EPA opens public comment on Carson River mercury cleanup

The Carson River in Dayton is part of stretch between Carson City and Lahontan Reservoir contaminated with mercury. (Photo: Kurt Hildebrand/NNG, file)

The Carson River in Dayton is part of stretch between Carson City and Lahontan Reservoir contaminated with mercury. (Photo: Kurt Hildebrand/NNG, file)

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Friday will begin accepting public comment on the plan to cleanup mercury pollution in the Carson River.
The comment period will be open for 30 days.
An electronic copy of the plan will be posted online Friday at http://epa.gov/superfund/carsonrivermercury.
Printed versions of the plan will also be available at the Churchill County Library in Fallon, Dayton Valley library, Nevada State Library in Carson City and the Silver Stage library in Silver Springs.
After the Virginia City Comstock Lode was discovered in 1859, more than 200 processing plants were built to separate gold and silver from the ore along a 130-mile stretch of rivers in the area. Historic mill sites have been identified in Carson City, Virginia City, Dayton, Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley.
Over the years, an estimated 14 million pounds of mercury was released into the Carson River flood plain.
EPA officials say mercury has been found in significant amounts not only in the river bottom but surrounding soils, sediments, fish and wildlife.
The Carson River Mercury Superfund was added to EPA’s National Priorities List in 1990. The cleanup is divided into two operable units. Unit 1 consists of the old mill and tailings sites. Unit 2 includes the Carson River and adjacent floodplain from New Empire to the Carson Sink.
Comments on the plans can be submitted by email to Bain.Andrew@epa.gov. Those wishing to can call and leave a voicemail at 800-231-0775.
Comments must be submitted before the close of business Nov. 15.

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