laboratory for energy-related health research/old campus landfill (usdoe)


Description and Background From the 1950s until the mid 1980s, the 15-acre LEHR (Laboratory for Energy Related Health Research) was the site of studies on the long-term health effects of low-level radiation on laboratory animals. The research projects at LEHR were primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Investigation of the site has found soils and groundwater contamination from chemical and radioactive wastes resulting from the disposal of laboratory and campus waste on-site. Also on the site are three inactive landfill areas that were used for disposal of UC Davis campus wastes. The LEHR/Old Campus Landfill site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in May 1994 as a result of several environmental issues including groundwater contamination and numerous landfills. History The Atomic Energy Commission (now DOE) began conducting radiological studies on laboratory animals in the early 1950s. Initial studies were carried out on the main UC Davis campus and involved the irradiation of beagles. LEHR began operating in its present location (south campus) in 1958 when full-scale experimental use of radioactive materials began. Research at LEHR through the mid-1980s focused on the health effects from chronic exposure to radionuclides, primarily strontium-90 (Sr-90) and radium-226 (Ra-226). In the early 1970s, a cobalt-60 irradiator facility was constructed at LEHR to study the effects of chronic exposure to gamma rays on bone marrow cells of beagles. From the 1940s through the mid-1960s, portions of the site were used as the UC Davis campus landfill. Burial holes and trenches around the landfills were used to dispose low-level radioactive and mixed waste from UC Davis and LEHR research activities. Part of UC Davis' inactive Landfill Disposal Unit 2, operated from 1956 through 1967, underlies the Eastern Dog Pens.

Hazardous Ranking Score

50 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 9
Phone: (415) 947-4251

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
        American Indian and Alaska Native
        Native Hawaiian


        People living
        within a 1 mile radius


        Average Income


        Occupied homes

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