Hanford 1100 Area Case Study
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Last Updated January 2000
Hanford 1100 Area
Distribution Center for U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal
Rehabilitated rail hub and locomotive repair facility
Local jobs and a magnet for business development
Once an abandoned, contaminated support center for a nuclear weapons facility, today the Hanford 1100 Area Superfund site is an economic hub attracting new business and rail industry to southeastern Washington. When defense production and nuclear power research ended at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the late 1980s, the legacy of hazardous wastes remained. To protect the environment and revitalize the area, federal, state, and local agencies formed a partnership to clean up and redevelop the site. The hazardous wastes are now gone, and a portion of the site is being used for rail transportation and locomotive repair. What follows is the story of how EPA worked with the DOE, the Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE), and the local community to return this property to productive use, and of the economic impacts, environmental, and social benefits that have resulted.
Site SnapshotBeginning with the US Army's Manhattan Project in 1943 and continuing for nearly 50 years, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, just north of Richland, Washington, produced plutonium for the United States nuclear weapons arsenal. The Hanford 1100 Area was a vehicle maintenance and transportation distribution center for the entire 560-square mile Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The five-square mile area contained a landfill, vehicle and equipment maintenance facilities, storage facilities, and office buildings. These operations contaminated soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, pesticides, and other organics. Contaminants threatened public health, local drinking water supplies, and agricultural and livestock grazing areas.
From Pollution...Following the shutdown of DOE facilities in the late 1980s, investigators found a battery acid pit, a paint solvent pit, an antifreeze and degreaser pit, an antifreeze tank site, and discolored soil. EPA, DOE, and WDOE together cleaned up the contaminated soil, groundwater, and facilities. The cleanup, which began in 1993, included excavating contaminated soil and transporting it off-site for incineration or disposal at approved facilities, backfilling excavated areas with clean fill, and sealing and capping the Horn Rapids Landfill to prevent contact with contamination. To ensure the reliability of the cleanup and minimize the possibility of future threats, EPA placed legal restrictions in the deed to prevent groundwater use and drilling. The cleanup was completed in 1995. In 1996, EPA deleted the Hanford 1100 Area from its list of hazardous waste sites.
...To RedevelopmentSeizing the opportunity to redevelop the site, DOE's Richland Operations Office and the Port of Benton began their effort to attract private industry before cleanup was complete. In March 1998, the DOE leased a portion of the Transportation Maintenance Building and rail yard to the Livingston Rebuild Center for a locomotive maintenance and repair facility. Soon after, 1.2 square miles of the Hanford 1100 Area were transferred to the Port of Benton, with 26 buildings and 16 miles of rail track at the southern end of the Hanford railroad. The area is now the nucleus for developing a regional transportation and industrial center linking the Tri-Cities region to resources nationwide. Officials expect the rail hub to attract light and heavy industry.
Community BenefitsNow owned by the Port of Benton, the Hanford 1100 Area is spurring industrial development in the Tri-Cities region. The improved tax and wage base has reduced the community's dependence on DOE, and created new job and business opportunities for this community of 125,000 people. The cleanup protects water and other natural resources, and preserves cultural resources, such as the historically significant facilities and artifacts that will be part of the Hanford Site Manhattan Project and Cold War Era Historic District.
Keys to SuccessEPA's partnership with DOE, WDOE, and the local community was key to the cleanup and redevelopment of the site. This cooperation was also crucial to bringing the Livingston Rebuild Center to the area. Local agencies, including the Hanford Advisory Board, Natural Resources Trustee Council, and TRIDEC, kept the community informed about the cleanup process and kept EPA and DOE apprised of community views. This federal, state, and local alliance is attracting industry, creating jobs and training opportunities, and increasing local revenue. Offering a prime location and access to major rail lines, the cleaned-up site will continue to generate economic growth and opportunity for years to come.
For more information about the cleanup and redevelopment of the Hanford 1100 Area, contact:
David Einan, Hanford Project Office
U.S. EPA Region 1
712 Swift Boulevard
Richland, WA 99352