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EPA Releases 2001 Nationwide Toxics Release Inventory Data (Nevada)
Release Date: 6/30/2003
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, (415) 947-4307
SAN FRANCISCO -- Industries in Nevada reported a 22 percent decrease in the amount of toxic chemicals released into the air, land and water in the year 2001, according to new data released today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This data is part of the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory, an annual measure of toxic chemical releases, transfers and waste generated by facilities in the United States. The TRI data reflect numbers submitted to the EPA by business and industry, and does not mean that facilities with elevated levels are out of compliance with state, local or federal environmental regulations.
Reporting thresholds for lead and lead compounds were lowered from 2000 reporting limits, increasing the number of facilities reporting releases this year.
Air emissions of toxic chemicals went down by 18 percent, to slightly over 2.7 million pounds, land disposal releases decreased 22 percent to 778.2 million pounds and releases to water decreased by 32 percent to 83 thousand pounds.
"Nevada continues to see a downward trend in chemical releases within the state," said Wayne Nastri, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "As mining companies streamline and better manage their operations, releases to the environment in Nevada have dramatically decreased."
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.
In Nevada, 103 facilities reported 783 million pounds of toxic chemical releases, down 22 percent from 2000 reporting levels, ranking first 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.
A recent court decision may affect TRI reporting obligations for metal mining facilities in future years. Reporting year 2002 data will reflect those changes, in particular differences in toxic chemicals reported in waste rock.
The lowered lead data amounts, which were reported for the first time in 2001 are an important addition to TRI because these chemicals persist for a long time and build up in the environment. Thus, even small releases are of concern.
The data provide communities with a much better picture of the sources of persistent bioaccumulative and toxics chemicals in the environment, and how these chemicals are managed. Total reported on- and off-site PBT releases are up 39% from 2000.
The majority of the increase is from mercury compounds reported by the gold mining industry from ore processing and metal refining operations. Total releases of chemicals nationwide decreased by 15.5 percent, or 1.05 billion pounds, from reporting year 2000 to 2001. Based on trends since the inception of TRI in 1988, chemical releases have decreased approximately 54.5 percent.
Since 1987, manufacturers have reported 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:
- Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc., Elko, Elko County, 323.5 million pounds
- Newmont Mining Corp. Carlin South Area, Carlin, Eureka County, 170.2 million pounds
- Newmont Mining Corp. Twin Creeks Mine, Gloconda, Humboldt County, 153.4 million pounds
- Echo Bay Minerals Co. McCoy/Cove Mine, Battle Mountain, Lander County, 40.8 million pounds
- Cortez Gold Mines, Pipeline Processing Plant Mill #2, Cresent, Lander County, 27.2 million pounds
- Newmont Mining Corp., Lone Tree Mine, Valmy, Humboldt County, 21.3 million pounds
- Bald Mountain Mine, Elko, White Pine County 11.8 million pounds
- Equatorial Tonopah Inc., Tonopah, Nye County, 9.7 million pounds
- U.S. Ecology Inc., Beatty, Nye County, 4.0 million pounds
- Coeur Rochester Inc., Lovelock, Pershing County, 3.5 million pounds
Fact sheets and additional information on the 2001 TRI data for Nevada are available at https://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/report .
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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