WIPP Announces Permit Modification Meetings in Santa Fe and Carlsbad

WIPP Truck
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant TRU-PAC 3 truck load

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 5 – 7 p.m.
Skeen-Whitlock Building 4021
National Parks Highway Carlsbad, New Mexico

Draft Requested Modifications to the Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Thursday, August 15, 2019, 3 – 5 p.m.
Courtyard by Marriott 3347 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 5 – 7 p.m.
Skeen-Whitlock Building4021 National Parks Highway Carlsbad, New Mexico

We at NukeWatch haven’t formed an opinion on this Permit modification request yet.

The Removal of Deteriorating/Non-Essential Water Level Monitoring Program (WLMP) Wells draft modification states:

This proposed change will allow for the plugging and abandonment of deteriorating WLMP wells that do not require replacement because they are no longer essential to the monitoring network. Note that these wells are not part of the Detection Monitoring Program (DMP) and, therefore, do not require periodic sampling/analysis.


The seven monitoring wells proposed for removal in this PMR are steel-cased wells installed in the 1970s and 1980s. The steel casing in these wells is corroding due the high salinity of the Culebra water. Although at various stages of deterioration, these wells are nearing the point where they must either be replaced or plugged and abandoned. The poor condition of these wells poses a risk of causing comingling of groundwaters, which would result in a violation of the monitoring well permits issued by the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. The Permittees are proposing to remove these wells from the WLMP since they are not necessary for ongoing groundwater modeling efforts, which are used to generate the potentiometric surface map. From 2004 through 2006, a number of new fiberglass wells were completed to provide information where data gaps were determined. The installation of the new wells increased the density of monitoring points in the model domain. It has been determined that removal of these select wells will not impact the ability of the groundwater flow model (i.e., MODFLOW) to predict flow rate and direction because of the increased density of new wells in the WLMP. With the increased density, wells that are close together collect water level data that are redundant to each other. This is because new wells have been installed in close proximity of the wells selected for removal, will provide equivalent initial heads to run the model, and validate predicted head versus measured head at the monitoring points.

Read the announcement HERE

Read the draft Permit modification HERE

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