Hanford Molasses Injections - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hanford Molasses Injections

HANFORD--It's an unconventional way to treat a toxic chemical called Chromium Six. But Fluor Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) workers are injecting Molasses into the groundwater 86 feet below to extend the life of a chemical underground protective barrier already there.

Acting as nutrients, bacteria or microbes are supposed to then eat the molasses and reproduce. It's a method called Biostimulation.

"There's an institute chemical barrier that stops the Chromium from getting to the river," says . And that chemical barrier has been struggling a little bit," says Program Manager for Dept. of Ecology, John Price.

The tanker at Hanford stores 5,500 gallons of molasses. That's being pumped out to a Process Trailer which mixes with water from a supply facility. The final product is a solution of 95% water and 5% molasses. One tanker will provide 160,000 gallons of solution.

With molasses injections occuring over the next three days, bacteria will essentially be overfed. As they die, oxygen will be taken out of the water, reducing Chromium Six to Chromium 3, a non-toxic state.

"Our goal is to grow bacteria and create a barrier so as groundwater moves through this area, all those contaminants stop and stay here, rather then continue to move," according to Mike Truex, PNNL Project Engineer.