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May 15, 2013
Groundwater Makes a Splash
NNSS Groundwater Experts Meet at Devils Hole
Groundwater was a major topic at this year’s Devils Hole Workshop at the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, CA, May 1-3, 2013. The annual event allows scientists working in and around Death Valley to share updates, innovations, and challenges associated with ecological study in the region.
A special focus was placed on the extensive groundwater program at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and surrounding federal lands, located just north of the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to Devils Hole.
For more than two decades, NNSS groundwater specialists have been examining the effects of contamination from historic underground nuclear testing on groundwater in and around the NNSS. These experts were on hand at the Devils Hole Workshop to give updates on groundwater sampling operations as well as computer model findings.
“There are many facets to the NNSS groundwater program as well as many contributors,” said Bill Wilborn of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Field Office. “The Devils Hole Workshop provides a rare opportunity for these experts to share a stage and demonstrate how far we’ve come in our understanding of the NNSS’ massive and complex subsurface.”
On the last day of the workshop, attendees took a tour of the NNSS to get a first-hand look at some of the historic underground test areas. “Until you’ve actually visited the NNSS, it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the geologic and hydrologic complexities of the site,” said tour guest, Daniel Levitt of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Other subjects featured at the workshop included Water Fluctuations in Ash Meadows, Status of the Devils Hole Pupfish, and the Adaptation of Low-Impact Development to Desert Climates. The event was sponsored by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nye County Water District, Glorieta Geoscience Inc., and Death Valley National Park Service.
TIE Conference Gets Technical
As a prelude to Devils Hole, NNSS groundwater program team members came together for the annual Nevada Field Office Technical Information Exchange (TIE). This poster event, held on April 30, 2013 at the Desert Research Institute in Las Vegas, served as an interactive forum for scientists to review one another’s findings and discuss the program’s path forward.
“These individuals work every day, many in different states, making advancements in groundwater characterization techniques, designing more accurate computer models, and bringing new dimensions to geological analyses at the NNSS,” said TIE Coordinator Sam Marutsky of Navarro-Intera (contractor to the DOE). “The TIE is an opportunity for federal, contractor, lab, and university team members to place individual findings into the context of our larger goal, which is to better understand contaminant transport at the NNSS and protect the public over the long term.”
TIE participants included representatives from the Desert Research Institute, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, GeoHydros, Navarro-Intera, National Security Technologies, the U.S. Geological Survey, DOE, and the Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board.
Members of Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board (NSSAB) attended both the Devils Hole and TIE events. The voluntary Board, which consists of Nevada residents, makes regular recommendations to the Nevada Field Office on environmental management activities, including groundwater.
On May 3, 2013, NSSAB members joined Devils Hole participants on a tour of the NNSS. Among the group photographed here at Sedan Crater are Board members Jack Sypolt, Edward Rosemark, Donna Hruska, and Art Goldsmith.
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Date Last Modified:
May 15, 2013