Hanford Landfill Reaches 17 Million Tons Disposed - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford Landfill Reaches 17 Million Tons Disposed

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 RICHLAND, WA. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors say they have disposed of 17 million tons of contaminated material at the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF) since the facility began operations in 1996.  The disposal record is a measure of the tremendous amount of progress being made at the Hanford Site.

The majority of cleanup waste at ERDF comes from the 220-square-mile River Corridor, located along the banks of the Columbia River.  The low-level waste consists mainly of soil contaminated by the effluent of Hanford's nine plutonium production reactors, which operated from 1943-1987.  In addition, ERDF also receives cleanup waste from other Hanford contractors.  

“Reaching 17 million tons of material disposed at ERDF shows the excellent cleanup work being done at the Hanford Site,” says Mark French, Federal Project Director for DOE Richland Operations Office.

Designed to be expanded as needed, ERDF consists of disposal areas called cells.  Each pair of cells is 70 feet deep, 500 feet wide and 1,000 feet long at the base.  There are currently 10 cells at ERDF.  The first eight cells can each hold 2.8 million tons of material.

Super cells 9 and 10 can each hold 5.6 million tons.  As each pair of cells reaches capacity, an interim cover is installed to prevent the infiltration of water.  A permanent cap will be placed over the facility when Hanford cleanup is completed.

“The team at ERDF can be proud of their amazing safety record.  They are a hard working team but their priority is safety.” says Jeff Armatrout, Waste Operations Director for ERDF.

ERDF is managed by Washington Closure Hanford as part of the River Corridor Closure Project – DOE's largest environmental cleanup closure project.  The landfill is 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.