Massive rainfall causes retaining wall failure this morning at the Biological Research Laboratory. Courtesy photo
Due to extraordinary rainfall pounding the local area, the Biological Research Laboratory, adjacent to the Los Alamos Cooperative Market at 95 Entrada Dr., had a dramatic retaining wall failure this morning. There were no injuries reported and normal operations are underway inside the Lab.
New Mexico Consortium Executive Director Katharine Chartrand stated that at about 7:30 a.m., the retention pond southeast of the Biolab between the Lab and the Holiday Inn filled up with water to one foot below the dam and was not draining. At about 8:15 a.m., the water overflowed the retention pond dam when the 8-foot diameter drainage pipe from the retention pond blew out.
Dr. Richard Sayre and Dr. Steve Buelow from the Biolab shoveled out the blocked drainage ditch. The pond drained rapidly causing a flash flood in that canyon. The rocks that form the top portion of the retaining wall between the Biolab property and Los Alamos County Airport fell and several hundred feet of rock wall collapsed into the parking lot.
Contractor Jaynes Corp determined that there is no immediate risk to the Biolab.