Water Treatment Facility Breaks Ground at Hanford - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Water Treatment Facility Breaks Ground at Hanford

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RICHLAND, Wash--  The US Department of Energy breaks ground on construction of Hanford's largest groundwater system.

The water treatment facility will pump contaminated water and get rid of chemicals.  Specifically, crews are trying to cleanse the Hanford water of 200,000 pounds of Carbon Tetrachloride and Technetium 99.  These chemicals have helped contaminate water above drinking levels.

Clean-up crews will focus on a five mile radius on the western area of the central plateau.  The goal is to have the water treatment up and running soon, before the chemicals reach the Columbia River.

"Time is a critical factor and we're going to be able to have this $80 million facility up and running a little more than two years from now," says Dr. Ines Triay with the US Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.

"Right now I think things are going pretty well at Hanford and this is a great example of the kind of progress the governor's been looking for, that I've been looking for," adds Jay Manning, director of Washington State Department of Ecology.

Part of the facility is being paid for through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.   DOE leaders say it could create 100 jobs and reduce long-term costs of clean-up.