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I, Robert Howard Gilkeson, Registered Geologist, State of Florida, #PG621, hereby submit this Affidavit in support of the Appeal of the Long Term Monitoring and Maintenance Plan for Sandia National Laboratories' Mixed Waste Landfill brought by Appellant Citizen Action New Mexico. If called upon to testify in this matter, I could competently testify to the following facts of my own knowledge:

  1. This affidavit is to support the Appeal of Citizen Action New Mexico for the performance of a five-year report for the feasibility for excavation of the Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) Mixed Waste Landfill (“MWL”) as set forth in the 2005 Final Order of the New Mexico Environment Department (“NMED”) in paragraph 5 of page 5 (“Condition #5”).

  2. There are urgent reasons to consider the feasibility for excavation of the MWL at the present time as required by the Final Order

  • Contaminants have been released from the unlined pits and trenches at the MWL and have reached the groundwater beneath the MWL;

  • The groundwater monitoring wells have been defective up to the present time so as to hide knowledge of contamination to the groundwater.

  • The Fate and Transport Model (“FTM”) is based on unreliable data from a defective well monitoring network for groundwater at the MWL.

  • The vadose zone beneath the MWL is not adequately monitored;

  • The dirt cover placed above the MWL is not suitable for protection of the wastes from reaching the groundwater. The dirt cover is not properly monitored;

  • There is no liner beneath the MWL pits and trenches.

Such factors demand the five-year review for the feasibility of excavation, as well as performance of excavation of the MWL in the near term, i.e., within five years. The NMED non-enforcement of the five-year review has already been delayed for four years.

  1. The approval of the Long Term Monitoring and Maintenance Plan (“LTMMP”) by the NMED before providing the five year feasibility report was a very serious mistake. In addition, the NMED approval of the LTMMP concealed a defective monitoring of the vadose zone and groundwater. The questions regarding the feasibility of excavation are distinct from considerations posed by the LTMMP. If the excavation of the MWL is feasible and were to be accomplished at the present time or in the near term, then the requirements for the LTMMP could be markedly different from what is currently proposed and would be preferably decided after excavation.

  2. I am an expert in the application of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Department of Energy (DOE) Orders for environmental monitoring on DOE facilities. I have 35 years experience in geology, hydrologeology, geophysics, and geochemistry both as a research scientist and an expert consultant for private corporations and government agencies.

  3. My corporate work has included Honeywell Corporation, Witco Corporation, CH2M Hill, Weston Corporation and ERM, Inc.

  4. I was a research scientist for the Illinois Geological Survey Division of the University of Illinois, in the cross disciplines of hydrogeology, geophysics and geochemistry. I was an instructor in the University of Illinois Geology Department. I was peer review editor for articles submitted to the Journal of Groundwater Monitoring Review for 15 years.

  5. I was a consultant on contamination issues at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and at other DOE nuclear weapons facilities and uranium mill tailing sites from 1987 to 1999. In 1997, I became the lead consultant for the installation of a network of monitoring wells at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

  6. In 2004, I brought problems with the monitor wells at LANL to the attention of the Department of Energy Inspector General. The DOE IG released a report in Fall of 2005 that agreed with my allegations about the LANL monitoring wells. 

  1. In January 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published two reports that supported my allegations concerning the LANL groundwater monitoring program.

  2. In June 2007, the National Academy of Sciences released a report that supports my allegations about the failed groundwater monitoring program at LANL to extent that “most, if not all of the LANL monitoring wells are flawed for the purposes of monitoring.”

  3. I extensively analyzed the data and performance of the groundwater monitoring wells at the Sandia National Laboratories’ Mixed Waste Landfill. This included reading thousands of pages of the Administrative Record for the MWL, as well as documents obtained by Citizen Action under the Freedom of Information Act and New Mexico Public Records Act. I have additionally performed independent research regarding the MWL. An extensive technical report, in which I was an author, details why the MWL groundwater monitoring well network was and remains defective. http://radfreenm.org/old_web/pages/GroundWater.htm

  4. The Sandia MWL dump was originally named the “TA-3 low-level radioactive waste dump” during the 30 years of nuclear weapons waste disposal operations from March 1959 through December 1988. The required engineered features of a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) “landfill” including liners, leachate collection were not located between the MWL mixed radioactive and hazardous chemical wastes and the Albuquerque aquifer.

  5. The landfill accepted radioactive waste and mixed waste from Sandia research facilities and off-site generators including 100,000 cubic feet of radioactive waste. The landfill continued in use by Sandia until at least 1993 for the storage of containerized low-level radioactive wastes. Chemical wastes were deposited in the landfill. Water was deposited in open pits and trenches from storm runoff, 270,000 gallons of wastewater from a nuclear reactor and 5,000 gallons used to extinguish uranium chip fires. Unknown amounts and types of waste are in the classified area of the MWL.

  6. The landfill sits on the eastern margin of the Albuquerque Basin, within the boundaries of Kirtland Air Force Base. Albuquerque uses groundwater from the Albuquerque Basin as its principal source of water. Groundwater below the landfill is about 470 feet below ground surface. Sandia therefore established several so-called “monitoring wells” to ensure that contaminated waste from the landfill is not seeping closer to or actually into groundwater. However, as discussed below, a reliable network of groundwater monitoring wells was not installed at the Sandia MWL dump from 1959 to the present.

  7. In its May 26, 2005, Final Order, NMED made a decision to leave the MWL commingled hazardous, mixed and radioactive wastes in place below a dirt cover. That decision was based on unreliable data from a network of groundwater monitoring wells that were earlier described by government scientists, beginning in the 1990s, as being in the wrong locations, insufficient in number, with corroded well screens, improperly drilled and not in compliance with RCRA requirements for groundwater monitoring. The reports were issued during the period from 1991 to 1998 by scientists from the DOE Tiger Team, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NMED and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  8. The Administrative Hearing Officer for the December 2004 public hearing for the MWL that preceded the issuance of the 2005 Final Order was not informed of the defective nature of the groundwater monitoring network at the MWL and the lack of reliable and representative sampling data for making the decision to leave the wastes buried in unlined pits and trenches at the MWL under a dirt cover.

  9. The failure of the groundwater monitoring program at the Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque Facility caused me to submit a complaint to the DOE IG in June 2006. (#IO6RS055).

  10. In March 2007, along with Citizen Action, I submitted a request to the US Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 to perform a technical review of the MWL groundwater monitoring well network and sampling methodology. Senator Jeff Bingaman also requested that EPA Region 6 perform the requested technical review.

  11. I consulted with EPA Region 6 and EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory staff scientists for several months regarding deficiencies in the MWL groundwater monitoring network.

  12. I was informed by an EPA Region 6 staff scientist that the Region 6 team of two hydrologists and a geologist had written the technical report for the MWL.

  13. I was present during a telephone conversation on speaker between Citizen Action Director David B. McCoy and an EPA Region 6 attorney, who informed Mr. McCoy that no such technical report existed. We received a letter from EPA Region 6 management concluding that the MWL did not present a hazard to the public. This conclusion of EPA Region 6 management was rejected by the EPA Office of Inspector General Hotline Report that was issued on April 14, 2010.

  14. In or about December 2008, Citizen Action and I filed a complaint with the EPA Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) because EPA Region 6 did not provide the technical report of its staff scientists and had waved aside concerns for the MWL monitoring wells. The complaint identified a failed well monitoring network at the MWL that historically did not and presently could not provide representative and reliable sampling data upon which to base a decision to leave 720,000 cu ft of mixed waste under a dirt cover above Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer.

  15. The EPA OIG issued a $273,000 Hotline Report (“HR”) titled Region 6 Needs to Improve Oversight Practices, Report No. 10-P-0100 (April 14, 2010). http://www.radfreenm.org/images/PDF/MWL/IG_Report_2010.pdf The HR confirmed that EPA Region 6 in fact did write a technical report entitled, “Sandia Mixed Waste Landfill Groundwater Monitoring Well System and Program Oversight Review” (“Oversight Review”). The HR did not provide the Oversight Review because EPA Region 6 unlawfully stamped it “Confidential” to deliberately withhold it from access, according to the OIG. The OIG stated (At a Glance):

Specifically, Region 6 staff (1) took inappropriate steps to keep the details of the MWL monitoring wells assessment from the public, (2) decided not to provide documentation or sometimes not to document their concerns about the MWL monitoring wells, (3) provided a letter to CANM that did not note the specific details of the assessment, or (4) improperly placed a national security marking (Confidential) on the assessment. The Region’s actions are a violation of EPA’s Public Involvement Policy and EPA’s Records Management Policy.”

  1. The OIG further stated (p.4):

Specifically, the Region did not provide the OIG with documentation to support the Region 6 response to [Citizen Action] that the Region found NMED’s overall actions and decisions to be technically sound and consistent with requirements. We found that some Region 6 staff members intentionally did not document their oversight of the Sandia MWL monitoring wells. The Chief of the Federal Facilities Section and Project Engineer for Sandia also limited public involvement by withholding information regarding the MWL monitoring wells and dismissing the Region’s concerns about the site without documenting their decisions.”

  1. The OIG HR found that “one Oversight Review team member felt the team was pushed to agree with NMED’s position regarding the MWL monitoring wells.” This bad faith process is described in an EPA OIG interview with a member of the EPA Region 6 team that was furnished in response to the Citizen Action lawsuit as Procedures Interviews (B.4.PS at p.10):

(b)(6) [name deleted] stated that he did not have any prior connection with the site. In fact he does not report to (b)(6). He also stated that Region 6 had its results preconceived. Region 6 management did not want to [sic] NMED doing anything wrong. Therefore, management created a structure to ensure the appropriate outcome would result. Furhtermore [sic], as the writing and draft comments progressed to a final letter, the team was pushed more and more to agree with NMED’s position. He also stated that the team’s initial evaluation would have changed the solution at Sandia MWL. NMED pushed extremely hard for EPA Region 6 not to even question the past results or the viability of past test results. Finally he stated that CANM [Citizen Action] got short changed by Region 6.”

  1. As a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Citizen Action, in December 2012, I received a copy of a 2007 EPA Region 6 “Oversight Report” that was stamped “Draft” and “Confidential.” Many of the technical findings in the oversight report coincided with technical deficiencies groundwater monitoring and sampling that were identified in the March 2007 request for technical review.

  2. The 2007 EPA Region 6 Oversight Report confirmed the persistence of the problems that were identified by regulatory agencies in the 1990s, including by EPA Region 6, and by myself beginning in 2006. Such problems included:

  • Monitoring wells placed in the wrong locations;

  • Improper drilling methods;

  • Improper sampling methods;

  • Corrosion of well screens that hides knowledge of groundwater contamination;

  • Long well screens hide knowledge of groundwater contamination.

  • Cross-contamination of different strata by improper placement of well screens;

  • The need for reliable monitoring wells to be placed to the west, south and north of the MWL;

  • The need for more sensitive detection of Tritium contamination in groundwater;

  • Inappropriate analysis of the groundwater flow rate based on flawed pumping tests;

  • There is insufficient monitoring of the vadose zone for early detection of releases;

  1. The 2007 EPA Oversight Report substantiates the many expert reports in the NMED Administrative Record that NMED, EPA Region 6, and DOE/Sandia were aware from the early 1990s to the present that the monitoring wells installed at the MWL had many features that concealed knowledge of radioactive and/or hazardous waste leaking into the groundwater aquifer from the MWL. There is a large body of knowledge that the monitoring wells were defective for reliable and representative detection of contamination for the wastes buried in the dump.

  2. EPA Region 6 has groundwater monitoring concerns in its 2007 confidential Oversight Report, many that are not addressed by the SNL LTMMP. These include concerns for:

Need for a monitoring well to be placed at the northern boundary of the MWL.

Well MWL-MW1 should be replaced by a well nearby to monitor for nickel.

Soil vapor monitoring only went to a depth of 50 ft despite evidence of increasing levels of contamination for tritium and solvents (VOCs).

  1. At the time of the 2004 public hearings before an Administrative Hearing Officer, Sandia and NMED represented that there was “no evidence of contamination to the groundwater.” This was not true. It was known that the pathway to the groundwater from MWL contaminants is complete and groundwater is contaminated.

  2. Contamination to the Albuquerque groundwater may be substantially greater at the present time than when the Final Order was signed on May 26, 2005.

  3. The Second Edition of the DOE/Sandia Fate and Transport Modeling (“FTM”) Report was issued in 2007 (Ho et al., 2007). The 2007 FTM provides no assurance the groundwater is safe because its conclusions were not based on reliable groundwater monitoring data. The FTM Report does not include the analytical data from the monitoring wells that show the wastes buried in the MWL dump have contaminated the groundwater with cadmium, chromium, nickel and nitrate. In addition, the 2007 FTM report arbitrarily excluded the computer modeling results that identified that the groundwater is probably contaminated with the highly toxic solvent tetrachloroethene (PCE). Ho, et al. omitted the conclusions from the computer modeling that the MWL was contaminating the groundwater with the highly toxic solvent tetrachloroethene (PCE). The conclusions from the computer modeling were ignored in favor of the unreliable water quality data from the six defective monitoring wells that show the groundwater was not contaminated with PCE. The DOE/Sandia report disregarded the well-known factors that prevented the wells from being able to detect the PCE groundwater contamination.

  4. The monitoring network comprised of the current six wells (MW4 to MW9) for the MWL LTMMP are installed and have provided groundwater monitoring data for at least the last five years. There is an overall record of groundwater monitoring since 1989.

  5. Reports in the NMED administrative record document that current wells MW4, MW5 and MW6 are useless to detect groundwater contamination from the dump. Further, reports in the administrative record for the MWL document that DOE/Sandia and NMED recognize that the three new monitoring wells installed in 2008 (MW7, MW8, and MW9) are useless to detect contamination from the dump because:

A. The well screens are too long at 30 ft;

B. The water levels measured in wells are 20 ft too deep to detect groundwater contamination at the water table, and;

C. The wells MW8 and MW9 are at water levels too low for collecting reliable and representative water samples. An additional feature that prevents the three new wells from detecting contamination is that the wells are pumped to dryness with water samples collected later from aerated water that destroys detection of volatile organic compounds and other contaminants.

  1. I have reviewed a 2006 TechLaw, Inc., technical report, released to Citizen Action in late 2009. NMED filed a 2007 public records lawsuit against Citizen Action and the TechLaw, Inc., report was obtained in 2009 as a result of Citizen Action’s countersuit.

  2. The 2006 TechLaw, Inc., report revealed: an inadequate dirt cover design; inadequate provisions for monitoring moisture beneath the dirt cover with neutron tubes; the need for an impermeable liner beneath the dirt cover, and an inadequate DOE/Sandia computer model for fate and transport of contaminant movement beneath the MWL.

  3. TechLaw, Inc. (2006) and NMED recognized the neutron probes were worthless for monitoring the performance of the soil cover because the probes were placed beneath the dump rather than under the cover and above the wastes. Nevertheless, the 2012 LTMMP still only presents the neutron probes as the method used to monitor the performance of the soil cover. From page 3-14 in the 2012 LTMMP:

3.4.2 Soil-Moisture Monitoring
A soil-moisture monitoring system has been installed beneath the MWL and consists of three soil moisture access tubes drilled at a 30-degree angle (from vertical) directly below waste disposal cells. Using this system, infiltration through the cover shall be monitored in the vadose zone beneath the MWL. The monitoring system functions as an early detection system, providing infiltration and cover performance information.

  1. NMED required the monitoring deficiency to be resolved in the LTMMP, but that correction is not made in the LTMMP. The NMED requirement follows:

PART 2 COMMENT 3 ON PAGE 3 in the 10-10-08 NMED NOD for the MWL CMIP states:

3. In NOD Comment 9, the NMED concluded that the neutron probes will only be able to evaluate soil moisture at depths in the vadose-zone that are considerably deeper than the base of the soil cover. Because it would take substantial time for moisture to move through the vadose zone to the depths of the neutron probe access tubes, and because the current design does not monitor for breakthrough of moisture from the cover to the waste, NMED does not agree that such moisture monitoring offers the best possible design for an early warning system. Thus, NMED will place more emphasis on other types of monitoring in the LTMMP. No response is required by the Permittees for this comment.

The Sandia MWL was originally named the “TA-3 low-level radioactive waste dump” during the 30 years of nuclear weapons waste disposal operations from April 1959 through December 1988. By today’s standards for landfills, the MWL cannot qualify for a permit under the requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. There are no liners, leachate detection or leachate collection or engineered cover. (40 CFR 264.301).

  1. Storm water has entered into the pits and trenches of the MWL for decades. Rainfall events that took place at the MWL during the period from late June 2006 through July 2007 breached protective berms installed around the MWL and caused the pooling of storm water. The berms were supposed to prevent storm water from flowing across the dump site during construction of the dirt cover. The breaching of the berms is evidence that the rain events were carrying storm water across the dump for at least five decades and possibly to the groundwater below.

  2. 270,000 gallons of nuclear reactor waste water was dumped at Trench D. 5,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish a uranium chip fire in the MWL trench B. Storm water may still enter horizontally between the dirt cover and the wastes. Water will continue to enter the MWL through the dirt cover because there is no impermeable membrane under the dirt cover to carry water away to the sides of the MWL.

  3. A landfill that received hazardous waste after July 26, 1982 is a RCRA “regulated unit” and must comply with the groundwater monitoring requirements of 40 CFR § 264.91-100 in lieu of § 264.101. (40 CFR § 264.90 (a)(2)). 40 CFR § 264.100 provides the appropriate standard for corrective action program for a regulated unit. The MWL is a regulated unit that did not comply with RCRA groundwater monitoring requirements at any time up to the present. At least one upgradient background well and three downgradient monitoring wells at the point of compliance were required.

  4. A review of the water quality data from the two monitoring wells MWL-MW1 and MWL-MW3 shows that the wastes buried in the MWL dump have contaminated the groundwater with cadmium, chromium, nickel and nitrate beginning in the early 1990s. The determination that the MWL dump has contaminated the groundwater is from the comparison of the water quality data from monitoring wells MWL-MW1 and -MW3 to the water quality data from the original background monitoring well MWL-BW1 and the new background monitoring well MWL-BW2. The contaminants cadmium, chromium, nickel and nitrate are detected in the two monitoring wells MWL-MW1 and -MW3 beginning in 1990 using RCRA criteria. The exact amount of the four contaminants in the groundwater and the presence of other groundwater contamination is not known because a reliable monitoring well network was not installed from the first four monitoring wells installed in 1988 and 1989 to the most recent four new monitoring wells installed in 2008.

  5. Careful and comprehensive review of the water quality data from MWL monitoring wells determined that the wastes buried in the MWL dump have contaminated the groundwater with the RCRA hazardous waste constituents of cadmium, chromium, nickel and nitrate. The contamination was present in the first groundwater samples collected in 1990 and over time there was a large increase in the nickel groundwater contamination.

  6. The nature and extent of the groundwater contamination at the MWL dump is not known because of the defective groundwater monitoring. The wastes buried at the MWL are a large inventory of commingled hazardous, mixed and radioactive wastes. There is much uncertainty in the type and total inventory of the buried wastes, especially in the 0.6 acre portion of the classified area of the MWL.

  7. Contaminants in the MWL include metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and radionuclides such as tritium; radium-226; uranium isotopes 234, 235 and 238; plutonium isotopes 238, 239/240; cobalt-60; strontium-90; thorium-232; and, cesium-137.

  8. There is evidence of a new, large release of Tritium contamination from the MWL in boreholes drilled by Sandia in 2008. The release is ten times what was expected to be found. Despite the Final Order requirement to monitor Tritium and the evidence of a new large release, NMED cancelled monitoring for Tritium in the vadose zone in the Long-Term Monitoring and Maintenance Plan (LTMMP).

  9. EPA allowed a streamlined approach to risk assessment if there was no risk to groundwater. Sandia falsely claimed there was no pathway to the groundwater. There was no risk assessment performed by Sandia for risk to the groundwater.

  10. The 1991 DOE Tiger Team Assessment Report of monitoring activities at the Sandia National Laboratories Albuquerque Facility. The conclusion in the May 1991 report by the DOE Tiger Team for the monitoring well network at the MWL stated:

The number and placement of wells at the mixed waste landfill is not sufficient to characterize the effect of the mixed waste landfill on groundwater (p. 3-59).

  1. The 1991 LANL report was written after the first four monitoring wells MWL-MW1, -MW2, -MW3 and -BW1 were installed at the MWL dump. The pertinent excerpts from the LANL report stated:

It is stated that “three additional wells were installed, two down gradient and one upgradient…” It would be appropriate to mention here that the data from these [four] wells indicated that the network has in fact only one downgradient well [i.e., well MWL-MW3] and no wells that are definitely upgradient (p.3).

The data from the present monitoring well network indicates that there is only one downgradient and no upgradient wells. This in itself establishes the inadequacy (under RCRA) of the present well network [Emphasis supplied]. The presence of this additional well [i.e., angle well MWL-MW4 at a location inside the MWL dump] (neither downgradient nor upgradient) will still not meet RCRA monitoring criteria (p. 3).

The 1991 LANL report recognized that the monitoring well network at the Sandia MWL dump did not meet the RCRA minimum requirement for three downgradient contaminant detection monitoring wells and one upgradient monitoring well for background water quality.

  1. The 1993 NMED report by Moats and Winn (NMED AR 006421) addressed the inadequate monitoring well network. Mr. Moats and Ms. Winn recognized that the local direction of groundwater flow at the water table below the MWL dump was to the south or the southwest and the existing network of monitoring wells was improperly located and inadequate:

1). to detect groundwater contamination from the MWL dump and

2). to determine the direction and gradient of groundwater flow at the water table.

The 1993 report described 1). the poor knowledge of the groundwater flow direction below and down gradient of the Sandia MWL dump and 2). the improper use of the mud-rotary drilling method to install monitoring wells MWL-MW2, -MW3 and -BW1 at the MWL dump. The pertinent excerpts from the 1993 NMED report state:

The hydrogeologic conditions at the MWL have not been adequately characterized. . . Water level data from July 1992 indicate south-directed or southwest directed flow [Emphasis supplied]. However, the gradient and direction of ground-water flow are not known with reasonable certainty (p. 3).

The detection monitoring system that currently exists at the MWL is inadequate because the direction and gradient of ground-water flow can not be determined with reasonable certainty (p. 7).

Additional wells installed at the MWL at greater distances from the facility than the existing wells would better define the horizontal gradient and direction of ground-water flow (p. 4).”


  1. The 1994 NMED DOE Oversight Bureau Review of the Sandia MWL 1993 Phase 2 RCRA RFI Work Plan addressed the fact that the MWL monitoring wells were not properly located. The DOE Oversight Bureau reviewed the March 10, 1993 RCRA RFI Phase 2 Work Plan for the MWL. (NMED AR 006462).An accurate definition was not obtained for the local hydraulic gradient and direction of groundwater flow below and away from the Sandia MWL dump. The DOE/Sandia reports repeatedly misused the water table maps that displayed the regional groundwater flow direction to the northwest and not the local flow direction and hydraulic gradient in the immediate vicinity of the MWL dump that was to the southwest. The pertinent excerpts from the NMED DOE Oversight Bureau Memorandum dated October 13, 1994 are pasted below:

General Comment #7. Page 2-31. Section Paragraph 3: ….. Current water level data for the four MWL monitor wells suggest that the hydraulic gradient is toward the southwest, approximately 40 degrees counterclockwise to the regional gradient.Regional gradient was determined to be west-northwest. What will be done to better define the local hydraulic gradient? [Emphasis supplied]. (p. 3).

General Comment #8. Page 2-44. Section 2.3.2, Groundwater monitoring at the MWL, Paragraph 3: Based on the results from six rounds of sampling at the MWL, there is no indication that groundwater beneath the MWL is contaminated. No elevated levels of radionuclides or hazardous waste constituents have been detected to date in groundwater samples from MWL monitor wells.It should be noted that if the local hydraulic gradient is not known the wells may not be able to adequately detect groundwater contamination, and additional groundwater monitoring wells should be proposed and installed. [Emphasis supplied]. Location and design of additional wells should be based on evaluation of all reliable data and coordinated with regulatory and oversight personnel (p. 3).

  1. The 1994 NMED DOE Oversight Bureau report demonstrates that the NMED and DOE knew that the monitoring well network at the MWL was defective and its data should not be used for the testimony at the NMED December 2004 Public Hearing that 1). there was a reliable network of monitoring wells at the MWL dump and 2). the groundwater below the dump was not contaminated.

The 1994 NMED DOE Oversight Bureau Report recognized that additional monitoring wells were needed at the MWL dump and that the network of monitoring wells used at the NMED December 2004 Public Hearing was inadequate to detect groundwater contamination from the wastes buried in the MWL dump. However, the required network of monitoring wells to investigate groundwater contamination from the MWL dump was not installed to the present time in 2013.

  1. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 issued a Notice of Deficiency (NOD) Report 30 on September 22, 1994 for the DOE/Sandia RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) Work Plan for the Sandia MWL dump, dated March 1993. (NMED AR 006433). The 1994 EPA NOD Report recognized that the direction of groundwater flow below the Sandia MWL dump was to the southwest and the network of four monitoring wells MWL-MW1, -MW2, -MW3 and -BW1 was not adequate to detect contaminants released from the MWL dump. Pertinent excerpts from the 1994 EPA Region 6 NOD Report follow:

Comment no. 11. On page 2-31 [in the RFI Work Plan], the third paragraph states that regional potentiometric maps indicate that the hydraulic gradient at the MWL is toward the west and northwest. As shown in Figure 2-21, the MWL monitoring well network (i.e., MWL-BW1, MWL-MW1, MWL-MW2, and MWL-MW3) has been installed based on the assumed regional hydraulic gradient. However, the third paragraph further continues to state water level data collected from the MWL monitoring wells suggests the hydraulic gradient is to the southwest (p,5).

Based on the southwest gradient flow of groundwater, the MWL monitoring wells are located cross gradient instead of downgradient from the MWL; therefore, contaminants emanating from the MWL may not be detected in the monitoring wells [Emphasis supplied] (p. 6).

Comment no. 18. Paragraph 2, on page 2-44, states that the monitoring wells were sampled six times between September 1990 and January 1992 and semiannually thereafter. Paragraph 3, on page 2-44, concludes that based on the analytical results of these sampling events, there is no evidence of contamination in the groundwater beneath the MWL. The Work Plan does not provide sufficient information to support this conclusion. In fact, as described below, the location of the monitoring wells and the depth of the screened intervals may not be adequate to detect releases of hazardous constituents from the unit to groundwater (p. 8-9).

  1. As discussed in comment #11 above (paragraph 53), the existing monitoring well network was designed in anticipation of a local hydraulic gradient toward the northwest; however, based on water level data, the observed hydraulic gradient and groundwater flow is toward the southwest (See also paragraph 51 supra).

  2. The record from the 1998 NMED Notice of Deficiency (NOD) states:

The presence of metal contaminants at depths which can exceed 100 ft indicate that liquid wastes were disposed of in the landfill. Thus, ground-water monitoring for metals is required.

In addition, the 1998 NOD presents the conclusion that the nickel and chromium wastes released from the dump have contaminated the groundwater.

  1. The 1998 NMED NOD addresses the failure of Sandia to provide an accurate assessment of the risk to the public from the contaminants in the dump. (Exhibit__ http://radfreenm.org/pages/GroundWaterProtection/AppendixA_NMED_1998_NOD_Report.pdf , p.4):

B. Because land located approximately 1 mile west of the MWL could be developed for residential use, DOE/SNL must evaluate the potential for off-site contaminant migration from the landfill. The evaluation should consider ecological and human health impacts from any potential migration of COC’s.

C. The nature and extent of subsurface contamination indicate that some contaminants are a potential threat to ground-water quality beneath and downgradient (west) of the MWL. A simple screening comparison of contaminant concentrations in subsurface soils against available EPA soil screening levels (SSL’s) developed for the protection of groundwater resources demonstrates exceedances for cadmium and nickel (U. S. EPA, 1996. Soil Screening Guidance: Technical Background Document. EPA/540/R-95/128, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, Washington, DC, PB96-963502). Therefore, the risk assessment for the MWL must evaluate potential impacts of cadmium, nickel, and other contaminants (metals such as cobalt and copper, and radioactive material such as uranium and tritium, for which SSL’s are not available at this time) on local and regional ground-water quality.

  1. The staff of the NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau and DOE/Sandia provided incorrect testimony at the December 2004 Public Hearing on the Sandia MWL contrary to the facts in the NMED Administrative Record.

  2. The December 2004 public hearing for the MWL was to present the NMED remedy recommendation to install a dirt cover over the large inventory of hazardous and radioactive wastes buried in unlined trenches and pits at the Sandia MWL dump. The staff of NMED and DOE/Sandia provided incorrect testimony at the public hearing that there was a reliable network of monitoring wells at the MWL dump and that there was no evidence of contamination to the groundwater. The substantial scientific evidence that contradicted NMED and DOE/Sandia witnesses’ statements was omitted.

  3. The public was repeatedly assured by NMED that the feasibility of excavation would be reviewed “every five years.”

  • NMED Secretary to reevaluate the performance of the Landfill cover/bio-intrusion barrier and the feasibility of excavation every five years.”  NMED: Response to Comments (08-02-2005), Comment A response, p.19, 23 and 41

  1. Timely fulfillment of Condition #5 of the 2005 Final Order--for five-year re-evaluation of the feasibility of excavation, the suitability of the dirt cover and potential for the contamination of Albuquerque’s aquifer –-is necessary to protect the precious drinking water resource of Albuquerque, New Mexico.








I hereby swear under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America and the State of New Mexico that the above statement is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.





Robert Gilkeson

Registered Geologist

7220 Central Ave. SE; #1043
Albuquerque, NM 87108

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