YERINGTON, Nev. – Members of the public can get a closer look at the now closed Anaconda Copper Mine site near Yerington as part of a free bus tour offered in 3 weeks by a group that advocates for clean water.
Hear an audio report from Suzanne Potter.
The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada is chartering a bus from Reno on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Dietrick McGinnis, an environmental engineer who serves as a consultant to the Yerington Paiute Tribe, says the public should be aware of the ongoing problem with arsenic and uranium at the site.
“When we have precipitation into the unlined evaporation pond, we still are having leaching to the groundwater,” he points out. “In addition, so much of the material has leached to the shallow groundwater underneath the mine that it does continue to be a source of contamination to the aquifer in the area.”
Local residents in Yerington sued BP, the company that owns the mine, in 2011, and won a $19.5 million judgment. The state took over jurisdiction of the cleanup during Gov. Brian Sandoval’s administration and currently is monitoring the groundwater.
Complicating the matter is the fact that parts of the site are private property, and some sections are controlled by the Walker River Paiute Tribe, the Yerington Paiute Tribe and the Bureau of Land Management.
BP has spent millions of dollars to clean up the site, but McGinnis says much more is needed. And he says he wants the administration of Gov. Steve Sisolak to take action.
“The two things that we need are public awareness, so citizens know how bad the problem is and can protect themselves from it, and the political will to bring BP to the table to finish the assessment and begin remediation,” he states.
McGinnis advises local residents to monitor the quality of their well water, and protect themselves from dust coming off the site.
He says they also can ask the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to test the soil on their property for toxins.