LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — With New Mexico’s monsoon season bringing brief periods of torrential rain, construction of new berms began over the weekend to control storm water in and around the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

These mitigation efforts are being led by a group of environmental professionals at Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos (N3B).

Earthen berms are being constructed by N3B to limit passage of storm water in Pueblo Canyon, where a LANL wastewater treatment plant operated from 1947 to 1961, and in Sandia Canyon. The berms are mounds of compacted soil strategically placed to control the flow of runoff and sediments. The sediment then has time to settle out before the storm water continues downstream. To minimize erosion of the berms, they are seeded with native grasses and vegetation.

N3B’s soil remediation program also investigates and cleans up sites called Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Concern (AOCs), which have the potential to be sources of storm water contamination. SWMUs and AOCs are areas where the historical disposal of solid waste is known or suspected.

To date, more than 1,100 SWMUs and AOCs have been investigated and cleaned up on current and historic LANL property.