Protecting the air and water at Hanford

After 45 years of plutonium production for World War II and the Cold War, large amounts of radioactive and hazardous waste remains at Hanford. Cleanup efforts began at the Hanford site with the goal of undoing the damage caused to the environment during that time.

Monitoring air and water, and preventing the spread of contamination are among our highest priorities. All of the cleanup activities Ecology regulates at Hanford must follow legal requirements under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Measuring air and groundwater quality

Safeguarding air quality

While plutonium is no longer produced at Hanford, we continue to measure air quality to ensure that it is safe for those who live and work in the area. We follow federal and state air quality standards for outdoor air to prevent air pollution from reaching levels that are harmful to human health.

Bird house hanging on a chain link fence.

A bird house is hung from a tank farm fence to provide habitat for native birds.


When emissions don't meet standards, we take corrective actions to bring them into compliance.

Ecology, the Washington Dept. of Health, EPA, tribes, and local clean air agencies maintain a network of air monitoring stations around the state to measure air pollution. Air quality is measured at facilities that have air handling systems, in the tank farms, and at cleanup sites.

Treating contaminated groundwater