hanford 300-area (usdoe)

300 AREA

The Hanford 300 Area is composed of a 0.52-square mile industrial complex and 1 square mile of surrounding areas used for solid and liquid waste disposal next to the Columbia River about 1 mile north of Richland, Washington. It is one of the three areas at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL); the other two are the 100 and 200 Areas. These areas are part of a Department of Energy (DOE) complex that includes buildings, disposal sites, an environmental research park, and vacant land covering about 586 square miles. Hanford was established in the 1940s to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. The nearby Columbia River provided cooling waters for the reactors producing the nuclear materials. The DOE fabricated fuel for nuclear reactors in the 300 Area and utilized other 300 Area facilities for research and development purposes. The disposal areas and plumes of contaminated groundwater cover approximately 1.6 square miles. DOE and its predecessor disposed of about 27 million cubic yards of solid and diluted liquid wastes mixed with radioactive and hazardous wastes in ponds, trenches, and landfills in the 300 Area. The areas used for liquid discharges had no outlets; therefore, liquids percolated through the soil into the groundwater and the Columbia River, which is located directly east and downgradient from the 300 Area. The shallow groundwater underlying this portion of Hanford consists of a sand and gravel aquifer which facilitates the movement of contaminants through water. The Columbia River is used for industrial process water, boating, fishing, hunting, and as a supply of drinking water three miles downstream of the 300 Area. The cities of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick, with a combined population of approximately 150,000 people, maintain water intakes in the Columbia River for the bulk of their municipal supply system, but occasionally mix it with groundwater from municipal wells drilled in the sand and gravel aquifer. Half a million people live within 50 miles of Hanford. Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through federal and state actions.

Hazardous Ranking Score

65 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 10
Phone: (800) 424-4372

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
        American Indian and Alaska Native
        Native Hawaiian


        People living
        within a 1 mile radius


        Average Income


        Occupied homes

        Potentially Responsible Parties

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