Climate Change
6:47 am
Mon November 4, 2013

How Climate Change Could Affect Hazardous Waste Sites

The Obama Administration Friday rolled out strategies to deal with the effects of climate change -- and federal agencies are doing the same.

The plan says climate change could also affect nuclear waste disposal at Hanford in central Washington and Idaho National Laboratory on the west side of the state.
The plan says climate change could also affect nuclear waste disposal at Hanford in central Washington and Idaho National Laboratory on the west side of the state.
Credit ENERGY.GOV/Flickr

In its plan, the EPA covers all the typical climate-change bases: decreased snowpack, ocean acidification, extreme heat. But there’s an important effect of climate change the plan outlines that you may not have thought about: Climate change could cause highly contaminated sites to easily release pollution into the environment. Cami Grandinetti is with the EPA. She says hazardous waste sites near rivers or marine waters may be most at risk. That’s because of extreme storms and higher water levels.

Grandinetti: “Where we thought the water might not reach it before, now we’re thinking maybe the water will reach it. So you move it farther away, or you find ways to stabilize it more completely.”

The plan says climate change could also affect nuclear waste disposal at Hanford in central Washington and Idaho National Laboratory on the east side of the state. As a part of the administration’s climate action plan, President Barack Obama also appointed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to a climate change task force.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio

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