Ensure contamination doesn’t threaten human and environmental health
Chromium Plume History
From 1956 to 1972, chromium-contaminated water from cooling towers was periodically released from the cooling towers into Sandia Canyon. Chromium was commonly used as a corrosion inhibitor. The water flowed from the power plant down Sandia Canyon as surface water, penetrated the underlying rock layers, and in time seeped into the regional aquifer beneath Sandia and Mortandad canyons. LANL ceased releasing chromium-contaminated water in 1972.
contaminant of concern:
Conduct Interim Measure to prevent migration of plume beyond LANL boundary, obtain data necessary to conduct Corrective Measures Evaluation (CME), and conduct CME
Chromium Interim Measure at a Glance
Interim Measures are used to reduce or prevent migration of site-related contaminants which, have or may result in an unacceptable human or environmental receptor risk while long-term corrective action remedies are evaluated and implemented. In the case of the hexavalent chromium plume, the chromium interim measures combine extraction of contaminated groundwater, above-ground treatment, and injection of treated water to control plume migration, reduce the size of the plume and hold it within the LANL boundary.
Why it’s needed
How it works
September 2023 Status
- Interim measures turned off March 31, 2023, to comply with New Mexico Environment Department direction.
- Evaluating final remediation strategies.
The chromium interim measures have demonstrated success in controlling potential plume migration. The chromium IM methodology is expected to be integrated into the final remediation remedy, which will be determined by NMED and requires public input.
By the Numbers
parts per billion
Distance (as measured at the surface) of the plume from the Rio Grande
Number of monitoring, extraction and injection wells installed in and around the plume
Amount of chromium contamination in Los Alamos County drinking water wells
mile long x 1/2 mile wide x 100 ft. thick > 50ppb