Lab Waste Found in Rio Grande

A Texas hydrologist claims low concentrations of explosives and perchlorate from the Los Alamos National Laboratory have reached the Rio Grande.

Released last week, the report by hydrologist George Rice, says the contaminants have reached the river through springs within the past 60 years. He wrote the report after being hired by the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Lab officials have said the Rio Grande should be safe from contaminants from the lab for anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years, depending on where the contaminants are located.

The laboratory acknowledges that contaminants have entered the groundwater beneath its 40-square-mile property. The dispute is over whether the waste has entered the Rio Grande.

For three decades, the lab has monitored groundwater on its property, trying to figure out the exact travel times of contaminants.

Except for an explosive found once at a spring in 1991, Rice said, none of the samples of concern surpassed safe drinking water or federal environmental standards.

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety wants the lab to clean up contamination, remove all waste buried atop Pajarito Plateau, store future waste safely above ground and manage buried waste in ways that protect the Rio Grande and the aquifer beneath the plateau.

The Associated Press

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