Letter: County deserves independent probe

Are you aware that in August the ASG plant had an explosion? The plant is located just five-eighths of a mile from a major subdivision, about a mile from another, one-quarter mile from the dump substation, less than a mile from the Sutro Elementary School, a new church is being built across the highway, sewer treatment ditches are within one-half mile, other commercial and industrial buildings are on the same road and the Carson River is just one mile. If this plant had a major explosion, it could be an environmental disaster and how many lives could be affected?

At County Commissioner Bob Milz' and Fire Chief Driscoll's request, there have been two recent county commission meetings to determine if a private consultant should be hired to review the results of the ASG investigation. ASG has hired a company to determine why the plant exploded but isn't it to our advantage to at least have someone review the report who knows what they are looking at and to make sure that it is safe to reopen that plant again?

The product ASG produces, hydrogen triflouride, is only produced by three companies, and Nevada doesn't even have an expert who can review the results. This product is just too new to know enough about at this time and it is not known if anybody could decipher the report the ASG investigators will produce or even if all we would get is a summary.

According to Fire Chief Driscoll, "The finished product is similar to rocket fuel and is used to clean ovens that bake computer chips. If a person is exposed to hydrogen flouride (one of the ingredients) it can cause your bones to disintegrate." The cost of an independent consultant would be approximately $20,000, about $2-$3 per Dayton resident. This is the type of emergency that the county keeps reserves for but the commission doesn't feel that Lyon County should spend $20,000 to review this because ASG has already hired experts to investigate.

The Lyon County District Attorney's office has recommended a "peer review." Both Chief Driscoll and Commissioner Milz requested the consultation and NDEP's Mark Souzi has also.

According to Commissioner Milz, "There is additional information that he is not privy to disclose at this time." There have also been accusations that there have been other incidents or a prior explosion that may not have been reported. Commission Chairman Goodman said at the Oct. 5 meeting, "ASG recently began making repairs to the building but a stop work order was issued for violations of building regulations." Isn't this enough to require a consultant just for the public safety of Dayton residents?

I urge you, if you feel as strongly about ensuring Dayton's public safety as Commissioner Mills, Chief Driscoll and myself, to join us in the fight. It is hard to convince the commission that this is important without support. Speak up, write to the commissioners right away, call the commissioners, county and district attorney and tell them you want this consultant. I urge anyone who feels either way, for or against, to get involved.




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