Cleaning up: Two-thirds of Pasco Landfill hazardous drums dug up!

Prior to packing up for the holidays in mid-December, cleanup contractors finished removing approximately two-thirds of the hazardous waste drums buried in Pasco Landfill’s Zone A. The work is done under a temporary structure with an air treatment system that will be set up in six positions during the cleanup, with only positions 5 and 6 remaining for 2022. This end-of-year milestone marked 65,000 hours of safe work, and air quality has met state standards at monitoring locations around the landfill throughout the work.

Watch a timelapse video clearing the site, erecting a protective structure, and working on removing approximately 35,000 drums of buried hazardous waste from Zone A of the Pasco Landfill.

In addition to visiting the site and receiving weekly emails, Ecology stays up-to-date on cleanup work through a live video feed we can access any time. We’ve shared two time-lapse videos of the work (see prep work that occurred Nov. 2020 through April 2021) and maintain a Pasco Landfill Flickr album to keep the community updated.

After separating waste by type, it’s transported to disposal facilities in Grand View, Idaho, and Arlington, Oregon. The Zone A excavation is expected to be complete by summer 2022, and will be followed by thermal treatment of remaining contaminated soil that's not disposed offsite. The landfill is not accessible to the public, and many measures are in place to ensure community safety.

A final solution to close out one of Washington’s biggest cleanup sites

After more than 20 years of environmental investigation and interim cleanup, removing the estimated 35,000 drums of industrial waste began in late 2020 under Ecology’s oversight. Ecology and the parties responsible for the cleanup have collaborated intensely to bring a decades-long process to this pivotal step.

Ongoing cleanup over the past two decades has reduced groundwater contamination at the landfill property and in off-property areas. Taking the additional steps of removing the buried drums and treating remaining contaminated soil will help ensure people and the environment are protected.

Learn more on our Pasco Landfill web page, or email us at