Hanford Communities wants to share the insightful Let’s Talk About Hanford series from our community partners at Washington State Department of Ecology. What started as a way to connect with community members during the pandemic turned into a fascinating series covering topics like Hanford’s nuclear history to the geological surroundings of the Hanford site and beyond.
This series aimed to provide the public with relevant Hanford information from various experts and insiders. Let’s Talk About Hanford is an informational resource to the general public looking to grow their understanding of the Hanford site. Below we give an overview of the presentations and encourage those interested to watch the live event recording on the Department of Ecology’s YouTube channel.
Let’s Talk About Hanford- Introduction
The Department of Ecology began the Let’s Talk About Hanford series with an introduction of Ginger Wireman, their community outreach and environmental education specialist with the nuclear waste program. Wireman has been with the Department of Ecology for about 19 years. Along with Wireman, Ryan Miller joins the Let’s Talk About Hanford series, who has been with the nuclear waste program as the media coordinator for about 2 years. They begin by covering the basics: what the Hanford site is and the purposes it has filled throughout its history. They highlight why a public understanding of Hanford and the cleanup mission is important and how it is one of the reasons they have started this series.
Hanford History – Part 1
The first Let’s Talk About Hanford live virtual event featured Robert Franklin who, along with Ginger Wireman and Ryan Miller, discuss the topic of Hanford history. Franklin is a professor at WSU Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College where he teaches Hanford History. In this video, he covers the early Hanford history of the site before the government was involved through the end of World War II.
Ask Our Managers
The next video of the series featured David Bowen, the nuclear waste program manager at the Department of Ecology, and Stephanie Schleif, the permitting, planning, and budget lead for the nuclear waste program at the Department of Ecology. Bowen and Schleif shared their answers to a variety of Hanford-related questions and gave their unique insight into the topics.
Salmon, Sturgeon, and More
In this video, Paul Hoffarth with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shares his knowledge of the fish population surrounding the Hanford river area. He shares the kinds of fish that surround the Hanford Reach in the Columbia, the geography of the Reach river area, how the fish are affected by our use of dam electricity, and more. To learn more about this topic, watch the full presentation.
Hanford History – Part 2
The second part of Let’s Talk About Hanford – Hanford History features Robert Franklin, who dives deeper into the topic of Hanford history. Franklin is a professor at WSU Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin College where he teaches Hanford History. In this video, he further dives into the Hanford site’s past, highlighting topics from the end of World War ll through the Cold War.
This video features topics on Hanford wildlife with guest speaker, Trina Staloch, the deputy project leader at Central Washington National Wildlife Refuge Complex. There, Staloch helps manage three national wildlife refuges in addition to the Hanford Reach monument. The talk also highlights Jason Fidorra with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Both Fidorra and Staloch describe their expertise on Hanford’s habitat and wildlife, with topics on the establishment of the monument, shrub steppe and threats, the ferruginous hawk, the Townsend’s ground squirrel, and more. To learn about Hanford wildlife, check out this video in the series.
A Year in Review
This event featured a 2021 year review presented by David Bowen, program manager at the Department of Ecology. He gives an overview of 2021, speaking on events such as their partnership with EPA and DOE to resolve structural stability issues at three Hanford sites and site permit modifications. He also covers the 2022 agenda, with plans to coordinate with EPA energy and tribal nations to sustain continued efforts. Additionally, the presentation includes speakers Theresa Howell, Dan McDonald, Edward Holbrook, and Nina Menard from Ecology, giving their year-in-review.
Hanford Geology – Floods, Lava, and More
This discussion featured Bruce Bjornstad, a licensed geologist and hydrogeologist and retired senior researcher from Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Throughout his career, he has published numerous reports on the geology of Eastern Washington and the Hanford site. Bjornstad presents his knowledge of the Hanford site’s geological features and the diversity we find across its landscape. To learn about Hanford geology, watch this video in the series.
LERF, ETF, and the 242-A Evaporator
In the March 30 edition of Let’s Talk About Hanford, Ecology shared what the Liquid Effluent Retention Facility, Effluent Treatment Facility, and 242-A Evaporator at Hanford are, what they do, and why they are crucial to the treatment of the Hanford Site’s treatment of dangerous waste. Featured guests include Andrew Pomiak, Ecology’s Environmental Permit Lead for the 242-A facility, and Edward Holbrook, Waste Management Section Manager. To learn about these Hanford facilities, take a look at this video in the series.
As you can see, what Ecology is doing with this informative series covers a lot of ground and topics. Further, some of these topics highlight one or more of Hanford Communities’ annual priorities. So whether you live in the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities, work at the Hanford Site or have a loved one that does, or you’re a student in need of information about our region’s history – this series is a great resource! Be sure to follow Ecology on social platforms to keep an eye out for new videos in the series.
*Information given in each series feature was at the date of recording.