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Massive Soil Cleanup Effort Concludes at Hanford - Recovery Act Funding Pays for Safe Disposal of 20,000 Truckloads of Soil

August 11, 2011 - 12:00pm

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RICHLAND, Wash. – U.S. Department of Energy contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company removed nearly half a million tons of contaminated soil over the last two years using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington State.

Workers shipped more than 20,000 truckloads of contaminated soil excavated from an area covering 140 acres that were part of the BC Control Area. BC refers to the nearby BC Cribs and Trenches, underground structures that received millions of gallons of contaminated liquids from plutonium production facilities during the Cold War.

CH2M HILL transported the contaminated soil using large trucks known as “super dump trucks” that carried more material per truckload than previous methods. This increased the safety margin by reducing worker handling.

“Safety was a high priority on this project,” said DOE Federal Project Director Al Farabee. “Workers moved a tremendous amount of material and in two years didn’t have a single injury that was significant enough to record or cause a day away from work.”

Contaminated soil from the waste site was transported to the Hanford Site’s Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, a landfill regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Crews determined that another 2.5 square miles of the BC Control Area didn’t require cleanup.

“It was a rewarding privilege to be a part of a remediation project of this magnitude from start to finish. The job would not have gotten done without the efforts of a skilled interdisciplinary team of nearly 100 people focused on one common goal,” said CH2M HILL project lead Randy Hermann.

After months of removing contaminated soil from the waste site, CH2M HILL and subcontractors Wildlands Inc. and Ojeda Business Ventures, LLC revegetated the 140 acre cleanup site, planting about 1,000 pounds of seeds and laying about 280,000 pounds of mulch.

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