Soil investigation and remediation are underway at the Lower Water/Indio Canyon Aggregate Area, which is part of the Southern External Boundary Campaign.
Soil investigation and remediation are underway at the Lower Water/Indio Canyon Aggregate Area, which is part of the Southern External Boundary Campaign.

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – The EM Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) has successfully completed — on or ahead of schedule — seven of 14 fiscal year 2023 (FY23) milestones for legacy cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). EM-LA also expects to achieve the remaining seven milestones on or ahead of schedule.

EM-LA and cleanup contractor Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos (N3B) have accomplished seven of 14 FY2023 Appendix B Milestones under the 2016 Compliance Order on Consent between DOE and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). The consent order is the principal regulatory agreement for the LANL legacy cleanup and contains requirements for investigations and cleanup of hazardous waste sites, which are part of the corrective action process. Corrective action activities for legacy cleanup are organized into “campaigns” under the consent order.

Each year, EM-LA and NMED agree to update Appendix B. It contains milestones for the current fiscal year, which are enforceable, and targets for the next two fiscal years, which are not enforceable. Milestones demonstrate progress on cleanup work for a campaign. They do not consist of all deliverables for a campaign. In fact, there are a significant number of other deliverables EM-LA completes during the fiscal year per the consent order. Since the consent order was executed in 2016, EM-LA has completed nearly 400 deliverables other than milestones.

Milestones already completed in FY23 include:

  • The Interim Facility-Wide Groundwater Monitoring Plan (IFGMP) for Monitoring Year 2024 (October 2023-September 2024) [Multiple Campaigns];
  • The Annual Progress Report on Chromium Plume Control Interim Measure Performance [Chromium Interim Measures and Characterization Campaign];
  • A Final Investigation Work Plan for Material Disposal Area A, at Technical Area 21 [Material Disposal Areas A and T Remedy Campaign]; and
  • A Final Investigation Work Plan for Material Disposal Area T, at Technical Area 21 [Material Disposal Areas A and T Remedy Campaign].

Technical Area 21 was the Manhattan Project and Cold War-era complex of buildings that housed the plutonium processing facility, and was where groundbreaking tritium research for energy, environment, and weapons defense research took place.

“We appreciate the opportunity to collaboratively engage with NMED to identify cleanup priorities to set as milestones and targets that demonstrate progress on the 16 remaining consent order campaigns,” EM-LA Manager Michael Mikolanis said.

“These completed milestones reflect our efforts to address groundwater contamination and enhance our understanding of what will be needed to remediate former disposal areas at LANL,” Mikolanis added.

EM-LA has completed 106 of 107 milestones since the execution of the consent order in 2016 — a successful completion rate of 99%. The seven remaining FY23 milestones cover activities such as:

  • A Letter Report Documenting Start of the Drilling of Regional Aquifer Monitoring Well R-76 [Chromium Interim Measures and Characterization Campaign];
  • Investigation Reports that document soil investigation and remediation activities in several Aggregate Areas [Southern External Boundary Campaign and Pajarito Watershed Campaign];
  • Progress Reports that summarize fieldwork implementation and the status of site investigations in several Aggregate Areas [Southern External Boundary Campaign and Pajarito Watershed Campaign]; and
  • Corrective Measures Evaluation Report for Material Disposal Area H, located at Technical Area 54 — LANL’s transuranic and low-level waste storage, characterization and remediation area [Material Disposal Area H Remedy Campaign].

“We’re on track to meet all fiscal year 2023 milestones on or ahead of schedule,” N3B Environmental Remediation Program Manager Troy Thomson said. “We’re excited to be performing work that helps EM-LA meet its commitments to the State of New Mexico.”