Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

HANFORD 200-AREA (USDOE)
BENTON COUNTY, WA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The 79-square-mile Hanford Site 200-Area (USDOE) site is located 17 miles north-northwest of Richland, Washington. The site is one of the four original areas listed on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) located within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-managed Hanford site. The 200 Area NPL site is located in the center portion of the Hanford Site, known as the Central Plateau, and contains former chemical processing plants and waste management facilities.

During processing activities, massive quantities of carbon tetrachloride were discharged into the ground. Site activities also included processing, finishing and managing nuclear materials, including plutonium. About one billion cubic yards of solid and diluted liquid wastes (radioactive, mixed and hazardous substances) were disposed in trenches, ditches and in an on-site landfill. About 1,000 facilities and structures were built to support processing activities which contaminated soil, groundwater and surface water with hazardous chemicals and radioactive constituents. Thousands of containers and drums holding radioactive waste were placed in burial grounds.

The Tri-Party Agencies divided the 200 Area into several cleanup areas, each with multiple operable units (OUs), to better address site contamination. These operable units exist within the 200 West, 200 East, and 200 North areas. Remedial investigations, removal actions and remedy design and construction are underway for the OUs. A remedy for one of the large canyon-type buildings (221-U Facility) is about halfway done and is awaiting investigation and remediation of surrounding waste sites before it can be completed.

Cleanup Areas

In 1988, Hanford was divided into four National Priorities List (NPL) sites, including the 100, 200, 300, and 1100 Areas.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through state and federal actions.

In 1989, DOE, EPA and the state entered into the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order, also known as the Tri-Party Agreement (TPA). This agreement established the framework for cleaning up the Hanford site. DOE then undertook site investigations and cleanup actions at the Hanford 200 Area NPL site. The federal government initially built about 1,000 facilities, structures and buildings on the site. These facilities supported the processing of irradiated fuel from plutonium production reactors and the treatment, storage and disposal of waste. The federal government terminated chemical processing of nuclear materials in the Hanford 200 Area in the early 1990s, but waste management activities continue and will likely continue into the future.

15 source OUs and 4 groundwater OUs have been identified in the 200 Area. These OUs comprise more than 800 waste sites such as ponds, cribs, ditches, trenches, pipelines, tanks, landfills, canyon buildings, and unplanned releases to soil. DOE as the lead federal agency and EPA have conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s remedies. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The most recent review concluded that response actions completed to date are in accordance with the remedies selected. However, EPA has deferred making a protectiveness determination since investigation and characterization activities are still underway for the 200 Area NPL site.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Cleanup actions completed to date include construction of an Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF), a massive landfill built to provide safe disposal of waste generated by on-site remediation efforts; and disposal of tons of building rubble, contaminated soil and buried waste and debris in the ERDF. Construction and operation of the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility and associated well network is addressing carbon tetrachloride and other contaminants across the 200 West area.

Cleanup actions have also included decontamination and demolition of contaminated structures; treatment of contaminated soil; excavation and off-site disposal of drummed wastes; institutional controls; and natural attenuation of groundwater contaminants. Remedial action of the large canyon building and associated structures known as the 221-U Facility is about halfway done and is awaiting investigation and remediation of surrounding waste sites before it can be completed. Remedy construction began in 1995 and is ongoing.

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