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Welcome

Welcome to the the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) WIPP Hazardous Waste Bureau (HWB) web pages.  The NMED HWB WIPP group consists of:

Trais Kliphuis         Staff Manager                    

Steve Holmes        Environmental Scientist        

Ricardo Maestas    Environmental Scientist        

Coleman Smith      Environmental Scientist   

     

This website is intended to provide the public with basic information regarding the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit.  Please contact us if you have further questions.

If you are trying to contact the WIPP Facility, please refer to their contact information webpage:  http://www.wipp.energy.gov/contacts.htm

or call their toll-free number 1-800-336-WIPP (9477)

Introduction

On October 27, 1999, the NMED issued a final decision to grant a Hazardous Waste Facility Permit to the US Department of Energy (DOE) for the storage and disposal of transuranic mixed waste.  DOE mixed transuranic waste (MTRU) is waste that has a hazardous component and radioactive elements heavier than uranium. Since shipments began in 1999, over 80,000 cubic meters and 11,000 shipments of waste have been shipped to and emplaced at WIPP.  

The HWB WIPP group’s major duties include modification of the hazardous waste facility permit and oversight for compliance with the permit which includes observation, review and approval of audits.

Regulatory Authority

A dual regulatory framework exists for mixed-waste.  The State of New Mexico's authority to regulate the hazardous waste at WIPP is governed under the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act (HWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA, the State of New Mexico is authorized to operate in lieu of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA does not regulate radioactive mixed wastes in those States with an authorized program. New Mexico is authorized by EPA under 50 Fed Reg 1515 (January 11, 1985). New Mexico implements this authority under the HWA, NMSA 1978, §74-4-1 et seq (Repl. Pamp. 2000). 

New Mexico does not have the authority to regulate the radiological aspects of the waste at WIPP.  This is regulated and granted by certification by EPA’s Radiation Protection Program.  EPA issued its second recertification decision for WIPP on November 18, 2010. EPA determined that the DOE WIPP facility continues to comply with the Agency's waste disposal regulations and compliance criteria. Under this program, before DOE can dispose of waste at the WIPP, it must demonstrate that the waste has been characterized in compliance with the EPA regulations at 40 CFR 194 and meets EPA's radioactive waste disposal standards (40 CFR 191). For more information on this aspect of the WIPP facility, please see the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/wipp/

News

March 21, 2014 - The NMED withdrew the draft Permit for the Class 3 modification public noticed on February 14, 2014.


March 17, 2014 - The NMED has received the first weekly report required by the February 27, 2014 Administrative Order.  Documents will be posted on the NMED WIPP Incident Webpage: http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/NMED/Issues/WIPP2014.html.


March 12, 2014 - The NMED has a new information webpage addressing the February 2014 Underground Salt Truck Fire and Radionuclide Release Events.  It is located at: http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/NMED/Issues/WIPP2014.html.   Relevant documents will be posted there.


March 7, 2014 - The HWB WIPP Group has been assisting with the Radiological Release Event including review of the Exhaust Filter Building operation and the associated Documented Safety Analysis (DSA).


March 4 , 2014 - The New Mexico Environment Department issued an Administrative Order to the WIPP facility on February 27, 2014. The document is available for downloading:


February 14 , 2014 - The New Mexico Environment Department is begining a 60 day public comment period for a DRAFT Class 3 Permit Modification.

Persons interested in learning about this PMR and what changes the Department is making may contact Trais Kliphuis at trais.kliphuis@state.nm.us or 505-476-6051.

The following documents are available for downloading:


September 20, 2013 - The New Mexico Environment Department took final action on an annual permit-based on-site inspection of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Hazardous Waste Facility Permit by determining the facility has been operating in full compliance within the Permit.

The New Mexico Environment Department also issued a Technical Incompleteness Determination for the 3 Item Class 3 Permit Modification Request received on March 18, 2013. A copy of the determination can be found at:

Please direct questions about this Permit Modification Request to: Trais.Kliphuis@state.nm.us


July 2 , 2013 - The New Mexico Environment Department took final administrative action on how it will process the Class 2 permit modification request that was submitted on April 9, 2013.

A copy of the press release can be found at: 

http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/OOTS/documents/PR070813WIPPPermitModificationRequestElevatedToClass3.pdf


April 9 , 2013 - NMED received a Class 2 permit modification request.

NMED will be receiving and reviewing comments during the public comment period.  Please review NMED’s regulatory authority when commenting and note that although we care about all aspects of WIPP, comments regarding issues outside the state’s authority cannot be considered when taking action.

A copy of the permit modification request can be found at:  http://www.wipp.energy.gov/library/Information_Repository_A/Class_2_Permit_Modifications/13-0727_ENCL.pdf


March 20 , 2013 - NMED received a Class 3 permit modification request.

NMED will be receiving and reviewing comments during the public comment period.  Please review NMED’s regulatory authority when commenting and note that although we care about all aspects of WIPP, comments regarding issues outside the state’s authority cannot be considered when taking action.

A copy of the permit modification request can be found at:  http://www.wipp.energy.gov/library/Information_Repository_A/Class_3_Permit_Modifications/13-0718.pdf


March 13, 2013 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit. The PMR included a request to revise the waste analysis characterization methods. After a technical review and consideration of all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.


January 24, 2013 - NMED presented a PowerPoint at the WIPP Quarterly meeting in Santa Fe.  See the PowerPoint


Link to NMED's Press Release regarding the November 1, 2012 PMR issuance.


November 27 , 2012 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit dated November 1, 2012. NMED has since identified a typographical error to the modified permit and corrected this.  For more information, see the Clarification Letter sent to Permittees (November 27, 2012).

The Permit was corrected as a result of this.

Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.


November 1, 2012 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit dated July 5, 2012. The PMR included requests to add a shielded container option. After a technical review and consideration of all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.


October 25 , 2012 - NMED presented a PowerPoint at the WIPP Quarterly meeting in Albuquerque.  See the PowerPoint


July 19 , 2012 - NMED presented a PowerPoint at the WIPP Quarterly meeting in Santa Fe.  See the PowerPoint


July 5, 2012 - NMED received a Class 2 permit modification request to add an option to use a new shielded container for managing Remote-Handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) mixed waste as Contact-Handled (CH) TRU mixed waste, change the description of how the volume of RH TRU mixed waste disposed in the shielded containers will be tracked and make changes related to waste handing descriptions.  The shielded container will be used to package waste that is already approved for shipment to WIPP and when packaged will meet the surface dose requirements of the CH TRU mixed waste. 

NMED will be receiving and reviewing comments during the public comment period.  Please review NMED’s regulatory authority when commenting and note that although we care about all aspects of WIPP, comments regarding issues outside the state’s authority cannot be considered when taking action.

A copy of the permit modification request can be found at:  http://www.wipp.energy.gov/library/Information_Repository_A/Class_2_Permit_Modifications/Class_2_Shielded_Container_7-5-12.pdf


April 13, 2012 - NMED issued an audit approval letter for Savannah River Site - Central Characterization Projecjet Audit A-12-04.  See the Letter


April 12, 2012 - NMED presented a PowerPoint at the WIPP Quarterly meeting in Carlsbad.  See the PowerPoint


February 6, 2012 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit dated September 29, 2011. NMED has since been notified and has identified several non-substantive typographical errors to the modified permit and corrected these on February 6, 2013.  For more information, see the Typographic Correction Letter sent to Permittees (February 6, 2012).

The Permit was corrected as a result of this.

Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.


January 31, 2012 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit dated September 29, 2011. The PMR included requests to update ventilation language, add a shielded container option and revise the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) groundwater detection monitoring program plan. After a technical review and consideration of all public comment, NMED approved two parts of the modification with changes and denied the shielded container portion of the modification request.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action.


April 15, 2011 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on January 11, 2011. The PMR included requests to add the TRUPACT-III as a shipping package, add the Standard Large Box 2 (SLB2) as a storage and disposal container, add Room 108 and Airlock 107 as part of the Contact-Handled Bay in the Waste Handling Building Storage Unit, and add equipment to the facility to allow for the handling of the TRUPACT-III and SLB2. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.


November 30, 2010 - NMED Secretary Ron Curry issued a final decision to renew the Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). A copy of the Secretary's decision is available on the Download Page, along with the Hearing Officer's report and NMED's response to written comments received on the draft permit and oral comments provided at the public hearing. Here is the press release accompanying the Secretary’s final order.


July 27, 2010 - NMED is posting all comments on the draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit that were received by the close of the public comment period. Click the name of the commenter on the Commenter List to view their comment.


July 2, 2010 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 PMR to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on April 14, 2010. The PMR included a request to revise volatile organic compound concentrations of concern and update these values using current EPA IRIS data. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes. The revised permit also incorporated a Class 1 modification that the Permittees had previously implemented.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.


June 30, 2010 - NMED concluded discussions on June 29, 2010 with interested individuals and groups who submitted preliminary comments on the April 27, 2010 draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit. These discussions were conducted pursuant to 20.4.1.901.A(4) NMAC, which states that the NMED, in conjunction with the applicants, must respond to requests for hearings and notices of opposition to draft permits issued under the State Hazardous Waste Act in an effort to resolve those issues that gave rise to the hearing request(s).

NMED filed on June 30, 2010 a notice with the hearing clerk that included a stipulation on changes to language in the draft Permit following a month of discussions. Participants in these discussions agreed on a broad range of issues related to waste characterization, the respective roles and responsibilities of DOE and the WIPP contractor, requirements for an information repository and community relations plan, additional e-mail notification requirements, and expanded public involvement in the acceptable knowledge sufficiency determination process. Other participants agreed to some issues while preserving their right to challenge specific areas of disagreement at the public hearing.

These agreements do not limit any person's ability to participate in the public hearings scheduled in Santa Fe, NM August 9 through August 20 and in Carlsbad on August 16, as noticed below. NMED is offering members of the public an opportunity to review these proposed language changes to the draft Permit before the hearing and to participate in the negotiation process:


June 4, 2010 - NMED published a notice announcing a public hearing on the draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit issued on April 27, 2010. The Notice provides information on how to submit public comment and the public hearing process. Public comment will be received through the end of the public hearing. The public hearing on the draft Permit will begin Monday, August 9, 2010 and continue as necessary through Friday, August 20, 2010. The public hearing will be held at the Santa Fe Community College located at 6401 S. Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87508, in the Board Room (Room 223), with one day for non-technical oral public comment in Carlsbad, NM on Monday, August 16, 2010 at 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Best Western Stevens Inn located at 1829 S. Canal Street, Carlsbad, NM 88220. The following documents are available for public review:

  • Public Notice - describes details concerning the hearing locations and schedule, the procedures by which public comment and technical testimony will be received, the procedure for issuance of the final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and availability of additional information.
  • Interested Person Letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List

The public comment period is extended to the end of the hearing.



April 27, 2010 - NMED published notice of a public comment period of its intent to issue a renewal hazardous waste facility permit to WIPP to manage, store, and dispose of transuranic (TRU) mixed waste. The draft Permit, when finalized, would allow WIPP to continue hazardous waste management operations in much the same manner as those authorized by the existing Permit, such as: requiring generator/storage sites to implement applicable waste characterization requirements prior to the receipt of TRU mixed waste at WIPP; conducting waste characterization audits at generator storage sites to ensure their implementation of and compliance with applicable requirements; safely managing, storing, and disposing contact-handled and remote-handled TRU mixed waste upon receipt at WIPP; performing required environmental monitoring of air and groundwater at WIPP to ensure protection of human health and the environment; closing all permitted storage and disposal units following final receipt of waste; conducting required post-closure care activities after final closure of WIPP; and complying with corrective action requirements related to any release of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents from the Facility.

The following documents are available online for public review:

  • Interested Person Letter and Public Notice - discusses background and administrative history, public review of the draft Permit, public hearing, public comment, procedure of issuance of final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and additional information

  • Fact Sheet - discusses background, administrative history, permit modification request summary, proposed action in draft Permit, availability of additional information, public comment and request for hearing, and final decision

  • Draft Permit – includes all Parts and Attachments for the renewal Permit. The individual files in Adobe Reader PDF format are available for download here.

  • Administrative Record Index

The 60-day public comment period ends June 28, 2010.


April 1, 2010 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 permit modification request (PMR) to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on January 7, 2010. The PMR included requests to change or clarify language and requirements associated with the liquid prohibition in the WIPP waste acceptance criteria; change or clarify language and requirements associated with the visual examination of waste; and change language requiring nonconformances written on a waste container to be dispositioned before shipment to WIPP. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.


May 22, 2009 - NMED issued a revision to the WIPP Permit today, incorporating all outstanding Class 1 Permit Modification Notifications that had been received by NMED between July 9, 2008 and May 18, 2009. NMED issued this revision to the WIPP Permit in preparation for the Permittees' submittal of their renewal application, with the expectation that the application will be based upon the most recent version of the Permit posted on this web site. NMED anticipates receiving the renewal application on or before May 29, 2009.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to Download Page the for the current version of the Permit.


October 23, 2008 - NMED issued a Final Determination approving a Class 3 PMR to the WIPP Permit that was received by NMED on September 4, 2007. The PMR sought to grant no further action (NFA) status for fifteen Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and eight Areas of Concern (AOCs) at the WIPP facility. On March 7, 2008, NMED issued a draft Permit, a notice of public comment period, and its intent to approve this Class 3 PMR. NMED's approval of the SWMUs/AOCs proposed for NFA is on the basis that they have been characterized or remediated in accordance with current applicable regulations, and the available data indicate that contaminants pose an acceptable level of risk under current and projected future land use. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the draft Permit without changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.



March 25, 2008 - NMED issued a Final Determination on two Class 2 PMRs to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on November 26, 2007. The PMRs included requests to allow the WIPP Operating Record to be maintained in an unalterable, searchable electronic format; monitor each full panel for hydrogen and methane until final panel closure; establish action levels for hydrogen and methane; install substantial barriers and steel bulkheads to isolate a full panel for monitoring purposes; evaluate the monitoring data to determine an appropriate final closure system; revise the location and frequency of volatile organic compound (VOC) monitoring in full panels until final panel closure; inspect and certify the explosion-isolation walls in Panels 1 and 2 and inspect the bulkheads in Panels 3 through 7 until final panel closure; and extend the final closure in Panels 1 through 7 to 2016. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.



March 7, 2008 - NMED issued a draft Permit, a notice of public comment period, and its intent to approve a Class 3 PMR to the WIPP Permit that was received by NMED on September 4, 2007. If approved, this proposed modification would grant NFA status for fifteen SWMUs and eight AOCs at the WIPP facility. NMED's approval of the SWMUs/AOCs proposed for NFA is on the basis that they have been characterized or remediated in accordance with current applicable regulations, and the available data indicate that contaminants pose an acceptable level of risk under current and projected future land use. The 60-day public comment period will end May 6, 2008. The following documents were released:



November 26, 2007 - NMED issued a Notice of Violation and a Compliance Orders against the Permittees, and another Compliance Order against CBFO today. The following documents were released:



June 22, 2007 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 PMR to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on March 29, 2007. The PMR included requests to revise training requirements for waste confirmation; revise preventative maintenance procedure frequencies; remove the Brush Truck; revise Incident Level II requirements; revise Emergency Operations Center staff requirements; and revise the Contingency Plan. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.



February 27, 2007 - NMED issued a Final Determination on two Class 1* modification requests submitted on August 31, 2006 and January 11, 2007. The subject of the first Class 1* modification sought to revise the requirements for listing hazardous waste numbers on manifests as required by regulations  recently promulgated by the US EPA. The subject of the second Class 1* modification proposed a change in the closure schedule for Panel 3. NMED approved the modifications with minor changes, primarily based upon informal comments received from several organizations and the Permittees. NMED also incorporated numerous other Class 1 notifications received between October 19, 2006 and January 30, 2007.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.



October 16, 2006 - Secretary Ron Curry and Governor Bill Richardson signed the Secretary's Final Order approving the May 25, 2006 "draft permit as changed" in its entirety. The notice of this decision was served on the Permittees on October 17, 2006, making the effective date for the approved permit November 16, 2006. NMED also responded to all comments received on the Draft Permit.

NMED sent a letter to the Permittees on October 25, 2006, summarizing this final agency action. The letter also granted the Permittees 120 calendar days from the effective date of the Permit to complete the transition to implement generator/storage site waste analysis plan (WAP) requirements.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.


September 13, 2006 - Hearing officer Rip Harwood submitted his report to NMED Secretary Ron Curry on the Class 3 PMR and draft permit that was subject to hearing May 31 through June 9, 2006. After due consideration of all the evidence, testimony and public comment, and as set forth in the report's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, the hearing officer recommends that the Secretary approve the May 25, 2006 "draft permit as changed" (the result of previous negotiations among the parties) in its entirety.

Entries in red text are the major PMRs relevant to this permit action. In the column to the far right labeled "Attach", entries with "No" in red indicate that, while there isn't an attachment in the correspondence file, there is a document that accompanied the indexed item, such as a substantial PMR or publication. These items are also included in the administrative record. Entries in blue text denote new documents added to the index, while yellow highlighting denote older documents that were referenced in NMED's technical testimony at the hearing.



June 22, 2006 - MED today updated the index of the administrative record for the draft Permit that was public noticed on November 23, 2005, to include all relevant documents obtained following issuance of the draft Permit through the close of the public hearing on June 9, 2006. The index identifies correspondence and other documents relevant to this permit action. It is available for download in two formats:

Entries in red text are the major PMRs relevant to this permit action. In the column to the far right labeled "Attach", entries with "No" in red indicate that, while there isn't an attachment in the correspondence file, there is a document that accompanied the indexed item, such as a substantial PMR or publication. These items are also included in the administrative record. Entries in blue text denote new documents added to the index, while yellow highlighting denote older documents that were referenced in NMED's technical testimony at the hearing.



May 9, 2006 - NMED concluded negotiations on May 3, 2006 with interested individuals and groups who requested a public hearing on the November 23, 2005 draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit. These negotiations were conducted pursuant to 20.4.1.901.A(4) NMAC, which states that the NMED, in conjunction with the applicants, must respond to requests for hearings and notices of opposition to draft permits issued under the State Hazardous Waste Act in an effort to resolve those issues that gave rise to the hearing request(s).

Today, NMED filed a notice with the hearing clerk that included a stipulation on changes to language in the draft Permit following two months of negotiations. Some participants in these negotiations agreed on a broad range of issues related to waste characterization, the volume of waste stored and disposed of at WIPP, the acceptance of remote-handled waste, and expanded public notification of specific permit activities. Other participants agreed to some issues while preserving their right to challenge specific areas of disagreement at the public hearing.

These agreements do not limit any person's ability to participate in the public hearings scheduled in Carlsbad, NM May 31 through June 6 and Santa Fe June 7 through June 9, as noticed below. NMED is offering members of the public an opportunity to review these proposed language changes to the draft Permit before the hearing and to participate in the negotiation process:

  • Letter of explanation to commenters - describes the negotiation process, the agreements reached, and the process for participating in the negotiation process up to the close of the public hearing.
  • Stipulation on changes to language in the draft Permit - contains the notice filed with the hearing officer, the agreement reached by some of the participants in the negotiations, the exceptions to the agreement by other participants, and only those pages with language changes to the draft Permit (indicated in redline/strikeout format) included in the agreement. (2700 KB in Adobe PDF format)
  • Draft Permit with language changes - modules and attachments to the draft Permit with all markings in the November 23, 2005 version accepted, and all additional changes indicated in redline/strikeout format. (2650 KB zipped archive)

NMED also issued a press release regarding the conclusion of the negotiations.


March 28, 2006 - NMED today published a notice announcing a rescheduled public hearing on the draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit issued on November 23, 2005. The public hearing will now begin on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 in Carlsbad, New Mexico and will continue there through Tuesday, June 6. The hearing will reconvene in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Wednesday evening, June 7, and continue through Friday, June 9, or until all persons have been afforded an adequate opportunity to present comment. The following documents are available for public review:

  • Public Notice - describes details concerning the hearing locations and schedule, the procedures by which public comment and technical testimony will be received, the procedure for issuance of the final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and availability of additional information.
  • Interested Person Letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List
Here are maps to the hearing locations:

February 27, 2006 - NMED today published a notice announcing a public hearing on the draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit issued on November 23, 2005. The public hearing dates originally noticed on that dates have been superseded by the public notice published on March 28, 2006 above. The following documents are available for public review:

  • Public Notice - describes the proposed modifications that NMED intends to approve, details concerning the hearing locations and schedule, the procedures by which public comment and technical testimony will be received, the procedure for issuance of the final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and availability of additional information.
  • Interested Person Letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List

February 23, 2006 - NMED is posting all comments on the draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit that were received by the close of the public comment period. Click the name of the commenter on the Commenter List to view their comment.


January 24, 2006 - NMED today published a notice extending the period for submission of public comments and requests for public hearing on the draft Hazardous Waste Facility Permit issued on November 23, 2005. The public comment period is extended through 5:00 PM, February 22, 2006. The date of any public hearing is also postponed until further notice. The following documents are available for public review:

  • Public Notice - discusses extension of the period to submit comments and requests for hearing, public review of the draft Permit, public hearing, public comment, procedure of issuance of final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and additional information
  • Concerned Citizen Letter sent to the WIPP Mailing List

NMED also reissued the index for the administrative record with minor corrections on the final pages (eliminating index #050933 because it was a duplicate, and renumbering the final three entries). See the June 22, 2006 entry above for links.


January 18, 2006 - NMED received comments on the draft Permit from the Permittees today. They are available for review by the public prior to the close of the public comment period:

  • Transmittal letter from the Permittees dated January 17, 2006
  • Comments of the U.S. Department of Energy and Washington TRU Solutions, LLC, Regarding the NMED's Intent to Approve a Class 3 Permit Modification Request Pursuant to Public Notice 05-16 (1.5 MB)

January 17, 2006 - NMED today published an index of the administrative record for the draft Permit that was public noticed on November 23, 2005. The index identifies correspondence and other documents relevant to this permit action. It is available for download in two formats:

  • Administrative Record Index in Microsoft Excel (see June 22, 2006 entry above for links)
  • Administrative Record Index in Adobe Reader (see June 22, 2006 entry above for links)

Entries in red are the major permit modification requests (PMRs) relevant to this permit action. In the column to the far right labeled "Attach", entries with "No" in red indicate that, while there isn't an attachment in the correspondence file, there is a document that accompanied the indexed item, such as a substantial PMR or publication. These items are also included in the administrative record.

NMED is also incorporating by reference the administrative record from the original permit hearing in 1999.

Finally, NMED is making available for download all figures for the draft Permit in Adobe Reader format. See the November 23, 2005 entry below for links.


November 23, 2005 - NMED today published notice of a public comment period of its intent to approve a Class 3 PMR to the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit. The PMR, a consolidation of several previous Class 3 PMRs (remote-handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) mixed waste, Section 311 of Pub. L. 108-137, and others) is the most comprehensive proposed modification to the Permit since it was issued on October 27, 1999. The draft Permit issued today proposes to allow the receipt, management, and disposal of RH TRU mixed waste at WIPP; make significant changes to the TRU mixed waste characterization program; create a new TRU mixed waste confirmation program in response to Section 311 of Pub. L. 108-137; increase the capacities in the Waste Handling Building and Parking Area Container Storage Units; increase the capacities in the underground HWDUs, or panels, for TRU mixed waste; and change the method for demonstrating that the underground disposal rooms comply with the environmental performance standards for volatile organic compounds in response to Section 311 of Pub. L. 108-137. The following documents are available for public review:

The 60-day public comment period ends January 23, 2006.


September 1, 2005 - NMED issued a Notice of Deficiency (NOD) for the June 10, 2005 Consolidated Response to NOD, Class 3 PMR submitted in accordance with Pub. L. 108-137, Section 311, and Second NOD, Class 3 PMR for RH TRU waste. The Permittees submitted this Consolidated Response to address NMED concerns raised in the second NOD on the RH PMR issued on March 29, 2005, and the December 30, 2004 NOD on the Section 311 PMR. NMED had directed the Permittees to develop a consolidated response and PMR that would address both NODs as well as characterization requirements for contact handled (CH) and RH waste in a unified manner.  NMED found the revised PMR in the consolidated response to be technically deficient and provided NOD comments listing the requested information necessary for NMED to consider preparation of a draft Permit.

The Permit was not modified as a result of this administrative action.


July 8, 2005 - NMED issued a Final Determination on two related PMRs: a Class 3 modification request submitted by the Permittees on May 13, 2004, and a Class 1* modification request submitted on February 24, 2005. The subject of the Class 3 modification proposed  to allow the construction and use of additional underground Hazardous Waste Disposal Units (HWDUs), or panels, for TRU mixed waste, and was also the subject of a draft Permit issued by NMED on September 17, 2004. The subject of the Class 1* modification proposed a change in the closure schedule for Panel 2. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modifications with changes, primarily due to inconsistencies between the two modification requests in the dates for activities in Panels 4 through 10. NMED also incorporated numerous other Class 1 notifications received by April 29, 2005. NMED will issue responses to comments at a later date.

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.



March 29, 2005 - NMED issued a Second NOD for the June 27, 2002, Class 3 PMR for RH waste submitted by the Permittees on June 28, 2002. NMED had issued the first NOD on the RH PMR on March 5, 2003, and the Permittees had responded to the NOD on May 5, 2003. NMED found this response to be technically deficient as well, but in light of the December 30, 2004 NOD on the Section 311 PMR, NMED directed the Permittees to develop a consolidated response and PMR that would address both CH and RH waste characterization requirements in a unified manner.

The Permit was not modified as a result of this administrative action.


December 30, 2004 - NMED issued a NOD for the January 12, 2004, Class 3 PMR submitted by the Permittees in accordance with Public Law 108-137, Section 311.  NMED found the PMR to be technically deficient and provided NOD comments listing the requested information necessary for NMED to consider preparation of a draft Permit.

The Permit was not modified as a result of this administrative action.

Previous NMED WIPP news has been moved to a page of its own.


Online Files and Documents

The WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit consists of seven Modules and numerous Attachments, and is available for viewing online at the NMED WIPP Permit Page.

Go to the Download Page to obtain a compressed archive of all Modules and Attachments in editable MS Word 2003 format, which can be opened with most word processors.


Mailing Lists

NMED is required by regulation to maintain a facility mailing list. Both NMED and the Permittees use this list to inform interested members of the public regarding public comment periods for permit modification requests and draft permits, final NMED administrative actions on permit decisions, etc. If you wish to add your name to NMED's WIPP mailing list, send e-mail to Trais Kliphuis. Please include your name, physical mailing address (street address, PO Box, etc.), phone number, and organization, if any.

The Permittees are required by Permit Condition I.H to maintain an e-mail notification list. The Permittees use this list to notify members of the public concerning actions identified by the Permit, such as submittal of waste characterization audit reports to NMED for approval, submittal of acceptable knowledge sufficiency determinations for NMED review, submittal of an issue for dispute resolution, etc. If you wish to add your name to the Permittees' e-mail notification list, go to the Permittees' WIPP Home Page, click the link that says "Stakeholder Notification", and follow the directions there.


External Links

There are many resources related to WIPP on the Internet, including regulatory, stakeholder, and news perspectives. Many of these have been collected on this External Links web page.

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