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Suggested geologic and hydrologic criteria for shallow burial of hazardous wastes in New Mexico include: (1) rock type and permeability; thick, clay-rich sedimentary and volcaniclastic rocks with low permeability should be considered as the best type of waste repository; where the water table is deep (exceeding 200 ft or 62 m) thick units containing some permeable strata may be considered; (2) absence of known aquifers below or adjacent to site and minimum depths to the water-table exceeding 100 to 200 ft (31 to 62 m); (3) surface stability in terms of water and wind erosion, with minimum land-surface ages in the 10,000 to 100,000-year range; the site should also be stable in terms of seismic and solution subsidence processes; (4) absence of known mineral and geothermal r sources whose development could be affected by disposal operations.
No site should be located near a perennial stream or alluvial valley aquifer system or upwind from population centers or farming areas. Sites recommended for consideration in New Mexico have been at least 3 mi (4.8 km) from floors of perennial stream valleys. Climatic criteria should include limiting sites to areas where mean annual evaporation greatly exceeds precipitation. Permanent burial of hazardous wastes is recommended only for solid wastes that do not appear to be capable of recycling.
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