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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Obscure NM News Item of the Day

The kind of info that's often revealed only in short paragraphs on the interior pages of newspapers can be startling. Editorial decisions to downplay certain news stories so that more prominent coverage can be given to more "entertaining" or non-controversial news are rampant. No wonder so many of our citizens are so poorly informed if and when they head to the voting booth.

Here's a prime example of a story you'd think would be front page news because it deals with a potential danger to Rio Grande water quality -- a current water source for Santa Fe and a near future water source for Albuquerque. It was limited to these few paragraphs on the Around New Mexico page of a Saturday edition of the Albuquerque Journal:

LOS ALAMOS— Los Alamos National Laboratory should develop a system to advise the city of Santa Fe when it should temporarily stop drawing water from the Rio Grande due to radiological contamination, a new report recommends.

The state Environment Department report found that radiological contaminants left in sediment along the river by the lab decades ago pose no immediate health risk.

But in a statement issued Friday, agency scientists urge the lab to do more to stop contaminants from washing down the Rio Grande and to develop a notification system whenever flooding may increase river contamination.

The statement released by the agency states that LANL can control the movement of sediment through the installation of weirs, stabilizing eroding banks, planting riparian vegetation and restoring damaged wetlands.

LANL's communications office was not available for comment Friday night.

No big whoop, eh?

May 19, 2007 at 11:36 PM in Media | Permalink


Well that's kind of...scary.

Posted by: JD | May 19, 2007 2:13:47 PM

Yeah, but it's just a LITTLE bit of radiation. In our drinking water. Not like it's something that will affect all of us, right? Right?

Posted by: | May 19, 2007 3:52:02 PM

That's the reason that a few days before river water hits the system I will be cooking with and drinking only bottled water from anywhere but NM. Even if LANAL doesn't present a contamination risk to the water system, Abq City Gov incompetence is another good reason for bottled water.

Posted by: VP | May 19, 2007 4:22:25 PM

Remember the fire about 10-15 years ago?
The great forest around LA burned. It was equivalent to a magnitude of dirty bombs.
The good news is that radioactive metals are heavy.They tend to sink to the bottom of water reservoirs and throughputs. The bad news is that radio-isotopes are taken up by plants and hence taken into the food chain.
Filtered tap water is adequate to protect you most of the time from radiation. Human exposure to radiation manifests from eating animal fat such as leche. Eating at the top of a radiation contaminated food chain.

Posted by: qofdisks | May 19, 2007 4:52:52 PM

Anyone know where I can get a cheap, but sensitive, geiger counter?

Posted by: Iwant | May 19, 2007 9:17:13 PM

Our neighborhood association passed this resolution last June - for all the good it did.

Members of the SANA Board passed a resolution which basically expresses concerns over drinking water for neighborhood residents (and all of Albuquerque) when the switch is made in 2008 from drinking aquifer water to drinking river water. The resolution as it was passed appears below:

Be it resolved that the Sawmill Area Neighborhood Association (SANA) on behalf of residents express is concerned over the switch from aquifer water to river water in 2008. Specifically SANA is concerned about
1. the development of strict water safety testing procedures & standards which adequately test the new river water.
2. the development of a rapid response system with Rio Rancho so we can be alerted to any spills heading our way from Rio Rancho & storm runoff from the Alameda Diversion Channel in addition to Rio Rancho's accidental discharges.

3. ways to acquire less polluted water.
4. the development of controls on population expansion which protect our water supply in the future.
5. the development of support for building requirements that mandate greywater and other water recovery technology.

SANA appreciates that Albuquerque wishes to comply with the Federal SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act) by lowering its levels of arsenic. But we're also aware that arsenic and other toxic pollutants are not the only concern and challenge facing metropolitan areas today.

Posted by: suz | May 20, 2007 2:15:03 PM

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