Arrow-right Camera

River already contaminated

The May 12 editorial on Hanford says, “If the Columbia River were to be contaminated, …” I have read of the many “downwinder” stories” of mysterious cancers, perhaps, caused by radioactive releases from Hanford.

I grew up at the mouth of the Columbia where many local meals were harvested from the river’s estuary. In retrospect, some of those families who harvested and ate the most from the estuary suffered more unexplained cancers than others. I have discussed the “down-streamer” effect with some, but do not know of any study that explored that potential aspect of Hanford. I doubt if it will ever happen.

I did attend a Hanford meeting years ago that showed the location of the largest hexavalent chrome leak from Hanford as it entered the Columbia at my favorite fishing hole on the Hanford Reach. I haven’t fished that hole since.

I’m not sure the statement “If the Columbia River were to be contaminated…” is really accurate.

Tom Brattebo

Liberty Lake


Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day's top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email

You have been successfully subscribed!