Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Funding for Cleanup in Nevada
EPA announces start of new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites, along with support for 100 other ongoing cleanups, thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the second wave of approximately $1 billion in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to start new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites, including the Carson River Mercury Site in Lyon and Storey Counties, Nevada, and expedite over 100 other ongoing cleanups across the country.
Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed, including in manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills, and mining sites. Superfund cleanups help transform contaminated properties and create jobs in overburdened communities, while repurposing these sites for a wide range of uses, including public parks, retail businesses, office space, residences, warehouses, and solar power generation. In addition, these sites can support natural areas, parks, and recreation facilities, providing greenspace and safe places for families to play outside.
“Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we are moving faster than ever before to progress clean up at contaminated sites – from manufacturing facilities to landfills – in communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “But our work is not yet finished – we’re continuing to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination finally get the investments and protections they deserve.”
“EPA continues to work hard at the Carson River site to address the legacy of contamination caused by 19th century mining. Our work is currently focused on ensuring that residents, especially young children, are protected from contamination in outdoor residential spaces,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “This new support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will strengthen our efforts to keep these communities safe while helping preserve this area’s rich history.”
“This funding I delivered in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go a long way in supporting the continued cleanup of communities impacted by legacy contamination,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “I’ll always fight to get Nevada the resources we need to keep our land and water clean and our families safe.”
“Cleaning up legacy contamination sites in Northern Nevada is critical to keeping local communities safe from toxic chemicals and protecting our environment,” said Senator Jacky Rosen. “I’m proud to announce the funding I helped secure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will go directly toward cleaning and restoring our communities, keeping Nevadans and local wildlife safe from exposure to harmful chemicals. ”
Carson River Superfund Site
Over a century ago, miners at what is now the Carson River Mercury Superfund site used mercury to process gold and silver ore. Over time, this mining process released an estimated 14 million pounds of mercury into the environment. Mining activities also caused arsenic and lead contamination in certain areas of this site. In 1990, the Carson River Mercury Superfund Site became part of the National Priorities List of Superfund sites, which consists of some of the most toxic sites in the country.
Beginning in the early 1990s, EPA began removing cubic yards of contaminated soil at the Carson River site, disposing it off-site, then backfilling the area with clean soil. Since the early 2000s, EPA and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection have been working with local developers to sample residential areas, which has resulted in removing and/or capping contaminated soil. These activities help protect people from exposure to soil with high levels of mercury, arsenic, and lead.
EPA and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection will be engaging with impacted communities as we plan for additional residential sampling activities later this year.
Background on Nationwide Superfund Announcement
The $1 billion investment announced today is the second wave of funding from the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. With the first wave of funding announced in December 2021, EPA deployed more than $1 billion for cleanup activities at more than 100 Superfund National Priorities List sites across the country. Thanks to this historic funding, EPA started 81 new cleanup projects in 2022, including projects at 44 sites previously on the backlog. By starting four times as many construction projects as the year before, EPA is aggressively bringing more sites across the country closer to finishing cleanup.
In addition to funding cleanup construction work, this investment is enabling EPA to increase funding for and accelerate essential work needed to prepare sites for construction and ensure that communities are meaningfully involved in the cleanup process. In 2022, EPA more than doubled its spending for Superfund pre-construction activities like remedial investigations, feasibility studies, remedial designs, and community involvement.
EPA is committed to carrying out this work in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process. This will help ensure that historic and ongoing impacts of contamination on overburdened communities are fully considered and addressed. Out of the 22 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, 60% are in communities with the potential for environmental justice concerns based on data from EJSCREEN, an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.
For more information on each site, visit EPA’s Superfund Sites with New Construction Projects to Receive Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding webpage.
To see highlights from the first year of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding at Superfund sites, please visit EPA’s Cleaning Up Superfund Sites: Highlights of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding webpage.
Visit EPA’s Carson River Mercury Site webpage for more information.
Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.