SANTA FE, N.M. — State lawmakers and members of the public say safety of Los Alamos County groundwater is in doubt because of pollution from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

U.S. Department of Energy officials have acknowledged for years that there is a significant concentration of the cancer-causing chemical hexavalent chromium pooled in the aquifer under Los Alamos. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the chemical came from decades of negligent lab waste disposal.

Lab officials testified at a legislative hearing Friday that new mapping shows the plume of pollution is larger than previously thought and closer to a well used for local and lab drinking water.

Los Alamos program manager Danny Katzman says cleanup could take decades.

Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard says she left the hearing more nervous than she was before.

Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,