EPA says Record Fine Due to False Records and Lack of Oversight - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

EPA says Record Fine Due to False Records and Lack of Oversight

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RICHLAND, Wash.- The Department of Energy faces a record fine after falsifying cleanup records and breaking part of the Tri-Party Agreement.

The Environmental Protection Agency is being very strict and limiting the amount of waste that can go in Hanford's low-level waste landfill, and now DOE faces more than a million dollars in fines because of the violations.

It's the biggest fine in the history of Hanford; $1.14 million.

The EPA says an employee falsified data at the low-level waste landfill and broken drain pumps also went unnoticed for months.

A review of the area showed no damage to the landfill and no leaks, but the Department of Energy still says they're treating it seriously and making the appropriate changes.

Both of the oversights are serious violations of the Tri-Party Agreement, that's why the fine is so big, and it's catching the eye of DOE, said Nick Ceto with the EPA. 

The landfill is used to get rid of contaminated soil and equipment, even plants that may have been contaminated.

Just days ago, DOE announced plans to expand the landfill to nearly double it's current size.

More than 6.5 million tons of waste have already been dumped in the landfill, now though, that pace will be slowed until these issues are worked out.

The Department of Energy has 30 days to appeal or pay the fine.

 It's a record amount, but still, it's only $1 million dollars versus the nearly $2 billion annual cleanup budget at the site.