DOE to Seek Public Input on Chromium Project tonight

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LOS ALAMOS, N.M., September 28 – The Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) will hold a public meeting on proposed actions to address the presence of chromium in the regional aquifer at Mortandad Canyon from 6 to 8 p.m. September 30, 2015 at the Cities of Gold Conference Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Groundwater sampling data from monitoring wells at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) show the presence of chromium contamination exceeding the New Mexico groundwater standard of 50 parts per billion in the regional aquifer. This has resulted from historical use of potassium dichromate – a corrosion inhibitor – in non-nuclear cooling-tower water that was discharged through an outfall into Sandia Canyon as part of operational maintenance activities.
DOE is proposing an interim measure to control downgradient migration of the chromium plume to prevent it from travelling beyond the Los Alamos National Laboratory boundary. The interim measure is needed to address the increasing chromium concentration of chromium at the Laboratory boundary. DOE is also proposing chromium plume-center characterization. Information obtained from the additional characterization will be used in identifying remediation alternatives for chromium contamination in groundwater.
“This project is of very high importance to the Office of Environmental Management’s cleanup mission at LANL. Our immediate goal is to prevent offsite migration of the chromium concentration above regulatory standards while we assess the best possible method of removing
it from the plume,” said Doug Hintze, manager of DOE’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office.
In accordance with NEPA requirements and implementing procedures, an environmental assessment of the proposed DOE actions has been developed and provides sufficient evidence and analysis to determine whether to issue a finding of no significant impact or to prepare an environmental impact statement. This draft document is the subject of the public meeting.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed actions. A copy of the environmental assessment is available at the Department of Energy’s Reading Room, 94 Cities of Gold Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico and at http://www.energy.gov/node/1059401