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Supporting future land use for the U.S. Forest Service, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Corrective Actions Program (CAP) completed sampling soil at Fenton Hill in the Jemez Mountains this month.
Fenton Hill, known to the laboratory as TA-57, is located on Forest Service property.
DOE historically used the site between 1974 and 1992 for geothermal experiments in an attempt to generate energy using steam produced from pumping water into hot rocks deep in the ground.
Most of the 10 areas of concern on the site were previously addressed. The EM-supported initiative under CAP involves investigating the two remaining areas of concern — a former liquid waste drum pad and a former sanitary waste leach field.
The 2005 Compliance Order on Consent requires investigation of the site so in addition to releasing the property the accelerated investigation is another step toward the laboratory completing two more sites on property no longer used by DOE.
LANL addresses explosive contamination in surface, groundwater
In an initiative supported by EM, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Corrective Actions Program is addressing high explosive contamination in surface water and groundwater at a location this summer in the forests surrounding the laboratory.
A high explosive called RDX was machined at the site beginning in the 1950s as part of LANL’s weapons development mission. Over time, machining effluent discharged at the site resulted in RDX contamination in soil and water.
Contamination was removed from the soil during past cleanup operations, but levels of legacy RDX still exist in surface water and groundwater.
Crews in June began testing to determine how successfully RDX can be removed from groundwater.
The test involves pumping water, treating it with activated carbon, and discharging it into the ground. Samples also are taken daily and analyzed internally for RDX.
In addition to the testing, a technical geophysics study was completed in June to determine the conductivity of the ground around the site. Cables with electrodes were run along the ground throughout the area.
The electrodes sent current into the ground to measure the resistance of the underlying geological strata, which will help Los Alamos experts determine the extent of perched intermediate groundwater in the contamination zone and where to drill additional monitoring wells.
“We have to identify where the groundwater exists in a complex geologic strata in order to remediate the contamination,” said Project Manager John McCann. “These tests are important steps in characterizing contamination at the site and defining the extent of the deep perched intermediate groundwater zone.”