State’s Environment Department approves landfill report

Politics - Government

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Environment Department announced the approval of a U.S. Department of Energy technical report. The report finds public safety and environmental protections in place at the mixed waste landfill, a 2.6-acre landfill located approximately five miles southeast of Albuquerque, at Sandia National Laboratories are protective of human health and the environment.

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According to a news release from NMED, per a 2005 order, the DOE is required to provide the department with a report every five years that includes a detailed evaluation of whether measures in place are protective. To reach this decision, NMED says they considered extensive technical information, groundwater sampling results, and hundreds of public comments.

NMED says DOE used the landfill as a disposal area for low-level radioactive, hazardous, and mixed waste from 1959 to 1988. “While we’re confident in our decision, we are firm in our commitment to monitoring the site, holding DOE accountable and protecting Albuquerque residents,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney in a news release.

NMED requires DOE to demonstrate the waste does not present a threat to public health and the environment, including through construction of a protective soil cover and groundwater monitoring requirements. The landfill cap and monitoring requirements ensure the landfill contents remain in place. NMED says they determined it’s safer than digging up and moving the waste.

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