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Environmental Sustainability Division

Projects & Programs

Surface Environmental Surveillance Project

Project activities are designed to measure chemical and radiological contaminants in the environment on and around the Hanford Site and to assess the effects of these contaminants on the environment and the public. Each year, project staff review ongoing site activities and current surveillance data and adjust sampling designs to meet surveillance objectives. A variety of environmental media are routinely monitored. These include air, surface water, sediments, soil, natural vegetation, agricultural products, fish and wildlife. Scientists measure radionuclides at very low environmental concentrations and nonradiological chemicals including metals, organic compounds, and on occasion, pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls. Information obtained from these surveillance efforts are provided to federal, state, county and city agencies, regional Indian tribes, other stakeholders and the general public in annual reports, as specific data requests and other public venues. The collected data are used to document Hanford Site compliance with environmental regulations, to provide information to the public about environmental conditions on the Hanford Site and adjoining properties and to satisfy related monitoring requirements of other Site contractors engaged in site cleanup activities.

Environmental data are collected and published annually in the Hanford Site Environmental Report. This report is prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy's Richland Operations Office and summarizes environmental monitoring data and results, exposure assessments, and risk information. The report is written to meet the needs of the public, researchers, regulators and congress and to provide defensible scientific support for decision-making processes.

PNNL's Surface Environmental Surveillance Project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Public Safety and Resource Protection Program. The project is managed within the Environmental Characterization and Risk Assessment Group.

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