Uncertainty surrounds chromium contamination at Los Alamos

A top official with the U.S. Energy Department says the agency is still uncertain about the extent of contamination from a massive plume of chromium that resulted from decades of poor waste management at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Doug Hintze with the Energy Department’s environmental management field office in Los Alamos told state lawmakers during a recent hearing that cancer-causing chromium and other chemicals have continued to seep from the soil in Mortandad Canyon into the groundwater.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that chromium was detected at concentrations five times the state limit in July in a newly drilled well outside the perimeter of the plume.

Lawmakers say they plan to appeal to New Mexico’s congressional delegates and request more federal funds to expedite cleanup.

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