Storm Water Quality in Los Alamos Canyon following the Cerro Grande Fire

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In May 2000, the Cerro Grande Fire burned about 7400 acres of forest on the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and about 10,000 acres in watersheds above LANL on Santa Fe National Forest lands. The resulting burned landscapes raised concerns of increased storm water runoff and transport of contaminants by runoff in the canyons traversing LANL. On June 2 and 3, 2000, rain fell in the Los Alamos Canyon watershed generating storm water runoff in the canyon bottom. This event was important in that it was the first significant runoff on LANL following the fire and occurred in a canyon ... continued below

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1004 Kilobytes pages

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Johansen, M.; Enz, B.; Gallaher, B.; Mullen, K. & Kraig, D. April 1, 2001.

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Description

In May 2000, the Cerro Grande Fire burned about 7400 acres of forest on the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and about 10,000 acres in watersheds above LANL on Santa Fe National Forest lands. The resulting burned landscapes raised concerns of increased storm water runoff and transport of contaminants by runoff in the canyons traversing LANL. On June 2 and 3, 2000, rain fell in the Los Alamos Canyon watershed generating storm water runoff in the canyon bottom. This event was important in that it was the first significant runoff on LANL following the fire and occurred in a canyon containing known legacy waste sites. Samples from this runoff were analyzed for radionuclide, metal, inorganic, and organic constituents. Results show radionuclide concentrations at or below previous (pre-fire) maximum levels at locations on LANL and downstream. However, greater concentrations of some fallout-associated radionuclides (cesium-137 and strontium-90) were seen arriving on LANL from upstream areas compared to pre-fire conditions. Tests indicate most of the radionuclides in the samples were bound to sediments, not dissolved in water. Most radionuclide concentrations in sediments were below LANL Screening Action Levels, with cesium-137 and strontium-90 as exceptions. Most radionuclide concentrations in samples taken at LANL's downstream boundary were greater than those taken upstream, indicating the presence of contributing sources on LANL. For comparison purposes, doses were calculated on a mrem per liter of unfiltered water basis for 11 radionuclides commonly associated with atmospheric fallout and with LANL operations. The maximum dose was 0.094 mrem per liter unfiltered water and was largely associated with plutonium-239/240. In contrast, all filtered samples had total doses less than 0.001 mrem per liter. Compared to past data, potential doses were not increased by the fire during this initial runoff event. Of the 25 metals tested for, seven were above pre-fire levels, including copper, lead, manganese, selenium, strontium, uranium, and zinc. However, dissolved metal concentrations did not exceed State livestock and wildlife standards. Of the 18 general chemistry parameters tested, eight exceeded historic norms, including calcium, potassium, total phosphorus, cyanide, and magnesium.

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1004 Kilobytes pages

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OSTI as DE00781456

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Apr 2001

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  • Report No.: LA-13816-MS
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/781456 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 781456
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc724317

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  • April 1, 2001

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • March 28, 2016, 9:18 p.m.

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Johansen, M.; Enz, B.; Gallaher, B.; Mullen, K. & Kraig, D. Storm Water Quality in Los Alamos Canyon following the Cerro Grande Fire, report, April 1, 2001; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc724317/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.