Long-Term Hydrologic Monitoring Program Sampling and Analysis Results for 2009 Page: 1 of 8
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Task Order LM00-502
Control Number 10-0184
January 21, 2010
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Legacy Management
ATTN: Jack Craig
3600 Collins Ferry Road
Morgantown, WV 26505
SUBJECT: Rulison Long-Term Hydrologic Monitoring Program Sampling and Analysis
Results for 2009
Dear Mr. Craig:
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management conducted annual
sampling at the Rulison, Colorado, Site for the Long-Term Hydrologic Monitoring Program
(LTHMP) on May 11 and 12, 2009. Samples were analyzed by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) Radiation & Indoor Environments National Laboratory in Las Vegas,
Nevada. Samples were analyzed for gamma-emitting radionuclides by high-resolution gamma
spectroscopy and for tritium using the conventional and enriched methods.
Site Location and Background
The Rulison Site is located in Garfield County in western Colorado (see attached Figure 1). The
Rulison test was designed and conducted to evaluate the use of a nuclear detonation to fracture
the tight, gas-bearing formations in the Piceance Basin for enhanced natural gas production. A
43 kiloton device was detonated on September 10, 1969, at a depth of 8,426 feet below ground
surface within the Williams Fork Formation of the Mesaverde Group.
Sampling locations (see attached Figure 2) are a combination of wells and surface water
locations. Sampling locations range from within a few hundred feet of surface ground zero
(SGZ) to over 4 miles from SGZ. EPA performed the LTHMP sampling from program inception
in 1972 through 2007. The results of the historical monitoring at Rulison have consistently
shown that groundwater and surface water at the sampling locations have not been impacted by
nuclear-test-related contamination. In 2008 DOE reviewed all previous LTHMP data and
completed an evaluation of future sampling locations. DOE concluded that monitoring of distant
groundwater and surface water locations was not an effective method to detect detonation-related
contamination. The evaluation determined that a monitoring program focused on detection of
contaminant migration from the detonation zone was warranted. The new monitoring program
will emphasize sampling of natural gas production wells, which are considered the most likely
pathway for transporting detonation-derived contaminants. In addition to sampling gas
production wells in the vicinity of the site, sampling will continue at groundwater and surface
water locations near SGZ, as those locations are used to verify success of surface remediation
2597 B % Road Grand Junction, CO 81503
The S.M. Stolter Corporation
(970) 248-6600 Fax: (970) 248-6040
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Long-Term Hydrologic Monitoring Program Sampling and Analysis Results for 2009, report, January 21, 2010; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc868312/m1/1/: accessed January 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.