Hanford Landfill Reaches 15 Million Disposed Tons of Waste - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford Landfill Reaches 15 Million Disposed Tons of Waste

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RICHLAND, Wash. - The U.S. Department of Energy and its contractors have disposed of 15 million tons of contaminated material at the Hanford Landfill.

The Landfill, or the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility began operations in 1996, providing safe disposal for contaminated material, and preventing contaminants from reaching the groundwater and the Columbia River.

The ERDF receives contaminated soil, demolition debris, and solid waste from cleanup operations across 586 square miles at Hanford. It's the largest disposal facility in the DOE cleanup complex. It covers 107 acres at the base of the disposal trench - roughly the same area as 52 football fields - and currently has a capacity of 18 million tons.  ERDF also accepts hazardous materials such as mercury, asbestos, beryllium, chromium and lead that can be treated onsite before disposal.

On Hanford's River Corridor, DOE contractors have already demolished 390 facilities and removed millions of tons of contaminated soil from 751 waste sites near the Columbia River. In addition, contractors have removed complexes of buildings and infrastructure from all nine of the plutonium production reactor areas and have safely sealed up six former reactors.

"Hanford cleanup can be measured by the successes we see at the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility," said Matt McCormick, manager of DOE's Richland Operations Office.  "It provides a safe, compliant location to dispose of a variety of waste, and demonstrates the tremendous quantity of cleanup we've accomplished over 24 years of Hanford cleanup."

Washington Closure Hanford manages the ERDF project that's nearing the end of their work.

"We're ninety percent complete. So we're already starting to see a tailing off of the number of transports on a given day. So we anticipate that decline over the next couple years," said Carol Johnson, Washington Closure Hanford President.

The majority of waste material disposed at ERDF - about 13.5 million tons - was generated in a section on Hanford's River Corridor, a 220-square-mile stretch of land that borders the Columbia River.  The River Corridor was home to Hanford's nine plutonium production reactors, fuel development facilities, and hundreds of support structures.