The Department of Energy (Department) Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is a Government- owned, contractor-operated laboratory that is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex. As part of its mission, SNL operated a 2.6-acre mixed waste landfill (MWL) at its Albuquerque, New Mexico, location on Kirtland Air Force Base and disposed of classified and unclassified waste in the unlined MWL from 1959 through 1988. In 2005, the NMED ordered SNL and the Department to leave the waste in place, cover the MWL, and periodically monitor the MWL site, including the surrounding groundwater, to ensure that the MWL was not contaminating the local aquifer.
Since December 2014, the Office of Inspector General has received multiple allegations and information regarding human health and environmental protection issues due to the waste stored in the MWL. For example, it was alleged that the inventory of the MWL was not complete and that contaminants from the MWL had reached the Albuquerque, New Mexico, aquifer.
Our review substantiated only one of six allegations regarding the SNL MWL. Specifically, we substantiated that since the MWL’s inception in 1959, SNL and the Department had not maintained a complete inventory of the types and amounts of waste disposed of in the MWL. Report.