RICHLAND, WA - The Environmental Protection Agency has assessed fines totaling $115,000 to the U.S. Department of Energy at the Hanford site.
The penalties are for violations of asbestos management that occurred as a result of Hanford building demolitions in 2009 and 2010. The violations were discovered by the EPA last year.
Asbestos was commonly used to insulate buildings and even some of the earlier waste tanks and a water tower. 34 loads of asbestos contaminated waste were removed in unmarked containers and handled by workers unaware of the hazardous asbestos. Administrators tell us the disposal of the waste at the facility most likely did not release dangerous chemicals into the air.
"In terms of environmental protection, overall it appears that the disposal facility, although not knowing that it was asbestos waste, still did many of the practices that help control releases," said Dennis Faulk a program manager from the EPA.
The Energy Department has 15 days to dispute whether these violations occurred. We reached out to DOE officials to get their response Monday, but they did not return our calls.