Peter G. MORROS, Director
L.H. DODGION, Administrator
TDD 687-4678

Mining Gegulations and Reclamation
Water Pollution Control
Facismile 687-5856

Waste Management
Corrective Actions
Federal Facilities
Facismile 885-0868

Air Quality
Water Quality Planning
Facismile 687-6396

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Division of EnvironmentalProtection

333 W. Nye Lane, Room 138
Carson City, Nevada 89706-0866
June 30, 1997

G. Leah Dever,
Assistant Manager
Environmental Management
U.S. Department of Energy
Nevada Operations Office
P.O. Box 98518
Las Vegas, NV 89193-8518

RE: Funding For Underground Testing Area (UGTA) Program in FFY'99

Dear Ms. Dever:

In the early stages of determining what information was needed to define site groundwater contamination on the NTS, DOE, in what was called the Ground Water Characterization Program, proposed the construction of 100 new wells. The NDEP has consistently stated there was no sound basis for, or agreement on how many additional wells would need to be constructed (10, 100, 500) to achieve an acceptable level of site characterization. During the negotiations of the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO), there was no agreement as to the sufficiency or availability of hydrogeological information from existing wells and data bases, however, a process was agreed to where DOE would utilize data from existing wells to the extent possible. It has always been NDEP's belief and assertion that new wells would almost certainly be necessary to achieve an acceptable level of groundwater characterization. The unknown factor was exactly how many wells would be needed and where. The process outlined in FIGURE 3.4 in Appendix VI of the FFACO clearly indicates there could be a need for acquisition of additional information to support a CAU specific model. This information could be obtained from existing wells, if available, or new wells.

In the FFACO, NDEP agreed on the establishment of enforceable milestones, DEADLINES, for the UGTA CAUs based on DOE's assertion that they could develop an acceptable CAU specific model without the construction of new wells. NDEP concurred that these DEADLINES could be extended if or when, from NDEP's position, it was determined to what extent additional new wells would be necessary.

DOE has completed its regional model, which now clearly indicates that for the Pahute Mesa CAU, where the contamination pathway indicates migration off site, additional wells will need to be constructed to delineate contaminant boundaries. DOE/NV has indicated it may take an additional 3 years and $15-20 million to accomplish what it presently believes will be necessary to complete the characterization and determine the bounds of the potentially impacted area.

The procedure for defining funding needs and setting of DEADLINES on a "three year rolling milestone" basis was a process proposed by DOE and agreed to by the state during negotiations on a national basis for the Federal Facilities Compliance Act Consent Order and incorporated into the FFACO. NDEP is open for discussion to extend existing DEADLINES for this CAU to accomplish the needed additional work if DOE/NV identifies these additional activities, as required to meet compliance schedules, and seeks the needed additional funding in FFY' 99. In accordance with PARTS XV.9 and XV.10 of the FFACO, the request for these funds needs to be incorporated into the DOE/NV FY' 99 EM budget request, which is being developed now.

For any questions related to this matter, please contact me at (702) 687-4670 Ex 3039.


Paul J. Liebendorfer, P.E.

cc: Steve Mellington, DOE/ERD
John Walker, NWPO
Earle Dixon, NTS/CAB
Clint Case, NDEP
Bobbie McClure, DOE/ERD
Chuck Bulik, NDEP
Patti Hall, DOE/ERD

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