Mercury headed this way

Federal officials said they expected to finish removing 2,615 tons of toxic mercury from a New Jersey dump by the end of this month, which means it’s all been dumped in Nevada.

The mercury was stored in warehouses in New Jersey for many years without much notice until 2000, when news reports alerted residents. Local congressmembers then started agitating to have the mercury dumped on some other state or destroyed. The Defense National Stockpile Center quietly selected Mineral County without ever informing state officials Nevada was being considered.

Since then Nevada has imposed new inspection requirements that will have to be observed at the federal reservation in Hawthorne. A New Jersey news report said “townsite” officials will also be conducting inspections. Nevada natural resources director Allen Biaggi said, “The town may do some. That would be great. The more eyes overseeing it the better. From the state perspective, it will be the staff of the Division of Environmental Protection’s Chemical Accident Prevention Program. There will also be involvement from the agency’s water and air pollution programs as well.”