process and analyze the data,” Winzeler said. “Our effort is on a smaller scale and cannot be used to inform or come to conclusions about public health. Our focus is to help people understand the process and use the data from their community to help them understand the larger picture.”

Winzeler said residents will learn how data is collected, processed and analyzed by entities like the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site.

Matthew Hamilton, a research professional at SREL, who will conduct the sampling, said the samples collected for REMOP will be sent to an external lab for testing.

The results from the testing will be presented in fact sheets for residents. The team said the fact sheets will be void of technical jargon and written for the general public to understand.

Winzeler said REMOP will initially use meats and vegetables for the sampling phase because “they are a pathway to exposure.”

She said that water, food, soil and air, often referred to as media in technical documents, are also pathways for a contaminant to enter the human body. Other pathways will be sampled at a later time.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the requirements for donating samples and more about the project should attend a REMOP talk in Burke County, visit the project’s booth at the upcoming county fair or contact Natalie Herrington, the REMOP event coordinator, at 706.533.3363.

The next talk, Environmental Monitoring Programs, will be held on Monday, Oct. 15, at 6 p.m. at the Burke County Library in Waynesboro.

The group will collect collard greens and turnips in November.

No personal identification will be used in association with the samples that are collected.