NMED Hearing On Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Plant Discharge Permit Slated For Thursday

Los Alamos Daily Post

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) will hold a public hearing beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday at Fuller Lodge Art Center.

The purpose of the hearing is to consider Discharge Permit DP-1132 prepared in response to a discharge plan submitted by the Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Security, LLC. for the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Plant (RLWTP). Opportunities for general oral arguments or non-technical testimony from members of the public will be provided before the conclusion of the meeting.

According to NMED, the permit would be issued pursuant to the New Mexico Water Quality Act and New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission regulations. Its purpose would be to control the discharge and potential release of water contaminants from the RLWTF so as to protect public health, ground water for present and potential future domestic or agricultural use and egments of surface water gaining from ground water inflow. NMED first received the discharge plan in August 1996 and it was subsequently updated in 2012 and 2016.

The RLWTF would be authorized up to 40,000 gallons per day using the following defined systems with their associated units for the process of collecting, treating and disposing of waste: the influent collection and storage system for the Waste Management Risk Mitigation Facility; the low-level radioactive liquid waste treatment system; the transuranic waste water treatment system; the secondary treatment system; the Mechanical Evaporator System; the Solar Evaporative Tank impoundment; and an outfall regulated by the federal Environment Protection Agency through which treated waste water is discharged to Effluent Canyon, which is a tributary to Mortandad Canyon

If the permit is issued NMED reserves the right to require a modification if state standards are not being met or if a toxic pollutant is present. Issuance of the discharge will not remove responsibility to comply with Water Quality Act or other local state and federal regulations.

Communities for Clean Water, a coalition of five organizations, has opposed issuance of the permit maintaining that the RLWTF does not discharge or plan to discharge. The group claims the facility has changed fundamentally since the application proceeding began and that the permit originally sought is no longer appropriate or lawful.