Mesa County in Running for Mercury Storage Site

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Close to 10 thousand metric tons of mercury could be making its way to the Grand Valley. However, officials say it's way too early to tell how soon that could happen, or if it could happen at all.

"It's just a concept at best at this point," Ray Plieness with the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy has between 75 hundred and 10 thousand metric tons of mercury that they are trying to find a home for.

Out of seven possible sites Mesa County is one of them.
The proposed facility would be next to the Grand Junction Disposal Site which holds uranium mill tailings. "This building and a facility it is not put in the ground it's not stored in the ground," says Plieness. But before the DOE even makes steps toward an environmental impact statement they will first discuss the project with the public. "Can you actually technically, logically put it here can it be safely stored there can it be managed there," says, Plieness.

Classified by the government as a hazardous element mercury can not be exported out of the country. Plieness says of the mercury, "Ultimately the DOE has designated us as the agency that would manage this mercury no matter where its ends up." Plieness says, "If there is a major opposition against this it may fallout very quickly."

The DOE will hold their first public meeting on July 21st at the Two Rivers Convention Center from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.

After this meeting they will decide whether to pursue the proposal further.


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