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EPA releases 2003 nationwide Toxics Release Inventory data
Release Date: 5/11/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307
SAN FRANCISCO -- From 2002 to 2003 industries in Nevada reported a 12 percent decrease in the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water, according to new data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The data comes from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers and waste generated by facilities in the United States.
"TRI continues to be a useful tool for states, counties and communities to know what types and amounts of chemicals are present in their neighborhoods," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "This is good news for the Silver state, since we continue to see a downward trend in releases to Nevada's land, air, and water."
A 2003 court decision determined that non persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals present in waste rock are eligible for an exemption if it is present below certain established thresholds. This decision better defines what is a reportable release from waste rock. Prior to this decision mining facilities were required to consider all concentrations of toxic chemicals in waste rock. This clarification led to a decrease of 55 million pounds of reported land releases primarily from metal mining facilities.
In Nevada, 111 facilities reported 409 million pounds of toxic chemical releases, down 12 percent from 2002 reporting levels, ranking second in total releases nationwide. Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land (including landfills), and the amount transferred off-site for disposal.
Air emissions of toxic chemicals went down by 11 percent and water releases decreased by 5 percent. Land releases from non-mining facilities increased nearly 24 million pounds due to releases from US Ecology, a hazardous waste treatment facility in Beatty, which are disposed on-site in a permitted hazardous waste landfill.
In 2002 five Nevada gold mines agreed to voluntarily reduce air emissions from mercury compounds by 50 percent in three years. To date mercury air releases from those facilities have been reduced 63 percent, nearly 7,500 pounds.
Many mines extract, move, store, process, and dispose of large amounts of waste rock and ore materials that often contain low concentrations of naturally occurring metals. The vast majority of this material is placed in surface impoundments or on the land, and the metals are reported as on-site releases to land. There are also air releases from ore processing and metal refining operations.
Nearly 42 million pounds of total on- and off-site releases of lead and lead compounds were reported in Nevada. Sixty-six percent of these releases were land releases from the gold ore metal mining industries.
Nationwide, disposal and other releases of TRI chemicals totaled almost 4.44 billion pounds from over 23,000 U.S. facilities submitting over 91,000 chemical forms. From reporting year 2002 to 2003, there was a 6 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases into the environment. This was largely attributable to an 18 percent decrease in the metal mining sector.
Since 1987, manufacturing facilities have been reporting their releases of 650 toxic chemicals and chemical categories under this program. Federal facilities began reporting in 1994. In 1998, seven additional industry sectors began reporting their toxic chemical releases for the first time including: metal and coal mining, electricity generation, commercial hazardous waste treatment, solvent recovery, petroleum bulk terminals, and wholesale chemical distributors.
The reporting of data to the Toxics Release Inventory is required under the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, passed in 1986. This program has been credited with arming communities with valuable knowledge and encouraging facilities to reduce their releases of toxic chemicals into the environment through source reduction, or pollution prevention measures.
The top 10 facilities for total on- and off-site releases in Nevada are:
1 Newmont Mining Corp Twin Creeks Mine (Golconda, Humboldt County) with 200.9 million pounds.
2 Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. (Elko, Elko County) with 101.6 million pounds.
3 US Ecology Nevada Inc. (Beatty, Nye County) with 29.8 million pounds.
4 Newmont Mining Corp. Carlin South Area (Carlin, Eureka County) with 29.4 million pounds.
5 Newmont Mining Corp. Lone Tree Mine (Valmy, Humboldt County) with 25.9 million pounds.
6 Coeur Rochester Inc. (Lovelock, Pershing County) with 6.1 million pounds.
7 Jerritt Canyon Mine (Elko, Elko County) with 3.0 million pounds.
8 Cortez Gold Mines (Crescent Valley, Lander County) with 2.8 million pounds.
9 Mohave Generating Station (Laughlin, Clark County) 1.6 million pounds.
10 Glamis Marigold Mining Co. (Valmy, Humboldt County) 1.0 million pounds.
Fact sheets and additional information on the 2003 TRI data for Nevada are available at https://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/report/03/nevada.pdf
The following Web sites also provide useful information on TRI: https://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/ and https://www.epa.gov/enviro
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