June 29, 2006

Sandia to demonstrate arsenic removal technique at Jemez Pueblo July 5

Event to be attended by Sen. Domenici, Jemez governor and Sandia officials

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Sandia National Laboratories will demonstrate a coagulation filtration method of removing arsenic from drinking water July 5 as part of a ceremony at the Jemez Pueblo.

U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., Jemez Pueblo Gov. James Roger Madalena, and Sandia Vice President for Energy Security and Defense Technologies Les Shephard will be on hand for the ceremony marking the start of the project and a ribbon cutting ceremony of a new Jemez Pueblo Municipal Water Filtration System.

The ceremony will start at 11 a.m. and will be followed by a luncheon featuring traditional Native American food. Directions to the demonstration and ribbon cutting ceremony are at the end of this news release.

This is the fourth arsenic removal demonstration site that Sandia has established as part of a consortium made up of Sandia; the AWWA Research Foundation (AwwaRF); and WERC, a consortium for Environmental Education and Technology Development. Domenici secured funding for the arsenic removal test project through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

Richard Kottenstette, project manager, says each of the four demonstration sites tests different arsenic removal technologies. The technology being tested at Jemez Pueblo is coagulation-assisted filtration, a common water treatment method used to remove suspended and dissolved solids from the water. The method is currently being used locally in El Paso and Paradise Hills. The pilot testing at Jemez Pueblo presents an opportunity to assess a small-scale test in a unique water quality environment.

Other arsenic removal demonstration plants are located at Socorro, Anthony (Desert Sands) and Rio Rancho. A fifth is planned for a site in Oklahoma.

Following tests at the Oklahoma demonstration site, Sandia — together with its consortium partners — will publish a report discussing the effectiveness the different arsenic removal processes, along with costs associated with each one. Water utilities needing to remove arsenic from water systems in order to meet the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandate can refer to the report to determine which system is best for them.

New EPA regulations went into effect in January calling for the reduction of the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) from 50 micrograms per liter to 10 micrograms per liter. The intent of the regulation is to reduce the incident of bladder and lung cancers caused by exposure to arsenic.

“Arsenic often occurs naturally in volcanic rock,” Kottenstette says. “And because New Mexico has a lot of volcanic rock, many communities in the state — including the Jemez Pueblo — are struggling to determine the best and most cost effective method of arsenic removal to implement.”

To get to the ceremony site, head west on NM550 to San Ysidro. Turn right on NM4 and drive through San Ysidro and most of the Jemez Pueblo. The ceremony will take place at the Walatowa Youth Center located at the north end of the Pueblo at the intersection of NM4 and Bear Canyon Road (mile marker 5.9). Take a right, if coming from the south. The Youth Center is located about 150 yards from the intersection.

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Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Sandia news media contact: Chris Burroughs,, (505) 844-0948

On the day of the event, call Stephanie Holinka with questions or for directions. Her cell phone number is (505) 553-3821.