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A Public Health Seminar delivered on Monday, October 4, 2010. In the public imagination, the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. is an enclave of pristine environmental situations. This reputation has also attracted major environmental risks. The state of Washington hosts nearly 60 superfund priority sites under the federal...
A Public Health Seminar delivered on Monday, October 4, 2010.
In the public imagination, the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. is an enclave of pristine environmental situations. This reputation has also attracted major environmental risks. The state of Washington hosts nearly 60 superfund priority sites under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. These sites include, for example, Hanford, a 586-square-mile site created in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project (U.S. effort to develop the atomic bomb). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "the operations at Hanford created one of the largest and most complex cleanup projects in the U.S. Weapons production resulted in more than 43 million cubic yards of radioactive waste, and over 130 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris. Approximately 475 billion gallons of contaminated water was discharged to the soil. Some of the contaminants have made it to groundwater under the site. Over 80 square miles of groundwater is contaminated to levels above groundwater protection standards." The innovative partnership between the Department of Ecology and the Division of Environmental Health in the state of Washington is now recognized as an exemplary model for how best to integrate solutions to large-scale ecological challenges and local human health problems. Educating the public through intense community outreach efforts is central to the integrated model, and will be the main subject of this presentation.