Waste Operations | Projects

The Waste Operations Project was responsible for designating, transporting, treating and disposing of contaminated material generated during cleanup activities at Hanford.

At the heart of Hanford cleanup is the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF), which Washington Closure Hanford managed for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Contaminated material from the River Corridor Closure (RCC) Project and other Hanford contractors is disposed in ERDF, Hanford’s onsite disposal facility.

The facility underwent a $100 million upgrade and expansion project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 

View ERDF video.


ERDF Background

ERDF began operation in 1996 to accept low level radioactive, hazardous and mixed wastes generated during cleanup activities in Hanford’s Columbia River corridor.

ERDF is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The facility accepts cleanup wastes from the RCC Project and other Hanford operations, but it does not accept non-Hanford wastes.

Designed to be expanded as needed, the facility underwent its fourth and largest expansion in February 2011. At 1,000 feet by 500 feet by 70 feet deep, the newest set of cells, or disposal areas, are twice the size of those built earlier.

The construction of “super” cells 9 and 10 increased total disposal capacity to 18 million tons. Once the new cells were completed, at its base, the facility covers the same area as 52 football fields.

Each cell is constructed with a bottom liner consisting of multiple layers of plastic, other impermeable materials and a system to collect and remove liquids as they drain through the waste materials.

A permanent cap will be placed on the facility once it is closed to prevent any water, plant or animal intrusions.

ERDF Facts

  • The facility averages disposal of about 150 containers per day, each weighing about 20 tons.
  • The highest amount of containers disposed was 825 in 2011.
  • Super cell 9 & 10 expansion increased capacity to 18 million tons.
  • Workers excavated about 3 million cubic yards of soil for super cells 9 & 10.
  • Each cell has a disposal capacity of 2.8 million tons of contaminated material.
  • In January 2015, ERDF reached 17 million tons of contaminated material disposed.
  • An estimated $100 million was spent on ERDF upgrades and expansion – funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
  • More than 400 ARRA-funded jobs (84 full-time equivalents) were created by Washington Closure, and about 37 percent of those were related to ERDF. 

ERDF Fact Sheets

Time-lapse Video


Facility tours

Tours of ERDF are provided as part of the Hanford Public Tour Program