Possible Topics for NMED’s Virtual Public Meeting about LANL on November 12th

As the end of the year approaches, the New Mexico Environment Department and Los Alamos National Laboratory are hosting a number of virtual meetings to gather public input.  The Environment Department is asking for discussion topics for its Thursday, November 12th, Community Engagement Meeting. HWB-RPD-PN-English-LANL-Nov-12-Meeting-1and HWB-RPD_PN-SPANISH_LANL-Nov-12-Meeting They will also present two issues of concern.  The first is the proposed venting of radioactive and biologically damaging tritium into the air.  The other concerns the discoveries of LANL radioactive and hazardous waste in the vicinity of two housing projects under construction on land the Department of Energy (DOE) turned over to Los Alamos County on Middle DP Road.

Los Alamos County is building senior and low-income housing on Middle DP Road, near downtown Los Alamos.  They encountered the contaminated waste while digging trenches for sewer lines.  https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/10/20/county-council-requests-briefing-from-department-of-energy-on-dp-road-situation-lanl-site-plan-and-more/ , https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/09/30/maggiore-speaks-asks-for-doe-triad-presentations-on-dp-road/ , https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/09/29/site-plan-approved-for-dp-road-low-income-senior-housing-project-despite-concerns-of-two-planning-zoning-commissioners/ , https://ladailypost.com/latest-construction-scene-at-canyon-walk-apartments-on-dp-road/, https://ladailypost.com/scenes-from-canyon-walk-apartments-under-construction-on-dp-road/ , https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/07/19/doe-responds-to-nmed-concerns-about-lack-of-plan-for-contaminated-materials-unearthed-at-middle-dp-road-since-february/ , https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/06/25/los-alamos-county-announces-more-contaminated-material-found-on-dp-road-wednesday/ , https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/06/18/nmed-tells-doe-widespread-waste-at-dp-road-represents-substantial-risk-to-human-health-environment/

On Thursday, November 5th, LANL held its promised second virtual public information session on the venting of 114,000 curies of radioactive tritium.  https://lanl.gov/environment/flanged-tritium-waste-containers.shtml

Uncertainty surrounds when LANL plans to vent, if the proposal is approved.  At possibly the same time, the Santa Fe National Forest plans to burn piles of woody debris in the forests surrounding LANL in the Coyote, Cuba, Española, Jemez, and Pecos/Las Vegas Ranger Districts.  https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/santafe/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD841371

Another topic for the November 12th, meeting may include the Environment Department’s 2016 Consent, or Cleanup, Order.  https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl/  Under the Order, the parties have annual discussions about what cleanup will be done during the next three years.  But the president’s fiscal year 2021 budget for LANL calls for slashing the cleanup in half with a $100 million dollar cut, thus limiting the amount of work that could be accomplished.

LANL then provided a deficient cleanup plan to the Environment Department.  On October 1st, the Environment Department invoked the Consent Order’s dispute resolution provisions for a period of 20 days HWB-LANL-Invoking-Dispute-Resolution-Appendix-B-of-CO-for-FY-2021 – HWB-LANL-DOE-Extension-Request_10-28-2020 On October 30th, the Environment Department denied the request stating that DOE “has not provided [the Environment Department] with documentation of any formal actions it has initiated to assure adequate funding for the necessary activities over the next three years.”  Further, in relationship to the funding, the Environment Department wrote, “DOE indicated that other environmental regulatory obligations may be of greater budgetary priority than those obligations under the 2016 [Consent Order].”  HWB-LANL-Denial-Extension-Request-for-Dispute-Resolution-Period_10-30-2020-1  

Now the next level of dispute resolution will begin.  The Designated Agency Managers must submit a written position statement within ten business days to the other managers, and then schedule a meeting within 15 days of receipt of the statement.

To submit your concerns and discussion topics, please contact Chris Catechis, the Environment Department DOE Oversight Bureau Chief, by email to  chris.catechis@state.nm.us or call him at 505 388-4639.

On Wednesday, December 16th, LANL will host its second public meeting about stormwater compliance under the federal Clean Water Act permit.  https://ext.em-la.doe.gov/ips

Did You Know about These Opportunities to Get Involved?


  1. TONIGHT!!! Thursday, November 5th from 5 to 7 pm – Second Virtual Public Information Session on Proposed Tritium Venting at LANLhttps://lanl.gov/environment/flanged-tritium-waste-containers.shtml or see attached NNSA announcement about how to connect to the meeting.


NNSA Tritium Venting Announcement 10-27-20


  1. Wednesday, November 11th Armistice Day, aka Veterans’ Day. https://www.veteransforpeace.org/take-action/armistice-day?link_id=9&can_id=c1eea811ee2a0dd79247a2e55af29e43&source=email-big-plans-remembrance-armistice-day-2&email_referrer=email_973942&email_subject=armistice-day-is-coming


3.         Thursday, November 12th NMED Virtual Community Engagement Meeting Notice about LANL from 5:30 to 7 pm.  Brief updates about the proposed venting of tritium-containing mixed waste and the contamination found in the Middle DP Road. 


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