CCNS August 19th Meeting about “Fake” LANL Discharge Permit

On Monday evening, August 19th, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) will host a public meeting about the “fake” groundwater discharge permit for the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). 

CCNS will discuss how this Facility is key to plans to expand the manufacture of the plutonium pits, or the triggers, for nuclear weapons by 50 percent – from 20 pits to 30 pits per year.  We’ll discuss what was old, is new again – including the reintroduction of plans from the Bush II administration to build a bridge across the Rio Grande from Santa Fe to Ancho Canyon.  We’ll talk about how the collective “we” defeated those plans.  We’ll encourage you to get involved and have concrete suggestions about how.  Monday’s meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Santa Fe’s Downtown Library at 145 Washington Avenue.  It’s free.  Please join us.

The groundwater discharge permit is “fake” because the New Mexico Water Quality Act requires a permit for “the discharge of any water contaminant.”  LANL has not discharged any water or contaminant through the discharge pipe, called Outfall 051, since November 2010.  Without a discharge, the New Mexico Environment Department has no basis to issue the discharge permit.

LANL has no plans to discharge.  In fact, in 1998, LANL stated its plans to eliminate liquid discharges from the Facility by rebuilding it to become a “zero liquid discharge” facility.  That goal was accomplished nearly nine years ago with the elimination of any discharges.

Further, under the law, the permit does not go into effect until there is a discharge.  The Environment Department issued the permit last August, but it did not go into effect because there has been no discharge.  As a result, the Environment Department does not have any enforcement power over the permit.

For these reasons and others, including that hazardous waste is stored and treated in the Facility; the correct regulatory structure is the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  The hazardous waste laws and regulations are more protective of human health and the environment.  They require more public participation and provide opportunities to request a public hearing about the permit, and for proposed modifications to the permit.

Since the fall of 2013, the Communities for Clean Water (CCW), of which CCNS is a founding member, has challenged the regulation of the Facility by the Water Quality Act.  CCW has argued for regulation by the Hazardous Waste Act, which will not result in a “fake” permit.

Please join us on Monday evening for an interesting and lively discussion.

For background on this Update, please go to previous Updates at:

March 23, 2018 –

April 13, 2018 –

April 5, 2019 –

June 6, 2019 –

June 21, 2019 –

1. Monday, August 19th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Santa Fe Library (Downtown) at 145 Washington, CCNS is hosting a public information meeting about the “fake” discharge permit for LANL’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility.  The state permit will not go into effect until there is a discharge.  But LANL has not discharged since November 2010, and has no plans to do so.  The permit cannot be enforced because it will not go into effect.

Soon, because of defects in the public notice, the New Mexico Environment Department’s draft permit will be re-noticed for public comments.  As a result, the public hearing will be delayed until November or later.

CCNS has argued for over a decade that the facility should be regulated by the federal and state hazardous waste laws and regulations because it treats and stores hazardous waste.  The hazardous waste laws and regulations are more protective and offer more opportunities for public participation than the NM Water Quality Act.  Join us for this important and lively discussion at the Santa Fe Downtown Library!  Learn how you can get involved!

2. Thursday, August 22, 2019 from 5:30 to 7 pm at the Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe by LANL’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) about The Environmental Management Cleanup Forum:  Legacy Waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory.  EM Cleanup Forum Save the Dates_08022019

3. Thursday, August 29th from 11 to 1 pm, the Cold War Patriots are hosting a public meeting for DOE/NNSA/LANL/Sandia/WIPP workers and former workers about how to navigate the complex EEOICPA and RECA government programs at St. John’s Methodist Church in Santa Fe.


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