Santa Fe City Council Must Consider Impacts of Eberline Operations on the South Meadows Open Space

The Santa Fe City Council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, February 1st at 7 pm to consider the proposed rezoning of the 22 acres of open space on South Meadows. City of Santa Fe Notice of Meeting 20230201 CCNS urges to you contact your city councilors and encourage them to vote no on the rezoning proposal.

There are too many unanswered questions about possible contamination of the open space remaining from decades of operations of the industrial Eberline / ThermoFisher radiation detection manufacturing facility to the south.   The proposed rezoning would allow Homewise to build homes and condominiums on the site.

The open space is located near the intersection of Airport Road and South Meadows on the south side of Santa Fe.  The surrounding area has the highest population density, the fewest acres of open space, and the greatest number of children 14 and under.  There are several schools within blocks of the abandoned manufacturing facility and a 200-unit apartment building is going up diagonal to it. 

In 1953, Eberline began manufacturing radiation detectors.  In the early 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency opened a Superfund investigation of the site.  In 2007, manufacturing ceased.  In that same year, 800 sealed radiation sources containing plutonium or cesium were removed from the site.  In 2009, EPA reopened the Superfund investigation.

We offer a precautionary tale that more environmental investigation is needed now.

Let’s look to the northwest to DP Road in Los Alamos.  DP Road runs parallel to the airport on the next mesa to the south.  On the south side of DP Road there was a Manhattan Project dump, called Material Disposal Area B.  It was excavated in the late 2000s with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.  Because of the uncertainty of the dump’s contents, CCNS urged the Department of Energy to expand the proposed cleanup area.  That was not done. ,

Los Alamos County began construction of affordable housing projects on both sides of DP Road near the dump.   Sure enough, when contractors were digging a new sewer line, they dug up radioactive and hazardous waste.

Families have been living in the housing.  Investigations are on going.  Each investigation reveals more waste.

What can we learn from the DP Road example?  A thorough investigation is needed about possible contamination of the 22-acres in Santa Fe.  The fact that EPA started two Superfund investigations reveals that unanswered questions remain.

Please contact your Santa Fe city councilors and urge them to vote no on the rezoning.

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