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Lab touts pollution reductions

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By John Severance

POJOAQUE — Denny Hjeresen of the Los Alamos National Laboratory probably summed it best Tuesday night at the Cities of Gold conference room when in the middle of his presentation, he said, “we have the most sampled sites on earth.”
Hjeresen, the division leader for environmental protection at LANL, was describing how the lab is complying with a new EPA storm water permit that regulates runoff at several hundred Cold War-era environmental sites.
The lab was required to install and certify completion of baseline control measures at all 250 site monitoring areas (SMAs), which includes 405 total sites by May 1.
“It’s a thoroughly regulated site,” Hjeresen said. “We are doing a lot of work to protect the environment and in fact, we have at least 230 people work every day in environmental cleanup.”
The informational meeting about the permit came on the heels of the lab’s settlement with nine community groups and individuals that resulted in a dismissal of a 2008 environmental lawsuit last month.
The suit, filed by the Western Environmental Law Center in Taos, alleged that LANL violated its EPA Clean Water Act permit, and allowed storm water bearing contaminants from more than 100 legacy (Cold War era) environmental sites to run off at levels above standards —charges LANL denies.


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