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At center are the new interim surface barriers at the SX Tank Farm.
At center are the new interim surface barriers at the SX Tank Farm.

RICHLAND, Wash.EM’s Office of River Protection (ORP) and tank farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) recently finished installing two interim surface barriers in Hanford’s SX Tank Farm.

   The two barriers cover nine tanks and portions of three more in the tank farm. The barriers consist of a layer of gravel covered with four inches of compacted high-density asphalt. Crews used about 4,500 tons of gravel and 3,300 tons of asphalt covering about 170,000 square feet.

   About 300 people worked on the project, including engineers, project management professionals, construction crews, health physics technicians, industrial hygiene personnel, nuclear chemical operators, and employees from several support organizations.

   “We could not have done it without so many people working together,” said Jeff Jansen, WRPS project manager. “Their efforts to complete the job safely and efficiently while dealing with changing conditions and time restrictions have been recognized not only by WRPS management, but also by ORP and the state (Department of Ecology).”

   Surface barriers are temporary structures constructed under terms of the Tri-Party Agreement and will remain in place until a final farm closure plan is determined.

   The barriers play a critical role in protecting the environment by preventing rain and snowmelt from intruding into the underground tanks and percolating into the soil and driving contaminants toward groundwater. They improve the tank and soil stability, significantly reduce surveillance and maintenance costs, and create a clean and stable platform for field crews doing work in the tank farm.

   The SX farm, located in Hanford’s 200 West Area, contains 16 tanks, each with a capacity of 1 million gallons. It is the third Hanford tank farm to have surface barriers, joining the T and TY farms. The barrier in T farm, constructed in 2008, covers all or part of nine of the farm’s 16 tanks. The TY farm barrier, completed in 2011, covers its six tanks. The SX farm barriers are similar in design to the TY farm barrier.


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