Construction Started on Groundwater
by Anna King
RICHLAND, WA - At the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington, contaminated groundwater is migrating slowly toward the Columbia River. To stop that pollution, federal contractors are building a massive water treatment plant. KPLU's Anna King attended the construction kick off party for the new plant.
The federal government is so proud of the groundwater treatment plant it's building, it set up a stage in bleak Central Hanford complete with speakers blaring Kenny G.
SOUND: Kenny G
Top federal and state officials bused way out here to celebrate the $174 million dollar plant. When it's done in two years the system will pump and flush contaminated water. John Lehew is the president of the federal contractor building the plant, CH2M HILL.
John Lehew: "Treating that 24 billion gallons over the life of this project would be like pumping and treating an Olympic sized swimming pool, 400 feet under the ground, cycling it through miles of piping, treating it and pumping it back into the ground, four times a day for the next 25 years."
Lehew says the system will extract caustic solvents and radioactive byproducts dumped here when Hanford was producing plutonium for bombs.
I'm Anna King in Richland.
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