LightBox Interactive has said its excavation of the “Atari Graveyard” in New Mexico, also known as the “Atari Dump”, will continue as planned once environmental concerns are addressed.
According to Alamagordo Daily News, a 2004 study of the landfill found “22 compounds of concern,” and due to the elevated levels of several chemicals, further testing of the site is needed. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) stated the dig cannot occur until a WEP Special Use Permit is approved by the Solid Waste and Ground Water Bureau.
The landfill was closed by the city of Alamagordo in the late 1980s, but has been used by residents since as early as the 1920s.
“We received the WEP on February 13, and Solid Waste and Ground Water Bureau staff completed a review and a letter with our joint findings was sent on February 27,” said Jim Winchester, a spokesman for the NMED. “This letter noted many items that needed to addressed, included or clarified before the Bureau could approve the plan.”
A revised plan would need to be submitted, and excavation of the site cannot begin until the a plan is approved.
Canadian developer Fuel Entertainment and LightBox announced last year it planned to excavate the Alamogordo landfill to search for E.T. The Extraterrestrial cartridges and other broken or unsalable merchandise allegedly buried by Atari in 1983. A documentary of the dig is to be filmed as well.
Catherine Pasciak, a producer for LightBox, said the company started shooting interviews in February.
While the dig may be on hold for the time being, the project has not been abandoned. According to Jonathan Chinn, executive producer at LightBox, the local waste-management consultant who filed the excavation permit is just waiting to clear up the concerns raised by the NMED.