N3B: New Storm Water Controls Mitigate Migration Of Storm Water Off Los Alamos National Laboratory

An environmental professional with N3B inspects a storm water sampling station in Pueblo Canyon where a berm is being built to control monsoon season runoff from a former Los Alamos National Laboratory site. Photo Courtesy N3B


With New Mexico’s monsoon season bringing brief periods of torrential rain, construction of new berms began over the weekend to control storm water in and around the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

These mitigation efforts are being led by a group of environmental professionals at Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos (N3B).

Earthen berms are being constructed by N3B to limit passage of storm water in Pueblo Canyon, where a LANL wastewater treatment plant operated from 1947 to 1961, and in Sandia Canyon. The berms are mounds of compacted soil strategically placed to control the flow of runoff and sediments. The sediment then has time to settle out before the storm water continues downstream. To minimize erosion of the berms, they are seeded with native grasses and vegetation. 

N3B’s soil remediation program also investigates and cleans up sites called Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Concern (AOCs), which have the potential to be sources of storm water contamination. SWMUs and AOCs are areas where the historical disposal of solid waste is known or suspected.

To date, more than 1,100 SWMUs and AOCs have been investigated and cleaned up on current and historic LANL property.

About N3B

N3B is an HII Nuclear-led company with BWX Technologies, with critical subcontractors Longenecker & Associates and Tech2 Solutions. N3B manages the $1.4 billion, 10-year Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Contract for the DOE’s Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office.