US Ecology is licensed by the State of Washington to operate a commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility located on the Hanford site. The facility, in operation since 1965, operates on land leased to the state by the federal government.
Before 1993, the facility accepted waste from throughout the United States. It now serves commercial and government low-level radioactive waste customers in the eight states of the Northwest Interstate Compact and the three states of the Rocky Mountain Compact: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. The Washington Department of Health oversees waste disposal activities at the facility.
Model Toxics Control Act study
The US Ecology site is operated for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. However, older parts of the facility also contain chemical waste that was intermingled with radioactive waste before such disposal practices were changed. Some of the chemicals in the trenches have contaminated the soil and groundwater at the site. An investigation under the Model Toxics Control Act, Washington’s environmental cleanup law, has been underway since 1999 to study the extent of the site's contamination and to develop a remedial action to protect human health and the environment. As we're investigating chemical contamination at the site, we're coordinating with the work of the State Department of Health to put a protective cover on the older trenches that have been filled and are no longer being used for disposal.