Barry Fritz spent more than a decade working to make Fermilab more environmentally sound. Starting in June of 1992, Fritz worked out of ES&H department of AD. He retired on Aug. 8, 2011.
In 1993, Fritz began managing cleanup of PCB contamination in the main ring. The organic compound was once widely used as a coolant and insulating fluid, but it’s now known that PCBs are highly toxic.
“The laboratory ordered transformers specifically without PCBs, but the manufacturer used PCB oil to test the transformers before shipping them to us,” Fritz said. “That oil was replaced before delivery, but enough PCB was left behind in the windings of the transformers to contaminate the new oil to regulated levels.”
Oil from the transformers found its way into the soil due to leaks and early 1970s sampling practices that did not account for PCB’s environmental toxicity. Fritz had a tall order to fill.