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Los Alamos National Laboratory has completed installation of 16 new groundwater monitoring wells paid for by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Cost efficiencies are allowing LANL to drill two additional wells.
They will join the lab’s existing network of dozens of wells monitoring water for possible contaminants at various depths underground. Results are posted weekly on RACER, an independently managed Internet database of LANL environmental data.
LANL uses data from wells as part of the cleanup process for Manhattan Project and Cold War waste, and to monitor effects of ongoing operations.
“Recovery Act funding has strengthened our ability to protect the local water supply,” said Everett Trollinger, director of ARRA projects for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office.
Drilling wells to sample water in the regional aquifer in New Mexico is
expensive — about $2 million per well. Most of the cost is due to the depth of each well — an average of 1,100 feet – and the area’s complex geology. But project personnel saved $3 million by buying materials in bulk and staging crews to minimize startup and shutdown costs.
“That savings is translating into more value for taxpayers,” said Bruce Schappell, LANL’s director of Recovery Act cleanup projects.
The DOE Office of Environmental Management allocated $212 million in Recovery Act funds for Los Alamos cleanup and environmental monitoring projects. About $45 million went to drilling new wells.
Subcontractors North Wind, Inc., and TerranearPMC, both small businesses with offices in Los Alamos, performed the drilling work.