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Arsenic, Lead Among Most Commonly Released Toxic Chemicals in Nevada, According to Latest U.S. EPA Report Released Today / 222 million pounds of toxic chemicals released into environment, increase of nearly 5-million pounds from previous year

Release Date: 03/19/2009
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270, simms.mary@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO (3/19/2009) – Toxic releases into the environment from facilities operating in Nevada increased 2 percent in 2007 when compared to 2006, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The data comes from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, commonly referred to as TRI. It’s one of the EPA’s largest publicly available databases, arming communities with valuable information on more than 650 toxic chemicals released by various industries. The chemical information in the inventory is calculated by industrial facilities and reported to the EPA, as required by law.

“The Toxic Release Inventory program arms communities with powerful information,” said Laura Yoshii, acting EPA administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “The inventory is a tremendous tool to help protect public health and the environment. Safe communities depend on well-informed citizens.”

Total releases include toxic chemicals discharged by facilities to air, water, land, and underground, and the amount transferred off-site for disposal. Regulatory controls apply to many of the reported releases. Reporting facilities must comply with environmental standards set by local, state and federal agencies.

Data from 2007 in Nevada shows:

• On-site land releases increased 3.4 million pounds, a 2 percent increase.

• Air releases decreased 7.8 percent

• Water releases decreased 192,000 pounds from 2006, a 99.9 percent change. The decrease was due almost entirely to one gold mine, Newmont-Lone Tree Mine, which reported a 191,000 pound decrease.

• Mercury releases increased 41 percent.

• Nevada’s off-site releases, made up of transfers and disposals, nearly doubled in 2007 -- an increase of more than a million pounds. The largest increase was reported by 21st Century Environmental Management, Inc., a hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility, at 1.2 million pounds.

• Metal mining facilities account for 96 percent of Nevada’s chemical releases. Mining land releases and off-site disposal drove Nevada’s 4.5 million pound increase.

Annual Toxic Release Inventory reporting began in 1987. The inventory provides information on annual toxic chemical releases reported by certain industrial and federal facilities. The TRI does not include data on toxic emissions from cars or trucks, nor from the majority of non-industrial sources, such as agriculture.

In 2000, TRI expanded to include persistent bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, or PBTs, at ranges from 0.1 grams to 100 pounds. PBT pollutants are toxic chemicals that remain in the environment and food chain, posing risks to human health and ecosystems.

The top facilities in Nevada for chemicals releases (reported in pounds) are:

Facility Name City 2007 Releases

1 Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. Elko 47,930,024

2 Newmont Mining Corp-Twin Creeks Mine Golconda 46,863,508

3 Ruby Hill Mine Eureka 33,053,693

4 Newmont Mining Corp-Carlin South Area Carlin 27,617,289

5 Newmont Mining Corp-Lone Tree Mine Valmy 16,624,201

6 Robinson Nevada Mining Co Ruth 14,796,794

7 Newmont Mining Corp-Copper Canyon Facility Battle Mountain 11,953,099

8 US Ecology Nevada Inc. Beatty 3,437,368

9 Cortez Gold Mines Crescent Valley 3,059,160

10 Smoky Valley Common Operation Round Mountain 2,440,231

TRI explorer

TRI Explorer is a tool that you can use to see the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data. It allows you to look at data by state, county, or zip code; by chemical; by industry. It provides maps that you can click on to find TRI facilities, chemicals and industries in a particular area.

Some findings of interest at the national level:

There was a 5 percent decrease in total disposal or other releases into the environment nationwide from 2006 to 2007.

• Lead showed a less than 1 percent increase (3.5 million pounds) from 2006-2007.

• Mercury releases increased by 38 percent (1.9 million pounds).

• On-site land releases are down 6 percent (113 million pounds) since 2006.

Region 9 TRI home: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/index.html

For Nevada highlights on the web please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region09/toxic/tri/report/07/tri-nv.html

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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