- Environmental Communication & Public Involvement
- P.O. Box 1663 MS M992
- Los Alamos, NM 87545
- (505) 667-3792
Monitoring surface soil
Los Alamos National Laboratory has monitored surface soils since the early 1970s. Institutional surface soil samples are collected from 17 on-site, 11 perimeter, and six regional (background) locations every three years.
Samples from regional locations are used to estimate background levels of radionuclides and chemicals. All locations are:
- At elevations similar to those at the Laboratory
- More than 20 miles away from the Laboratory
- Beyond the range of potential influence from normal Laboratory operations
Why we sample surface soil
Soil sampling is performed to:
- Determine radionuclide and chemical concentrations in soil and compare these results to regional (background) areas
- Determine concentration trends over time
- Estimate potential radiation dose and chemical exposure risk to residents, plants, and animals
Measurements are compared to samples from the regional sites and compared to averages over time to see if there are changes in concentrations.
The results of all soil sampling data and the interpretation of the data are available in the annual Environmental Report.