Hearing set for ground water permit

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By Tris DeRoma

The state has set a Nov. 7 date for a hearing in Los Alamos when residents can learn and give an opinion on a water discharge permit that will allow the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s legacy waste contractor, N3B, to process 350,000 gallons of groundwater a day that’s located 45 to 900 feet below the surface of Mortandad Canyon.

The groundwater permit was issued by the New Mexico Environment Department in July 2015.

The upcoming hearing is the outcome of a court case brought by Communities for Clean Water demanding from the NMED and the new Mexico Water Quality Control Commission that a hearing be heard on the permit. The CCW won through a court appeal Dec. 27, 2017, to have the hearing. The hearing will start at 9 a.m. at the Los Alamos County Courthouse, located at 2300 Trinity Drive.

“We hold that while the NMED has limited discretion to grant or deny a public hearing, the WQCC lacked substantial evidence to support its decision to sustain NMED’s denial of a public hearing,” New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Julie J. Vargus said in her 2017 ruling.

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