County Councilor Chris Chandler listens to the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management, Los Alamos Field Office Manager Doug Hentze speak Jan. 9 about the status of the chromium plume in Mortandad Canyon.
Officials provide chromium update

County officials and officials from the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management, Los Alamos Field Office told county officials during a Jan. 9 presentation that a chromium plume under Mortandad Canyon does not pose a threat to Los Alamos County’s drinking water supply.

Four drinking water wells closest to the chromium plume are tested quarterly, according to Department of Public Utility officials.

“As of yet, we have seen nothing  above background in any of those wells,” Los Alamos DPU Manager Tim Glasco told the council.

Glasco also said that even before 2005, for at least 25 years, the DPU has had a cooperative agreement with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Department of Energy to test all of the drinking wells annually.

“We meet all federal and state drinking water standards. So, by definition, our drinking water supply is safe,” Glasco said.

The Environmental Protection Agency defines a part in this case as one drop of water in 1 billion drops of water, about what an average swimming pool contains. The acceptable state limit for chromium is 50 parts per billion. The federal standard is 100 parts per billion.

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