State ready to take a bit of Hanford off its hazardous list

The state of Washington is proposing removing a part of Hanford from its list of hazardous sites for the first time.

“This is the final step for the earliest and easiest piece of Hanford,” said John Price, the Tri-Party Agreement section manager for the state.

It includes land many may not realize was once used as part of the nuclear reservation, which produced plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program from World War II through the Cold War.

The Hanford 1100 Area covers 1.2 square miles, including land in north Richland along the west side of Stevens Drive from its intersection with Snyder Street north almost to the George Washington Way intersection. The area, which also includes some property on the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve, was once used for vehicle maintenance and general support of Hanford.

Cleanup on the 1100 Area was among the earliest done and was completed under the federal Superfund program in 1996. It has been deleted from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priority List.

Gone are pits used for disposal of battery acid, paints and antifreeze, plus underground tanks holding antifreeze, gasoline and oil.

But the state did not follow the federal lead in 1996 and remove it from its list of hazardous sites because of contaminated groundwater at a landfill north of Horn Rapids Road.

The 50-acre Horn Rapids Landfill was used from the 1940s to 1970 for wastes from offices, construction and septic tanks and for fly ash, asbestos, solvents and PCBs.

Nineteen years after active cleanup of the 1100 Area has been completed, monitoring shows the contaminant concentrations in groundwater at the landfill have dropped below levels requiring cleanup, according to the state.

It is considering removing it from the statewide list of hundreds of hazardous sites, ranging from places across the state where fuel has spilled or leaked to many other areas of Hanford with radioactive and hazardous chemical contamination.

The public may submit comments on the proposed removal until Oct. 16. Send them to Price by email to hanford@ecy.wa.gov or by mail to Department of Ecology, 3100 Port of Benton Blvd., Richland, WA 99354.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews