Office of Environmental Management

Hanford Builds on Groundwater Cleanup Success, Plans for Treatment Expansion

November 26, 2019

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Juan Aguilar with Hanford contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company prepares to take a groundwater sample from a well at a soil treatability test site in Hanford’s 100 K Area.
Juan Aguilar with Hanford contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company prepares to take a groundwater sample from a well at a soil treatability test site in Hanford’s 100 K Area.

RICHLAND, Wash.EM’s Richland Operations Office (RL) and contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) treated more than 2.4 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater and removed nearly 90 tons of contaminants at the Hanford Site during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2019.

Since 2008, Hanford’s six pump-and-treat facilities have treated more than 20 billion gallons of groundwater and removed more than 500 tons of contaminants.

“Protection of the Columbia River continues to drive our groundwater treatment efforts,” said Mike Cline, RL project director for cleanup of soil and groundwater at Hanford. “Over the past decade, we have made tremendous progress toward that goal.”

Other highlights of Hanford’s groundwater treatment efforts in fiscal 2019 include the following:

  • Completing modifications and upgrades to existing equipment at the pump-and-treat facilities, avoiding the cost of replacement and improving efficiencies.
  • Installing a chlorine disinfection system to keep well lines clear and improving the efficiency of the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility, Hanford’s largest groundwater treatment plant.
  • Achieving sustained operation of the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility at treatment capacity of 2,500 gallons per minute for the first time.
  • Successfully testing a soil flushing technology designed to accelerate removal of chromium from soil and groundwater near the Columbia River.
Upgrades to key equipment at the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility — Hanford’s largest groundwater treatment plant — eliminated the need for replacing equipment, resulting in a cost savings of about $500,000 in fiscal 2019.
Upgrades to key equipment at the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility — Hanford’s largest groundwater treatment plant — eliminated the need for replacing equipment, resulting in a cost savings of about $500,000 in fiscal 2019.

This fiscal year, efforts are underway to expand the capacity of the 200 West Pump and Treat Facility by 50 percent. The project — planned for completion in fiscal 2021 — will allow additional treatment of hazardous chemical and radioactive constituents on Hanford’s Central Plateau, potentially shortening the period required to meet cleanup goals and resulting in significant cost savings.

“Numerous process improvements have resulted in a significant reduction of areas of groundwater contamination, particularly along the river,” said Bill Barrett, vice president of CHPRC’s soil and groundwater remediation project. “We continue looking for ways to build on the success of our treatment efforts throughout the Hanford Site.”

The majority of the nearly 90 tons of contaminants extracted in fiscal 2019 were nitrates. In the year ahead, the project will focus on other contaminants, such as carbon tetrachloride and uranium.

Check out this video for more on the success of Hanford groundwater treatment.

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