Communities for Clean Water Urge LANL to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Hexavalent Chromium Plume

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) plans to prepare an environmental assessment to address the hexavalent chromium contamination in the deep regional drinking water aquifer.  In comments submitted this week, the Communities for Clean Water (CCW) recommended that LANL conduct a more detailed environmental impact statement in order to protect the regional drinking water aquifer and the Environmental Protection Agency-designated Española Basin Sole Source Aquifer from the migrating contamination.  CCW Comments Hexavalent Chromium Scoping IM EA

Hexavalent chromium is toxic and highly carcinogenic and the contamination must be addressed with community input.   

CCW recommended that LANL create a publicly available real-time, interactive, three-dimensional computer model of the plume.  It would provide the public with a way to see the plume’s movement from the pump and treat treatment efforts.  It would also show the connections between the treatment wells, the City of Santa Fe and Los Alamos County drinking water wells, the regional drinking water aquifer, the Española Basin Sole Source Aquifer [ ], and the Rio Grande.

As an example, in November 2022 the New Mexico Environment Department directed LANL to stop using six of the paired treatment wells due to growing concerns that the injection wells were pushing the contamination deeper into the aquifer.  NMED also directed LANL to cease all injections into the plume by April 1, 2023.

CCW challenged the LANL statement that an environmental assessment would include the final cleanup remedy.  CCW argued LANL is required to determine and understand the vertical and horizontal extent of the plume before suggesting a final remedy.

CCW is a 20-year old coalition of Indigenous, Land-Based, and Conservation Organizations who work together to safeguard clean water in the Rio Grande watershed.  Its mission is to ensure that community waters impacted by pollution from LANL are kept safe for drinking, agriculture, sacred ceremonies, and a sustainable future.  

The growing coalition includes Amigos Bravos, Breath of My Heart Birthplace, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, New Mexico Acequia Association, Partnership for Earth Spirituality, and Tewa Women United.

CCW brings together the vast expertise and commitment of widely respected and well-tested advocacy groups from culturally diverse backgrounds.  Collectively, CCW represents the only community-based coalition in Northern New Mexico that is monitoring toxic threats from LANL and driving public policy changes informed by scientific evidence.

Please contact your elected officials and urge them to support preparation of an environmental impact statement now so that the waters are protected for future generations.

  1. Friday, June 16th from noon to 1 pm MT – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.



  1. Saturday, June 17th at 2 pm – Koohan Paik-Mander speaking about How Space-based Warfare is Accelerating the Sixth Extinction at the Universalist Unitarian, 1107 West Barcelona Road, Santa Fe. Paik-Mander is a Hawai’i-based journalist, author and peace and environmental activist.  She will discuss humanity’s inability to lift itself out of the “race to the bottom.”   $10 suggested donation (no one turned away); proceeds to be shared by UU Santa Fe and the speaker.  Sponsored by Santa Fe Veterans for Peace.   Koohan Paik-Mander June 17 2023 emailable



  1. Wednesday, June 21, 2023 at 9 am MT – virtual and in-person public hearing about draft groundwater discharge renewal permit and modification application (DP-1481) for the URENCO USA uranium enrichment facility and depleted uranium byproduct storage in Eunice (five miles west of the Texas border) in southeast New Mexico.

To view public hearing notice (GWQB 23-3), go to , scroll down to Lea County, click on URENCO USA.

As of Thursday, June 1, 2023, the 8,000 page Administrative Record for the public hearing has yet to be posted on the NMED website, despite assurances that it would be. , scroll down to Environment Department Cabinet Secretary, to “Ground Water Quality Bureau 23-03 URENCO USA (UUSA) Discharge Permit Renewal and Modification Application DP-1481, Uranium Enrichment Facility and Depleted Uranium Byproduct Storage.”

To submit public comments:



  1. Wednesday, June 21 from 4 to 7 pm – Let’s Talk Safe & Affordable Energy: Join Regional Community Conversation:  Powering up a new equitable paradigm to advance and secure our aging electric grid with a focus on micro-grids.  El Morro Events Center, Gallup, NM.  Dinner Provided.  For more information:   Flyer HERE

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