RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) – The Columbia River is safer this week after Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers removed the last of the highly radioactive sludge stored in underwater containers near it.

That news was released by Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Wednesday to the Tri-City Herald.

Perry says the project came in ahead of schedule and under budget after 10 years of work. Perry says those aren’t words usually associated with nuclear waste cleanup.

Perry plans to visit Hanford Oct. 1 for a ceremony marking the milestone.

He says completion of the project shows Northwest residents they can trust the Energy Department to perform critical work on time.

Hanford is located near Richland and for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons. The site is now engaged in cleaning up nuclear waste.

Information from: Tri-City Herald,