The Sandia Labs Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL) comprises multiple unlined, open pits and trenches in which Sandia has disposed many tons of nuclear waste and toxic chemicals since WW II. Much of this was disposed of in plastic containers over a period of 40+ years. These containers are degrading and "breaching", releasing their contents into the ground like time capsules do cold medicine. Evidence some of these toxic elements have reached the groundwater exists. Yet, Sandia and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) are, as of July 2015, proposing to leave the MWL and it's contents undisturbed and uncharacterized. Their "solution" to protect the public is no more then a dirt cover installed over this toxic dump with vegetation, ignoring the decades these open pits were inundated with monsoon rains soaking the ground below, washing the contaminants downward to our drinking water.
Hearings were conducted in July 2015 for 3 days, purposed with providing a recommendation to NMED to approve or not approve, this dirt cover as a final solution to protect the public health from this nuclear and chemical waste. If NMED approves this "solution", Sandia will not be required to do anything more until 2019 at the earliest.
These Hearings were officially called:
PROPOSED PERMIT MODIFICATION FOR SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES
EPA ID NO. NM5890110518
TO DETERMINE CORRECTIVE ACTION COMPLETE WITH CONTROLS
AT THE MIXED WASTE LANDFILL
Below are 2 video segments from these hearings.
Dave McCoy testimony and cross examination, 7/11/2015.
Paul Robinson, Research Director of Southwest Research and Information Center, Albuquerque. Paul is testifying on detection of VOC's within 65 feet of the water table and need for prompt response to prevent them from reaching Albuquerque's water supply.
This video was a Work Shop, on the hazards to public health of Sandia Laboratory's Mixed Waste Landfill. This event was at the Peace and Justice Center in Albuquerque NM on June 30, 2015.
Speakers are Paul Robinson, SWRIC
Eric Nuttall, Nuclear Engineer
Dave McCoy, NM Citizen Action
Judith Kidd, Moderator
Event sponsored by: Southwest Research and Information Center
Agua es Vida
Citizens for Alternative to Radioactive Dumping
ABQ Center for Peace and Justice
Our Endangered Aquifer Working Group
Recorded at The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
Audio and video provided by Available Media Inc.
Citizen Action's New Mexico Court of Appeals hearing, asking that Sandia Labs be required to fullfill the requirement in The New Mexico Environment Departments 2005 Final order and conduct a feasibility study for excavation, was heard January 21, 2015. This is video of the proceedings (thanks to Mike Swick).
On December 5 2014, PBS' weekly program: New Mexico In Focus did a segment on Sandia Labs' Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL). Host Floyd Vasquez interviewed Citizen Action New Mexico's (CANM) Executive Director Dave McCoy, CANM contributor Dr. Eric Nuttall, and UNM professor David Correia.
The New Mexico Environment Department has given conditional approval to Sandia’s request to have the landfill categorized as fully compliant. Problem: the MWL is not fully or partially compliant.
Watch this discussion for an introduction as to why. The EPA Inspector General's report Mr. McCoy cites can be read here. McCoy's cited Techlaw report can be read here. Both directly contradict Sandia and NMED statements and conclusions by which NMED determines the MWL is "compliant".
Here are some of the issues:
- Canisters disposed of in the MWL contain metallic sodium and high level spent fuel from nuclear reactor meltdown experiments. The canisters can corrode and catastrophically explode, breaching the dump’s dirt cover and spreading large volumes of radiation into Albuquerque’s air, soil and water – the equivalent of a dirty bomb
- The MWL contains hundreds of solvents, heavy metals and radionuclides -- the most toxic waste on the planet from nuclear weapons production and nuclear reactor meltdown testing. Plutonium-239, Americium-241, Cesium-137, U-235, mercury, lead, PCE, PCBs, beryllium, cadmium.
- The very large inventory of extremely toxic chemical & radioactive waste is in unlined pits and trenches above Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer. Sandia National Laboratories stalls cleanup by saying it’s “too dangerous to excavate.” But Sandia developed remote robotic systems that are available.
- The radioactive wastes must be monitored forever, but there is no plan for that. No reliable groundwater monitoring network was in place to the present time.
- The dirt cover over the wastes will not be protective. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “All landfills will eventually fail and leak leachate into ground and surface water.” The dirt cover will be breached by water, insects, animals and potential human intrusion.
- The land can never be used for any purpose. It must remain under institutional control forever. Sandia plans to abandon monitoring after a few years.
- Poses a forever threat to human health & the environment. As well as to the groundwater. There is no risk analysis made for the full release of contamination from the unlined pits and trenches
- The MWL will remain a constant threat to human intrusion like children.
- Sandia publicly promised 5-yr reviews for excavation but has failed to perform.
- Sandia planned since 1998 to not excavate the MWL based on costs – not protection of the public.
KIRTLAND CAB MEETING
July 22, 2014
On July 22nd 2014, Kirtland AFB conducted their quarterly CAB meeting at Caesar Chavez Community Center. The meeting structure provided a welcome improvement to allow more dialogue with professionals working on this spill and the public compared to previous meetings.
The Air Force Civil Engineering Center (AFCEC) has appointed Dr. Adria Bodour to be in charge of moving cleanup forward. Dr. Bodour has been provided a team from AFCEC to work with her on cleanup, and many were in attendance.
There are additional monitoring wells being installed within 2 weeks. They were commissioned by AFCEC, who contracted USGS to design, locate, and oversee their installation. USGS' Nathan Myers, in charge on this project, was at this meeting.
CB&I (formerly SHAW) had several people in attendance not seen before at these meetings as well. Several technical people specializing in hydrogeology and working on EDB bio-remediation were there.
The meeting began at 3:30pm with a "media" event. This consisted of informational posters from the people listed above and several others, each addressing those present for 5-10 minutes addressing cleanup technologies and more. There was significant detail presented that we have not seen before at CAB meetings.
This video captures much of those 2 hours.
The CAB meeting began at 5:30, lasting nearly 2 1/2 hours. The format was similar to previous CAB(s), but the technical presentation from CB&I and Kirtland was much shorter. There was much more time for questions from the public. Dr. Bodour and several other AFCEC people answered questions and provided some explanations.
This is the video from that portion of the meeting.
Citizen Action wishes to acknowledge Mike Swick for filming this meeting, and providing the video above. Mike has donated countless hours filming many events for us for several years. His efforts and expertise are greatly appreciated.
Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill
May 22, 2014
On May 22nd, 2014 Citizen Action sponsored and conducted a Teach-In on the Kirtland jet fuel spill at Caesar Chavez Community Center. This is the first of many such events we will doing, to raise awareness and help build local support for a comprehensive cleanup of Kirtland's massive jet fuel spill, threatening our primary water supply. (As usual, thanks to Mike Swick for his excellent video of our events.)
This video covers the entire event.
Special converage: Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill
May 13, 2014
PBS NewsHour produced and broadcast a story on the Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill on May 13, 2014.
This is the first national media coverage for this massive jet fuel spill. Citizen Action Director Dave McCoy is interviewed, and much of the technical information presented in this news segment was sourced by Citizen Action.
KIRTLAND CAB MEETING
April 22, 2014
The following 3 YouTube videos were filmed at the April, 2014 CAB meeting at Caesar Chavez Community Center.
We've asked many times for recording and/or minutes of these meetings, but Kirtland has never fulfilled this request.
With all due respect to the Air Force, Kirtland and their cleanup contractor's information presented at these meetings has been, at best... highly misleading. Citizen Action has gotten much more assertive in contesting so many Kirtland claims made in these meeting for some years, and to correct those statements formally and in public statements.
These meetings rarely have been attended by more then 35 or Albuquerque citizens: this meetings attendance was approximately 150, and people clearly are becoming better informed and less willing to accept (at best) questionable Kirtland statements at face value: we are challenging them in increasing numbers. This is what it's going to take to have a successful cleanup: more and more members of the public informed and participating.
Public comments begin at: 49:32 of the first video. The following 2 videos are entirely public comments and questions, and officials responses.
(As usual, thanks to Mike Swick for his excellent video of our events.)
4-22-1014 CAB Meeting: Part I
4-22-1014 CAB Meeting: Part II
4-22-1014 CAB Meeting: Part III
Meeting with Federal lawmakers
June 4, 2014
Citizen Action has been working for some time to have an independent task force oversee and guide the Kirtland jet fuel spill cleanup. We wrote, guided through committee hearings, and received large majority passage of a memorial in the New Mexico Legislature's 2014 session specifically requesting this: House Joint Memorial 13.
This video is a meeting with Albuquerque field representatives for Sen. Udall, Sen. Heinrich and Rep. Lujan Grisham, purposed to make this task force a reality.
On June 4, 2014 a letter signed by Sen(s) Udall, Heinrich and Rep. Lujan Grisham was sent to the Secretary of The Air Force requesting the National Academy of Sciences be given this role.
V.B. Price interviews Dave McCoy
In depth discussion of the Kirtland jet fuel spill and Sandia Labs' Mixed Waste Landfill.
Dave McCoy addresses UNM School of Law
Dave McCoy speaks at University of New Mexico School of Law School on March 16, 2014. Dave addresses future lawyers on environmental issues, and the legal battles required to effect changes. Dave shares his experience from decades working as an environmental Attorney, and addresses two of Albuquerque's greatest environmental threats: The Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill and Sandia Labs' Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL).
Kirtland Jet Fuel Spill: 3d modeling discussion
In 2014 quarter 1, two computer generated 3d models of Kirtland's jet fuel spill's projected expansion in Albuqeruque's aquifer were released publicly in draft form:
- EPA Region 6 draft model, created by Scott Ellinger
- CM2Hill model, contracted by the Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority
Both models extended the estimated time frame before EDB hits Albuquerque municipal wells 20+ years beyond NMED estimates. Data available to model this time frame simply is not available at this time to produce these 30+ year estimates. Citizen Action put together a luncheon to discuss the problems with these models, including several prominent local experts with decades of experience in the technical details of these matters. This is a video of this conversation.
Conference Call: Purifics Remediation Technology
Citizen Action researches and studies cleanup technologies. Because investment in the United States has been minimal, particularly for toxic events as large as the Kirtland jet fuel spill, we have sought effective cleanup technologies beyond the small subset of USAF approved methods/contractors.
Purifics is headquartered in Ontario, Canada. They manufacture industrial water purification equipment, and their technology is unique and highly efficient. In particular, Purifics Photo-Cat technology destroys contaminants, rather then catches them in filters which must be replaced such as Carbon.
Citizen Action arranged a conference call in Nov, 2013 with Purifics chief Engineer: Tony Powell. Among others, technical experts from WUA and NMED participated. This is a recording of this fascinating conversation. We invited Kirtland and Shaw officials to participate, but they declined. As of April 2014, despite repeated repeated requests, neither KAFB or SHAW has contacted Purifics.
Given EDB's encroachment on Albuquerque's municipal wells and the Air Force's inadequate response, the likelihood water will have to be filtered at the wellhead is increasingly likely. Carbon filtering is very expensive, in particular the replacement of filters +/- every 7 years. Purifics Photo-Cat technology has no recurring filter costs for the lifetime of the units, guaranteed for 25 years.
Dr. Robin Falkov interviews Dave McCoy
Nov. 13, 2013.
Mixed Waste Landfill Public Forum
Feb. 6, 2013
Citizen Action and the Water Utility Authority sponsored a forum detailing the history of Sandia's Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL). This is a video of the event.
This video presents a comprehensive overview of the MWL's history, the threat of it's highly radioactive contaminants reaching our water supply a, regulatory inaction in cleaning it up.
A complete transcript of this event is posted on our website here: