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.
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.
During plutonium production years at Hanford, the most hazardous liquid wastes were pumped into 177 underground waste storage tanks. About one million gallons of toxic and radioactive waste has leaked from tanks on the site.
The remainder of the waste, an estimated 440 billion gallons of contaminated liquid, was dumped into the soil, trenches and ditches, and pumped into injection wells that sent it directly back into the soil.
About 1,300 wells at Hanford are used to track the intensity and movement of various contaminants in the water. Wells are tested every year throughout the Hanford site.