The U.S. EPA is set to issue permits for Los Alamos storm water runoff.
New Mexico officials are planning a public meeting for Jan. 9 at the University of New Mexico campus in Los Alamos, focused on the state's oversight and scientific monitoring of environmental impacts at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The focus of the meeting will be a 2016 agreement the state signed with the U.S. Energy Department regarding the cleanup of contamination and other responsibilities of the lab, according to the New Haven Register.
“The Los Alamos community asked for this discussion on the Los Alamos National Laboratory Consent Order and we listened,” said Environment Secretary James Kenney in a statement. “Collaborating with stakeholders is essential to protecting public health and the environment.”
The order lists cleanup requirements the lab needs to meet and establishes corrective actions for the release of hazardous wastes or groundwater contamination.
Environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year over water pollution downstream from the lab, reported the New Haven Register. The groups asked the U.S. EPA to issue a permit to regulate urban storm water runoff from developed areas at the lab, Los Alamos and the nearby community of White Rock.
Excess levels of mercury, silver, copper, zinc, nickel, polychlorinated biphenyls and gross alpha radiation are entering local waterways through runoff, according to the lawsuit.
Storm water discharges from the lab and Los Alamos County are contributing to violations of water quality standards, reported the New Haven Register. The discharges must be controlled and regulated under an EPA-issued permit.
Regulating and controlling discharges will protect drinking water sources for both Santa Fe and Albuquerque, since some of the canyons that feed into the Rio Grande run through lab property.