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Lab provides environmental support for county construction projects

A face-lift for Ashley Pond
November 1, 2013
Ashley Pond in Los Alamos under construction in the fall of 2013

Ashley Pond in Los Alamos under construction in the fall of 2013

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  • Kurt Steinhaus
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Los Alamos National Laboratory’s environmental cleanup program is working closely with Los Alamos County to help facilitate county economic development and quality-of-life projects.

The collaborative effort revolves around three major projects: Ashley Pond improvements, a retail development site and the construction of a new nature center.

“We routinely work closely with the county on a variety of projects,” said Dave McInroy, the Lab’s environmental cleanup program manager, “but we’re particularly pleased about being able to contribute to these projects, which will make Los Alamos an even better place to live and work.”

Historic Ashley Pond, at the original site of the Manhattan Project, is scheduled to receive a $2.2 million face-lift. The project includes a concert stage, new landscaping and a system to filter, recirculate and aerate the pond water.

“Because Ashley Pond is located within the original technical area of the Manhattan Project, we’re reviewing our records to ensure any potential concerns about environmental contamination from that era are identified and appropriately addressed,” McInroy said. As an added measure, the environmental cleanup program sampled below the pond liner prior to excavation. Results confirmed the concentrations of radionuclides significantly below screening action levels and are essentially at background levels.

The Lab’s environmental cleanup program also worked with Los Alamos County and the New Mexico Environment Department at locations that will house a major retail development on Trinity Drive and a new nature center on Canyon Drive. The Lab’s environmental professionals used their technical expertise to review existing data from the sites and worked with the state to obtain certificates of completion—essentially a clean bill of health—so the projects could move forward.  

“We appreciate the cooperation and collaboration we have had with the Laboratory on these important community projects,” said Los Alamos County Administrator Harry Burgess. “Involving their environmental remediation staff early on in the course of each project was beneficial during the planning stage. Taking these proactive steps to communicate in advance of construction has allowed the projects to proceed on schedule. In addition, we avoid costly delays or change orders because we are working together in these areas where legacy waste issues exist, so that we can identify any potential or unknown obstacles before proceeding to the design and construction stage.”


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