San Ildefonso governor says halt of plume cleanup will lead to spread onto pueblo

“Moquino said communication between the various parties will become vital if the plume continues to spread.

“If it’s detected on our land, that changes the whole scope and dynamic of this entire issue,” Moquino said.

By , Santa Fe New Mexican | March 6, 2023

San Ildefonso Pueblo’s governor expressed concerns about the state Environment Department’s order to halt cleanup of a mile-long toxic plume by April 1, saying suspending the measures would cause the contamination to spread to the pueblo.

Gov. Christopher Moquino said tests and sampling show injecting treated water into the decades-old hexavalent chromium plume at the Los Alamos National Laboratory site has reduced the contaminants and kept them away from the pueblo.

“Halting is a concern,” Moquino said. “We don’t see any positive effect to stop the work. That could have some type of negative effect as far as the plume moving or expanding, but that’s to be determined.”

Moquino’s view contrasts with the state Environment Department, which contends the U.S. Energy Department’s method of extracting contaminated water, treating it and pumping it back into the aquifer is not diluting or containing contaminants but is pushing them toward the pueblo and deeper into the aquifer.

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