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December 17, 2012
Event: Public Comment Period on Draft Environmental Assessment for the Expansion of Borrow Areas on the Hanford Site
Category: Comment Period / Feedback Opportunity
Event Date: December 10, 2012 – January 14, 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to assess potential environmental effects from the proposed expansion of eleven existing sand and gravel material borrow areas and development of one new borrow area on the Hanford Site.  DOE needs the materials to backfill and close waste sites and to carry out road maintenance and construction projects in support of its environmental cleanup mission at the Hanford Site.  A public comment period on the Draft EA will run from December 10, 2012 through January 14, 2013.

The DOE’s Hanford Site is making tremendous progress in cleaning up contaminated buildings, soil and groundwater resulting from past plutonium production activities dating back to the 1940’s.  An important part of cleanup activities involves filling in excavated areas left after contaminated buildings and soil are removed.  The DOE has historically secured clean sand and gravel from a number of borrow areas on the Hanford Site for this purpose, as well as other purposes that support DOE’s cleanup mission such as road maintenance and construction. 

A borrow area on the Hanford Site is land that provides clean material for use in supporting DOE’s environmental cleanup mission.  This document addresses sand and gravel borrow areas.  It does not address borrow activities for silt and soil materials.

DOE has identified the need for approximately 10,704,000 bank cubic meters of sand and gravel materials beyond the amount evaluated in the previous EAs.  As DOE progresses with environmental cleanup of the Hanford Site, new waste sites have been discovered and others have required much more extensive excavation than expected.  In some cases, DOE is digging to a depth greater than 80 feet to clean up hexavalent chromium waste sites along the Columbia River.  These deep excavations need to be backfilled and revegetated to complete DOE’s cleanup requirements.

To meet the need for additional materials, DOE is proposing to expand existing borrow areas closest to the waste sites where the materials are needed, with one new borrow area proposed where existing infrastructure prohibits expansion of the existing borrow area.  The proposed action is designed to minimize haul distances from borrow sources to cleanup sites; minimize potential environmental impacts; and minimize costs associated with excavating and transporting materials. 

A public comment period on the draft EA will run from December 10, 2012 – January 14, 2013. The Department of Energy would appreciate receiving your feedback.

Please submit comments by January 14, 2013 to:

Paula Call
NEPA Document Manager
Borrow Area Expansion EA
U.S. Department of Energy
P.O. Box 550, Mailstop A2-15
Richland, Washington 99352
Or email:

Fact Sheet

Draft Environmental Assessment


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