Some of the groundwater on the Hanford site is still contaminated. The risks to residents will increase if we do not continue to remove all contamination sources.
Primary contaminants of concern include:
- Carbon tetrachloride
All radioactive contaminants have the potential to cause cancer. Chemical contaminants can cause cancer and other health effects. At Hanford's 100 Area, along the Columbia River, strontium-90 has been a serious concern. In the past, it's entered the Columbia River at unacceptable levels.
As the diagram shows, when workers inject a phosphate mineral called "apatite" into the soil, it acts as a trap and separates the strontium-90 from the groundwater. This process of using apatite as a barrier prevents most of the strontium-90 from reaching the Columbia River.
Below are descriptions, health concerns, and exposure levels of radioactive isotopes and toxic chemicals found at Hanford.