Nov. 7 Hearing about LANL Land Application of Treated Plume Waters

There are three plumes in the deep regional drinking water aquifer below Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  Although the plumes contain radioactive, toxic, and hazardous pollutants associated with operations at LANL, they are commonly known by the pollutant with the largest concentration.  They are the hexavalent chromium, or Chrome 6, plume; the perchlorate plume; and the high explosives, or Royal Demolition eXplosion, or RDX, plume.  Each plume is moving to the Rio Grande.

LANL is investigating the plumes by drilling extraction and injection wells in order to extract contaminated waters, treat them with either ion exchange or granulated activated charcoal, and return the water to the aquifer.  Some waters are too contaminated to be returned to the aquifer.

Under a ground water discharge permit issued by the New Mexico Environment Department on July 27, 2015 for a five year term, LANL received permission to land apply those waters to dirt roads, and to sprinkle the waters in the canyon bottoms.  The permit is called Discharge Permit 1793, or DP-1793.

Such activities are the subject of an Environment Department public hearing scheduled to begin at 9 am on Wednesday, November 7th, and continuing on as needed, at the Los Alamos Magistrate Court, located at 2500 Trinity Drive, in Los Alamos.  The Hearing Officer will provide opportunities for public comments and non-technical testimony.

To help you prepare for the hearing, Tewa Women United, a member of Communities for Clean Water (CCW), and CCW are hosting a free workshop this Sunday, October 28th from 10 am to 3 pm at the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Center, located at 848 State Road 68, in Alcalde.

The training is called “The Heart of the Community Speaks.”  The workshop will provide an overview of policy-change basics, speaking points, and take action tools.  Lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP for the workshop at

The hearing is being held because the Communities for Clean Water coalition challenged the permit when it was first proposed in 2015.  CCNS is a founding member of CCW.  When a draft permit was released for public comments, CCW submitted three sets of detailed comments and requests for a public hearing.,, and

Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn denied CCW’s request.  CCW appealed to the Water Quality Control Commission, which agreed with Flynn’s decision.  CCW then appealed to the New Mexico Court of Appeals, which agreed with CCW that a hearing must be held.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, cordially invites you to attend the workshop and hearing.  She said, “Please show up for water.  Thank you.”


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