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(NMED Photo)

The New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Hazardous Waste Bureau team completed its surface and underground inspections of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) facility last week.

The inspections covered issues dating back to the 2014 salt truck fire and radiation leak incident that led to the facility’s temporary closure, as well as the conditions of the facility’s current hazardous waste permit.

“WIPP is a critical asset to our nation’s security, our state’s economy, and the community in which it operates,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Butch Tongate. “NMED has maintained environmentally protective oversight at WIPP for many years, especially throughout WIPP’s recent recovery process. Our inspections last week were to ensure that the violations cited and the corrective actions identified in NMED’s 2014 Administrative Orders and Administrative Compliance Order have been fully addressed.

“Further, all conditions of WIPP’s current hazardous waste permit, under the U.S. Resource and Conservation Recovery Act which NMED enforces in New Mexico, must be met as well. Once our inspectors have compiled their observations, we will formally notify WIPP of the results of the inspections.”