EPA turns Anaconda Copper Mine cleanup over to state
Yerington’s Anaconda Copper Mine has been removed from a list of Superfund clean-up sites, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday.
The mine site was included on the Superfund list in 2016.
The list represents sites identified by the regions with concurrence from the administrator that will benefit from his targeted, immediate and intense attention. The updated list no longer includes the Anaconda Copper Mine in Nevada as cleanup activities progress and completion of specific milestones and timelines have benefited from the administrator’s influence.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has visited the Anaconda Copper Mine as part of his effort to ensure timely decisions for cleanup of the sites to protect the health and environment of surrounding communities.
“The updated Emphasis List reflects our commitment to addressing Superfund sites as quickly and safely as possible,” Pruitt said.
The Anaconda Copper Mine site covers more than 3,400 acres in the Mason Valley in Lyon County, central Nevada, approximately 65 miles southeast of Reno. The site includes groundwater contamination, tailings piles, waste rock areas, and contaminated process areas.
On Feb. 5, 2018, Pruitt and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a National Priorities List Deferral Agreement to defer the site to Nevada.
Under deferral, cleanup at the mine must achieve the same level of human health and environmental protection as a site on the list and must meet all applicable federal and state requirements.
EPA will review whether remedies proposed, selected, and implemented by the state and Atlantic Richfield are protective and will retain responsibility for the response actions on Tribal Land.
In 2003, the government became aware of significant radiological concerns in soil and groundwater.
In December 2004, the state sent the EPA a letter requesting the agency formally assume the lead role at the site.
Originally known as the Empire Nevada Mine, the site began operation around 1918 and was acquired in 1953 by the Anaconda Minerals Co.
From 1977 to 1982 the company was owned by ARCO, and then sold to Don Tibbals, who subsequently sold his interests to Arimetco Inc., with the exception of the Weed Heights community.
Leviathan Mine in Alpine County is a Superfund site with a national listing.