2 Tri-City companies get $7 million contract

HANFORD — A team of two Tri-City businesses has won a subcontract worth nearly $7 million to design and build support buildings for Hanford's huge landfill for low level radioactive waste.

Fowler General Construction of Richland and ELR Consulting of Kennewick formed a joint venture, ELRFowler, to win the Washington Closure Hanford subcontract.

The project, which includes an operations center and three maintenance facilities, is part of a $100 million expansion and improvement of Hanford's Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility. Money for the work comes from $1.96 billion in federal economic stimulus funds being spent at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The new facilities will help ERDF workers handle increased waste volumes as environmental cleanup of the nuclear reservation is accelerated, in part with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money, according to Washington Closure.

A year ago ERDF was disposing of 200 containers of waste each day that averaged 22 tons each. Now about 450 containers are disposed of on an average day, both because of increased cleanup done with annual budget money and also clean up paid for by stimulus funds.

"But we expect to handle up to 650 per day when work really picks up this summer," Rick Caulfield, Washington Closure Hanford project manager for ERDF expansion and upgrades, said in a statement.

The landfill is expected to be used for as long as another two decades.

The new facilities will allow more of the work needed to support landfill operations to be done indoors, Caulfield said.

The landfill has 850 waste containers in service, 48 trucks to haul the containers, eight bulldozers, two landfill compactors, three front-end loaders and four track-hoe excavators, as well as water trucks, road scrapers, vibratory rollers and maintenance vehicles.

"Keeping that equipment running and in tip-top condition is a full-time job for 15 people, most of whom have been working outside or under an open-sided cover for many years," Caulfield said. The truck maintenance facility is enclosed, but can just accommodate one or two trucks at a time.

ELRFowler is beginning design of the facilities and construction should start this summer. They include a 13,600-square-foot operations center combined with an 8,900-square-foot equipment maintenance facility, an 11,600-square-foot waste container maintenance facility and a truck maintenance facility expanded to 9,200 square feet.

w Annette Cary: 582-1533;