Environment
5:49 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Hanford sets record for groundwater treatment in November

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 2:41 pm

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Hanford Nuclear Reservation is treating more contaminated groundwater than ever before. In November alone, pumping stations at the southeast Washington site churned out a record 100 million gallons of treated groundwater. That could fill more than 150 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Deep beneath Hanford there are massive plumes of contaminated groundwater inching toward the Columbia River. The plumes carry toxic stuff like radioactive contamination and hexavalent chromium.

But six massive pump and treat plants are scrubbing that nasty water that is left over from plutonium production.

Dee Millikin is the spokeswoman for Hanford contractor CH2M HILL. Her company is using millions of tiny beads of resin that attract chemicals to swish the water clean.

"We've been able to introduce new resins, we've upgraded previous systems and now we're building new ones," Millikin says. "So, all of those will be able to find efficiencies that will reduce lifetime operations costs."

Millikin says November's record won't stand for long. A huge new treatment plant is coming online early next year. It was built with federal stimulus money.

On the Web:

CH2M HILL press release:

http://www.hanford.gov/news.cfm/DOE/RecordGWTreated2011.pdf

Project information:

http://www.plateauremediation.hanford.gov/

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