Superfund Site: HANFORD 200-AREA (USDOE)

Superfund Site Profile

The U.S. Department of Energy has the lead role for cleaning up the Hanford sites.

Located in southeastern Washington State, Hanford is a 586-square-mile site created in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project (America’s effort to develop the atomic bomb).

Operation of the plutonium-producing facilities continued beyond World War II through the Cold War, and a total of nine nuclear reactors were eventually constructed along the Columbia River.

In 1989, production stopped and work shifted to cleanup of portions of the site contaminated with hazardous substances, including both radionuclides and chemical waste.

The operations at Hanford created one of the largest and most complex cleanup projects in the U.S. Weapons production resulted in more than 43 million cubic yards of radioactive waste, and over 130 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris. Approximately 475 billion gallons of contaminated water was discharged to the soil. Some of the contaminants have made it to groundwater under the site. Over 80 square miles of groundwater is contaminated to levels above groundwater protection standards.

Cleanup Areas

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


The 75-square-mile Hanford Site 200-Area (USDOE) site is located 17 miles north-northwest of Richland, Washington. The site is one of the four areas listed on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) located within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-managed Hanford site. The Hanford Site 200-Area site is located in the Central Plateau portion of the Hanford site and contains former chemical processing plants and waste management facilities. One of the old plants discharged massive quantities of carbon tetrachloride onto 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. These operations and waste disposal activities created about 1,000 waste areas on site and contaminated soil, groundwater and surface water with hazardous chemicals and radioactive constituents. EPA divided the site into several cleanup areas, or operable units (OUs), to better address site contamination. Remedy construction has been completed at several OUs. Remedial investigations, removal actions and remedy design and construction are underway at the remaining OUs.