LANL Assesses Flood Damage To Water Monitoring Stations

Sep 23, 2013

Flooding in the Valles Caldera on September 15, 2013.
Credit Larry1732 via Flickr
The epic rainstorm that brought over seven inches of rain to the Los Alamos area over a four day period earlier this month wreaked havoc on hundreds of environmental monitoring stations. Los Alamos National Laboratory controls the system that tracks all surface water that runs both onto and off of lab property and feeds tributaries to the Rio Grande. LANL's Fred DeSousa says the majority of the monitoring the labs are required to do for the state Environment Department and the EPA is at a standstill for now until all the stations are up and running. But some stations that monitor water that goes to the city of Santa Fe have been repaired. "We have three environmental monitoring stations that support the Buckman Direct Diversion water project,” DeSousa said. “One of those samplers is buried under mud right now, but the other two have been returned to service monitoring for more than 100 contaminants that we're required to monitor for.” DeSousa says the rest of the water monitoring network is still being checked, but he says he doesn't think there's any reason to be concerned. Prior to the recent storm, DeSousa, explained they weren't detecting anything that would pose a health threat. Many of the canyon access roads in the area are virtually impassable. A few dozen employees are on foot and using ATVs to assess the damage which is expected to cost millions of dollars.