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EPA releases 2006 Nevada Toxics Release Inventory data

Release Date: 02/21/2008
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 415-947-4227 smith.bonnie @epa.gov

Thirty-three percent overall reduction in Nevada, persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemical releases also down

SAN FRANCISCO (02/21/2008) - - Industries operating in Nevada showed an overall decrease in toxic releases of 33 percent in 2006 compared to 2005, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This reduction is due to a decrease in reported on-site land releases.
The data comes from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), an annual measure of toxic chemical releases and waste generated by facilities in the United States. Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged to air, water, underground injection, land –including landfills – and the amount transferred off-site for disposal. Data provided does not mean that facilities with elevated levels are out of compliance with state, local or federal environmental regulations.
“This inventory is a powerful tool for helping to protect public health and the environment. Safe communities depend on well-informed citizens,” said Wayne Nastri, EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “We are pleased the report shows a decrease in toxic releases in Nevada.”
In Nevada, 125 facilities reported a total of 217 million pounds of toxic chemical releases. This is a reduction of 108 million pounds from 2005.
2006 data from Nevada show:
• Overall, Nevada’s on-site land releases have decreased by 33 percent, or 108 million pounds, in 2006. Reductions came primarily from three facilities; the silver mine Coeur Rochester Mine reported a reduction of 42 million pounds; the gold mine Newmont Carlin South reported a 32 million pound reduction; and Newmont Twin Creeks reported a decrease of 24 million pounds.
• The state’s air releases decreased 408,000 pounds or 20 percent in 2006.
• Nevada did experience an increase in off-site releases by approximately 3 percent, or 39,000 pounds.
• Water discharges increased by 81,000 pounds, or 73 percent increase. A large portion of this increase came from an increase in nitrate compound discharges.

In 2000, the Toxics Release Inventory expanded to include persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, or PBTs, and to require reporting for these chemicals at ranges from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds. PBT pollutants are toxic chemicals that remain in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains, posing risks to human health and ecosystems. In Nevada, nearly 59 million pounds of total on-site and off-site releases of PBT chemicals were reported. There was a 34 percent, or 31 million pounds decrease in PBT releases. This change was driven by the decrease in lead and lead compound releases. Arsenic compounds also decreased more than 70 million pounds from 2005 levels.

Nevada’s releases reported in 2006 place the state fifth highest for total toxic releases nationally, it ranked second in the nation in 2005.

The top facilities in Nevada for total on-site and off-site releases of all chemicals are:
1. Newmont Mining Corp Twin Creeks Mine (Golconda, Humboldt County) with 56.9 million pounds.
2. Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc (Elko, Elko County) with 48.6 million pounds
3.Newmont Mining Corp Carlin South Area (Carlin, Eureka County) with 28.4 million pounds.
4. Newmont Mining Corp Lone Tree Mine (Valmy, Humboldt County) with 25 million pounds
5. Newmont Mining Corp Copper Canyon Mine (Battle Mountain, Lander County) with 17 million pounds.
6. Robinson Nevada Mining Co (Ruth, White Pine County) with 10.9 million pounds.
7. US Ecology Nevada Inc. (Beatty, Nye County) with 7.7 million pounds
8. Coeur Rochester Inc (Lovelock, Pershing County) with 5.5 million pounds.
9. Cortez Gold Mines (Crescent Valley, Lander County) with 3.1 million pounds.
10. Jerritt Canyon Mine (Elko, Elko County) with 2.5 million pounds.

Some findings of interest at the national level: Total disposal and other releases are down two percent from last year. Combined air releases of TRI chemicals are down seven percent. Total disposal and other releases of mercury to all media combined increased 17 percent. However, air releases of mercury are down four percent.

From 2001-2006, total releases reported to TRI decreased by 24 percent.

This is the first year facilities are reporting under the December 2006 rule making that expands eligibility for facilities to use a more streamlined, shorter form. The rule provides incentives to facilities to improve environmental performance and reduce the quantity and the toxicity of its releases. For 2006 reporting in the Pacific Southwest Region, there was a small net increase of the short forms submitted. A number of factors could account for the increase, including: changes in production process or products, new TRI reporters, facilities that previously qualified but did not use the short form, or the December 2006 rule.

The Toxic Release Inventory 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 following web sites also provide city, county and facility information on TRI: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/ and http://www.epa.gov/enviro. State fact sheets are available at: http://www.epa.gov/triexplorer/statefactsheet.htm.
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