LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Environment Department wants to excavate waste pits at Los Alamos National Lab. The department says it is a safer option than the U.S. Energy Department‘s proposal.

Federal officials proposed covering the unlined waste pits, which hold dangerous chemicals, sludge, and biological waste; that proposal would cost approximately $12 million. The state’s department has rejected the federal proposal, saying it would be safer to excavate the pit; that proposal would cost roughly $800 million.

According to the state, excavating the pit would eliminate the danger of the waste seeping into drinking water.