In response to Mr. Michael Brightman’s letter (TCH, April 14 ) on the subject of potentially contaminated tumbleweeds originating from the Hanford Site, the Department of Energy offers the following:
A relatively small portion of the 586-square-mile Hanford Site has subsurface soil contamination that could cause contaminated tumbleweeds. These areas have been identified as waste sites, and the sites are sprayed to prevent plants from growing on them.
The waste sites are routinely monitored for plant growth, and in cases where tumbleweeds are growing despite our prevention program, they are harvested and disposed of. As a precaution, areas around the waste sites are routinely monitored. In addition to these measures, any accumulations of tumbleweeds next to fence lines or buildings on the Hanford Site are surveyed for contamination as they are removed and disposed of.
Geoff Tyree, Department of Energy