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Title: 2016 Groundwater Monitoring and Inspection Report Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site January 2017

Abstract

The Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site was the location of an underground nuclear test in 1961 and a groundwater tracer test in 1963. Residual contamination remaining in the subsurface from these events requires long-term oversight. The Long-Term Surveillance and Maintenance Plan for the site describes the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management’s (LM’s) plan for monitoring groundwater (radiochemical sampling and hydraulic head measurements), inspecting the site, maintaining the site’s institutional controls, evaluating and reporting data, and documenting the site’s records and data management processes. Groundwater monitoring and site inspection activities are conducted annually. This report summarizes the results of these activities conducted during the October 2015 through September 2016 reporting period. The site inspection and annual sampling were conducted on January 27, 2016. At the time of the site inspection, the signs installed near the emplacement shaft, near well USGS-1, and around the perimeter of the site were observed as being in good condition, as were the roads, wellheads, and Project Gnome monument. No new groundwater extraction wells or oil and gas wells were installed during this reporting period on the site or in the sections that surround the site. One new application was received by the New Mexicomore » Oil Conservation Division to install a salt water disposal well approximately 0.8 miles northeast of the Project Gnome monument. The proposed well has a planned completion depth of 15,500 feet below ground surface, but as of November 2016 a drill date has not been established.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. USDOE Office of Legacy Management, Washington, DC (United States)
  2. Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc., Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
USDOE Office of Legacy Management, Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Legacy Management (LM), Office of Site Operations (LM-20)
OSTI Identifier:
1348902
Report Number(s):
S-15149
DOE Contract Number:
LM0000421
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; January 27, 2016 Gnome-Coach, NM site inspection and annual sampling

Citation Formats

Kreie, Ken, and Findlay, Rick. 2016 Groundwater Monitoring and Inspection Report Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site January 2017. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1348902.
Kreie, Ken, & Findlay, Rick. 2016 Groundwater Monitoring and Inspection Report Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site January 2017. United States. doi:10.2172/1348902.
Kreie, Ken, and Findlay, Rick. Sun . "2016 Groundwater Monitoring and Inspection Report Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site January 2017". United States. doi:10.2172/1348902. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1348902.
@article{osti_1348902,
title = {2016 Groundwater Monitoring and Inspection Report Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site January 2017},
author = {Kreie, Ken and Findlay, Rick},
abstractNote = {The Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site was the location of an underground nuclear test in 1961 and a groundwater tracer test in 1963. Residual contamination remaining in the subsurface from these events requires long-term oversight. The Long-Term Surveillance and Maintenance Plan for the site describes the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management’s (LM’s) plan for monitoring groundwater (radiochemical sampling and hydraulic head measurements), inspecting the site, maintaining the site’s institutional controls, evaluating and reporting data, and documenting the site’s records and data management processes. Groundwater monitoring and site inspection activities are conducted annually. This report summarizes the results of these activities conducted during the October 2015 through September 2016 reporting period. The site inspection and annual sampling were conducted on January 27, 2016. At the time of the site inspection, the signs installed near the emplacement shaft, near well USGS-1, and around the perimeter of the site were observed as being in good condition, as were the roads, wellheads, and Project Gnome monument. No new groundwater extraction wells or oil and gas wells were installed during this reporting period on the site or in the sections that surround the site. One new application was received by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division to install a salt water disposal well approximately 0.8 miles northeast of the Project Gnome monument. The proposed well has a planned completion depth of 15,500 feet below ground surface, but as of November 2016 a drill date has not been established.},
doi = {10.2172/1348902},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This report presents the 2010 groundwater monitoring results collected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) at the Gnome-Coach (Gnome) Site in New Mexico (Figure 1). Groundwater monitoring consisted of collecting hydraulic head data and groundwater samples from the wells on site. Historically, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had conducted these annual activities under the Long-Term Hydrologic Monitoring Program (LTHMP). LM took over the sampling and data collection activities in 2008 but continues to use the EPA Radiation and Indoor Environments National Laboratory in Las Vegas, Nevada, to analyze the water samples. This reportmore » summarizes groundwater monitoring and site investigation activities that were conducted at the site during calendar year 2010.« less
  • Gnome-Coach was the site of a 3-kiloton underground nuclear test conducted in 1961. Surface and subsurface contamination resulted from the underground nuclear testing, post-test drilling, and a groundwater tracer test performed at the site. Surface reclamation and remediation began after the underground testing. A Completion Report was prepared, and the State of New Mexico is currently proceeding with a conditional certificate of completion for the surface. Subsurface corrective action activities began in 1972 and have generally consisted of annual sampling and monitoring of wells near the site. In 2008, the annual site inspections were refined to include hydraulic head monitoringmore » and collection of samples from groundwater monitoring wells onsite using the low-flow sampling method. These activities were conducted during this monitoring period on January 18, 2012. Analytical results from this sampling event indicate that concentrations of tritium, strontium-90, and cesium-137 were generally consistent with concentrations from historical sampling events. The exceptions are the decreases in concentrations of strontium-90 in samples from wells USGS-4 and USGS-8, which were more than 2.5 times lower than last year's results. Well USGS-1 provides water for livestock belonging to area ranchers, and a dedicated submersible pump cycles on and off to maintain a constant volume in a nearby water tank. Water levels in wells USGS-4 and USGS-8 respond to the on/off cycling of the water supply pumping from well USGS-1. Well LRL-7 was not sampled in January, and water levels were still increasing when the transducer data were downloaded in September. A seismic reflection survey was also conducted this year. The survey acquired approximately 13.9 miles of seismic reflection data along 7 profiles on and near the site. These activities were conducted from February 23 through March 10, 2012. The site roads, monitoring well heads, and the monument at surface ground zero were in good condition at the time of the site inspection. However, it was reported in September 2012 that the USGS-1 well head had been damaged by a water truck in April 2012.« less
  • Gnome-Coach was the site of a 3-kiloton underground nuclear test in 1961. Surface and subsurface contamination resulted from the underground nuclear testing, post-test drilling, and groundwater tracer test performed at the site. The State of New Mexico is currently proceeding with a conditional certificate of completion for the surface. As for the subsurface, monitoring activities that include hydraulic head monitoring and groundwater sampling of the wells onsite are conducted as part of the annual site inspection. These activities were conducted on January 19, 2011. The site roads, monitoring well heads, and the monument at surface ground zero were observed asmore » being in good condition at the time of the site inspection. An evaluation of the hydraulic head data obtained from the site indicates that water levels in wells USGS-4 and USGS-8 appear to respond to the on/off cycling of the dedicated pump in well USGS-1 and that water levels in wells LRL-7 and DD-1 increased during this annual monitoring period. Analytical results obtained from the sampling indicate that concentrations of tritium, strontium-90, and cesium-137 were consistent with concentrations from historical sampling events.« less
  • The Gnome-Coach, New Mexico, Site was the location of a 3-kiloton-yield underground nuclear test in 1961 and a groundwater tracer test in 1963. The U.S. Geological Survey conducted the groundwater tracer test using four dissolved radionuclides--tritium, iodine-131, strontium-90, and cesium-137--as tracers. Site reclamation and remediation began after the underground testing, and was conducted in several phases at the site. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) issued a Conditional Certificate of Completion in September 2014, which documents that surface remediation activities have been successfully completed in accordance with the Voluntary Remediation Program. Subsurface activities have included annual sampling and monitoring ofmore » wells at and near the site since 1972. These annual monitoring activities were enhanced in 2008 to include monitoring hydraulic head and collecting samples from the onsite wells USGS-4, USGS-8, and LRL-7 using the low-flow sampling method. In 2010, the annual monitoring was focused to the monitoring wells within the site boundary. A site inspection and annual sampling were conducted on January 27-28, 2015. A second site visit was conducted on April 21, 2015, to install warning/notification signs to fulfill a requirement of the Conditional Certificate of Completion that was issued by the NMED for the surface.« less
  • Annual sampling was conducted January 18, 2012, to monitor groundwater for potential radionuclide contamination at the Gnome-Coach site in New Mexico. The sampling was performed as specified in the Sampling and Analysis Plan for U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management Sites (LMS/PLN/S04351, continually updated). Well LRL-7 was not sampled per instruction from the lead. A duplicate sample was collected from well USGS-1 and water levels were measured in the monitoring wells onsite.