Security & Privacy

Compliance with
Environmental Regulations

It is DOE's policy that all activities be carried out in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations, DOE Orders, Secretary of Energy Notices, DOE Headquarters and site operations office directives, policies, and guidance. This includes those specific requirements, actions, plans, and schedules identified in the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (also known as the Tri-Party Agreement) and other compliance or consent agreements.

Both the DOE Richland Operations Office and the DOE Office of River Protection recognize the importance of maintaining a program of self-assessment and regulatory reporting to assure that environmental compliance is achieved and maintained at the Hanford Site.

The table on the following page summarizes DOE's compliance with federal acts at the Hanford Site in 2001. Performance related to the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order is described in the following subsection.

Compliance with Federal Acts at the Hanford Site in 2001
Regulation What it Covers 2001 Status
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Sites already contaminated by hazardous materials Work on these sites followed CERCLA requirements and met the schedules established by the Tri-Party Agreement.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act The public's right to information about hazardous chemicals in the community and establishes emergency planning procedures The Hanford Site met the reporting requirements contained in this act.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous waste being generated, transported, stored, treated, or disposed. The act primarily covers ongoing waste management at active facilities. The Washington State Department of Ecology identified several violations during 2001. Both violations were associated with chemical storage. DOE has implemented corrective action for one and has appealed the other. Resolution efforts are ongoing.
Clean Air Act Air quality, including emissions from facilities and diffuse and unmonitored sources According to the Washington State Department of Health, air emissions from Hanford Site facilities were well below state and federal standards. However, Washington State Department of Health issued five notices of corrective action regarding stack emissions and corrective efforts are ongoing.
Clean Water Act Discharges to U.S. waters The Hanford Site had two National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits and seven State Wastewater Discharge Permits in 2001.
Safe Drinking Water Act Drinking water supplies operated by DOE There were 10 public water systems monitored on the Hanford Site in 2001.
Toxic Substances Control Act Primarily chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls In 2001, DOE formed a team to resolve issues related to polychlorinated biphenyl issues on a sitewide basis at Hanford. The team created a users guide in 2001 to assure consistent interpretation and implementation of this act.
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Storage and use of pesticides At the Hanford Site, pesticides are applied by licensed commercial pesticde operators.
Endangered Species Act Rare species of plants and animals Hanford activities complied with the requirements of this act. The Hanford Site has eight plant species, two fish species, and five bird species on the federal or state list of threatened or endangered species.
American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Antiquities Act, Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act, Historic Sites Buildings and Antiquities Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Cultural resources One hundred fifty cultural resources reviews were conducted on the Hanford Site.
National Environmental Policy Act Environmental impact statements for federal projects Environmental impact statements and environmental assessments were prepared or conducted as needed.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act Migratory birds or their feathers, eggs, or nests Hanford activities used the ecological review process as needed to minimize any adverse effects to migratory birds. Over 100 species of birds on Hanford are protected by this act.

Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order

A key element in Hanford's compliance program is the Tri-Party Agreement. TheTri-Party Agreement is an agreement among the EPA, Washington State Department ofEcology, and DOE to achieve compliance with the remedial action provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and with treatment, storage, and disposal unit regulation andcorrective action provisions of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The Tri-Party Agreement 1) defines the RCRA and the CERCLA cleanup commitments, 2) establishes responsibilities, 3) provides abasis for budgeting, and 4) reflects a concerted goal to achieve regulatory compliance and remediation with enforceable milestones inan aggressive manner.

The Tri-Party Agreement has continued to evolve as site cleanup progresses. Significant changes to the agreement have been negotiated to meet the changing conditions and cleanup needs on the Hanford Site.

In 2001, 39 of 41 specific Tri-Party Agreement cleanup milestones were completed on or before their required due dates. One milestone was delayed because of unanticipated costs and contracting issues, and one is expected to be completed under an agreement between DOE and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

This historical photo shows construction of radioactive waste storage tanks.
Waste tank safety issues for high-priority watch list tanks were mitigated or resolved in accordance with Tri-Party Agreement milestone M40-00.

Environmental Occurrences

An environmental occurrence is any sudden or sustained deviation from a regulated or planned performance at a DOE operation that has environmental protection and compliance significance.

Environmental releases of radioactive and regulated materials from the Hanford Site are reported to DOE and other federal and state agencies as required by law. The specific agencies notified depend on the type, amount, and location of the individual occurrence. The Hanford Site Occurrence Notification Center maintains both a computer database and a hardcopy file of event descriptions and corrective actions.

During 2001, there were no environmentally significant emergency occurrence reports filed. There was one environmentally significant unusual occurrence report filed in 2001.

In May 2001, a subcontractor working at the 600-23 burial ground unearthed an unknown piece of equipment with a liquid reservoir. Approximately 38 liters (10 gallons) of an oily substance had leaked from this reservoir into the ground. Laboratory analysis revealed the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls in the spilled substance. The spill was entirely contained, and the equipment and contaminated soil were disposed of at the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility.

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Document Number: PNNL-13910-SUM
Document Date: September 2002
Posted: October 2002

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