Townsite cleanup targets contaminants

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By Roger Snodgrass

Like carpet cleaners for hazardous soils, Los Alamos National Laboratory will be doing what officials hope will be the final spot work in the Upper Los Alamos Canyon area.

Although a number of residences in the townsite were included in the scope of the project, the contaminated sites designated for remediation so far are all on county or Department of Energy property.

Environmental sampling work began last fall on a swatch of land within and along Los Alamos Canyon from DP Road in the east to the Los Alamos Research Park, including locations south of Central Avenue and near Ashley Pond.

These are largely areas of concern and solid waste management units associated with operations from the era of Manhattan Project.

Becky Coel-Roback, project leader for the townsites project, said a formal Investigations Report was delivered on schedule June 1 and that phase two will involve soil removal at nine of the contaminated sites and some additional sampling on 13 other sites in order to close them out.

“We are really hoping that this will be a final thing,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “Without a crystal ball there is no way to know for sure.”

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