Public Comments about Major LANL Discharge Permit due August 13th

f 401 cert public comment 8-11-13

f NPDES public comment 8-11-13

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Runs 8/2/13 through 8/9/13

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

* Public Comments about Major LANL Discharge Permit due August 13th

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to renew the major permit which allows Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to discharge pollutants into the waters of the United States from 11 industrial outfalls.  Public comments are due to EPA on Tuesday, August 13th, 2013.

The EPA is proposing to renew the discharge permit for LANL for five years under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program, which is part of the Clean Water Act.  The permit covers discharges from industrial sites, such as cooling towers, sanitary facilities, the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility, and the High Explosive Waste Water Treatment Plant, into the canyons of the Rio Grande Basin.

The Communities for Clean Water attended the EPA public meeting about the draft permit in Los Alamos this week.  They asked the majority of questions to officials from the EPA, LANL and the state Environment Department.  The Communities for Clean Water have prepared sample public comments you can use to submit to EPA.  [Please see above.]  They may be downloaded at or at the Facebook page for Honor Our Pueblo Existence.  Public comments should be directed to Diane Smith, of EPA’s Permitting Processing Team, by email at

Further, under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the State of New Mexico is required to certify to EPA that it agrees that the final permit will “reasonably ensure that the permitted activities will be conducted in a manner that will comply with applicable New Mexico water quality standards, including the antidegradation policy and the statewide water quality management plan.”  The Surface Water Quality Bureau of the Environment Department handles the certification process.  Last December the Environment Department wrote to EPA stating that a more protective laboratory analytical method was needed for the polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which are found at high-levels in the discharges.  Nevertheless, because there is no EPA-approved analytical method for PCBs, EPA included a less protective method in the draft permit.  The Communities for Clean Water ask for your support to submit public comments about this issue to the Environment Department.  They have prepared sample public comments for you to use.  [Please see above.]  Please download them at or from the Facebook page for Honor Our Pueblo Existence.

Written public comments about the Section 401 certification may be submitted to Bruce Yurdin, a manager with the Surface Water Quality Bureau, by email to The EPA will not issue the permit until after the Section 401 requirements have been met.

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information and to download sample public comments, please visit our website at and like us on Facebook.












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