Jun 16, 2007

State reaches settlement with lab over chromium contamination

By The Associated Press
Article Launched: 06/15/2007 05:16:55 PM MDT

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — The state Environment Department said Friday it has reached a settlement with Los Alamos National Laboratory over the nuclear weapons lab's failure to report chromium contamination in a monitoring well.

The department said the lab will pay a $251,870 penalty as part of the settlement.

"This enforcement action should remind the operators of LANL that they have a duty to report significant environmental contamination to the state and residents promptly," Environment Secretary Ron Curry said. "Chromium contamination is a serious issue."

The department had accused the lab's operators, Los Alamos National Security LLC and the U.S. Department of Energy, of violating LANL's hazardous waste permit and a 2005 consent order that governs environmental cleanup activities by failing to report increases of chromium in a groundwater monitoring well in 2004.

The state said four groundwater samples taken from well R-28 in Mortandad Canyon between 2004 and 2005 detected toxic hexavalent chromium at up to four times the drinking water standard and up to eight times the state groundwater quality standard.

Curry's office said the lab didn't report the finding to the state until late 2005.

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