CH2M HILL: Cleanup strengthening the community

John C. Fulton, presidentMarch 30, 2014 

Pouring the concrete at the K-West Annex marked major progress in the construction of the facility that will support sludge retrieval and transfer to safe storage away from the Columbia River.

COURTESY CH2M HILL PLATEAU REMEDIATION COMPANY

CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M HILL) is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) contractor tasked with environmental cleanup in the center of the Hanford Site, as well as overall cleanup of contaminated groundwater beneath the site. Since the start of our contract in 2008, we remain committed to our mission at Hanford and to making the Tri-Cities a better place to live and work.

I grew up in Benton City and my family remains a part of this great community. I consider myself lucky to watch the progress first-hand and witness the Hanford pride exhibited by the workforce. Even though I've worked at other DOE sites across the nation, I believe Hanford workers are some of the most talented, dedicated and committed people in the country.

On our contract, the scope is complex, and we are making progress. CH2M HILL workers are preparing the Plutonium Finishing Plant, one of Hanford's most complex facilities, for demolition. We are almost 70 percent complete because of workers safely removing contaminated equipment inside the facilities. PFP's highly skilled workforce is finding safer ways to decommission the facility through innovative techniques. They even received a national award for developing a program that keeps employees safer while using respirators to filter breathing air when working in contaminated areas.

In 2013, CH2M HILL removed a record amount of contaminants from groundwater. More than 1.4 billion gallons of groundwater are cleaner and more than 35 tons of contaminants from past plutonium production are no longer a threat to the Columbia River. We anticipate building on that performance, treating even more groundwater in 2014 to a level that is protective of public health and the environment.

I spent a portion of my Hanford career at the K-Reactor area and am now anticipating the final cleanup of this area along the Columbia River. CH2M HILL workers began construction of an annex building that will house the system for safely transferring the highly radioactive sludge stored in the K-West Reactor Basin away from the river with a goal to transfer the first of the sludge by 2018.

By working closely with our client and regulators, CH2M HILL also developed the first decision document that will govern cleanup of the 300 Area -- just north of Richland. We are also working closely with our partners on similar cleanup documents this year to prepare for final cleanup along the Columbia River.

Altogether during our first five years on the job, CH2M HILL workers demolished more than 150 buildings, reduced hazardous risks at the Plutonium Finishing Plant, treated 5.4 billion gallons of contaminated groundwater and retrieved 2,866 cubic meters of transuranic waste from the soil. In addition, we implemented multiple clean-up and safety efficiencies at the Hanford Site. We've also continued meeting our subcontracting goals and partnered with the small business community to improve the local economic growth.

It is this progress and our team's commitment to meeting and exceeding our client's safety and cleanup expectations that led to DOE exercising the additional five-year option period of our contract. We are grateful our partnership with DOE and work at Hanford will continue through 2018.

I'm overwhelmed by the progress of Hanford cleanup and the great work of the CH2M HILL workforce. The work being done by the CH2M HILL team is historic. The work we are accomplishing will create the opportunity for future public access and recreation in previously closed areas. It is providing an opportunity for the future utilization of a wonderful national resource, the Hanford Reach. CH2M HILL remains true to the mission and committed to the Hanford pride in cleanup.

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