Gold strikes again

Toxins released in Nevada were down 8 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year, according to the Toxic Release Inventory, compiled annually by the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2009, air releases and off-site transfers of toxics were up, but releases to water and land were down. There were also 40 percent fewer persistent and toxic chemicals reported.

Nationally, toxic releases were down 12 percent. There were also 7 percent fewer facilities reporting in the survey.

In Nevada, the dirtiest facilities tended to be, as they have been for several years, gold mining operations. The first place polluter released more toxics than all of Washoe County’s facilities, which released a total of about 425,000 pounds. They are:

1) Newmont Mining Corps Twin Creeks Mine in Golconda (47.9 million pounds of toxics released)

2) Barrick Gold Corp Goldstrike Mine in Elko (41.4 million pounds)

3) Newmont Mining Corp Southern Carlin Mine (28.2 million pounds)

4) Newmont Mining Corp Copper Canyon Mine in Battle Mountain (20.4 million pounds)

5) Barrick Gold Corp Cortez Mine in Crescent Valley (19.5 million pounds)

6) Robinson Nevada Mining Co., in Ruth (11.1 million pounds)

7) US Ecology Nevada in Beatty (2.5 million pounds)

8) Tronox LLC in Henderson (1.9 millions pounds)

9) Smoky Valley Common Operation in Round Mountain (1.5 million pounds)

10) Queenstake Resources USA Inc-Jerritt Canyon Mine in Elko (1 million pounds)

The top five facilities for toxic releases in Washoe County were:

1) RR Donnelley (391,813 pounds)

2) Viking Metallurgical (22,388 pounds)

3) Prototype Concepts (3,562 pounds)

4) Pro Line Printing/RR Donnelley (3,358 pounds)

5) Sun Chemical Corp (2,216 pounds)

For more information and details on the more than 650 toxic chemicals discharged, use the TRI Explorer tool at www.epa.gov/triexplorer. It allows you to search chemicals, industries and facilities by state, county or zip code.