State agency accuses Los Alamos County of being a polluter

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County could be socked with $13,200 penalty

By The Staff

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Environment Department has accused Los Alamos County of violating surface water quality standards by discharging contaminated storm water into a tributary that leads into Los Alamos Canyon.

The department said Tuesday it has issued a notice of violation to the county with a proposed penalty of $13,200.

State officials say the county allowed discharges from its municipal operations annex of storm water containing polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at levels that exceed water quality criteria for wildlife habitat and human health.

The discharges occurred in August and September of 2007.

The state says samples taken were about 255 times and six times respectively the state's PCB human health standards. The samples taken in August were about 12 times the PCB wildlife habitat criterion.