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Los Alamos National Laboratory environmental program experts are one step closer to determining the best way to remediate a chromium plume in groundwater beneath Mortandad Canyon. Members of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and laboratory environmental cleanup offices began pumping tests last week at the well known as R-42. The well is east of the lab’s Technical Area 55. These tests are the first key steps directed at addressing the chromium contamination.
Juan Griego, deputy manager of NNSA’s Los Alamos Field Office, congratulated the employees working on the project.
“It’s an honor to be here today to represent the NNSA in this important endeavor,” he said as employees opened the valve from which treated water spilled into a fenced-off reservoir. “Congratulations for taking on the challenge and getting us to where we are today.”
“This is a critical step in our move from investigation to remediation,” said Jeff Mousseau, associate director of the laboratory’s environmental programs directorate, pointing out R-42 is one of several wells that will contribute to the effort.
The pumps pull contaminated groundwater from the plume, through a treatment system and into a reservoir from which samples are taken to determine properties of the treated water. If the treated water meets regulatory standards, it is then sprayed on the land nearby. The R-42 well pumps seven gallons a minute from the plume, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the test will be run for 2-3 months. Following the test on the R-42 well, a similar test will be run on the R-28 well also located in the plume.