skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Groundwater Remediation in a Floodplain Aquifer at Shiprock, New Mexico

A uranium- and vanadium-ore-processing mill operated from 1954 to 1968 within the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, New Mexico. By September 1986, all tailings and structures on the former mill property were encapsulated in a disposal cell built on top of two existing tailings piles on the Shiprock site (the site) [1]. Local groundwater was contaminated by multiple inorganic constituents as a result of the milling operations. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) took over management of the site in 1978 as part of the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project. The DOE Office of Legacy Management currently manages ongoing activities at the former mill facility, including groundwater remediation. Remediation activities are designed primarily to reduce the concentrations and total plume mass of the mill-related contaminants sulfate, uranium, and nitrate. In addition to contaminating groundwater in alluvial and bedrock sediments directly below the mill site, ore processing led to contamination of a nearby floodplain bordering the San Juan River. Groundwater in a shallow alluvial aquifer beneath the floodplain is strongly influenced by the morphology of the river channel as well as changing flows in the river, which provides drainage for regional runoff from the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Asmore » part of a recent study of the floodplain hydrology, a revised conceptual model was developed for the alluvial aquifer along with an updated status of contaminant plumes that have been impacted by more than 10 years of groundwater pumping for site remediation purposes. Several findings from the recent study will be discussed here.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Navarro Research and Engineering
  2. U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Legacy Management
  3. Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
2016 WM16097
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: 2016 Waste Management Phoenix, AZ March 6-10, 2016
Research Org:
US Department of Energy/Office of Legacy Management
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Legacy Management (LM)
Country of Publication:
United States