The Energy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) could face fines from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) for reportedly sending construction waste to a nearby public landfill without proper documentation.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Friday that NMED has threatened to fine LANL for making several shipments of construction waste to the Caja del Rio landfill in Santa Fe between 2015 and 2017. Each violation could result in a daily fine of $10,000, according to a Nov. 5 letter from the state cited by the newspaper.
Los Alamos is allowed to send nonhazardous waste to local commercial? landfills and played down the issue as a largely administrative matter, involving inadequate documentation.
“Of the thousands of hazardous waste containers that we safely ship each year, four of them from 2015 to 2017 have been determined by the Laboratory to have previously unreported administrative discrepancies,” a LANL spokesperson said by email Monday.
“We are analyzing our waste characterization process to identify process improvements to assist us develop more accurate and complete shipping manifests,” the official added.
The construction debris was generated by former LANL management and operations contractor Los Alamos National Security. The vendor was replaced on Nov. 1 by Triad National Security, while Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos became the lab’s legacy cleanup vendor this spring.
A copy of the enforcement letter could not immediately be located on the NMED website, and a spokesperson for the state agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. The national laboratory expects to respond to the state’s letter in the near future.