Radiation part of Columbia legacy

Most contaminated site in the U.S. and the most expensive toxic site to clean up

To the editor;

Re: U.S. ripping us off on water (Editorial, Jan. 8).

Not mentioned in Tom Fletcher’s article is the ongoing leaching of radioactive waste from the Hanford nuclear weapons site into the Columbia River, which can drift north into B.C. fish-bearing waters. This is public knowledge in the U.S., but not well known to the B.C. public.

Hanford is the most contaminated site in the U.S. and the most expensive toxic site to clean up, even more so than Love Canal. It was the Second World War’s largest secret site for concentrating radioactive material for the Hiroshima bomb.

PBS had a recent program on how sick the workers are still getting due to exposure while cleaning up this site.

In 1995, some of the 45,000 scientists and engineers Ottawa laid off were relocated to Canadian universities as adjunct and associate professors. However, the directorates, such as Inland Waters from 1970 to 1990, which oversaw national standards for water quality and hydrology, were closed.

So the fragmented remains of Canadian research survive at our universities and the ‘national’ health and safety standards for humans, fish, animals, etc. downloaded or extinguished since 1995, especially since 2001. Hanford is the worst case for both our salmon, animals and humans.

After 70 years, Hanford is still affecting Pacific Northwest fish regardless of Columbia’s hydrology.

The Columbia River Treaty is not just about the lost economic opportunity costs.

Susan Rowntree

Victoria, B.C.