BY MAIRE O’NEILL
The New Mexico Environment Department has notified the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration and Triad National Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory a civil penalty of $303,600 under the Hazardous Waste Act in connection with the repeat violations of the 1995 Federal Facility Compliance Order. The amount was calculated using the NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau’s Civil Penalty Policy dated March 2017.
NMED claims NNSA and Triad repeatedly failed to submit waste shipment information for waste containers within 45 days as required for eight shipments involving some 20 containers from the Waste Treatability Group.
The containers allegedly contained radioactive material described as 10-100 nanocuries per gram, halogenated organic liquid, activated or inseparable lead, or solids with heavy metals.
NNSA spokesperson Toni Chiri said in an email late Thursday that the information for the containers identified by the NMED resulted from administrative discrepancies that were identified, self-reported, and corrected by LANL.
“These containers have been shipped to off-site disposal sites in a safe and compliant manner. There was no threat to public health or the environment. LANL strives to comply with applicable hazardous waste management requirements and will continue to work with NMED to ensure that we meet all regulatory requirements on the safe handling, storage and shipment of laboratory waste,” Chiri said.
The June 5 NMED notification to NNSA and Triad, which was signed by Stephanie Stringer, director of the NMED Resource Protection Division, states that she has been delegated the authority to issue the demand. It notes that under state statutes, the NMED may deny any permit application or modify, suspend any permit issued pursuant to the Hazardous Waste Act.
“Such factors include your history of non-compliance with applicable requirements and regard for state and federal environmental laws,” the letter states.