LANL Contamination of Drinking Water Must be Addressed Now
On March 20, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) sent a letter to Acting LANL Environmental Programs Associate Director Carolyn Mangeng and former Associate Director Andrew Phelps demanding that detection of radionuclides and other contaminants in Los Alamos County and Santa Fe drinking water supplies be addressed. The letter refutes data which LANL has repeatedly presented to the public as fact and used to obfuscate their responsibility to protect public health and the environment. The data is not credible, reliable or representative.
Our letter was sent in response to a letter we received from Phelps regarding detections of LANL contaminates in drinking water. In his letter, Phelps referenced additional data to support the LANL claim that contaminants are either not present in the regional aquifer or are present at lower levels than those detected in drinking water wells.
The CCNS letter states that LANL relies upon a limited amount of unreliable data rather than conducting a full investigation of the contaminant plumes. For example, Phelps did not provide justification for the discrepancy between the different sets of data and LANL persists in using detection methods that are inappropriate for detection of the specific contaminants.
Click here for the full text of our letter. Attachments to the letter are available in pdf form below. Please see the side bar for additional materials.
Please see the new orders which NMED issued to LANL regarding the well drilling program on April 5th, 2007. Click here for more information.
Attachments The following are provided in further support of the issues raised in this letter and our comments to the draft LANL SWEIS:
Attachment 1. Figure 4-33. Predicted plume migration for sources released at the water table below Mortandad Canyon, based on a steady-state, with pumping, flow field. Los Alamos National Laboratory's Hydrogeologic Studies of the Pajarito Plateau: A Synthesis of Hydrogeologic Workplan Activities (1998- 2004), LA-14263-MS, p. 4-54.
Attachment 2. Data Gaps Prevent Accurate Calculation of Contaminant Travel Times by Computer Models.
Attachment 3. DOE/LANL has used improper fluid-assisted drilling methods that mask detection of groundwater contamination for the installation of the LANL characterization wells that are planned to be used as monitoring wells.
Attachment 4. The Need to Plug and Abandon the Old LANL Test Wells, including DT-5A, DT-9 and DT-10 at TA-49, and Install New Characterization Wells.
SWEIS Ground Water Exhibits We reference the Exhibits to the CCNS and EVEMG Comments about draft LANL SWEIS, dated September 20, 2006:
Exhibit 1: "The Complex Geologic Setting Beneath LANL Requires the Use of Drilling Methods that Mask Detection of Most Radionuclide and Chemical Contaminants in Groundwater."Gilkeson, Bob.
Exhibit 2: "Deficiencies in the Draft LANL SWEIS for the Water Quality Data Produced From the LANL Monitoring Wells."Gilkeson, Bob.
Exhibit 3: Failure of Draft LANL SWEIS to Address the Environmental Impact From the Hexavalent Chromium Plume in the Regional Aquifer. Gilkeson, Bob.
Exhibit 4: Failure of the Draft LANL SWEIS to Address Environmental Impact Because of Groundwater Contamination From the RCRA Regulated Disposal Sites at Technical Area 54." Gilkeson, Bob.
Figures to Exhibits 1-4:
Figure 1-1 Map showing location of wells constructed under the Hydrology Workplan
Figure 1-2 Overall condition of screens for producing reliable and representative water-quality samples as of November 2005
Figure 1-3 Hydrostratigraphy at LANL Wells R-28 and R-13
Figure 1-4 Schlumberger Permeability Logs for Wells R-28 and R-34
Figure 1-5 Map of high permeability zones from LANL Synthesis Report
Figure 1-6 Locations of the LANL characterization wells R-16, R-20, R-21, R-22, R-23, and R-32 that surround the three RCRA regulated units MDA G (Area G), MDA L, and MDA H.
Figure 1-7 As-built construction of LANL characterization well R-16
Figure 1-8 Well R-16 Schlumberger Geophysics of Screen #4.