- Long-Term Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability Strategy ›
- Clean the Past ›
- Tour: Environmental Cleanup
- Protections: Cleanup ›
- What waters does LANL protect? ›
- How did contaminants get there? ›
- Control the Present ›
- Something in the Air? ›
- Protections: Sediment ›
- Protections: Sediment Control = Contaminant Retention
- Tour: Sediment Retention
- Protection #2: Trap and Remove Sediment
- Stormwater Controls
- Stop Contaminant Movement & the Individual Permit
- View of Stormwater Monitoring Sites
- Stormwater Control Structures
- How are the aftereffects of wildfire managed?
- Las Conchas Wildfire
- Stormwater Controls after Wildfire
- Los Alamos Canyon Weir
- 10,000 Willows
- Pueblo Canyon Grade Control Structure
- Early Notification Gages
- Protections: Sampling ›
- Protection #3: Sample and Survey
- Tour: Environmental Monitoring
- Groundwater Monitoring
- How does LANL determine where to put a monitoring well?
- Protection of the Groundwater Resource
- The Location Investigation Process
- The Location Determination Process
- Monitoring Well Placement
- Contaminant Sources
- Groundwater Monitoring Network
- View of Groundwater Monitoring Sites
- Well Placement Decision Process
- Create a Sustainable Future ›
- ‹ Planning for Years to Come
- ‹ Living a Sustainable Future
- ‹ Commitment to Public Involvement
- ‹ Why is a long-term strategy important?
- Multimedia ›
Waters around LANL: Care and Stewardship
Groundwater at LANL discharges to springs along the Rio Grande. Stream flow resulting from heavy storms and snowmelt also has the potential to reach the Rio Grande.
Still water on the Rio Grande in White Rock Canyon
Sediment traps upstream reduce contaminents in the river
Plutonium in the Rio Grande is well below regulatory limits.
Rivers all across the northern hemisphere contain small amounts of plutonium from fallout from atmospheric testing in the 1950s and 1960s. The total plutonium in the riverbed of the Rio Grande from the Los Alamos Canyon confluence to the Elephant Butte reservoir has the same weight as about 6 paper clips and is 1000 times lower than the residential limit. This amount is equivalent to other northern hemisphere watercourses. The residential limit assumes a person spending his or her lifetime from birth in a small area, drinking only water from that area.
The Rio Grande is safe for swimming.
There are no restrictions on swimming in the Rio Grande. However, NMED has listed the stretch between Cochiti and San Ildefonso as impaired. Further, independent studies commissioned by the Buckman Direct Diversion Project reported that the probable causes of impairment - biological organisms, turbidity, PCBs, and gross alpha - are readily removed in the drinking water treatment process. Because concentrations of these contaminants are similar upstream and downstream from LANL, these contaminants are not derived from LANL operations.