July 15, 2009

SRS may become mercury repository

The Aiken Standard
SRS may become mercury repository
Mike Gellatly
July 7, 2009

The Savannah River Site is one of seven locations aiming to become the repository for thousands of tons of toxic mercury from commercial and governmental producers.

According to a listing in the Federal Register that announced the bids, 7,500 to 10,000 metric tons of mercury from private sources, in addition to large amounts of mercury already stored in government facilities, will be stored at the repository. The nongovernmental mercury would be brought in and housed over a period of 40 years.

The Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 requires the Department of Energy to designate a facility or facilities for the long-term management and storage of elemental mercury generated within the United States.

"Therefore, DOE intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to consider the impacts of the required action," according to DOE. "The long-term management and storage of elemental mercury EIS (mercury storage EIS) will evaluate alternatives for a long-term mercury storage facility or facilities to open no later than Jan. 1, 2013, the statutory start date for storage operations."

The preparation for the environmental impact statement will be a series of public meetings to discuss and get stakeholder input.

Locally, a meeting will take place at the North Augusta Municipal Center on July 30. DOE will hold these public "scoping" meetings from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., but the public participation period began July 1 and will continue through mid-August. Comments can be submitted online at a specific DOE website set up for the project - www.mercurystorageeis.com.

As well as the storage option, DOE lists a no-action alternative, which would mean individual private concerns must store their own mercury as would public sites. This is set as a comparison to the seven sites selected for impact statements.

The notice in the Federal Register states that most of the private mercury comes from the production of chlorine, gold mining and is reclaimed as part of the recycling process.

The government mercury, approximately 5,600 tons, is stored in various facilities. Included in this are 1,200 tons at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Other than SRS the following will be evaluated: Grand Junction Disposal Site in Grand Junction, Colo., Hanford Site in Richland, Wash., Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne, Nev., Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo., and Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas.

To read this article, click here

No comments:

Post a Comment