Cleanup at Hanford burial site completed

RICHLAND, Wash. - Workers have completed the cleanup of a site known as the 618-10 Burial Ground on the Hanford site,. It was one of the most contaminated waste sites at the facility. 

Recent sampling results have confirmed that the eight years of cleanup work is now complete.

During cleanup, workers retrieved 2,201 55-gallon drums, 94 Vertical Pipe Units that were buried more than 20 feet below ground, and other debris. Workers removed more than 512,000 tons of contaminated soil and waste debris, which was then taken to the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, which is Hanford's hazardous-waste landfill.

“This announcement is one more step in the progress we are making to clean up the legacy of plutonium production along the Columbia River at Hanford,” said Doug Shoop, manager of the DOE Richland Operations Office. “I'm proud of the workers for safely completing this very complex and high-hazard work, which contributes to the protection of people living in this region and the environment.”

The 7.5-acre burial ground received highly radioactive waste from Hanford laboratories and fuel development facilities in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, many of the waste types were unknown due to poor recordkeeping, which meant that additional sampling, worker training,and the development of new waste retrieval methods to safely remove the material was needed.

Workers have already started to remove infrastructure from the cleanup, which will continue through 2018. The area will be graded to a natural contour and native vegetation will be planted in the winter of 2018 to restore the site to its natural state.