The U.S. Department of Energy and contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company are committed to safely and compliantly cleaning up the 618-10 Burial Ground and associated waste sites. Retrieving and remediating the burial ground is critical to eliminating a significant hazard on the Hanford Site in southwest Washington state.
The 618-10 Burial Ground operated from 1954-1963. The 7.5 acre burial ground received low to high activity radioactive waste generated from Hanford’s 300 Area laboratories and reactor fuel development facilities.
During the years of operation, waste was disposed of in 12 waste trenches as well as 94 vertical pipe units (VPUs). Eighty VPUs are made up of both five bottomless 55-gallon drums that were welded together end-to-end and corrugated steel pipes. There are 14 VPUs that are constructed of heavy-gage steel piping which are more complex to remediate.
High-activity wastes were normally disposed of in the VPUs, while the trenches received low-to-moderate-activity wastes. Waste containers ranging from the size of juice cans to buckets were dropped into the VPUs, which extend as far as 20 feet below grade.
The burial ground and waste sites are located six miles north of Richland, four miles from the Columbia River and 400 yards from Hanford’s main highway. If left alone, the burial site poses a threat to groundwater, the environment and human health.
While the focus remains on the 618-10 Burial Ground, this area contains two other waste sites that require remediation. The 316-4 Waste Site was a pair of buried open-bottomed tanks that received liquid radioactive waste. The 600-63 Waste Site is a lysimeter site that was used for evaluating soil column distribution of radioisotopes. The U.S. Department of Energy and CH2M remain committed to safety and are compliantly cleaning up the Hanford Site and protecting the Columbia River. Workers will excavate the burial ground and waste sites and complete revegetation by September 2018.