Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)
New Mexico
Environment Department
DOE Oversight Bureau

WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT MONITORING

The Carlsbad office of the DOE Oversight Bureau monitors a variety of environmental media at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to assess the potential impacts of past and present activities.

General Environmental Monitoring

The DOE Oversight Bureau conducts multi-media environmental sampling on a periodic basis, and provides technical review services to the U.S. Department of Energy, Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC, and the public. Multi-media sampling includes soil, sediment, surface water, groundwater, vegetation, and volatile organic compounds.

Exhaust Air

The DOE Oversight Bureau monitors the exhaust air stream exiting the underground of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant site. Staff collects air filters for National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants contaminants. Filters are compiled monthly and shipped to an independent contract laboratory where they are analyzed for gross alpha and beta activity and the presence of americium-241, plutonium-238, plutonium-239/240, strontium-90, and gamma-emitting isotopes.

Air Monitoring

The DOE Oversight Bureau conducts independent continuous air monitoring to evaluate the presence of selected radioactive particles in the ambient air near WIPP. Ambient air is sampled with continuously running, low-volume air samplers drawing air through particulate filters. The DOE Oversight Bureau maintains six (6) air stations. Additionally, the Bureau maintains two (2) mobile solar-powered air-monitoring trailers that can be deployed for emergency monitoring. The filters are compiled quarterly by location and analyzed by an independent laboratory for gross alpha and beta activity and the presence of americium-241, plutonium-238, plutonium-239/240, strontium-90, and gamma-emitting isotopes. The program also allows for emergency ambient air monitoring for releases related to emergencies.

Direct Penetrating Radiation

The DOE Oversight Bureau monitors direct penetrating (DPR) radiation, or gamma radiation, in the environment at WIPP and in the vicinity for WIPP-sourced or ambient gamma radiation using passive electret ion chambers. The purpose of this project is to determine whether ambient gamma radiation on or near WIPP is equal to background.

Sandia oversight section

DOE Oversight Bureau
121 Tijeras Avenue NE, Suite 1000
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3421
Tel. (505)383-2073
Fax (505)222-9510

Los Alamos oversight section

DOE Oversight Bureau
1183 Diamond Drive, Suite B
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Tel. (505)476-3031
Fax (505)661-4958

Wipp Oversight Section

DOE Oversight Bureau
406 North Guadalupe Street
Carlsbad, NM 88220
Tel. (575)885-9023
Fax (575)887-6852

Harold L. Runnels Building // 1190 St. Francis Drive, Suite N4050 // Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 // tel (800) 219-6157, (505) 827-2855

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