Dumping grounds

Residents of Hillsborough, N.J., are thrilled to hear that 2,615 metric tons of mercury will soon be leaving their township and headed for —where else?—Nevada, as soon as this spring.

The mercury currently held in steel flasks and steel drums at the General Services Administration depot in New Jersey represents 60 percent of the nation’s stockpile stored since the 1950s.

The transfer has been about a year in the works, with repeated delays. While former Gov. Kenny Guinn resisted plans to move the stockpile to Nevada, Hillsborough committeeman Carl Suraci told that city’s Courier News that there has been “no resistance from Nevada’s current government over the issue.” However, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s request that further safety measures and inspections be taken before the move largely caused the delay.

So far, the Courier News reported, about 73 percent of the flasks have been unpacked, inspected and repacked.

The Defense National Stockpile Center has now announced that its goal is to ship the mercury to an Army Depot in Hawthorne by May. It’s expected to take at least 308 trucks over 90-180 days to move all the mercury. Plans to move mercury to the Nevada dump are also underway from Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee.