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New Groundwater Treatment Facility Begins Operation: Boost in Cleanup Accelerated by Recovery Act Funding

January 19, 2011 - 12:00pm

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RICHLAND, WASH. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is boosting its capacity for treating groundwater to remove chromium near the Columbia River by 40 percent with the recent completion of a new treatment facility.

Contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CH2M HILL) finished building and started operating the new 100-DX groundwater treatment facility in December. The facility is located near the D and DR Reactors on the Hanford Site in southeast Washington State.

“We’re increasing the amount of groundwater we’re treating so we can stop chromium in the aquifer from reaching the Columbia River,” said Briant Charboneau, Federal Project Director for Soil and Groundwater, DOE Richland Operations Office. “We’re doing that by expanding current treatment systems and building two new ones along the river.”

The 100-DX facility represents a major upgrade in treatment capacity along the river and is a major component of the DOE’s strategy for stopping chromium from entering the Columbia River by the end of 2012.

With funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), CH2M HILL designed and built the 100-DX groundwater treatment facility within 18-months. The facility is using a new treatment resin to remove chromium. The more efficient resin is expected to reduce long-term operating costs by $20 million, roughly equivalent to the facility’s construction cost.

“With Recovery Act funding we were able to mobilize construction forces earlier and build the facility sooner than originally planned,” said Kent Dorr, CH2M HILL Engineering, Projects and Construction Vice President. “These efforts paid off by delivering an operating facility that will significantly add to Hanford’s long-term groundwater cleanup and help prevent contamination from reaching the Columbia River.”

The 11,400 square-foot 100-DX process plant uses 41 extraction wells and over 40 miles of piping to
bring groundwater to the facility that will be able to treat up to 20 million gallons per month. The
treated water is returned to the aquifer through a series of 14 injection wells.

CH2M HILL is building a second groundwater treatment facility along the river that is expected to
start operating by the end of the year. The 100-HX groundwater treatment expansion will rely on a
total of 44 extraction and injection wells and 58 miles of piping. The facility will treat an additional
30 million gallons per month.

Many of the same workers that built the 100-DX facility are now working on the 100-HX facility,
extending their assignments beyond completion of the original Recovery Act project. 

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