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Laboratory begins environmental sampling in townsite

Environmental assessment of areas that have been or could have been affected by Laboratory operations from the days of the Manhattan Project to the early 1970s.
September 25, 2008
Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials.

Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials.

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Vicinity of Upper LA Canyon Investigated as Part of NMED Consent Order

LOS ALAMOS, New Mexico, September 25, 2008—Environmental sampling, conducted on behalf of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the town of Los Alamos near upper Los Alamos Canyon, has begun. Known as the Upper Los Alamos Canyon Project, this effort is an environmental assessment of areas that have been or could have been affected by Laboratory operations from the days of the Manhattan Project to the early 1970s.

The Upper Los Alamos Canyon Project encompasses the Los Alamos townsite area in the vicinity of Los Alamos Canyon, from DP Road to the Los Alamos County Research Park area. The project will entail sampling downtown, south of Central Avenue, including locations near Ashley Pond. The effort also will cover Trinity Drive and townsite areas immediately to the south.

Because most portions of the Upper Los Alamos Canyon area have been investigated in the past, and soil removed from some areas, the Laboratory does not expect to find contaminants at levels that pose a potential unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. As announced last spring, should sample results indicate that residual contamination does pose a potential unacceptable risk, those areas will be remediated in coordination with the New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The contract to perform sampling, the primary activity associated with the project, was awarded this summer to Los Alamos Technical Associates (LATA), an engineering, scientific, and technical services company.

LATA personnel, under the direction of Laboratory project manager Becky Coel-Roback, will take soil samples—on the surface and at depth—from numerous locations, including private property. These locations have been selected based on known historical Laboratory operations. The samples will be analyzed by a qualified independent laboratory and the results made public.

Over the past several months, Coel-Roback has met with area residents and property owners to explain the work program and answer questions.

In addition to provisions for telephone and e-mail communications between members of the public and project staff, project personnel will be available to meet at LATA’s downtown offices, 999 Central Avenue, Suite 300.  Starting immediately, members of the public may drop by between 4 and 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11 a.m. to 1p.m. on Thursdays.

For more information about the Upper Los Alamos Canyon Project, see the project Web site: http://www.lanl.gov/environment/cleanup/upper_la.shtml.

The project fulfills requirements of the 2005 Consent Order between the New Mexico Environment Department, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Laboratory.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.


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